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The Uses of Social Science

The Uses of Social Science
Contents
•    The assignment
•    Part 1 Slide presentation (up to six slides; 80 per cent of marks)
•    Part 2 Reflection (word limit: 150–250 words; 20 per cent of marks)
•    Learning outcomes
•    Student notes for Part 1
•    Information sources
•    Structure
•    Submitting your slides to the eTMA system
•    Student notes for Part 2
•    Information sources
•    Structure
The assignment
Cut-off date: 10 March 2015
Important: Before you start work on this assignment, please ensure that you have read the Assessment Guidance specific to this module and are familiar with the advice in Social Sciences Assessment Information. These sources contain support and guidance that you may need in writing your TMA including, for example, advice on plagiarism, referencing and the marking system. Note that failure to comply with relevant guidance could result in the loss of marks or other penalties.
Part 1 Slide presentation (up to six slides; 80 per cent of marks)
Produce a short slide presentation, of no more than six slides, that summarises the following extract about smoking and drinking trends in Britain in terms of what it illustrates about description, understanding and enactment – the three elements of the DUE framework.
ONS survey: Smoking halves in 40 years
Smoking in Britain has more than halved and people are drinking on fewer nights of the week, according to a snapshot survey covering the past 40 years.
The General Lifestyle Survey indicates 45% of adults smoked in 1974 compared with 20% in 2011.
The proportion of men who said they drank alcohol at least five days a week fell from 22% in 2005 to 16% in 2011.
The proportion of women drinking five days a week dropped from 13% to 9% over the same period.
There have been repeated campaigns to reduce smoking, which can cause heart problems and lung cancer.
The role of smoking in society has changed significantly, with smoking bans in the work-place coming into force across the UK and bans on cigarette advertising.
Smoking now looks less of a male-dominated habit. Men are still more likely to be smokers – 21% of men now smoke compared with 19% of women. However, back in 1974 the gulf was much larger – 51% of men and 41% of women.
The statistics suggest married people are less likely to smoke than singles, and the unemployed are more likely to smoke than their neighbours in work.
Older people are more likely to have a regular drink, the data indicates. Men and women aged 45 and above are more likely to drink alcohol on five or more days each week than younger generations.
The most significant changes in the past decade were in 16-24-year-olds.
In young men, the proportion drinking more than four units on their biggest drinking session of the week fell from 46% to 32% between 2005 and 2011. There was a similar pattern in women.
However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures do not look at the amount drinkers are consuming overall. This is thought to be 40% higher now than it was 40 years ago, despite a drop since 2004.
Alan Maryon-Davis, honorary professor of public health at King’s College London, said the figures for alcohol and smoking were very encouraging, but there was still a long way to go.
“There is more work to be done educating the public about the dangers of drink. We haven’t got labelling of drinks right and there is work to be done in terms of drinks promotions and the use of social media to target young people.”
“There are also issues over price and availability. We need to get rid of really cheap discounts on alcohol.”
While hospital admissions for alcohol-related diseases were still high, Prof Maryon-Davis said, there was no room for complacency.
“Of those that do drink, the harms are increasing – and they take time to show themselves.”
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the significant decline in the numbers of people smoking in Britain over the last 40 years was “a testament to the effectiveness of combined legislation and awareness raising in tackling what is Britain’s leading cause of preventable illness and premature death”.
But she added: “The uptake of smoking by young people and childhood exposure to second hand smoke both, however, remain areas of concern.”
“It is encouraging to see measures such as banning smoking in cars when children are present and introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes being seriously considered by this government.”
(Source: Adapted from BBC (March, 2013) ‘ONS Survey: Smoking halves in 40 years’, BBC [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21698054 (Accessed 30 April 2014.))
Part 2 Reflection (word limit: 150–250 words; 20 per cent of marks)
Choose one of the following tasks:
Either
Write a short statement identifying what you consider to be your main strengths and weaknesses in terms of your study skills.
Or
If you have recently taken another module with The Open University, look at the tutor feedback you received on your last three assignments. Based on this feedback, write a statement summarising your main strengths and weaknesses in terms of your study skills.
What to submit
•    Part 1 – A slide presentation (80 per cent of marks)
•    Part 2 – A 150–250 word reflection (20 per cent of marks)
You will need to zip together Part 1 (the slide presentation) and Part 2 (the reflection) to submit them via the eTMA system. There’s more information about how to zip documents together in Social Sciences Assessment Information.
PLEASE NOTE THERE IS FURTHER GUIDANCE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT AFTER THE LEARNING OUTCOMES.
Learning outcomes
Elements of the following module learning outcomes are addressed by TMA 01:
•    know about and understand the value of interdisciplinary inquiry in producing synthetic knowledge of a range of concepts, theories and debates central to interdisciplinary social scientific research
•    know about and understand the uses of social science in producing authoritative knowledge, informing policy and practice, and linking personal issues and social problems
•    work collaboratively, monitor and reflect on learning, use feedback constructively and plan work to a deadline
•    find, interpret, evaluate and present information and convey arguments in appropriate formats, including reports, presentations and essays.
Student notes for Part 1
Part 1 of TMA 01 gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the skills of selecting, summarising and condensing material, and presenting it in a visual format. The question asks you to produce a presentation of no more than six slides, using PowerPoint or Apache OpenOffice’s Impress software to do so.
Information sources
The main sources of information for these slides will be:
•    the extract provided in Part 1 of TMA 01
•    Block 1 materials on the module website
•    Week 1, by Clive Barnett et al.
•    Week 2, by Clive Barnett et al.
•    Week 3, by Sue Cowley et al.
•    the Introduction to the textbook, by Clive Barnett and Mark Banks
•    Skills 3: Selecting and condensing material
•    Skills 4: Presenting ideas using slides.
The main source of information for your slides will be the extract that is provided in the question. You will also need to be familiar with the ideas of description, understanding and enactment, which have been used throughout Block 1. It might be worth returning to the Introduction to the textbook to re-familiarise yourself with the precise meanings of each of the terms in the context of the module.
Structure
Before tackling this assignment, you should ensure that you have worked through both Skills 3: Selecting and condensing material and Skills 4: Presenting ideas using slides, in Weeks 2 and 3. These give detailed guidance for this particular assignment, including examples of the sorts of slides you could produce.
After you have read the extract, you may find it useful to select and summarise, in rough note form, what you consider to be the main points of the text, in terms of:
•    Description: what data, facts or evidence about smoking and drinking trends in Britain does it present or make visible?
•    Understanding: what interpretations or explanations are made on the basis of this evidence?
•    Enactment: how does it suggest that this evidence should be used to inform or shape some kind of intervention or action?
You should remember that these notes are not to be submitted in your assignment but merely used as the basis for preparing your slide presentation.
Please avoid complex designs. In particular, do not include animations.
You have a maximum of six slides to prepare – so you can use fewer than six if you wish. It is important to open any presentation with a slide that has a title for the presentation and your name on it. Then you should present up to five further slides that summarise how the extract refers to elements of description, understanding and enactment. How you do this is up to you. You may, for example, choose to use one slide to define briefly what is meant by description, understanding and enactment or you may choose to have a slide that concludes your findings. The material can be summarised in a number of ways but you must ensure that your presentation is clear and concise and covers all three elements of the DUE framework.
Note that the three elements of description, understanding and enactment that you are asked to address overlap to some extent. You therefore have some freedom to decide what to include under each heading. It is perhaps best to think about using the extract to identify a small number of examples, a maximum of two to three for each of the three elements.
This is a deliberately straightforward assignment to allow you to get to grips with the module and the DUE framework. It will also allow you time to practise the useful skill of producing slides if you have not done so before. Note that you will also be asked to prepare a slide presentation as part of your EMA, so you should use this part of TMA 01 as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the basic skills required.
You do not need to include:
•    any background notes about your presentation
•    references
•    word count.
In Part 1 of TMA 01, your tutor will be looking for you to:
•    select, summarise and condense textual material appropriately
•    create a concise and coherent slide presentation; note that you will be marked only on the clarity of your presentation and not on your technical skills
•    demonstrate an initial comprehension of the differences between description, understanding and enactment.
Submitting your slides to the eTMA system
Saving OpenOffice Impress presentations in .ppt format
When you have completed your slide presentation, you should save it in ‘.ppt’ format, zip it together with Part 2 of the TMA and submit it to the eTMA system. If you have used OpenOffice Impress to create your presentation, details of how to submit it can be found below.
Saving your OpenOffice Impress presentation for the first time
When saving your presentation for the first time, ‘Save as type’ should appear under the ‘File name’ box. Click where it says ‘ODF Presentation (.odp)’ and change it to ‘Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000/XP (.ppt)’. Make sure that ‘Automatic file name extension’ is ticked, and then save it.
If you have already saved your presentation in the default format
If you have already saved your presentation in the default format (an ‘.odp’ file), you will need to re-save it as a ‘.ppt’ file. To re-save your presentation, click ‘File’ and select ‘Save As’. ‘Save as type’ should appear under the ‘File name’ box when you go to save. Click where it says ‘ODF Presentation (.odp)’ and change it to ‘Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000/XP (.ppt)’. Make sure that ‘Automatic file name extension’ is ticked and then save it. If you are prompted, select ‘Keep Current Format’. You may wish to change the file name or save it elsewhere to prevent confusing the presentation saved in the .ppt format with the .odp version. Click ‘Save’ to save the file. Take extra care to ensure that you select the correct file to send through the eTMA system.
If you experience any technical issues or difficulty following the above instructions, please contact the Computing Helpdesk on +44 (0) 1908 653972 for assistance.
Student notes for Part 2
Part 2 of TMA 01 will help you reflect on your current study skills. By thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, you will be preparing yourself to perform as well as you can in this module. You will also be helping your tutor to see how they can best support your learning.
There are two tasks to choose from.
Either
•    Write a short statement identifying what you consider to be your main strengths and weaknesses in terms of your overall study skills.
If you choose this option, you could use examples from your work on the first part of this assignment to illustrate your points. Or you might think more broadly about study skills and outline the particular strengths you feel you already possess or have previously developed.
Or
•    If you have recently taken another module with The Open University, look at the tutor feedback you received on your last three assignments. Based on this feedback, write a statement summarising your main study skills-related strengths and weaknesses.
If you choose this option, you can use the feedback from your tutor on that module to inform your discussion. For example, you might write something such as, ‘One of my weaknesses is difficulty in planning. I do not leave enough time to complete an assignment. In two of my assignments on my last module, I had to ask for an extension at the last minute’.
Information sources
Before tackling this assignment, you should ensure that you have worked through Skills 5: Reflecting on your learning in Week 4.
Structure
For either question, your response should be written in complete sentences and paragraphs and presented as a short statement. Please include a word count for this part of the assignment. References will not be needed.
In Part 2 of TMA 01, your tutor will be looking for you to:
•    outline both strengths and weaknesses
•    provide specific examples to support your points.


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