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Unit information: Guided Independent Study in 2015/16

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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. Jo Staines
Open unit status Not open




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


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 of their own choice (within the broad framework of Childhood Studies), presenting their findings and critical analysis as a report of 5,000 words. Student learning is supported by regular individual and, at times, group supervision, though 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).
  • 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:

  • Demonstrate intellectual rigour in the presentation of a coherent discussion of the relevant literature and evidence
  • Understand and show the ability to relate relevant theory to a chosen topic
  • Understand the importance of clear conceptualisation of the research issues
  • Show ability to critically appraise the relevant evidence
  • Be able to draw up relevant conclusions backed-up by firm evidence
  • Plan and carry out a sustained piece of independent study

Teaching details

Individual, self-directed study supported by regular, negotiated academic supervision. 5hrs 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 Dissertation (Childhood Studies).

Assessment Details

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

Reading and References

To be negotiated with supervisor.