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The uses of social science

Making use of a blend of learning technologies, this interdisciplinary module investigates how social science is used to make sense of everyday dilemmas such as sustaining relationships, making a living, finding a place to live, being part of a community, or making one’s voice heard. The module explores how social scientists use evidence and data, theories and explanations, and norms and values to make sense of social life. By studying this module you will develop the practical skills and intellectual resources required to analyse the ways in which social science can be used both to understand and to shape our social lives.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD206
Credits
60
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

What can social science tell us about the social world? How can it help us solve the troubles and dilemmas of private and public life? The uses of social science explores the role of social science in understanding and shaping our social world. It offers vital knowledge and a set of practical, transferable skills that will help you to investigate and address key social issues and dilemmas. The module is designed to be accessible and engaging – and being interdisciplinary in scope is suitable for anyone who wishes to develop their knowledge and practical understanding of the difference that social science can make to the world around us.

The module explores how social science is used to:

  • describe the social world through the gathering of data and the generation of evidence
  • understand the social world through the use of skills of interpretation, analysis and explanation
  • enact the social world through processes of evaluating, intervening and challenging.

These themes are explored through the following topics:

Block 1 introduces the module by considering the uses of social science in relation to everyday problems and dilemmas – which includes revealing the social basis of some of our apparently personal ‘bad habits’.

Block 2 examines personal relationships, looking at the ways in which we make and maintain associations with others. It reveals how techniques of social science have been vital in helping us to define and understand different kinds of intimate relationship – in friendship, caring and sexual relations.

Block 3 explores how we make ends meet, and shows how social science helps to define and understand different kinds of work, employment and leisure – whether in the factory or office, in the home or on the margins of society.

Block 4 examines the movement of people and things – revealing how the mobility of commodities, peoples and cultures helps create the social world, as well as the role played by social science in understanding and shaping these processes.  

Block 5 investigates how we participate in public life. Through forms of voting, volunteering or protesting, it explores how participation is unevenly distributed amongst different citizens, subjects and communities; and the role of social science in understanding and enacting this diversity.

Block 6 concludes the module by showing how to synthesise and apply knowledge of the uses of social science to private and public problems and issues. The knowledge and skills learnt on the module are applied to real-world scenarios and cases.

The module is delivered through a combination of an online learning guide, which includes all study support and audio-visual materials, and a single textbook.

You will learn

As well as building your interdisciplinary social science knowledge, and learning a range of social science topics, you will develop a set of practical and transferable skills. These include critical thinking; collaborative working; report and essay writing; making presentations; ICT and numerical skills; and synthesising and applying knowledge. You will also learn how to manage your time effectively and organise and complete a programme of work to a specified standard; how to learn from feedback from others; and to critically reflect on your own learning.

Vocational relevance

This module offers a comprehensive grounding in interdisciplinary social science, suitable for a variety of qualification pathways and provides opportunities to develop skills that will be of vital importance in current or future careers.

Further study in the social sciences could open up employment opportunities in a wide range of occupations in business; banking; insurance; education; health professions; administration; law; social services; voluntary and campaigning organisations; the media; public relations; public service organisations and government (national and local); planning and environmental management; criminal justice system; and social welfare organisations. The course provides a set of transferable skills and aptitudes that are relevant to many other career pathways.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


Entry

This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through level 1 study with the OU, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

We recommend that you start with our key introductory module Introducing the social sciences (DD102). This interdisciplinary OU level 1 module, with its integrated teaching of key study skills, provides a firm foundation for OU level 2 study.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Register

Start End England fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015 £2632.00

Registration closes 11/09/14 (places subject to availability)

Register

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015 £2632.00

Registration closes 08/01/15 (places subject to availability)

Register

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.


Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 01/09/2014.

What's included

A module book and website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.