Undergraduate Course: Evidence, Politics and Policy (SCPL08010)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||YEAR 1 STUDENTS ARE WELCOME TO SIGN UP TO THIS COURSE.
The course shows how social research can shed light on topical social and political debates. Students are given opportunities to reflect critically on the ways in which evidence is used in debate about public policy.
1a. Academic description
The course illustrates how social research can shed light on topical social and political debates. The specific aims are:
- to understand how academic enquiry can be used to understand public political debates and public policy
- to understand how evidence informs debates, and how it is sometimes distorted and misused in these debates;
- to understand how social and political theory can be brought to bear on understanding topical debates;
- to develop the skills of engaging in topical debates in a rational and evidence-based way while also taking account of the important role of ideology and emotion.
1b. Outline content
After two introductory weeks which ask general questions about evidence and policy, the course looks at four current policy issues that are prominent in political debate. In 2016-17, these are likely to be:
- Migration: what are its effects on the UK, and how do people - migrants as well as non-migrants - react to it?
- Unemployment: how have people across Europe responded to the rise in unemployment since the beginning of the recession in 2008?
- Crime: why are crime levels so controversial while levels of crime in the UK are at all-time lows?
- Student finance: what are the effects on educational opportunity of different ways of funding students in higher education - including different approaches to student fees?
1c. Student Learning
The purpose of the four topics noted in 1b above is to give you experience of the kinds of issues that arise in using evidence to engage in public political debate. The main purpose of the lectures (and about half the tutorials) is to give the background of the debates in order to prepare you with the knowledge to take part in them. But the main part of your experience is then active engagement with debate and evidence. For each topic, one tutorial is an exercise in thinking about evidence through case studies. Throughout the course, you are expected to engage in online debate about the four topics with other students on the course and with the course teachers.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Policy brief (40% of final grade)
You are required to write a 1,000-word policy brief on an issue relating to the lectures in weeks the first half of the course.
Reflective portfolio from online discussions (60% of final grade)
You will be assessed on the basis of a 1,500-word reflective portfolio where you will draw together your contributions to the online discussions and explain how you responded to the debates. You will have to show evidence that you have contributed to at least three strands of debate in the course (that is, debates from the opening two weeks, migration, unemployment, crime, and student finance).
||Feedback is provided on the first item of assessment noted below, well before the deadline for the second assessment. The main form of feedback is through the discussion that takes place in the online debate noted in 1c.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand how evidence informs debates, and how it is sometimes distorted and misused in these debate.
- Understand how social and political theory can be brought to bear on understanding topical debates.
- Develop the skills of engaging in topical debates in a rational and evidence-based way while also taking account of the important role of ideology and emotion.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||Politics. Social Policy. Debate. Evidence.
|Course organiser||Dr Daniel Kenealy
Tel: (0131 6)50 4080
|Course secretary||Ms Ieva Rascikaite