SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3L325159
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Level 1 Sociology module or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This degree level module is offered to third year students in place of a substantive taught module. The module is presented (replicated) in Trimester 1 and Trimester 2, although individual students complete the module once. University is familiar to students as a place of study. Degree level students are also aware of the important of research in the academy (and wider society) and that the completion of an independent research study (supported by a programme of formal research training) is the pinnacle of many degree programmes (including BA Social Sciences). However, university is also a workplace in which academic researchers generate new knowledge to advance understanding and to meet the needs of wider society. As with other workplaces beyond the academy, the university has the potential to offer students a real world workplace learning experience (through Research Internships). This module provides such an experience. The module affords the opportunity for students to gain practical experience of longitudinal social research by joining the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU), one of the Social Sciences research specialisms at GCU. A core part of the placement will be supporting the GCU research team that appraises the work of the Caledonian Club , the university's flagship widening access project.


The module is organised as a structured learning experience, with students completing weekly training throughout (based around a bespoke Student Research Internship Toolkit ), delivered within a weekly Team Briefing, which enables students to make a weekly contribution to the core work programme. An indicative programme is suggested below: Week Task Week starting 1 N.A. (Introductory lecture) Mon September 19 2 Team Briefing 1: How to review critically September 26 3 Team Briefing 2: HE widening participation work October 3 4 Team Briefing 3: How to identify literature to review October 10 5 Virtual Team Briefing 4: Critical review of literature October 17 6 Team Briefing 5: Preparing for survey fieldwork October 24 7 Team Briefing 6: Undertaking survey fieldwork October 31 8 Team Briefing 7: Survey data processing November 7 9 Team Briefing 8: Survey data cleaning November 14 10 Team Briefing 9: Survey data analysis November 21 11 N.A. - No Team Briefing November 28 12 N.A. (Concluding lecture) December 5 The second component to the Research Internship is the completion of a small group project. This project may take different forms (small groups working exclusively on a small project, or small groups making a particular contribution to a larger group project). Having taken cognisance of student preferences, groups of three-four students are tasked with a development project. The group meets weekly within the Module Leader (15 minute meeting) to review progress. Each group also provides a weekly update on progress to the whole class group at the Team Briefings. For example, in in previous years, students were presented with the following options: -360 1. Developing a longitudinal survey dataset -360 2. Using the Caledonian Club's administrative data for tracking participation 3. Systematic review of survey research 4. Review of national statistics on 'widening participation' in education 5. Developing research on the impact of ethnicity in Caledonian Club schools 6. Developing a teacher survey 7. Developing a community survey 8. Developing mentor research 9. Developing research with GCU students from CC schools 10. Scoping a shift to computer assisted data entry 11. Review of prospects for shift to whole-school surveys 12. Review of CC Research and Evaluation Unit web presence 13. User evaluation of CC Briefings 14. Reviewing methods for working with Primary 2 pupils 15. Reviewing methods for working with Nursery School pupils 16. Mapping the contemporary policy landscape 17. Tracing the development of 'widening participation' policy in the UK 18. International case studies of 'widening participation' 19. Global trends on 'widening participation' 20. Review of 'widening participation' and the funding landscape 21. Profiling schools in Glasgow 22. Developing a tracking system for graduating CC pupils 23. Developing a database of poverty / education researchers 24. Bibliography of educational / poverty research 25. Analysis of teacher evaluation surveys Reflective learning is an integral part of the learning experience.

Learning Outcomes

'On successful completion of this module the student should be able to1 able to critically appreciate the practical role of social research in community-level interventions2 able to critically appraise the concepts of 'Poverty', 'inequality', 'deprivation', 'aspiration', 'community', 'social mobility' and 'family background'. 3 conversant with the research cycle and good practice in research design, execution and management. 4 able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of one key theme, pertaining to the work of the Caledonian Club and/or the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Although this is not a taught module, the module includes a structured programme of learning to guide student research practise. A mix of learning styles are used as part of this training programme, i.e. mini-lectures, seminar discussions, self-completion exercises and class workshops (all delivered in a Team Briefing format). This placement involves the production of weekly outputs over the course of the module. Students complete a reflective learning log to consolidate and enhance their learning from execution of all research tasks. Students are required to attend the workplace for one day per week, throughout the trimester. Other than when fieldwork demands necessitate, students will be required to attend on a nominated work-day, i.e. to attend the Team briefing and Project Group meeting on the same day. -357 For the most part, this module requires students to execute research tasks, largely independently, under clear instruction from the research team leader

Indicative Reading

The module will be supported by a virtual data library, which will consist of a carefully selected set of specialist research skills-based papers offering advice pertaining to each stage of the research training. Furthermore, as part of the work programme, students will be asked to critically appraise literature on academic themes pertaining either to (i) poverty and inequality in Scotland, or (ii) the work of the Caledonian Club, i.e. aspirations, family life, community resources, social mobility, etc. Students are provided with a detailed list of readily-accessible papers to assist them with each task. For example, for the introductory meeting (a lecture on the theme of 'Introduction to the Caledonian Club'), the following list of recommended reading is suggested: Workplace learning in higher education. -357b7 Little, B. and Harvey, L. (2006) Learning through Work Placements and Beyond . Report for the Higher Education Academy's Work Placements Organisation Forum. <> b7 Thompson, D.W. (2016) How valuable is 'short project' placement experience to higher education students? Journal of Further and Higher Education . <> Internships and Work Futures. -357b7 Adopt an Intern - <> b7 Intern Aware - <> b7 Lawton, K. and Potter, D. (2010) Why Interns Need a Fail Wage . London: IPPR and Internocracy. <> b7 NACE (2011) intern . <> b7 Sutton Trust (2014) Internship or Indenture? Research Brief Edition 2. London. <> b7 The Panel on Fair Access to the Professions (2009) Unleashing Aspiration: The Final Report on Fair Access to the Professions . London. <> Widening participation in Scottish/UK higher education. -357b7 Commission on Widening Access (Scotland) - <> b7 Higher Education Funding Council for Wales - <> b7 Office for Fair Access (independent regulator of fair access to higher education in England) - <> b7 Moore, J., Sanders, J. and Higham, L. (2013) Literature review of research into widening participation to higher education . Report to HEFCE and OFFA. ARC Network. <,review,of,WP,to,HE/Literature%20review%20of%20research%20into%20WP%20to%20HE.pdf> b7 Riddell, S., Edward, S., Boeren, E. and Weedon, E. (2013) Widening Access to Higher Education in Scotland: Does Anyone Know What Works? A Report to Universities Scotland. Edinburgh: CREID, University of Edinburgh. <> b7 Scottish Funding Council (2015) Higher Education Students and Qualifiers at Scottish Institutions 2013-14. Edinburgh. <> b7 Universities Scotland - <> b7 Universities Scotland (2013) Access all Areas. Edinburgh: Universities Scotland <> b7 Universities Scotland (2014) Action on Access. Recommendations to Achieve Further Progress on Widening Access to Higher Education in Scotland. Edinburgh: Universities Scotland. <> Caledonian Club. -357b7 Visit: <> Caledonian Club Research and Evaluation Unit. McKendrick, J.H. (2016) Taking Nothing for Granted. An Introduction to the Independent Evaluation of GCU's Caledonian Club. Caledonian Club Briefings Number 4. Glasgow. (This briefing was uploaded to the module's GCU Learn pages)

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following: Intellectual abilities and skills , i.e. those which are acquired through use of learning resources and immersion in research practice/study contexts. In particular this will involve assessment of the merits of contrasting approaches to the research, critical interpretation of resources and the development of reasoned argument. Key skills , i.e. those acquired through HE level study. In particular this will involve learning skills, but it will also involve numeracy, written skills, oral skills, observational skills, and skills in information management. Social skills , i.e. personal attributes that are fostered via social scientific study in HE. In particular this will involve empathy and insight, but it will also involve working independently and with others, self-management, motivation, awareness of responsibilities, intellectual integrity, and adaptability

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 36.00
Tutorials (FT) 4.00
Practicals (FT) 9.00
Lectures (FT) 2.00
Independent Learning (FT) 149.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 40% Portfolio: Placement work outputs and Reflective Learning Log. Summative assessment, to be submitted in the study week following the end of the teaching period in the trimester. (Students will also be asked to draft portfolio: Placement work outputs and Reflective Learning Log. Formative assessment, to be submitted in week 7 of the trimester. Students will receive feedback on the quality of their placement work and reflective writing) (elements of the portfolio)