SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN225307
Module Leader Craig Thomson
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

This module is focused on the field of futures research and its adaptation opportunities in practical research and development situations or case studies. The background of the module is based on the description and understanding of the meaning of historical transition periods and their impact on the society. Analysis methods like PESTEL and other similar methods are introduced to be applied in the description of current situations. Identification of different trends and megatrends as well as so called weak signals are phenomena having significant impact on analysis. The presentation of the most common methodologies used in futures research forms the essential part of the module. Contents of methods like scenario analysis, future wheel, future table and Delphi method are explained. Theoretical background is combined with experimenting different methods in case situations. Future research methods allow different user groups to participate depending on the method chosen. Some of them are based on expert perspectives while others can be used as participatory methods with larger groups. One key principle in futures research is the ability to illustrate and describe alternative futures in the scope of current understanding of the existing situation.


-360 - futures research as a field of study and its connections with other scientific fields - approaches to illustrate transitions in different fields of society in the past - analysis of the present and the utilisation of trends, megatrends and weak signals in the analysis - the most common methodologies in futures research - adaptation of futures research in case studies, participatory and expert approaches - practical exercises of the use of different methods

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to1. Critically evaluate the key principles dealing with the field of futures research.2. Understand the need of analysis of societal changes and transition processes in political, economic, social, technological fields as the base for the futures research approach.3. Display a knowledge and understanding of advanced methodologies relating to futures research.4. Critically appraise the differences within the most common approaches in the field.5. Discuss and apply key management methodologies on different case studies.6. Analyse and discuss best practices for different research and development tasks.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The delivery of this module will be through lectures, seminars, workshops, and case studies, as well as guest lectures by experts in future research. Students will develop the practical skills through tutorial exercises, case studies and workshops, in-class presentations and reports. An emphasis will be placed on group work with the aim to promote discussion and the sharing of knowledge during the learning process.

Indicative Reading

Bell, W. (2000). Foundations of Futures Studies. Volume I: History, Purpose and Knowledge. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Bell, W. (2000). Foundations of Futures Studies. Volume II: Values, Objectivity and the Good Society. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Dumitrescu, D. (2011). Road Trip to Innovation. How I came to understand Future Thinking. Trendone. Heinonen, S., Kuusi, O. & Salminen, H. (2017). How Do We Explore Our Futures? Methods of Futures Research. The Finnish Society for Futures Studies. Inayatullah, S. (2004). The Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) Reader. Theory and Case Studies in an Integrative and Transformative Mothodology. Taipei: Tamkang University Press. Jungk, R. & Mfcllert, N.R. (1987). Futures Workshops. London: Institute for Social Inventions. Rubin, A. (2013). Hidden, inconsistent, and influential: Images of the future in changing times. Futures 45, 38?44. Rubin, A. & Linturi, H. (2001). Transition in the making. The images of the future in education and decision-making. Futures 33, 267-305. Sharpe, B. & van der Heijden, K. (2007). Scenarios for success. Turning Insights into Action. Oxford Future Forum.

Transferrable Skills

-284 - Communicating effectively in appropriate formats, including among peers and with external agencies; - Applying appropriate analytical skills (including mathematical methods); - Working effectively as part of a team; - Demonstrating a professional approach to time-management;

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 84.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 45% Learning Diary - 2000 words
Course Work 02 n/a 60.00 45% Essay - 2500 words