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Unit information: Researching Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion in 2015/16

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Unit name Researching Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion
Unit code SPOLM5011
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Fahmy
Open unit status Open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Researching Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion

This unit seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to undertaking research into poverty and social exclusion in developed and developing countries. The focus of this unit is upon developing awareness of the techniques, approaches and methods necessary to researching poverty and exclusion in ways which are both a theoretically informed and contribute to the development of effective policies for tackling poverty at local, national and international levels. Throughout the course the emphasis is upon understanding the relationship between theory, empirical research and the process of policy change in tackling poverty and exclusion.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit student should be able to:

  • Identify key issues in the theory and measurement of poverty and social exclusion and their implications for research practice and policy development
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which vulnerability to poverty and exclusion varies across the life course and for different population groups
  • Evaluate different approaches to the international analysis of poverty and exclusion and their implications with regard to global insecurity, social development and human rights
  • Assess the implications of research evidence on poverty and social exclusion for policy and practice at a local, national and international levels

Teaching Information

Lectures and class exercises.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment will be by means of student presentations delivered as part of the teaching program. Students will be asked to work in small groups in addressing a key issue in the theory and measurement of poverty and social exclusion, including potential implications for policy and practice. Students will be asked to work independently over the course of the unit and will be expected to make a brief presentation (15mins) of their findings, and to have an opportunity to receive feedback on this during the presentations session.

Summative assessment will be by means of a written assignment of not more than 4,000 words. Participants will be asked to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed during the course of the unit to the investigation of poverty within the UK or internationally.

Reading and References

  • Bradshaw, J. & Sainsbury, R. (2000) Researching Poverty. Ashgate: Aldershot. [HC110.P6 EXP]
  • Byrne, D. (2005) Social Exclusion. Maidenhead: Open University Press. [HV238 BYR]
  • Gordon, D., Pantazis, C. & Levitas, R. (Eds.) Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain: The Millennium Survey. Bristol: The Policy Press. [HC260.P6 POV]
  • Gordon, D. & Townsend, P. (2000) Breadline Europe: The measurement of poverty. Bristol : Policy Press. [HV238 BRE]
  • Hills, J. & Stewart, K. (2005) A More Equal Society? New Labour, Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion. Bristol: Policy Press. [HV245 MOR]
  • Townsend, P. & Gordon, D. (Eds.) (2002) World Poverty: New policies to defeat an old enemy. Bristol: Policy Press. [HV4028 WOR]