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Social psychology: critical perspectives on self and others

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This Level 3 course uses traditional and cutting-edge social psychological theories to explore some of the most exciting and pressing issues we face in our complex, fast changing world. Topics in the course include crowds, emotions, conflict, relationships, the body, personality, obedience and group processes. Working with multimedia materials, you will develop advanced academic skills of critical evaluation and argument and will have the opportunity to conduct your own independent research project – consolidating and deepening your understanding. The course will also contribute to your personal development by encouraging you to reflect on your life in the light of social psychological evidence.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1700.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1540.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This course will help you to develop a critical understanding of theories and research in social psychology by investigating the social behaviour and experience of ourselves and others. Through your reading and personal reflection you will examine stimulating questions about the self and other people from four key social psychological perspectives: cognitive social, phenomenological, discursive psychological, and social psychoanalytic.

The course is structured around two main textbooks and two online videos. The first textbook, Social Psychology Matters, explores the significance of social psychology in the 21st century and the contributions it can and does make to understanding the experience of being a person in today’s world. It does this by tracing the roots of social psychology and relating key perspectives to real-life experiences. The book explores areas such as crowds, family relationships, conflict, the self, emotions, and the body through different theoretical approaches. It encourages you to reflect on your experience of being a person in a social world in the light of these perspectives and asks challenging questions about how we come to know what we know about ourselves and other people.

The second textbook, Critical Readings in Social Psychology, gives you the chance to read important pieces of ‘classic’ social psychology and contrast them with contemporary critical readings. Each chapter explores a key topic in social psychology (such as attitudes, close relationships, individual differences, conformity, group processes and obedience) from a range of different theoretical perspectives. This gives you an appreciation of the historical context of social-psychological knowledge and the ways in which the same topic is treated differently by different theorists. By stimulating your own ideas and thoughts about these topics and perspectives, the book encourages your development of critical-evaluation skills.

The two specially produced online videos also serve to develop and consolidate your knowledge and skills in social psychology. The first online video examines the production of knowledge in social psychology through the critical analysis of a well known research study on group processes. It also introduces the four main theoretical perspectives in the course alongside the course themes. The second online video provides invaluable material designed to support you undertaking the project component of the course. It includes information on data collection (interviews and group discussions) and the qualitative analysis of data from different theoretical perspectives along with accounts of real life student experiences of conducting research projects.

All the study materials are designed to develop your appreciation of the historical development of the discipline of social psychology, and to develop your skills in evaluating theories, using evidence appropriately in the construction of an argument, understanding the process of independent research, and consolidating and developing practical research skills.

Throughout the course, the assessments will develop your knowledge of different perspectives in social psychology as well as give you a direct appreciation of the process of social psychological research. This will help you to design and carry out your own independent research project.

Vocational relevance

Studying social psychology will give you skills and knowledge relevant to careers in education, industry, the health professions, management, and social services, as well as careers in professional psychology.

Entry

The course is for you if you want to specialise in psychology or have a wider interest in the social sciences. Although it has applications to real situations, it does not offer prescriptions for behaviour; rather, it tries to give a wider appreciation of the complexities and limits, as well as the uses, of psychology.

This is a challenging and demanding Level 3 course. Level 3 courses build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

You should be able to write clear and well-structured essays in a conventional academic style; compare and assess different theoretical approaches; give accurate references and bibliographies; handle quantitative and qualitative evidence; understand abstract (social science) concepts, themes and models; and relate theory to practice.

You are strongly advised to take an introductory psychology course before this one, in particular Exploring psychology (DSE212). (Your regional or national centre will be able to tell you where you can see reference copies of this course.) This course has strong links with Exploring psychology (DSE212) and complements the subject matter of both Child development (ED209) and Cognitive psychology (DD303).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The design of the study materials should not present any undue difficulties. Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. The books are available in a comb-bound format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books and website.

You will need

A portable audio-recording device (for use in your supervised research project).

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. You will have the opportunity to participate in online forums where you can interact with your fellow students. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). 

The TMAs are four essays along with a project proposal and a project based on a piece of independent qualitative research. 

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code DD307
Credits 60
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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