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Unit information: Researching Health and Social Care in 2015/16

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Unit name Researching Health and Social Care
Unit code SPOLM5004
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lart
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The field of health and social care has long been characterised by diversity in the disciplines and epistemologies it contains. The key occupational groups within the field differ in the ways they perceive the purposes of policy, the means to achieve policy objectives and the most appropriate ways of evaluating policy and establishing truths. Current policies promote on the one hand, evidence based policy and practice, and on the other an increased role for both users of services and the wider public in decisionmaking about policy. The Researching Health and Social Care unit reflects this diversity and includes sessions on different ‘voices’ within the field, and the consequences of this diversity for policy research. There is an emphasis on the use of practical examples of policy research to illustrate the unit’s themes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit, the student should be able to:

  • describe competing philosophical approaches to research within the health and social care field
  • describe and evaluate different ways of establishing and researching need within the field
  • describe and evaluate different approaches to evaluation of policy within the field
  • critically discuss selected issues within the field.

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminar discussions, groups exercises.

Assessment Information

4000 word essay requiring students to demonstrate the achievement of the unit learning outcomes in relation to a particular topic covered in the unit.

Reading and References

  • Neale, J (ed) (2009) Research methods for health and social care Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan
  • Bowling, A (2002) Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services, Buckingham: Open University Press,
  • Bowling, A. and Ebrahim, S. (2005) Handbook of health research methods: Investigation, measurement and analysis Buckingham: Open University Press,
  • Saks, M and Allsop, J.(eds) (2007) Researching Health: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods London: Sage