University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Postgraduate Course: Advanced Issues in Social Policy (SCPL11018)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is the weekly discussion forum for all PhD and MSc by Research students in Social Policy. The course has three main functions. First, it aims to facilitate community building and networking among all Social Policy postgraduates as well as learning from each others work and experience. Second, it offers the chance to develop research students' own topics through presentations and debate. Third, it helps to situate one's own and others work within the broader theoretical and methodological debates in the social sciences through participation in weekly discussions on some key concepts and methods used in the field of social policy.

The format of the seminar series is organised around three key areas of academic study: theory, method and academic practice. Within these three themes, there are several different topics which offer the chance to have cross-cutting discussions. Each week is chaired by a different PG student. A changing panel consisting of PG students and one member of staff is introducing into the weekly topic.

The aims of the course are:
- to link training requirements for Research degrees in Social Policy (MSc by Research and the training year of PhD) with the independent learning required to prepare a dissertation or extended research proposal;
- to expose students to the issues and dilemmas encountered in the pursuit of academic research through presentations by Subject Group staff, advanced postgraduate students and invited academic guests;
- to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of postgraduate students' research;
- to provide a forum for discussion of professional and other issues of interest related to the pursuit of a successful academic career in the social sciences.
Course description 1. Welcome and introductions, exhibition of past posters
2. Theories for policy research and analysis
3. Research with "time" - historical and longitudinal experiences
4. The role of the researcher - reflexivity and positioning
5. Using comparative methods
6. Theories to look at the role of actors
7. Works in progress session
8. Theories and concepts of power
9. Q&A session for first year PGR students
10. The role of ideas in influencing the policy-making process
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 100 %
Additional Information (Assessment) All students registered for the MSc by Research degree in Social Policy, students on a 1+3 PhDs who are undertaking the training year of their PhD and all first year PhD students are required to present their research proposal in the form of a poster and to give an oral presentation at the end of the first year (usually around late May/early June). Presentations are not formally marked and there is no other form of assessment for this course. However, they are a requirement of the course to gain the necessary credits (20), as is the need to attend every week (except where permission for absence is granted due to exceptional circumstances). Feedback will be provided to presenters by fellow first year PGR students on the course, other more advanced postgraduates and academic staff.

Assessment is on a pass/fail basis. To pass, students must
- Attend the weekly sessions (see exceptions above)
- Present an A1-sized poster showcasing their research proposal, including a basic abstract of the thesis, research questions, methodology and identifying possible data sources.
- Give a 15-20 minutes oral presentation of their proposed research project supported by visual aids addressing current questions, proposed methods and problems they are grappling with.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the skills required to present academic work in progress to an interested professional audience
  2. Demonstrate an ability to respond to, as well as to offer criticism on academic work in progress in the spirit of open and constructive debate
  3. Demonstrate an ability to plan, design, and conduct an advanced research project
  4. Show an awareness of accepted professional practices in modern academic life
Reading List
Atkinson M (2005). Lend Me Your Ears: All You Need to Know About Making Speeches and Presentations. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Cryer P (2006). The research student's guide to success (3rd ed.). Open University Press, Buckingham.
Dunleavy P (2003). Authoring a PhD thesis. Palgrave USA, Basingstoke.
Gilbert GN (ed.) (2006). From postgraduate to social scientist. Sage, London.
McCarthy P and Hatcher C (2002). Presentations Skills: The Essential Guide for Students. Sage, London.
Phillips EM and Pugh DS (2010). How to get a PhD (5th edn.). Open University Press, Buckingham.
Punch KF (2006). Developing effective research proposals (2nd edn.). Sage, London.
Rugg G and Petre M (2010). The unwritten rules of PhD research (2nd edn). Open University Press, Buckingham.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will enable research students to develop key skills in presenting to an academic audience in various formats (oral, written, visual, audio-visual), chairing of sessions and being part of an expert panel.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Katherine Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1461
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:51 am