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Foundations of Social and Political Science


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Laura Richards-Gray
  • Assessment: a 750-1000-word essay plan and bibliography (30%) and 1750-2000-word essay (70%)

Module description

In this module we provide you with training in the key skills required for studying social and political science, while at the same time addressing some of the central social and political problems of the present. You will learn skills of critical reading, explore the main forms of reasoning and the handling of evidence in social and political science, and develop writing and presentational skills crucial to your further studies.

Weekly topics are on important problems from across political and social science that relate to the broader content of the undergraduate programmes and subject areas in the School of Social Sciences - for example, the state and international politics, social and political identities and conflict, law and crime, and the material spaces of social and political engagement.

Indicative syllabus

  • Critical reading: what is politics?
  • Critical reading: what is society?
  • Reason and evidence: on social and political transformations
  • Reason and evidence: knowledge and society
  • Making an argument: understanding the international
  • Making an argument: law, crime and society

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • understand the character of the study of social and political science and of key concepts
  • recognise, analyse and criticise various arguments made and evidence employed in the study of social and political science
  • understand the relationship between theory and empirical evidence in the study of social and political science
  • demonstrate developed skills in reading, note-taking, summarising, critical argument and essay writing that can be employed on other modules.