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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Undergraduate Course: Researching Global Challenges 1 (EFIE07001)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow can we make sense of a complex and changing world? This course introduces a range of research methods in response to a diverse selection of 'global challenges'. Working together with students from a range of backgrounds, you will develop new skills in interdisciplinary research to help build better futures.
Course description This course provides you with a methodological 'toolbox' to support the interdisciplinary practice that is required to explore and respond to global challenges. The key challenges facing the world today are complex, dynamic and multifaceted. They therefore require multiple perspectives, analyses and approaches. The course establishes foundational skills in a range of research methods for understanding and working with various types of text, data and media. For example, these might include Data Collection, Data Analysis, Creative Practice and Cultural Analysis. You will work in groups on focussed, structured activities to develop their skills in these areas. A key feature of the course is the opportunity to continually return to these categories, ensuring an iterative learning experience that will continue beyond the course, through the programme, and informing a lifelong learning journey. Global challenges can only be addressed by working together, finding shared approaches, and adapting to new situations. This course is an essential introduction to conducting research in this way.

The course is delivered through an innovative model using several concurrent 'workstations', located within the teaching space for weekly scheduled workshop activity. The academic year is divided into 'blocks', each of which presents a specific themed research question/enquiry. This might involve a complex problem which impacts on society, the economy or the environment (for example, transitions to net-zero carbon, building a circular economy, or decolonising the city). In preparation for the workshops, you will engage with an online resource introducing each of the methods categories, including videos, essential reading, and set questions. This is a 'flipped' approach that ensures a level of understanding and engagement before the active, task-based learning of the workshops. You will then complete all the blocks by visiting each of the workstations in turn. This will involve group activities applying key methods to the specific enquiry, promoted by task-sheets and facilitated by a tutor. In practice, this means that there will always be several workshops taking place at the same time. Importantly, the content and approach emphasise the need to work together to explore challenges, and teamwork will be required throughout the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  36
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Online Activities 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 148 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

There will be two summative assessment points, both of which take place in semester 2.
1) Individual Written Assessment
Drawing on the workshop activity for a specific global challenge, students will be asked to write an article or script (for a selected newspaper or podcast, for example) to communicate key points to a non-academic audience. This will require students to 'translate' knowledge to a new context, with a consideration of readership/audience, and specificity of context.
Word count: 1000 words
2) Group Presentation
Students work in small groups (3 or 4) to create a 10-15 minute presentation, supported by visual accompaniment (e.g. a slide show) on the following prompt.
Drawing on the workshop activity for a specific global challenge, present a proposal to a Scottish government minister to support a new initiative in response to the challenge. This could be a public engagement project, an artwork, a research project, or a technological solution.
Feedback Formative Feedback:

There will be two formative assessment points, both of which take place in semester 1:

1) A class test in response to a specific global challenge. Marking and direct feedback in class.

2) Students work in small groups (3 or 4) to create a performance or film with the following prompt: Drawing on the workshop activity for a specific global challenge, create an advert for mainstream television to promote a new initiative in response to the challenge. This could be a product, an event, or a campaign, for example.
5-minute duration; presented and assessed during the final session of semester 1

Summative Feedback:

Feedback for the summative assessment includes written comments from the marker of the article/script; and facilitated verbal feedback from peers and tutors for the presentation, along with written comments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of key foundational methods for interdisciplinary research.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding of some of the basic and routine research methods in response to a selection of defined global challenges.
  3. Use basic information retrieval skills to gather, sift, synthesise and organise data and to critically evaluate its significance.
  4. Communicate understanding and application of research methods using an appropriate format.
  5. Take account of your own and others' roles, responsibilities and contributions when carrying out and evaluating tasks.
Reading List
Data Collection:

Olsen, Wendy. 2011. Data Collection: Key Debates and Methods in Social Research. London: SAGE Publications.

Data Analysis:

Hardy, Melissa and Bryman, Alan. 2009. Handbook of Data Analysis. London: SAGE Publications.

Perez, Caroline Criado. 2019. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. London: Vintage.

Creative Practice:

Mannay, Dawn. 2015. Visual, Narrative and Creative Research Methods: Application, Reflection and Ethics. London: Routledge.

Nelson, Robin. 2013. Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Smith, Hazel; and Dean, Roger, T. (eds.). 2009. Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts. Edinburgh University Press.

Owens, Allan and Adams, Jeff (eds.). 2021. Beyond Text: Learning Through Arts-Based Research. London: Intellect Books Limited.

Cultural Analysis:

Pickering, Michael. 2008. Research Methods for Cultural Studies. Edinburgh University Press

Bignell, Jonathan. 2002. Media Semiotics: An Introduction, Second Edition. Manchester University Press.

Davidov, Eldad; Schmidt, Peter; Billiet, Jaak; and Meuleman, Bart (eds.). 2018. Cross-Cultural Analysis: Methods and Applications 2nd Edition. London: Routledge

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 2016. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course, you should:

- have critical and analytical skills and the capacity to apply them in a range of ways
- have a capacity to analyse and examine forms of text, data and media
- be able to work creatively and imaginatively in a group in response to global challenges
- be able to manage personal workloads efficiently and effectively, meet deadlines, and negotiate and pursue goals with others
- have acquired and developed appropriate information technology skills, and have developed awareness of their application and potential within interdisciplinary study
KeywordsInterdisciplinary,Futures,MA,EFI,UG,Global Challenges,Research,Global
Course organiserDr David Overend
Course secretaryMiss Katarzyna Pietrzak
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