Postgraduate Course: Advanced Issues in Social Policy (SCPL11018)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This 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.
Advanced Issues in Social Policy is a Level 11 Postgraduate course running throughout the academic year. This course is the weekly discussion forum for all PhD and MSc by Research students in Social Policy and Global Health Policy and serves an important community building as well as academic function. It is a compulsory course for MSc/Diploma by Research (Social Policy) and MSc by Research (Global Health Policy) students, first year PhD students and students in the training year of the PhD (1+3 model). On-course doctoral students in Social Policy and Global Health Policy are generally required to attend except when they are on fieldwork or can provide other good reasons for absence. It is expected that they present their work-in-progress, although they may choose to prioritise attendance at their specialist research group activities. All staff in Social Policy are invited to attend and are expected to contribute in turns.
The course has three main functions. First, it aims to facilitate community building and networking among all Social Policy postgraduate researchers as well as learning from each other's 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.
Aims of the Course:
- to link training requirements for Research degrees in Social Policy and Global Health Policy (MSc by Research and the training year of the 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.
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.
An indicative weekly schedule is given below:
Week 1 - Introductions; Information on seminar
Week 2 - Things you should know - info about the SPA, web sites, mailing lists, conferences, managing your references, how to do a literature review
Week 3 - Gathering data in qualitative and quantitative research - practical issues
Week 4 - Data resources for Social Policy research
Week 5 - Brief presentation of individual research (1st years).
Week 6 - Using ethnography in policy research
Week 7 - Work-in-progress presentations (2+ years)
Week 8 - Working in government
Week 9 - Co-researching with service users
Week 10 - Evaluation of seminar and planning ahead
Week 1 - The research collaboration game
Week 2 - Researching children
Week 3 - Presentation Skills workshop by IAD
Week 4 - Follow-up on presentation skills training (presentations by 1st years)
Week 5 - How to survive your viva
Week 6 - Work-in-progress presentation (2+ years)
Week 7 - The social policy researcher in the limelight - engaging with the media
Week 8 - Work-in-progress presentation (2+ years)
Week 9 - Doing comparative research
Week 10 - Briefing on 1st Year Showcase and review board, evaluation and planning ahead
For some sessions, PG students will be asked to chair in order to gain experience of this important aspect of academic practice. For others, a changing panel consisting of PG students and one or more members of staff will introduce key weekly topics before a wider discussion takes place. In others, students are presenting their own work-in-progress and are encouraged to reflect upon the work by fellow students.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 30,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||All students registered for the MSc by Research degree in Social Policy or Global Health 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 a Social Policy PGR showcase at the end of the first year (usually around mid/late May). 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) for the PhD degree, as is the need to attend every week (except where permission for absence is granted due to exceptional circumstances). MSc by Research students will be enrolled on the course as auditors so as not to oversubscribe their 120 credits.
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.
||Formative feedback during the seminars and at the showcase event will be provided to presenters by fellow first year PGR students on the course, other more advanced postgraduates and academic staff. Usually this is in oral form, but at the showcase each member of the audience is invited to fill in a short form about what they liked about the presentation and suggestions for improvement/further research. This feedback is collected anonymously and passed on to the respective presenter.
It is expected that the feedback will inform the writing up of the first year review board paper.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the skills required to present academic work in progress to an interested professional audience
- 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
- Demonstrate an ability to plan, design, and conduct an advanced research project
- Show an awareness of accepted professional practices in modern academic life
|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.
|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.
|Course organiser||Ms Lynne Robertson-Rose
Tel: (0131 6)50 9922
|Course secretary||Ms Aikaterini Charvala
Tel: (0131 6)50 4296