Module NHS-1201:
Social Science Perspectives

Module Facts

Run by School of Health Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Julianne Law

Overall aims and purpose

Lectures and associated workshops are based on classic and contemporary examples of work by a range of social scientists. Some have helped to establish the foundations of a sociological approach; some have been particularly controversial, while others have influenced social science methods or made a significant impact on social policy. Students will work with original writing and research as well as commentaries and critiques. Key ideas of Max Weber, Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault underpin most of the subjects and students will be introduced to formative concepts such as Rationality, Legitimate Authority, Institutional Life, Governmentality and Biopower.

By exploring key studies and classic contributions from the social sciences, students will gain an understanding of how studies were carried out and the impact they had. Influential works are explored in the module. Contributions to the study of globalization may also feature in the examples of studies included in the module. Other major themes in social sciences will be explored through a series of lectures and workshops. The main themes are social behaviours and actions, and power, control and conflict.

The specific aims of the module are as follows:

  1. To develop students' theoretical understanding of the social sciences through direct acquaintance with key sources of high quality research which demonstrate the social science imagination at work.
  2. To highlight some of the concepts used in the social sciences to classify and explain different social phenomena and to introduce some of the questions that the social sciences pose. Through this process students will be introduced to the `language' of the social sciences.
  3. To highlight the excitement and challenge of conducting social science research, expand students' knowledge and understanding of the methods social scientists have used to interpret society and demonstrate how particular methods can critically shape the findings of social science research.
  4. To explore social science contributions to knowledge about, for example, cultural traditions, the workings of social institutions and the concept of a 'moral panic' generated by the media, plus the topic of globalization and other major themes of social sciences.
  5. To deepen understanding of how social scientists have engaged with public and private issues of their day.
  6. To introduce some of the ways in which the social sciences helps us to make sense of everyday life and offer ways of understanding important issues.

Course content

This module will emphasize the acquisition of key social science skills and the development of a social science imagination in part through a series of lectures and workshops based on examples of exemplary social science research. By exploring the contributions of influential authors, students will develop their understanding of social science perspectives, the relationship between theory and practice in the sociology of work, health, education, family, ethnicity and other areas, and the impact that social science has made on the everyday interpretation of health issues. The module will establish a knowledge base of significant texts and research to support the later stages of the curriculum.

Students will also develop the ability to investigate issues independently, to identify sources of information, evaluate evidence and collate information from a range of sources, including lectures, seminars and library resources.

Workshops are regularly delivered by the module tutor. The aim of these is to build on the topic of the lecture. This part of the module is intended to facilitate engagement with the topic through student centred learning approaches, such as group discussion and activities that are guided (but not constrained) by the key study of the week. Most workshop sessions will involve mini group activities. These aim to develop transferable skills. For instance: cognitive skills such as critical thinking, communication skills such as oral presentation, co-operative learning skills in a small group context. Students are required to effectively share information, work in teams, discuss course topics and contribute to debates. Students will also develop the ability to reflect upon learning in order to evaluate personal performance and plan future learning. Preparatory tasks help students' develop the ability to investigate issues independently, to identify sources of information, evaluate evidence and collate information from a range of sources, including lectures, seminars and library resources, the VLE, and the `social world'.

Assessment Criteria

good

In order to pass the module students must be able to identify some of the main contributors to the social sciences and show a basic understanding of selected research by noting aspects of underpinning research design and describing some of the findings. They will show a basic understanding of sociological theories in the context of selected research and note some associated themes of social debate. Students will be able to explain social phenomena using a basic range of social science concepts.

threshold

In order to pass the module students must be able to identify some of the main contributors to the social sciences and show a basic understanding of selected research by noting aspects of underpinning research design and describing some of the findings. They will show a basic understanding of sociological theories in the context of selected research and note some associated themes of social debate. Students will be able to explain social phenomena using a basic range of social science concepts.

excellent

In order to pass the module students must be able to identify some of the main contributors to the social sciences and show a basic understanding of selected research by noting aspects of underpinning research design and describing some of the findings. They will show a basic understanding of sociological theories in the context of selected research and note some associated themes of social debate. Students will be able to explain social phenomena using a basic range of social science concepts.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify and discuss a range of exemplary contributions to the social science tradition.

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of key theoretical perspectives and apply to a social science study.

  3. Use a variety of social science concepts and provide an account of social science interpretations and their significance.

  4. Understand and critically interpret the detail of one social science study.

  5. To identify and engage in social science debates relevant to a social science study.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay

One essay of 1,500 words to be submitted at the end of Semester Two.

The essay will be chosen from a selection of five, covering a range of subjects taught during the semester.

Submission date: TBC

This essay is to be submitted AS AN ELECTRONIC COPY ONLY using the link provided on Blackboard.

100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

One hour lecture per week, for 12 weeks. All lectures will be recorded on Panopto, and posted on Blackboard for student use.

12
Private study

Students will have access to a range of resources, including texts, monographs and journals, both text and electronic; and computing resources including hardware, software and learning environments such as Blackboard.

184
Workshop

Students will be allocated a place in a workshop group. THese workshops will take place every fortnight, with four workshops for each group over the semester.

Workshops will comprise group discussions and debates, coverage of current events, video and media analysis.

4

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Resources

Courses including this module