Module SXU-1005:
Study Skills - Social Sciences

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Corinna Patterson

Overall aims and purpose

The central aim of this module is to develop student’s self-confidence and competence in a range of learning processes. Students will firstly reflect on teaching and learning approaches in a University environment, and then will be given support to improve their study skills. The first semester will focus on developing a student’s ability to find information or data; planning, structuring and writing academic essays, as well as referencing and plagiarism. Semester Two will focus on preparing, writing and giving presentation, as well as writing in detail about a specific subject. The module provides the foundations for university study and focuses on both individual and teamwork. The module will be taught by members of staff with experience or interest in particular areas.

Course content

The philosophy of the module is one of active learning and reflective practice in a supportive environment. There will be opportunities for groups of students to reflect on the university experience, and to share best practice. The course begins with a discussion of what it means to be at university (in terms of adjusting to new modes of teaching and learning) and then weekly workshops will focuses on note taking in lectures and seminars; the sourcing (use of databases, search engines and so on) and interpretation of textual and numerical data; essay preparation and writing, the development of academic argument and use of evidence including quotation, citation, and plagiarism; preparing for examinations as well as working groups to collect, interpret and present evidence confidently and concisely.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold students should be able to: • Understand the need for time management • Understand the different strategies for reading and note taking • Collect basic data both written and numerical and to give an outline of what has been found • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of working in groups • Recognise the potential of suggested study and research skills in their work • Understand the key tasks involved in preparing for and writing academic essays • Is able to present information • Understand the need for critical thinking and reflection.


Good students will: • Be able to utilise time management strategies within the teaching and learning process and • Understand and able to apply strategies for reading and note taking • Collect data and report on findings in a manner that illustrates analysis and application to the social science question discussed • Understand the key tasks involved in preparing for and writing academic essays and as a result write a competent essay • Is able to presentation information clearly and concisely • Utilise critical thinking skills and reflect on ones skills. • Make effective contributions to group work and evince an understanding of the utility and importance of working in groups


An excellent student should be able to demonstrate the ability: • Take well structured notes in lectures and seminars which help them identify further information needed to understand the subject in more detail and provide a structure for essays • To collect data and report on findings in a manner that illustrates analysis, application and reflection on its utility for the social science question discussed • To report on findings in a clear manner that indicates engagement with the materials and critical reflection on what is presented and how • To both recognise and apply suggested study and research skills in their work, and be able to critically appraise their own ability • To take a lead in group work where possible (though not at the expense of other group members)

Learning outcomes

  1. Develop confidence and competence in a range of learning processes

  2. Develop the ability to get the most out of teaching and learning in a University environment through the choice of appropriate study skills strategies

  3. Acquisition of the ability to find materials relevant to particular issues and to appraise their provenance and limitations

  4. Interpretation of textual and numerical data and to appraise its provenance and limitations

  5. Communication of ideas clearly and confidently, and presentation of arguments in written and oral form

  6. Development of skills in the management of learning ¿ for example developing planning and time-management skills

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Portfolio (Part One) 40
Portfolio (Part Two) 40
In-Class Presentation 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Weekly workshops or two hours duration

Group Project

Students are to meet up outside the lecture/workshop to work in small groups on a group project of their choice for 2 hours every week, for the first six weeks of Semester Two.

Private study 140

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: