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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP1170 Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society

20 creditsClass Size: 135

Module manager: Dr Roxana Barbulescu

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

SLSP1145 Social Science Skills

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will provide students with the skills to enable them to consolidate their study at undergraduate level. This module introduces key knowledge and training in the social sciences by teaching students the underpinnings of social research, how to undertake ‘real world’ research and think critically about the social world around them and their own everyday life. In addition it provides essential scholarly skills (essay writing, exam revision, referencing). Students’ will be encouraged to think critically in a way that goes beyond common sense and in a manner that puts social relations at the heart of understanding social phenomena. Students will be encouraged to be curious about their everyday lives concentrating on how this links to key concepts in social theory and how these might be researched in a social scientific way. Students will be also provided with the core academic and research skills to enable them to engage with social issues and social research.


By exploring key themes and debates in the study of sociology and social policy, students should be better able to:
- Think critically about complex social issues
- Apply a sociological way of thinking, and sociological concepts, to a diversity of topics
- Effectively analyse information to evaluate the key aspects of social life
- Have the core academic skills to enable them to effectively complete a range of assessments and academic tasks.
- Distinguish between different stages of the social research process;
- Demonstrate an awareness of a variety of research methods;
- Begin to evaluate research methodologies
- Begin to evaluate the impacts social science can have in society

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should have provided evidence of being better able to:
- demonstrate a familiarity with sociological concepts and social research methods, traditions and basic concepts
- exhibit an ability to make connections to social theory, social research and everyday life and issues.
- understand the fundamental principles of scholarly practice in referencing, presentation, literature searches, and assignment-writing.
- display critical thinking abilities and reflection skills which are generic and subject specific
- evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches associated with the discipline of Sociology and Social Policy in the area of research methods and urban sociology and evaluate the impact of social research on the world around us


This module provides key knowledge and training in social science by teaching students the underpinnings of social research, how to undertake real world research and think critically about the social world around them, their own everyday life and essential scholarly skills (essay writing, exam revision, referencing.

The beginning of the module will elaborate the meaning of social research its traditions and philosophical underpinning and its relationship to social theory through a series of lectures. Students will then be introduced to a range of substantive topics, in later weeks which support the Level 1 syllabus content. They will explore these critically and curiously thinking about how they might be researched, their resonance in everyday life and how they link broader social theories and analysis.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Independent online learning hours40.00
Private study hours136.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

For each week, students are expected to undertake around 15 hours of private study or independent learning. This will mainly entail keeping up to date with the relevant readings for the week, but also researching the topics in class through library and internet searches. Students are encouraged to think about everyday processes and issues and connect them with social theory and concepts and think about the use of data and research.
96 hours preparation for learning units and tutorials
40 hours preparation for assessment
40 hours on completion of online task exercises

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution at tutorials

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQReferencing Test10.00
In-course MCQSecondary Data Test30.00
Project1 x 800 word blog60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/10/2022


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