SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1L324167
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

As the title suggests, this module has two broad aims: (i) to introduce GSBS students to the principles, ideas and value of the social sciences; and (ii) to demonstrate how social science perspectives are fundamental to understanding in business and professional studies. This new module provides all (non BA Social Sciences) first year GSBS students with an introductory multidisciplinary analysis of the challenges facing contemporary societies, and helps them to think creatively about responses to these. This module will capitalise on the combined strengths of the Department of Social Sciences, Media and Journalism to offer a new learning experience that contributes to one of the core aims of the School - to add social and economic value through both multi- and inter- disciplinary teaching which encompasses expertise from the across the School. The ultimate outcome (of a GSBS degree, to which this module would contribute) is to produce graduates who can act as responsible citizens and managers with a broad and deep understanding of the complexity of contemporary societal challenges. The module will start to develop attributes which all GSBS graduates should possess, including an international perspective and awareness of global issues; the ability to think holistically (e.g. to consider business and management issues from a range of perspectives); being digitally aware; the ability to work collaboratively; the ability to manage workload effectively (time management skills); and the capacity to think independently with a critical and questioning perspective. The module is structured into four blocks, providing an understanding of the value of a social science perspective (blocks A and D) and an opportunity to apply social science to address key issues facing business and society at the local (block B) and global scales (block C). (i) Social Science: an introduction (ii) Understanding Glasgow (local social science) (iii) Global Social Science (iv) Key Social Science Skills Although providing a comprehensive introduction to the value of the social sciences, the opportunity will be taken throughout to demonstrate the importance of this knowledge to practice and understanding in the professions and business studies.


In addition to introductory and concluding lectures, the module will comprise four thematic blocks of inter-related lectures and small group work (workshops/seminars/fieldwork). The opening blocks cover the foundations of social science and teaching staff in the later blocks will refer back to them, as necessary. The closing blocks address parallel issues at different geographical scales (the local and the global) and students will be encouraged by staff to make connections between the same issues at global and local scales, through comparison and contrast. Block A: Social Science: An Introduction Lect. 2 - What is social science? Lect. 3 - Doing social science Lect. 4 - Impact of social science Class 1 - Seminar: YOUR perceptions and expectations of social science Block C: Understanding Glasgow (local social science) Lect. 5 - The development of the city Lect. 6 - Population and migration Lect. 7 - Work and welfare Lect. 8 - Power and politics Lect. 9 - Representing Glasgow Lect. 10 - Contemporary challenges: Crime and anti-social behaviour Class 2 - Fieldwork Briefing Class 3 - Workshop: Students in the City Class 4 - Seminar: Glasgow Bucket List Class 5 - Fieldwork Debriefing Glasgow City Student-led Field Trail Block D: Global Social Science Lect. 11 - Globalisation - a shrinking world? Lect. 12 - Urbanisation Lect. 13 - Global economy and financial crises Lect. 14 - Institutions and power Lect. 15 - Global media Lect. 16 - Contemporary issues Class 6 - Workshop: Measuring development Class 7 - Debate: Business is good for society Class 8 - Seminar: 21 st Century Global Challenges Block D: Key Social Science Skills Lect. 17 - Social classification Lect. 18 - Thinking through theory Lect. 19 - Devising models Class 9 - Seminar: Are students consumers? Class 10 - Workshop: Effective use of evidence Class Tutors will be provided with a resource pack and a Class Tutor Handbook to assist with the effective delivery and efficient organisation of each class.

Learning Outcomes

:On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Understand the origin, historical development and contemporary manifestation of some of the principal challenges which confront contemporary societies2. Appreciate the contribution that the social sciences (as a whole and from their different disciplines and perspectives) make to understanding and responding to these issues3. Utilise social science to enhance understanding of their personal lifeworld, local issues and global issues4. Access and effectively utilise a range of learning resources (online, library, field-based, and classroom based), working both independently and in small groups

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The demands of introducing social science to such a large and diverse group of students necessitates a bespoke approach to learning. The module will be characterised by blended learning and innovative pedagogy. To capitalise on the potential benefits of multi-disciplinary learning, students from different programmes will work together in all module exercises and debates. In some respects, the learning strategy is conventional, i.e. it comprises a spine of lectures, supported by small group work and underpinned with online support (GCU Learn). As a whole-year module, this would involve one weekly lecture and one fortnightly class. However, the manner in which this is delivered/made available has been designed to attend to the particular challenges of this module. Interactivity will be central to the teaching and learning strategy. For example, students will be asked to complete an online survey in week one, which will provide a summary of the cohort's opinion and experiences. This will be utilised throughout the module to enhance (and personalise) the learning experience, e.g. it will provide material that will be utilised in class 1 (YOUR perceptions and expectations of social science) and lecture 9 (Representing Glasgow), among others. A live Twitter feed will run throughout the lectures and will be used by the lecturer to engage students and to review student understanding, as the lectures progress. Similarly, students will be encourage to use the 'discussion boards' facility within GCU Learn to facilitate more substantial discussions outwith classroom settings. All lectures will be 'delivered' in class by the Module Leader. This will provide a degree of consistency and continuity for students. However, a wide range of staff will contribute to these lectures, through professional pre-recordings of material that will be integrated to the presentation. A typical lecture might comprise a spine of learning delivered by the Module Leader, some interactive discussion based on the Twitter feed, and two or three recordings (of 5-10 minutes duration) from subject specialists, e.g. three different political scientists providing insight into each of the United Nations, European Union or G8 in Lecture 14 (Institutions and Power), or two historians debating the relative importance of different historical periods to Glasgow's development in Lecture 5 (Glasgow: development of the city), or sociologists, journalists, political scientists and historians each contributing insight into how Glasgow has been represented in Lecture 9. Multiple possibilities present for a wide array of GCU's social science expertise to inform student learning, without compromising the learning experience in lectures. It is envisaged that these pre-recordings would each have a shelf-life of at least three years. Small group work will involve a variety of learning experiences, including critical readings, small group discussions, analysis of survey evidence and role-play debate. Students will be enabled to draw upon their own personal experiences, in addition to reflecting on challenges in the wider city of Glasgow and beyond. The subject matter will be engaging and active learning will be promoted throughout. To this end, skill development will be embedded, rather than directly taught. However, students' attention will be drawn to the opportunities afforded for skill development (and further skill enhancement) throughout the module. Lectures and classes will be supported by local field activity. Students will complete a student-led field trail through the city centre of Glasgow. Local field trails have been used successfully to support learning for many years (and are widely used in wider society, e.g. local history trails). The field trail will enhance learning by providing an opportunity for students to visualise and experience the module learning in familiar surrounds. Fieldwork will be underpinned by a fieldwork briefing and will be followed by a fieldwork debriefing (in which students will present fieldwork findings in the form of an A3 Research Poster). GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Students will be directed to key reading for each lecture, class and field activity. However, there are several key texts that will be referred to throughout the module: -567 Blocks A and B -567 Commission on the Social Sciences (2003) Great Expectations: The Social Sciences in Britain. London: AoSS. <> Academy of Social Sciences (various reports) Making the Case for the Social Sciences. <> Block C -567 Burrowes, J. (2010) Glasgow. Tales of the City. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Checkland, S.G. (1975) The Upas Tree: Glasgow 1875-1975 Craig, C. (2010) The Tears That Made the Clyde: Well-Being in Glasgow. Glendaruel: Argyll. Crawford, R. (2013) On Glasgow and Edinburgh. Belknap Press. Maver, I. (1999) Glasgow. Edinburgh UP. Pacione, M. (1995) Glasgow: The Socio-Spatial Development of the City. Wiley. Block D Dicken, P. (2010) Global Shift. 6 th Edition. Sage. The following texts will also be reviewed as candidates for adoption as a module textbook. -567 Backhouse, R.E. and Fontaine, P. eds. (2010) The History of the Social Sciences Since 1945. Cambridge University Press. Hunt, E.F. and Colander, D.C. (2010). Social Science: An Introduction to the Study of Society. 14 th Edition. Pearson. Woodward, K. (2009) Social Sciences: the Big Issues. 2 nd Edition. London: Routledge. Perry, J. and Perry E. (2011) Contemporary Society: An Introduction to Social Science. Pearson.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Academic and intellectual skills: -567b7 Identifying, gathering, assessing and organising evidence b7 Understanding of the different approaches which disciplines take to global social and economic issues b7 Critically comparing alternative perspectives on social and business issues Personal Development: -567b7 Group working with students from a range of disciplines and perspectives b7 Experience in exercising judgement on the relevance and reliability of information b7 Capacity for working independently Enterprise or Business skills: -567b7 Communication - verbal, written and online b7 Effective time management and organising tasks to meet deadlines

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment 40.00
Practicals 14.00
Independent Learning 116.00
Lectures 20.00
Seminars 10.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 35% Essay: To be submitted in week 6 of Trimester 2, students will submit a 1,500 word essay on one substantive issue from the block on 'Global Social Science.' Students will integrate the first assignment into this work (providing a conceptual underpinning for the essay). This essay will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (essay skills and substantive knowledge).
Coursework 1 n/a 0.00 35% Formative Assessment.A3 Research poster.To be submitted toward the end of Trimester 1, students will present a Research Poster in class 5, reporting key findings from their City Centre Field Trail and demonstrate their understanding of a key concept in social science.. The poster will be peer-assessed (in class); post-class, academic staff will assess the substantive content and effectiveness of presentation post-class (using a tick-box proforma). This research poster will provide a foundation for the summative assignments.
Coursework 3 n/a 50.00 35% Presentation(10-15 slides maximum; 5 minutes duration maximum)To be submitted in the last teaching week 12 of Trimester 2, students will submit a Powerpoint presentation with slide notes to explain the key points for each slide (students will have the option of embedding audio into their presentation, in addition to providing slide notes). This presentation will focus on one substantive issue from the block on 'Understanding Glasgow'. The presentation will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (presentation skills and substantive knowledge).