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Date of Meeting


SCQF level


Credit points


Contact teaching (hrs)


Proposed by

James Mooney

1. Course title:
Introducing Social Science (Credit Plus)
2. Tutor name(s):
Brian McGrail
3. Tutor qualifications:
PhD, MA(Hons), Diploma in European Humanities
4. Rationale
This course will be offered as a part of the Open Studies ‘Credit Plus’ programme. These courses are intended to provide effective orientation to what studying at university, and studying a particular discipline at university means. ‘Introducing Social Science (Credit Plus)’ will form a core course in the ‘Society & Politics’ subject area providing students with an introduction to sociology, social policy, politics, economics and law in an interdisciplinary way through a thematic approach.. This course is intended to supplement other existing ‘Credit Plus’ courses and other courses in the ‘Society & Politics’ subject area. This course is a revision of the existing ‘Introducing Social Science (Credit Plus)’ course.
It is expected that students will opt to take this credit course as part of an OLL Certificate or as part of the Credit for Entry scheme.
5. Course aims & objectives

· To prepare students to study successfully in the social sciences by combining learning strategies provision with academic content, and to develop students' confidence and expertise in applying these strategies to their learning.

· To provide an understanding of the logic, rationale and methods which characterise social science

· To introduce a range of disciplines which fall within social science

· To give experience of an interdisciplinary approach to analysing contexts and situations

· To provide an understanding of some key social science theories and the skills to apply them

· To provide a perspective on the role of social science in analysing society and social relations
6. Intended learning outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

· Explain the role of the social sciences, and the specific contributions of the component disciplines;

· Explain the problem of defining and measuring poverty, and evaluate different approaches to poverty and government policy;

· Define the concepts of politics and power;

· Explain the notions of political obligation and obedience to state laws and exemplify instances of justifiable law breaking; and

· Discuss the issue of ‘scientific method’ in studying people (in social science).
They will also have developed skills for independent learning, including reading texts critically; taking notes; and planning and writing essays.
7. Transferable skills
Skills for independent learning, including reading texts critically, taking notes, and planning and writing essays; working with others, including analysing, planning and completing a group exercise; developing reflective strategies to tackle unfamiliar challenges and tasks.

8. Contents
Week 1

Introduction: Giddens on Sociology

Global Warming Statistics
Week 2

Distributing Goods: Industry and the Environment

Brown Reading I
Week 3

Distributing Bads: Global Markets, Risk and Fair Trade

Brown Reading II
Week 4

Poverty & Social Unrest

Birth Weight Statisticss
Week 5

The Welfare State: Social Policy and Family Life

Bevin Reading
Week 6

What is Politics? Power and Democracy

Lukes Reading
Week 7

Social Obligation I: Sophocles & Socrates
Week 8

Social Obligation II: Locke & Rousseau
Week 9

Science & Society: The Authority of Knowledge

Smith Reading
Week 10

Course summary and Revision
Week 11

Unseen Assessment and credit essay workshop
Discrete sessions will be offered in essay writing skills, note-taking, effective reading, time-management, working with others and problem solving.
9. Student intake
No previous knowledge required. This course is intended for those studying for credit.
10. Organisation of teaching
Teaching will be via tutorial, based on discussion of readings circulated in advance to students. Students will be given, to accompany these readings, a number of questions which will be discussed in tutorial. Students will thus be guided to the salient issues and concepts in the readings, and will have the opportunity in tutorial discussion to try out their understanding of the reading on the tutor and on the other students in the group.
Discrete sessions will be offered in essay writing skills, note-taking, effective reading, time-management, working with others and problem solving. Contact teaching includes, on average, up to one hour for one-to-one study support.
11. Assessment strategy
Two components:

· Assessment 1: unseen classroom assessment in the final week of the course, worth 25% of the total course mark

· Assessment 2: 2000 word essay (seen assessment) submitted after the course finishes, worth 75% of the total course mark.
Credit Plus courses also incorporate a practice essay option.
12. Course Readings

Haralambos & Holborn (2005) Sociology: Themes & Perspectives, 6th Edition London: Collins

Plato, Crito, Copyright Free eBook

Sophocles, Antigone, Copyright Free eBook

Giddens, A. (2006) Sociology, 5th Edition, Cambridge: Polity Press

Hinchliffe, S. & Woodward, K. (2004) The Social & the Natural: Uncertainty, Risk, Change, London: Routledge
Study Skills

Northedge, A. (2005) The Good Study Guide, Milton Keynes, Open University Press
Web sources

Polity Press’ online resources for Giddens’ Sociology:

Class handouts
Handouts will be provided each week, covering lecture summaries and some of the required readings (in extract form). Other Readings will be given in electronic form (HTML Archive Files) where copyright free documents are available on the Web, such as Classics like Plato and Sophocles.

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