Accessibility statement

Social Policy: Evidence, Ideas & Institutions - SPY00029M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Enrico Reuter
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19
B Summer Term 2018-19

Module aims

To enable students to explore:

  • The models which are used to explain the relationship between evidence and social policy
  • Emerging debates in evidence-based policy-making
  • How these debates are negotiated and addressed by politicians, policy-makers, researchers and practitioners
  • The role of evidence in the different stages of policy development
  • The place of evidence in a democratic political system
  • The range and scope of evidence which is available to social policy-makers
  • The impact of evidence on social policy-making
  • How social policy can be developed in relation to models of evidence-based practice
  • The practice of evidence-based policy within a range of contexts
  • The practice of evidence based policy within a range of contexts

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between evidence and social policy
  • Critically evaluate the development of evidence-based policy in the context of government and governance
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of academic and practitioner debates in evidence-based policy-making
  • Assess, analyse and discuss the merits of the range of evidence used in social policy-making
  • Identify the impact of evidence on social policy-making
  • Recognise and discuss the validity of differing models of evidence-based practice
  • Critically examine case studies of evidence-based social policy in a variety of contexts


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully

We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.

Feedback will be given in three ways:

(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.

(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.

(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.

Indicative reading

Davies, H. T. O., Nutley, S. M., and Smith, P. C. (2000), What works? Evidence-based policy and practice in public services, Bristol, Policy Press

Davies, H. T. O., and Nutley, S. M. (2002)  Evidence -based policy and practice: moving from rhetoric to reality, St. Andrews: University of St. Andrews. pp. 2-19,

Huston, A.C. (2008)  From research to policy and back, Child Development, Vol. 79, No. 1, pp. 1-12

Prinja, S. (2010)  Role of ideas and ideologies in evidence-based health policy 'Iranian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 64-69, available at

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.