SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2L222570
Module Leader William McDougall
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

Students aiming to become professional journalists need a sound and systematic understanding of the local, regional, national and supranational political systems that impact upon UK citizens if they are to report political events accurately. This module is relevant to journalists who will work primarily in the news and current affairs field and also to those interested in other parts of the profession who can benefit from contextualising their specific interests against a political backdrop. The module merges political science and journalistic perspectives to provide an understanding of the context, processes and policy outcomes of multi level governance in the UK. Students will be introduced as journalists to the structural and institutional landscapes of government at the supra-national (EU); UK (Westminster); devolved governments, assemblies and executives; and local authority levels. As part of this, the increasing relevance of quasi and non governmental organisations to today's public sector is explored, as is the form and functions of the National Health Service. Finally, specific policies and public sector services will be contextualised and evaluated across the various levels of governance.


The European Union: Institutions and influence on UK government United Kingdom and central government: institutions and policy United Kingdom and central government: institutions and policy United Kingdom devolution and Scottish government United Kingdom devolution and Scottish government Government to governance: role of quasi and non governmental organisations Business regulation and economic policy National Health Service, particular reference to Scotland Structure and role of local government Operation of local government, particular reference to Scotland Local government finance, particular reference to Scotland Local government service provision, particular reference to Scotland

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module the student should be able to:Describe and explain the main systems of governance affecting UK citizensIdentify and comprehend the main contemporary issues and debates surrounding these systems of governanceDemonstrate the ability to research and analyse contemporary political issuesAnalyse and critically evaluate the value and worth of sources of public information for contemporary journalism, ranging through government and news websites, academic texts and official reportsCommunicate research findings appropriately for journalist based media outlets

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy will be based on 2 hours per week of thematic lectures and student centred seminars. The lecture programme reflects and enhances the 'essential knowledge' requirements of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), the seminars will provide a student-centred forum aimed at the practical application of political and public sector knowledge within a journalism setting. In seminars students will be expected to perform a number of different tasks including group discussion, reporting on policy issues and presenting briefing papers. These tasks will be aligned with NCTJ 'essential knowledge in public affairs' requirements. Teaching and learning strategy is driven by a student centred approach where the tutor facilitates student learning and personal development via a blended learning use of thematic lectures, student centred seminars and on line resources, like briefings, podcasts and blogs. The programme will be research led and will reflect contemporary scholarship. The assessment strategy is based on two modes of assessment. First, a course work essay (2000 words) constitutes 70% of the overall assessment. This will assess students' ability to analyse, discuss and critically evaluate contemporary debates in relation to governance and the politics-journalism relationship; this is aligned to learning outcomes 1-3. Second, also worth 30% of overall assessment is based around the student researching a political-journalism topic and compiling a journalistic (written) report based on this research. This is aligned with learning outcomes 3-5 in particular. In terms of assessment, an equivalent mark in the appropriate NCTJ Essential Public Affairs Diplom a exam may be substituted for the essay coursework element where it is to the student's advantage. 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

Books: Bogdanor, V. 2009 The New British Constitution, Hart Publishing. Jones, B. and Norton, P. 2007 Politics UK (7 th edition), Pearson Jones, A. (2007) Britain and the European Union, Edinburgh University Press Kuhn, R. (2007) Politics and the Media in Britain, Palgrave McGarvey, N. and Cairney, P. (2008) Scottish Politics. An Introduction, Palgrave MacMillan Morrison, J.(2011) Essential Public Affairs for Journalists (2 nd edition), Oxford University Press Wilson, D. and Game, C. (2011) Local Government in the United Kingdom (5 th edition), Palgrave MacMillan Journals: Public Administration Public Money and Management Public Policy and Administration Web-sites <> <> <> <> <>

Transferrable Skills

Ability to prioritise tasks Self discipline Time management Interpersonal skills Team working skills Journalistic communication and presentation skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars 24.00
Assessments 70.00
Independent Learning 82.00
Lectures 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 30.00 35% Research Based newspaper article 1000 words
Coursework 1 n/a 70.00 35% Essay 2000 Words