SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code MML712009
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

This module is aimed at the wide range of people who encounter statistics in their working and daily lives. Statistics have become more prominent in society with the growth of evidence-based policy, evaluation research, performance indicator measurement and opinion poll journalism. The ability to interpret basic statistical evidence and to utilise statistics to support an argument are skills required of policy officers and managers in a variety of settings, but are also particularly relevant for staff involved in evaluation and project feasability exercises. For students accessing the module from programmes, such as the MSc Cultural Heritage Studies, the material will be strongly contextualised with real life examples.The module considers:- The availability of statistical resources which inform understanding of the social fabric of Scottish society;- Issues surrounding the social production of statistics in Scotland;- How statistics can be used both in social scientific inquiry and as a mangagement information tool.The module provides a comprehensive review of the role of statistics in Scottish society. It is not an introduction to quantitative research methods; rather, it complements such knowledge, by introducing students to the application of statistics in Scottish society.


The module is organised into four blocks, each of which consists of three themesBLOCK ONE - STATISTICS AND SCOTTISH SOCIETY Theme 1 - Scotland: a statistical portraitTheme 2 - Numeracy in Scotland: basic skill, key skill and skilled practitionersTheme 3 - Knowledge, power and application: putting statistics to work for ScotlandBLOCK TWO - RESOURCES Theme 1 - Data sources and fitness for purpose: Historic Environment Reporting for ScotlandTheme 2 - Case studies: Scottish Household Survey /ScottishVisitor Attractions Monitor/ Theme 3 - Field visitBLOCK THREE - IS SCOTLAND DIFFERENT? Theme 1 - Scotland and the worldTheme 2 - Production of statistics and the re-production of ScotlandTheme 3 - Case study: The Economy - sponger or provider?BLOCK ONE - IN WHAT SENSE SCOTLAND? Theme 1 - Scotland: a 'one-nation' society?Theme 2 - Case study: Geographies - where you live and what you getTheme 3 - Case study: Histories - tourism and a changing Scotland

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module students will:- be conversant with the notion that statistics are social constructions- be aware of the diversity of ways in which statistical evidence is used in Scottish society- be familiar with the range of statistical resources which can be used by social scientists to develop knowledge about Scotland.- be conversant with the contribution of statistics to knowledge about Scotland in a variety of settings, i.e. variations within Scotland, and between Scotland and other nations/UK regions

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A mix of learning styles will be used in this module. However, the focus will be on active learning (resource-based and student-centred). Each of the substantive themes will comprise of a lecture (30-45 min.) and a small group exercise (60-45 min.). Small group work will be fit-for-purpose and hence will comprise of a mixture of formats, e.g. oral presentation, writing exercise (preparation of mock press release), map interpretation, survey question design, role play debate, documentary data analysis, statistical data analysis, WWW site review, small group discussion, task-oriented workshop and field excursion.

Indicative Reading

The module will be supported by a box file, which will consist of a carefully selected set of papers, each of which pertains directly to specific themes. Students will be selective in their choice of reading, drawing from sources and parts of sources as appropriate.Much of the module is based on resource-based learning. Students will have ready access to core resources throughout the module (in and out classes). While reading and class resources will be made available, students will be expected to make full use of one key text and one key WWW site:- Dorling, D. and Simpson, S. (1999) Statistics in Society: The Arithmetic of Politics. London: Arnold. 484 pp./47 chapters. ISBN 0-340-71994-X. - (for the Scottish Household Survey)- (for Scottish Visitor Attractions Monitor).- http: / (for Historic Environment Reporting for Scotland).

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following:- Skills in critical interpretation, synthesis and abstraction, - The development of reasoned, evidence-based argument.- Independent learning skills- Skills in information management and presentation of findings

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (PT) 7.00
Tutorials (FT) 7.00
Assessment (FT) 15.00
Independent Learning (FT) 20.00
Practicals (FT) 9.00
Lectures (PT) 7.00
Lectures (FT) 7.00
Field Visit 6.00
Practicals (PT) 9.00
Assessment (PT) 15.00
Directed Learning 12.00
Directed Reading 24.00
Independent Learning (PT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 100.00 50% 2500 word report on the application of statistics to address one substantive issue/teme in newspapers and public documents