Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module THEO42530: Practical Theology: Engagement and Evaluation

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO42530: Practical Theology: Engagement and Evaluation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to Only available within Doctor of Theology and Ministry


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to past and current forms and approaches to practical theology
  • To explore contemporary practical theological writing and published research and introduce critical tools for evaluation
  • To develop students’ ability to engage critically with published texts in practical theology


  • The module focuses on the work of key contemporary writers in the field of practical theology and the methods and approaches adopted by these writers. Students have the opportunity to study at least one writer in considerable depth including engagement with primary texts and exposure to extant literature. Seminars will allow students to read and evaluate the author’s texts and research findings. The course charts the shifts in practical theological methods over the last fifty year and exposes for discussion contended areas of the field including methodologies. Students undertake evaluation of recently published works in practical theology in both formative and summative assignments

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the literature of practical theology and the cultivation of critical reading skills
  • Detailed knowledge needed to understand and evaluate research findings in the field of Practical Theology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to apply appropriately a variety of advanced methods of analysis relevant to practical theology
  • Ability to recognise apparent contradictions and ambiguities in the field and to identify areas requiring further research
  • Ability to evaluate literature on practical theology and the advantages and disadvantages of competing approaches and contrasting conceptual frameworks
  • Ability to identify how their own research question fits into the wider discipline
Key Skills:
  • Critical reading skills
  • Communication of complex information and argument in clear and orderly way
  • Understanding of a range of complex phenomena
  • Problem posing and problem solving
  • Identification of, respect for and appropriate use of primary sources

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

  • Lectures and related seminars enhance subject specific knowledge and understanding both through preparation and through interaction with students and leading practical theologians promoting awareness of different viewpoints and approaches, as well as affording developmental opportunities for skills in theological reflection, critical research, and oral presentation.
  • Workshops enhance the development of skills in the engagement and evaluation of practical theology.
  • The formative assignment develops subject-specific knowledge and understanding as well as student skills in the acquisition of information through reading, critical thinking, and in the structured presentation of information in written form.
  • The summative assignment assesses subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with student skills in research, analysis, and argumentation, including the written presentation of information.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 5 90 minutes 7.5
Tutorials 2 As required 30 - 60 minutes 2
Seminars 7 90 minutes 10.5
Practicals 4 90 minutes 6
Preparation and reading time 94
Preparation and reading in association with formative summative assignments 180
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One 5,000 word assignment

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