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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Undergraduate Course: Analysing and communicating Social Policy (SCPL10045)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science 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
SummaryAnalysing and communicating Social Policy prepares students to translate their academic learning in Social Policy into real-world applications that address different audiences. The course builds on the various lenses students have been introduced to during their pre-honours studies (e.g. sociological, political, economic and comparative perspectives). Using the skills gained students will conduct analyses on current Social Policy debates to inform discussions amongst various real-life stakeholders. Academic staff from the subject area will mentor students in the development of their work in groups focussing on specific policy fields, while external practitioners will provide students with real-world insights into their practice for the students to then apply in their coursework.
Course description Analysing and communicating Social Policy provides Social Policy students with the opportunity to use their analytical skills in applications to current debates thinking about stakeholders outside the university. At the beginning of the course, academic staff members from the subject area will present several current policy debates to the students that will form the focus of work for the semester. After an introduction synthesising the analytical skills gained during the pre-honours phase of the degree, students will be working on one policy topic for the rest of the semester with the respective staff member as mentor in tutorial groups. Within each tutorial, students will form small groups to develop their work with peers.

After the first weeks introducing topics and approaches in the whole-class seminars, students will engage with external practitioners who represent different sets of stakeholders who work on Social Policy in the real world (e.g. civil society advocates, commercial interest representatives, government civil servants and journalists). The experts will explain how they deal with Social Policy in practice and, crucially, what distinguishes outputs (articles, briefing papers, etc.) they write from other stakeholders and academics. Afterwards, we will contextualise and discuss the input from the experts critically in class.

Each student group will prepare a poster presentation (for which training will be provided) on the topic of their tutorial group discussing how each of the different stakeholder groups currently might engage with the topic and what analytical consequences this implies. The presentation will take place at a poster fair. While it is a group project, each student in the group will take responsibility for one stakeholder.

For the final assignment, students will write an output (e.g. a briefing paper or article) from the perspective of a specific stakeholder using the insights gained from the experts. Within each group students must choose different stakeholders from each other to work on (building on the preparatory work done for the poster presentations).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Social Policy and Society (SCPL08004) AND Evidence, Politics and Policy (SCPL08010)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Social Policy or closely related courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 28, Other Study Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 165 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) 1 x 3 hours poster session: 3
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 75 %, Practical Exam 25 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Group poster presentation (with assigned sub-sections): 25%
Policy briefing paper - 3000 words (individual): 75%
Feedback Feedback on all assessed work shall normally be returned within three weeks of submission. Where this is not possible, students shall be given clear expectations regarding the timing and methods of feedback.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how to analyse social policy questions through different perspectives
  2. Independently analyse social policy across different topics
  3. Present insights through verbal and visual means
  4. Work effectively as part of a team
  5. Produce written output addressing specific non-academic stakeholders
Reading List
Barr N (2004/2012) The Economics of the Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press (chapter 4 and 5).

Béland, D. (2016) Ideas and institutions in social policy research. Social Policy & Administration, 50(6), 734-750.

Giddens, A. (2009) 'Theories and Perspectives in Sociology', Chapter 3 in Sociology, 6th ed., Cambridge: Polity.

Häusermann, S. (2018) Welfare State Research and Comparative Political Economy. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

Korpi, W. (1983) The democratic class struggle, London, UK: Routledge and Kegan. (Chapter 2 in particular)

Korpi, W. (2000) 'Faces of Inequality: Gender, Class, and Patterns of Inequalities in Different Types of Welfare States', Social Politics, 7(2): 127-191.

Korpi, W. and Palme, J. (1998) The Paradox of Redistribution and Strategies of Equality, American Sociological Review, 63(5): 661-687.

Kuhnle, S., & Sander, A. (2010). The emergence of the western welfare state, in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Le Grand, J., Propper, C. and Smith, S. (2008) The Economics of Social Problems, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (chapter 1 and chapter 10).

Mandel, H. (2012) 'Winners and Losers. Consequences of Welfare State Policies for Gender Wage Inequality', European Sociological Review, 28(2): 241-262.

Myles, J. and Quadango, J. (2002) Political Theories of the welfare state, The Social Service Review, Vol. 76(1), 34-57.

Pierson, P. (1996) The new politics of the welfare state. World Politics, 48(2), 143-179.

Propper, C. (2008; 2012; 2016) Efficiency, Equity and Choice, in P. Alcock, M. May and K. Rowlingson (eds.), The Student's Companion to Social Policy, (various editions and years), Wiley-Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course students should have strengthened their skills in:

- independently analysing policy issues across a number of sectors;
- analysing evidence and using this to develop and support a line of argument,
- presenting information visually and orally,
- searching for and summarising available literature, and writing an extended essay,
- learning to work effectively as part of a team;
- the understanding and skills that can be utilised in other honours level courses;
- making an informed choice about the perspective(s) which will be utilised in their final year dissertation project.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jan Eichhorn
Tel: (0131 6)51 2921
Course secretaryMs Ieva Rascikaite
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