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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Key Skills in Development Practice (PGSP11348)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course investigates methodological approaches to the theorisation and practice of development. It brings together social science research methods (e.g. interviewing, participatory methods) with more targeted practical development methods (e.g. monitoring and evaluation, programme evaluation, policy analysis). The main objective of this course is to offer key skills to the students to enable them to work in the field of international development. It exposes the students with key frameworks, tools and instruments used in the practice of development. This course is suitable for everyone with an interest in development and undertaking research in developing countries, regardless of discipline or orientation.
This course is suitable for everyone with an interest to work in international development globally, regardless of orientation.
Course description The course exposes students to key frameworks, tools and instruments used in the practice of development.

During the course students will investigate various practical approaches and tools that are utilized in the planning, implementation and assessment of development projects (e.g. monitoring and evaluation, theory of change tools, stakeholder analysis, funding applications for development organisations, implementing projects in fragile states etc.).

The course is applied in nature but students will gain skills to use, critically evaluate and assess methods, tools and techniques in relation to the dominant development discourse and trends.

The main objective of the course is to enable students to gain skills necessary to work effectively in the fields of international development and humanitarian intervention. It is suitable to everyone who wishes to develop a career in the development sector regardless of discipline or orientation.

Please note: the course has been designed to offer an introduction to practical development skills and debates; therefore the course is not recommended for students who have already gained this practical knowledge.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed by the following:

1. One short assessment (policy brief), maximum 1,500 words - 40%;

2. One long assessment (short essay), maximum 2,500 words - 60%.
Feedback For the short assessment students will be asked to write a policy brief on an aspect of global poverty for policy makers. Pretending that students are trying to communicate their research findings to the UK Department for International Development (DfID), they will need to write a policy brief focusing on one of the following themes: gender; health; primary education; refugee; migration, environment. Students are highly encouraged to have a clear country focus (choose a low or a medium income country for your case study).

The longer essay will include assignments such as critique of monitoring and evaluation frameworks, stakeholder¿s analysis and theory of change tools used in development agencies. In this essay students should demonstrate and reflect critically on their learning in lectures and independent studies.

The short assessment is worth 40% of the final grade; the long assessment will count towards the 60% of the final grade.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. critically examine the relationship between development thinking and development practice.
  2. appraise and utilise appropriate practical tools and instruments
  3. utilise skills learned in key areas of development practice such as monitoring and evaluation, writing policy brief, participatory appraisals and meta-analysis
Reading List
Students are encouraged to read beyond the required readings for each session (provided in the course handbook) as full participation in discussions is expected. We do not recommend any specific textbook for this course, although there are a number of very good ones currently available in the library and/or bookshops. The following sources, for example, serve as excellent introductions to the field and to the debates that we will be following:

Scheyvens, Regina (2014, 2nd edition) (eds), Development Fieldwork: a practical guide, SAGE publication.

Carden, Fred (2009). Knowledge to Policy: Making the Most of Development Research, International Development Research Centre and Sage.

Desai V. and Potter Robert B. (2006), Doing Development Research, SAGE

DFID. 2002. A Tools for Development: a handbook for those involved in development activity. Department for International Development

Mikkelsen B. (2005), Methods for Development Work and Research, second ed., SAGE

Thomas A. and Mohan G., Research Skills for Policy and Development. How to find out Fast, SAGE publications, 2007

Sumner, A. and Tribe, M. (2008) International Development Studies: Theories and Methods in Research and Practice, Sage London
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Barbara Bompani
Tel: (0131 6)51 3891
Course secretaryMrs Beth Richardson-Mills
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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