You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Investigating the social world

Qualification dates
Start End

This multidisciplinary module uses a range of learning technologies to help you understand how social scientists investigate the social world. Drawing on the subjects of criminology, social policy, economics, environmental studies, geography, international studies, politics and sociology, you will explore a wide range of everyday topics. Through the module’s investigative and thematic approach you’ll learn the methods, perspectives and tools of the social sciences, further developing your analytical and evaluative skills. This module will help you decide your specialisation at OU level 2, and equip you with a range of skills for further independent study, and for your personal and working life.

What you will study

This OU level 1 module consists of four blocks of study that take an international perspective to explore the structure of the social world. Block 1 is introductory; blocks 2, 3 and 4 each have a topic and a theme, with an integrated set of learning and teaching materials that focus on helping you to develop specific skills:

  • questioning and evidence (Block 2)
  • analysing and evaluating (Block 3)
  • debating and communicating (Block 4).

You'll engage with these linked processes of social science investigation throughout the module.

Block 1, the trigger block, uses the topic of money to introduce you to the way the social sciences investigate the social world.

Block 2 uses the topic of home and the theme of inequality to explore how five different social science perspectives understand different meanings and issues around what home is, or what it can be.

Block 3 looks at the political, economic and geographical aspects of responsibility for the environment and the question the use of its resources. The theme of rights is used to look at different aspects of this key contemporary issue.

Block 4 explores boundaries – social, policy, legal and others – and how they structure the world. The theme of justice is used to understand key issues such as immigration, criminalisation, Fairtrade policies and noise as examples of boundaries.

You will learn

In this module you'll learn:

  • the ways in which the social sciences investigate the social world through questioning, analysing, evaluating and engaging
  • how the social sciences investigate familiar and contemporary social issues
  • about debates at the centre of life in the contemporary world.

You’ll also develop an awareness of a range of different disciplinary approaches in the social sciences and you will gain confidence and skills in:

  • studying and accessing information from a range of sources
  • constructing arguments
  • reading, interpreting and evaluating evidence
  • presenting and communicating ideas and information in a variety of formats
  • managing your time
  • communicating effectively
  • learning from feedback
  • reflecting on your own learning.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

This module is designed to follow on from Introducing the social sciences (DD102) but is also available for standalone study.

If you are new to higher education, we recommend that you first study Introducing the social sciences (DD102) as its interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences and its integrated teaching of key study skills will give you a firm foundation for further study.

You can use our online diagnostic quiz Are you ready for DD103? to help you decide if you need some extra preparation.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

Two module text books, audio, video and online activities delivered via the module website.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study materials and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods.

We will offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. In addition, there will also be the possibility of online tutorials and day schools.

Contact us 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).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DD103 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Investigating the social world starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 and February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2025.

Course work includes:

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

Student Reviews

See what other students thought.