THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH

DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2022/2023

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Theories and Techniques of Persuasion (BUST10151)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWhy does language persuade us to act? How do audiences think? What is persuasion? Students taking this course will consider seminal responses to these and related questions. Their overall goal will be to learn - through theories, examples and practice - the stakes involved in becoming competent persuaders.

Course description We will study theories and techniques of persuasion in order to develop our own persuasive capacities. This means that we will study persuasion as a craft learned through exemplars and by means of practice. For our theories, we look towards philosophical accounts of rhetoric. For our techniques, we looks towards psychological models. For our practice, we produce copy.

We begin with a consideration of rhetorical situations: what they are and how we should negotiate them. This first half of the course brings us into contact with old ideas that remain applicable, as we shall see, to contemporary situations. We pay special attention here to the enduring critique of rhetoric, as developed by Plato, as well as to the alternative representation of rhetoric as a craft that we have inherited from Aristotle. With these foundations set by means of old theories and recent examples, we then proceed, in the second half of the course, towards a consideration of the challenges that define the application of psychological insights to the craft of persuasion.


Outline Content
PART ONE: Theories of Persuasion

1. Introduction- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Persuasion Today
2. Persuasion as Deception- The Endurance of the Platonic Critique I
3. Persuasion as Manipulation- The Endurance of the Platonic Critique II
4. Persuasion in Public Life I- Aristotle, with and Against Plato
5. Persuasion in Public Life II- Machiavelli, with and Against Aristotle

PART TWO: Techniques of Persuasion

6. Psychoanalytic Persuasion- Affecting the Unconscious, Producing Propaganda
7. Cognitive Persuasion- Mapping the Decision, Measuring the Process
8. Communicative Persuasion- Changing the Frame, Flattering the Audience
9. Behavioural Persuasion- Managing the Platform, Automating the Context
10. Conclusion- The Advantages and Disadvantages of Persuasion Today II

Student Learning Experience

Students will be required to undertake a series of assigned listening, watching and reading tasks in advance of each session. Each week will be composed of a one-hour lecture and a one-hour workshop. Within each of the first five workshops, students will work in their teams with a series of practical assignments that will enable them to prepare their video assignment. Formative feedback will be provided within each of these sessions. Within each of the final five workshops, students will work in groups with a series of practical assignments that will enable them to work on their essays. Formative feedback will again be provided within each of these sessions.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Entry to 3rd year Business Honours
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) a) Individual Coursework - 2,500 Word Essay (50%)
b) Group Coursework - 10 Minute Video (50%)

Feedback Each week will be composed of a one hour lecture and a one hour workshop.
Within each of the first five workshops, students will work in their teams with a series of practical assignments that will enable them to work on their videos. Formative feedback will be provided within each of these sessions.

Group Assessment Formative Feedback
Within each of the final five workshops, students will work in groups with a series of practical assignments that will enable them to work on their essays. Formative feedback will be provided within each of these sessions.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appreciate the practical value of various philosophical and psychological accounts of persuasion Both Assessments
  2. Produce persuasive copy Group Assessment
  3. Analyse rhetorical situations both as such and through examples Both Assessments
  4. Distinguish persuasion from decepetion and description both as such and through examples Individual Assessment
  5. Critically assess the persuasiveness of contemporary communication campaigns Both Assessments
Reading List
A reading pack/list of core texts will be prepared for each lecture in accordance with the authors and themes named in the above course outline. This will be comprised of primary texts, academic articles, trade publications and practical examples.

Students will not be expected to read a core text in addition to these but supplementary general texts such as the following will be recommended:
Michael J MacDonald (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies
George Kennedy A New History of Classical Rhetoric
Sam Leith You Talkin┬┐ to Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
Richard Toye Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction
Jason Stanley How Propaganda Works
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills C9: Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

C10: Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.

C7: Apply creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, sustainable and responsible business solutions to address social, economic and environmental global challenges.

C1: Understand how to manage and sustain successful individual and group relationships in order to achieve positive and responsible outcomes, in a range of virtual and face-to-face environments.

C5: Convey meaning and message through a wide range of communication tools, including digital technology and social media; to understand how to use these tools to communicate in ways that sustain positive and responsible relationships.

C6: Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Stephen Dunne
Tel: (0131 6)50 8340
Email: Stephen.Dunne@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Isla Dalley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3900
Email: Isla.Dalley@ed.ac.uk
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