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, studied in six blocks.
Block 1 – Using social science
The first block 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 – Describing intimacy
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 – Understanding work
The next block 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 – Contesting mobility
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 – Enacting participation
This block 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 – Making use of social science
The final block 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.
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.