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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Social and Political Science

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Social Science (LLLJ07024)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is for students on the CAHSS International Foundation Programme.

This foundation course acts as a gateway to studying social science subjects taught at undergraduate level, including sociology, anthropology, economics, and politics. The course also teaches skills required in fields such as law and business studies. It provides an overview of social sciences techniques, with an emphasis on developing academic skills, like interpreting social science questions, reading academic texts, using scientific data, and composing essays. Students will develop a strong skills-base from which to explore social sciences further.
Course description This is a foundational course at Level 7 (SQF) which introduces students to elementary aspects of social science. Offered at the start of the International Foundation Programme, it aims to provide both knowledge of the subject area (covering a canon of fundamental theories and topics within the history of social science, as well as raising contemporary questions) and develop essential academic skills, required for effective independent learning. Additionally, the course presents simple questions around scientific methodology. Basic skills in numeracy, writing, referencing, and critical thinking are developed through in-class exercises and via formative and summative assessment preparation. Focus will be placed on good communication across all mediums (written, oral, and use of ICTs).

The course is divided into 3 key 'knowledge' sections, with a shorter introductory section. The introductory section examines the history, development, methods and approaches of social sciences in general, developing students' awareness of a 'social perspective' on the world around them. Each subsequent 'main' section focuses on two or three different social science disciplines. The first section is entitled 'Social difference' (on sociology and anthropology), the second 'Social inequality' (on economics and social policy), and the third 'Social security' (on politics, law and sociology). In between tutor-led 'knowledge' based classes there are 'skills' sessions, where the focus is on student participation with exercises involving collaborative working, technical skills (referencing, writing), using ICT systems, or developing essay planning.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  32
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 50, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Formative essay plan (0%)
2. Summary of an article (350 words) (15%)
3. Online quiz x3 (15%)
4. Final Essay (70%)

Introduction to Social Science is taken in term one. The online component is short multiple choice quizzes, released through Learn, which we introduced last year on two other term one courses on the IFP, and which have worked very well to keep students engaged with the content through the course. This has other benefits in students keeping abreast of readings, consolidating their knowledge, participation in class and growing confidence in study. The other term one assessments are building towards the summative essay, and the quizzes are designed to keep students focused on the range of topics covered on the course. The digital skills are through Learn, so we are looking to build engagement with digital learning, but not build more advanced skills with this assessment.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to submit an 'abstract' as part of the formative summarising exercise.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the role of the social sciences, and the specific contributions of the component disciplines
  2. Explain the problem of defining and measuring poverty, and evaluate different approaches to poverty and government policy, including liberal economic and welfare based approaches
  3. Define the concepts of politics and power
  4. Understand the notions of political obligation and obedience to moral codes, and identify instances of justifiable law breaking
  5. Develop a capacity to write in an academically rigorous fashion on social science topics
Reading List
Bruce, S., 1999. Sociology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP.
Dasgupta, P., 2007. Economics: a very short introduction. Oxford: OUP.
Monaghan, J. & Just, P., 2000. Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP.
Tuck, R., 2003, Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: OUP.


Morris, M., 2012. Concise Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Estrin, S., Dietrich, M. & Laidler, D.E.W., 2008. Microeconomics. 5th edition. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall.

Social Policy
Bochel, H., & Daly, G., 2014. Social Policy. (Third ed.). Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.
McKendrick, J.H. et al., 2016. Poverty in Scotland 2016: tools for transformation. London: Child Poverty Action Group.
Wilkinson, R.G. & Pickett, K., 2010. The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone. London: Penguin.

Garner, R., 2016. An Introduction to Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cohen, S. (2011) Folk Devils and Moral Panics: the Creation of the Mods and Rockers. 3rd edition. London: Routledge.
Woodward, K., ed., 2004, Questioning Identity: gender, class, ethnicity London: Routledge/OU.

Methodology, Discipline History & General Social Science
Browne, K., 2011. An Introduction to Sociology. 4th ed. Cambridge: Polity.
Giddens, A. and Sutton, W., 2012. Sociology. 7th ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M., 2008. Sociology: Themes & Perspectives. 7th ed. London: Collins.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in: critical analysis; comparative study; participation in group discussion and practical tasks.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Gisli Vogler
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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