One of the impediments to communication between different academic disciplines is their use of different ways of making, and validating, arguments and proofs. A key element of the programme in Liberal Arts is to develop a genuine inter-disciplinary approach so that students can understand, appreciate and assimilate the findings from diverse academic approaches. This module examines the varying modes of developing scientific, social scientific and humanities discourses to facilitate cross-disciplinary understanding of qualitative and quantitative reasoning. Following an introduction to Modes of Thought, engaging students with concepts of rationality as elaborated in logic and analytical reasoning, it will familiarise students in lectures and readings with quantitative and qualitative methodologies as well as with associated processes of data presentation, validation and conclusion reaching. Seminars will serve both to discuss and assess approaches and to familiarise students with working with techniques of data analysis and representation (quantitatively through statistical methods and software packages such as Excel and SPSS and qualitatively through sessions engaging grounded theory, narratology, actor network theory and image studies). Insofar as an element at the core of reasoning is representation per se, the issue of cognition and its unconscious shaping by both social and psychological forces will be addressed.
Themes introduced here not only intertwine with teaching and practical exercises in the two concurrent first year core modules but also recur throughout the rest of the programme. The cross-disciplinary debates – and communications – opened in this module will be revisited and nuanced over the following three years.
The module Modes of Reasoning is rich in transferable skills training, helping students to develop numeric and analytical skills, engaging them in the formulation and design of research questions and hypotheses, and familiarising them with select software packages. These methodological skills will combine with the analytical skills taught in the production of a research project on topics of students' own choosing which will be produced at the end of the year.
Total contact hours: 44
Private study hours: 256
Total study hours: 300
BA (Hons) Liberal Arts
BA (Hons) Liberal Arts with Year Abroad
Method of assessment
* Essay, 2000 words (25%)
* Oral Presentation and Seminar Participation (10%)
* Mixed Methods Research Proposal, 1000 words (15%)
* Reading Diary (10%)
* Mixed Methods Research Project, 3500 words (40%)
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework
There is no set text for this module. It will feature a case study driven approach to introduce students to original research literature at an early stage. This is an intentional strategy to place students at the heart of the creation of knowledge. As such, original journal articles will be selected from existing library journal provision and will provide the focus for bi-weekly discussions. Where necessary, students will be directed towards on-line learning support for specific issues relating to statistical evaluation. Research design will be addressed by, among other texts and case studies, John Creswell and Vicki Price’s Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (Sage, 2010).
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key academics studies within the sciences, humanities and social sciences, how they were implemented, and their impact on broader society
2. understand of how to develop and test hypotheses using study design approaches appropriate to the discipline
3. understand the utility and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data
4. demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate primary and secondary literature appropriate to the discipline
5. demonstrate an ability to formulate and intellectually respond to the problems and challenges shaping contemporary culture and society
6. understand how to formulate research questions and design research projects in response to those problems and challenges, and develop lines of argument and make sound judgements
in an extended essay project that presents, evaluates and interprets qualitative and quantitative data in an attempt to address those problems
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