Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Education


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • to nurture a sophisticated understanding of the nature and distinctive procedures of the social sciences, and of some of the chief movements and schools of thought in this discipline, particularly as it has developed during the twentieth century;
  • to introduce students to some of the central philosophical problems in the social sciences, and to ways in which these problems may be addressed;
  • to examine how social science has come to repudiate identification with ‘hard science’.


  • the claims of insider epistemology?
  • understanding the cultures and perspectives of others
  • the idea of the self
  • social science as a ‘science’?
  • interpretivism and explanation
  • rational and irrational behaviour
  • problematising ‘mental illness’
  • sociobiology: the question of the extent to which eg ADHD or criminality might be ‘in the genes’
  • life as narrative and story
  • multiculturalism: social science and cultural and social difference.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • knowledge of many of the problems and issues that exercise social scientists, both as a matter of theory and practice, and an understanding of philosophical perspectives on them;
  • understanding of key social science terms, e.g. methodological individualism, holism, perspectivism.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • ability to think through and develop their own stance as a social scientist
  • ability to reflect on the different philosophical perspectives used to explain key concepts within the social sciences
  • use skills of argumentation as a means of discussing ideas within the domain social sciences
Key Skills:
  • communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively in written form
  • manage time and work to deadlines
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument
  • evaluate and make use of information from a variety of primary and secondary sources.

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

  • Interactive lectures and seminars, including those in which students are responsible in turn for introducing topics; courses of guided reading, starting from an appropriate reading list, coupled with submission of essays for discussion with their tutor and feedback both oral and in writing allow the introduction and development of the central themes in this module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 Weekly 1 hour 22
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 1 hour 11
Preparation and Reading 167
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
two-hour written examination 100%
Component: Assignments Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 1 2000 words 50%
essay 2 2000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

1 essay in the first term (2000 words); no collections.

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