Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to L300
Tied to L3M1
Tied to LC38
Tied to LL32
Tied to LL36
Tied to M1L3


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to a range of strategies used in producing sociological knowledge.
  • To introduce students to the concept of 'evidence' and its relationship to theorizing in sociology and social policy.
  • To introduce students to ethical issues embedded in research.
  • To enable students to consider the role of evidence in producing 'theory'.


  • Section One: Introductory Issues - this block of lectures will introduce students to some of the basic issues involoved in doing social-scientific (and specifically sociological) research.
  • It will consider the relationship between 'theory' and research.
  • the relevance of 'scientific method' to research on the social world, and questions of how research can show what it claims to show.
  • Section Two: Approaches to Research - This block of lectures focuses more on the 'how' of research, considering different ways of doing research, and the relationship between techniques of research and the production of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having completed this module, students will: Have an understanding of the concepts of evidence in sociology, and of the relationship between evidence and theorizing.
  • Have an awareness of the distinctive character of sociological and social-policy research.
  • be able to identify appropriate strategies for the generation of specific kinds of knowledge.
  • be able to review and to evaluate evidence, and to produce reasoned sociological arguments on the basis of that evidence.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to review and evaluate evidence, and to produce reasoned sociological arguments on the basis of evidence.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • An ability to frame research issues and problems;
  • An ability to tnterpret and evaluate empirical evidence;
  • An ability to gather and analyse information;
  • An ability to construct reasoned arguments.
  • basic written communication skills
  • basic learning and study skills
  • an ability to plan and manage time effectively.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures: will deliver outlines of the distinctive character in Sociology and in Social Policy, and will introduce students to the evidence bases of theoretical work.
  • They will present competing views on knowledge-production and evidence assessment.
  • They will also highlight the importance of, and the means toward, evaluating evidence.
  • Lectures will encourage students to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking, and an appreciation of competing arguments.
  • Seminars: will incorporate practical exercises which will enable students to develop skills in reviewing and evaluating evidence, and in producing reasoned sociological arguments.
  • They will also equip students with the means to be able to identify appropriate research strategies, and they will enable the development of verbal communication skills through small group and class discussion.
  • Seminars also foster a number of key skills, including information-gathering and retrieval.
  • critical reading and evaluation, making reasoned arguments, based on available evidence.
  • Formative essays: require students to demonstrate both specific skills in knowing and understanding the themes of the module, and in 'thinking sociologically'.
  • and broader skills in written communication.
  • They also require skills in gathering information, assessing evidence and critical reading.
  • The feedback provided on formative essays enable students to reflect on their knowledge and understanding, and to improve their performance where appropriate.
  • The summative examination: will require students to demonstrate their ability to review and to evaluate evidence and to produce reasoned sociological arguments in examination conditions.
  • It tests students' abilities to synthesis material covered on the module, and requires a demonstration of cognitive skills (e.g. the ability to argue and to assess) and transferable skills (e.g. skills of planning and time management), as well as subject-specific skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 Per Week 1 Hour 22
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 1 Hour 11
Preparation and Reading 167
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one unseen three-hour examination 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays of 1500 words each.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University