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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Sociology

SOCI1411: Critical Scholarship in Social Sciences

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to L300 Sociology
Tied to L302 Sociology with Year Abroad
Tied to L303 Sociology with Placement Year
Tied to L370 Criminology
Tied to L371 Criminology with Year Abroad
Tied to LL36 Anthropology and Sociology
Tied to LL63 Anthropology and Sociology with Year Abroad
Tied to L6L3 Anthropology and Sociology with Placement Year
Tied to XL33 Education Studies - Sociology
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences


  • None.


  • SOCI1321 Social Research Methods

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To support students from a diverse range of backgrounds in their transitions to university and academic scholarship.
  • To engage students in ‘doing’ sociology and criminology, to develop their understanding that there are different ways of knowing, understanding and explaining the social world.
  • To explore current social problems or phenomena to help students shape their critical thinking and analysis skills. • To introduce students to different types of concepts and evidence and develop a critical understanding of how to use these and their strengths and limitations.
  • To provide students with a background in academic conventions and expectations related to varied methods of writing and communicating in Sociology and Criminology.


  • This module develops critical scholarship in the social sciences and covers a range of key areas and skills, including:
  • Introductory skills (using DUO, navigating university etc.)
  • Thinking critically, conceptually and theoretically
  • Different types of evidence (strengths, limitations, use)
  • Academic reading (finding resources, referencing etc.)
  • Academic writing (deconstructing essay questions, presenting arguments etc.)
  • Non-standard academic communication (creating research posters etc.)
  • The module will be team taught by colleagues with particular expertise from within, and outside of, the Department

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of this module, students will have demonstrated:
  • Awareness of the diverse forms of sociological and criminological communication and scholarship;
  • Awareness of examples of social problems and social phenomena and how to critically engage with them.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of this module, students will have demonstrated:
  • An ability to critically engage with sociological and criminological concepts;
  • An ability to find, professionally present and evaluate a range of evidence and literature;
  • An awareness of the conventions of academic writing;
  • An awareness of the diverse forms in which academic material is presented;
  • An ability to communicate sociological and criminological material in diverse ways.
Key Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of this module, students will have demonstrated:
  • Written communication skills.
  • Bibliographic skills.
  • Development of writing and referencing skills within a sociological/criminological context.
  • An ability to manage time effectively.
  • An ability to work independently and collaboratively to be able to synthesise and communicate complex material effectively for presentation to an audience and in written form.
  • Independent and collaborative study skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be taught through medium-sized group workshops. In term 1 workshops will be weekly. In term 2 workshops will be fortnightly.
  • Workshops in term 1 will focus on critical and conceptual thinking, engaging with different forms of evidence and key scholarship skills. Workshops in term 2 will focus on key scholarship skills and diverse way of presenting sociological and criminological ideas.
  • Students will be given coursework to undertake between each workshop session, which will be peer marked.
  • Students will be assessed via an essay, an individual reflection and via a group presentation at a student conference in term 3. Students will be merited on their own performance within the group presentation and an individual mark will be awarded.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops 15 Weekly in term 1, Fortnightly in term 2 1 Hour 15
Student Conference 1 Once in term 3 3 Hours 3
Preparation and Reading 182
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual Written Reflection 400 words 60%
Group Presentation 10 minutes 40%

Formative Assessment:

Term 1: Annotative Bibliography Term 2: Group Presentation Plan

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage.  If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.