Postgraduate Course: Analysing Development (Distance Learning) (PGSP11319)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Aid is a specific instrument within international relations, employed in the achievement of both moral and strategic objectives by a range of international actors. For many countries in the developing world, aid has played and continues to play a crucial role in dealing with humanitarian emergencies, funding social services, stimulating economic development, and supporting the work of non-governmental actors. Yet it can have perverse effects, putting recipient states in a situation of dependency vis-à-vis their international sponsors and undermining public services while seeking to strengthen them. In some situations, aid has fuelled economic crises and political turmoil. This course provides both a practical overview of international development assistance, and equips students with the knowledge and tools to critically assess the social and political effects of aid, and the way aid policy is made and executed. We will explore the main rationales and theories for providing aid, the major themes in aid of the last two decades and contemporary debates. The course will have a strong focus on aid policy and strategies, drawing heavily on grey literature produced by aid agencies (OECD, international financial institutions, major bilateral donors, the European Union) and large NGOs. The course is suitable for students interested in future employment within aid agencies, international NGOs or developing countries, as well as professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge of aid policy and practice.
This course provides an overview of strategies for analysing contemporary development inequities, equipping students with the knowledge and tools to critically assess the social and political effects of development policy as well as the way policy is made, executed and contested. The course has a strong focus on international aid policy but also examines policies and perspectives at regional and local scales, drawing particularly on policy documents and positions from aid agencies and NGOs.
Students will reflect on a variety of case studies that are discussed in the lectures and the readings, and students will also be encouraged to bring in any particular case studies that they wish to add to the course and examine (e.g. perhaps international projects that they themselves were part of or are thinking of becoming involved in). The online space facilitated by this course will allow for a diverse selection of case studies to be discussed and examined from multiple points of view. By the end of the course students will have gained familiarity with major trends in development aid and the rationales behind it, and they will also have a deepened understanding of key methods for researching development inequities, and will have learned how to engage critically with the complex social, political and economic contexts in which aid programmes are designed and delivered. Through concrete case studies that highlight debates about NGOs, the United Nations and other institutions, students will gain experience in the analysis of aid policy documents and strategies.
By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:
Demonstrate advanced knowledge of different research approaches for examining contemporary development inequities
Identify key concepts and theories related to development policy formulation and implementation
Analyse and evaluate the implications and impacts of various development policies and approaches to development
Key Course Modules (details online in Moodle)
1. A 'Development' Case Study: The Case of the Global Fund
2. Global Technology Promotion and the
3. How is Monitoring and Evaluation 'Political'?
4. Bilateral Aid Agencies and Consultancy Experiences
5. Aid Conditionality: Whose Perspective and What Kind of Conditionality?
6. Participatory Research Methods in Practice
7. Identifying the Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Research Methodologies
Student Learning Experience
The course is delivered asynchronously through a mix of short video lectures that will draw upon expertise from across the university and a range of interactive online activities such as blogs, fora, online quizzes etc.
Moodle is the core learning management system, it is what is more widely known as a 'virtual learning environment' (VLE). The VLE is a web space which enables the course tutor to deliver all of the course materials, readings and communicative tools needed to teach online. Access to the VLE is via a standard web browser.
The course is designed to equip people already working in development or people wishing to work in development, with the tools, knowledge and skills to engage with complex problems and relationships between politics, economics, society, culture and environment.
The modules complement Discussion Skype Seminars where the instructor presents strategies for research and students discuss and present and discuss their research papers.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||70% of the course assessment will be based on a final essay (3000 words)
Contributions to online discussion forums and reflections:
20% of the course assessment will be based a student selected example of their best submission to the online discussion forum for the course of 700 -1000 words and one reply on the discussion forum of 300 - 500 words.
10% based on participation in weekly discussion forum.
||Students receive feedback on an essay plan within 10 days of submission. Students are required to reflect upon their feedback in order to improve their final coursework. Students also have the opportunity to discuss their ideas in a group skype seminar session prior to the final submission date for their summative assessment.
There may be some overlap in the issues that you focus on in the various courses, so you should pay careful attention to the topics you select. It is important that you do not duplicate your work. Students will have the opportunity to come up with their own essay topics in some cases; essays on self-selected topics need to be previously agreed with the Programme Director.
|No Exam Information
| By the end of the course students will have gained familiarity with the major trends in development aid and the rationales behind it. They will have an understanding of important past and contemporary debates in development aid, and will have learned how to engage critically with the complex social, political and economic contexts in which aid programmes are designed and delivered. Students will gain experience in the analysis of aid policy documents and strategies.
|Black, R. and H. White (2004) Targeting Development: Critical Perspectives on the Millennium Development Goals|
Degnbol-Martinussen, J. and P. Engberg-Pedersen (2003). Aid: Understanding International Development Cooperation.
Gibson, C.C, Andersson, K., Ostrom, E. and S. Shivakumar (2005) The Samaritan's Dilemma. The Political Economy of Development Aid.
Lancaster, C. (1999). Aid to Africa. So Much to Do, So Little Done.
Lancaster, C. (2007). Foreign Aid. Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics
Maren, M. (1997) The Road to Hell. The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity
Riddell, R.C. (2007) Does Foreign Aid Really Work?
Tarp, F. (2000) Foreign Aid and Development. Lessons learnt and directions for the future.
Uvin, P. (1998) Aiding Violence
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Mr Jean-Benoit Falisse
Tel: (0131 6)51 1632
|Course secretary||Ms Nicole Develing-Bogdan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 5:00 am