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Unit information: Guided Independent Study in 2021/22

Unit name Guided Independent Study
Unit code SPOL30041
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Papadaki
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Guided independent study enables students to gain in depth knowledge and understanding of a topic that particularly interests them and to encourage the development of independent critical judgement and analytical thought. Students will be provided with the opportunity to explore in detail a topic of their own choice (within the broad framework of Childhood Studies or Social Policy), and present their findings and critical analysis as a report of 5,000 words. Student learning is supported by regular individual supervision. The expectation is that the report is primarily an individual piece of work.

The unit aims to:

  • provide students with a chance to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of a topic of their own choice (within the broad framework of Childhood Studies or Social Policy).
  • encourage the development of independent critical judgement and analytical thought.
  • enable students to enhance the practical and transferable skills of locating and using knowledge and information, conveying ideas in written format, planning and managing their time.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of the unit should enable students to:

  1. Plan and carry out a sustained piece of independent study
  2. Search for, and synthesise the evidence for the chosen topic
  3. Critically appraise, evaluate and interpret the evidence for the chosen topic
  4. Demonstrate the knowledge to relate relevant theory to the chosen topic
  5. Draw up valid conclusions based on the evidence presented and discussed

Teaching Information

Individual, self-directed study supported by regular, negotiated academic supervision. 5 hours individual contact with an allocated supervisor.

Teaching and support will also be provided through involvement in the 2 hour dissertation workshops addressing methodologies, analysis and writing a dissertation, that are delivered as part of the SPOL30033 and SPOL 30037 Dissertation (Childhood Studies/Social Policy).

Assessment Information

Assessment will be on the basis of an 5,000 word essay.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOL30041).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.