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