Social science research was a core activity of the School of Social Study and Training from the outset, as demonstrated by the research and publications of its director, Nora Milnes:
Nora Milnes (1920) Child Welfare from the Social Point of View, London: J.M. Dent & Sons. Available at: Main Library Ref. 3627(42) Mil
Nora Milnes (1926) The Economics of Wages and Labour, London: P.S. King & Son. Available at: Main Library Ref. .331 Mil
Nora Milnes (1936) A Study of Industrial Edinburgh and the Surrounding Area, 1923-1934, London: P.S. King & Son. Available at: Main Library Ref. .338(41445) Mil
Then in 1949, the Department of Social Studies set up the Social Sciences Research Centre, employing Tom Burns (later to become the first Head of Department and Professor of Sociology in 1965) as a research lecturer and then Reader. Ten years later, another research unit, the Social Environment Research Unit, headed by Geoffrey Hutton, was established, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust, operating between 1959 and 1964, and working on a community study of Pilton and Muirhouse. (Tom Burns had earlier engaged social studies students to work with him on a pilot study in 1953 and 1954.)
The Social Sciences Research Centre was taken over in 1984 by Frank Bechhofer, who renamed it the Research Centre for Social Sciences, '... the original Centre having been reduced first to a data processing unit and then to a printing facility in the basement of the Adam Ferguson Building in George Square" (Frank Bechhofer and David McCrone, writing in 2009). The centre, amongst other projects, printed the very first editions of Erving Goffman's Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; Goffman had carried out his research while he was a PhD student in Shetland (he was based at the University of Chicago).
Source: FOUNDING PRINCIPALS: SOCIOLOGY AT EDINBURGH, Frank Bechhofer and David McCrone (2009)