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SOC1000 Approaches to the Social Sciences

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Malcolm Brown
Moderator: Bryce Barker


The Bachelor of Social Science is a degree designed specifically to provide the skills and graduate attributes required in the government or not-for-profit (NGO) sector. As well as general management and administrative skills, there is a growing need for people skilled in community consultation, needs assessment, policy analysis and development, program development and evaluation. This requires understanding of society, consultative skills and critical appraisal, all of which also help us to make more sense of our lives. Other courses in the Bachelor of Social Science program engage knowledge and competencies from within a chosen discipline, and involve the student in learning experiences with members of this discipline. This introductory course offers students of the Social Sciences an overview of a range of social science theories and approaches to solving social problems. These approaches derive from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, social psychology, socio-legal studies and indigenous studies. The course is an invaluable introduction to other courses studied in the core of the Bachelor of Social Sciences, and to the different majors. It will assist students in selecting majors appropriate to their needs and interests.


Students will be introduced to a range of social science theories and disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, law, environmental studies and indigenous studies. These disciplines will also be used to define and provide solutions to a complex social problem, which will be introduced early in the course. The approaches will be theoretical rather than methodological, as the latter will be covered in other courses in the Social Science core. Students will apply these theoretical approaches each week to the selected social problem. The major assignment involves an evaluation of the various disciplinary approaches to the selected social problem.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the theories and practice of Social Science;
  2. demonstrate an understanding and critical appreciation of the theoretical approaches of a range of social science disciplines;
  3. demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the elements involved in planning and implementing a process for problem solving in a multidisciplinary social science context;
  4. apply a range of disciplinary approaches to addressing selected social problems;
  5. evaluate methodological issues and complexities involved in applying social science theories in a multidisciplinary context.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the Social Sciences: their backgrounds, approaches and uses 30.00
2. People, identity and behaviour 24.00
3. Social institutions and wealth 23.00
4. From culture to globalisation 23.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Woodward, Kath 2003, Social sciences: the big issues, Routledge, London.
  • SOC1000 Book of Selected Readings.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Anderson, Lisa 2003, Pursuing truth, exercising power: social science and public policy in the twenty-first century, Columbia University Press, Chichester.
  • Barnes, Barry 1995, The elements of social theory, UCL Press, London.
  • Cohen, R & Kennedy, P 2007, Global sociology, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
  • Delanty, Gerard 1997, Social science: beyond constructivism and realism, Open University Press, Buckingham.
  • Elliott, Lorraine M 2004, The global politics of the environment, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
  • Eriksen, TH 2001, Small places, large issues: an introduction to social and cultural anthropology, Pluto Press, London.
  • Homes, David 2005, Communication theory: media, technology and society, Sage, London.
  • Kamark, Andrew M 2002, Economics as a social science: an approach to non-autistic theory, Michigan State University, Ann Arbor.
  • Knight, David B & Joseph, Alun E (eds) 1999, Restructuring societies: insights from the social sciences, Carleton University Press, Ottawa.
  • McAllister, I & Dowrick, S & Hassan R 2003, The Cambridge handbook of social sciences in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Pratt, Vernon 2003, The philosophy of the social sciences.
  • Redman, Peter 2001, Good essay writing: a social sciences guide, Open University, Milton Keynes.
  • Stangor, Charles (ed.) 2000, Stereotypes and prejudice: essential readings, Psychology Press, Philadelphia.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 126.00
Tutorials 13.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 - SHORT ESSAY 20 20 21 Mar 2011 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 2 20 20 17 Jun 2011 (see note 2)
ASSIGNMENT 3 - MAJOR REPORT 60 60 20 Jun 2011 (see note 3)

  1. This assessment is aligned with Objectives 1 and 2.
  2. Assignment 2 - Class Discussion and Contribution and Journal. Students are expected to contribute to class discussion each week. This contribution will be marked on a weekly basis and the total calculated at the end of the semester. Additionally, students will keep a record of key elements of the discussion in a journal which should be handed in at the end of the semester for grading. This assessment is aligned with Objectives 1 and 5.
  3. Each student will write a report evaluating a selection of theoretic approaches to solving the selected problem. The mark on this report will contribute to 60% of the student's final grade. This assessment is aligned with Objectives 1, 3, 4 and 5.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the student's responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. For this course, normal class attendance consists of one 2 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To successfully complete an individual assessment item, a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. This statement must be read in conjunction with Statement 4 below.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances and without prior approval, then a penalty of a maximum of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late, up to a maximum of 10 working days, at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no exam for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Given the details under (6) above, there are no deferred exams for this course. However, if any deferred/makeup work is granted, it would have to be submitted by a date set by the examiner.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. (a) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must lodge the assignment at the USQ. (b) All Faculty of Arts assignments must be lodged in the Faculty Assessment Centre on the Ground Floor of Q Block no later than 12 noon on the due date. (c) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience. (d). Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if requested by the Examiner. (e) In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances such as documented ill-health. (f) Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in the course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of the course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete-Makeup). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non-directed personal study. (g) Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or sit for an examination at the scheduled time, may apply to defer an assessment in the course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  2. Students will require access to email and have internet access to UConnect for this course.