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'll 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 module consists of four blocks of study that take an international perspective to exploring the structure of the social world.
Block 1, the introductory 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. The learning and teaching materials in this block focus on helping you develop your questioning and evidencing skills.
Block 3 looks at the political, economic and geographical aspects of responsibility for the environment and questions around the use of its resources. The theme of rights is used to look at different aspects of this key contemporary issue. The learning and teaching materials in this block focus on helping you develop your analysing and evaluating skills.
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. The learning and teaching materials in this block focus on helping you develop your debating and communicating skills.
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.
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.
You’ll be provided with two printed module textbooks, an introductory booklet and have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- module materials
- audio and video content
- assignment details and submission section
- online tutorial access.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.