Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1
To introduce you to different approaches and styles of research in social sciences; to familiarise you with the philosophical implications of these approaches; and to equip you with the capacity to apply these methods in their own research.
Full module specification
|Module title:||Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 2: |
To introduce students to different approaches and styles of research in social sciences; to familiarise students with the philosophical implications of these approaches; and to equip students with the capacity to apply these methods in their own research.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Demonstrate knowledge of philosophical implications of research in the social sciences.
- 2. Show awareness and comprehension of the diversity of techniques employed in the generation of knowledge and understanding in the social sciences.
- 3. Show awareness and comprehension of the diversity of evidence used in social research.
- 4. Evaluate the issues involved in application of research design in the context of the social sciences.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. Recognise and debate the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding
- 6. Identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving
- 7. Synthesize information and recognize relevance. Evaluate the reliability and accuracy of secondary data.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 8. Undertake independent/self-directed learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
- 9. Work as a participant or leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.
- 10. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses. Apply ideas to new situations.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activites||22||11 x 2 hour seminars|
|Guided independent study||128||Independent study|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|EITHER Essay||100||4,500 words||1-10||Written feedback|
|OR 2 Essays||Each of 2,250 words||1-10||Written feedback|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|EITHER 1 Essay||EITHER Essay (4,500 words)||1-10||Next reassessment period|
|OR 2 Essays||OR 2 Essays (2,250 words each)||1-10||Next reassessment period|
Introduction: what is philosophy of social science?
Social and institutional ontology: the nature and conditions
of the social and cultural world
Holism and individualism: the nature of collective action and
Structure and agency: social determinism and individual agency
Realism and social constructionism: the debate over reality
and social construction (race, class, gender, sexuality,
The Idea of a social science: the Wittgensteinian critique and
Social science, ethics and the fact-value distinction
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
I. Hacking, The Social Construction of What?, Harvard University Press, 1999.
M Hollis The philosophy of social science: an introduction, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
J Searle, The Construction of Social Reality Penguin, 1995.
P Winch, The Idea of a Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy, Routledge, 1990
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Last revision date