Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Inquiry-based Learning and Study Support: An Investigation of its Use in a First Year Undergraduate Social Science Programme

Mike McManus, Dr Malcolm Todd.

This project evaluated the adoption of a new approach to study support for first year undergraduates on a social science programme. Concern with the didactic nature of the current module and the passive learning and teaching strategy underpinning it led us to question whether a more active approach might improve student learning. Consequently we introduced an inquiry based module as part of the study support programme.

This presentation will report on the available findings from the work. This will include the perceptions of the students on the exercise, gathered from individual and group interviews. In addition, information on the views of staff was gathered by means of reflective comments written during the module and individual interviews conducted afterwards.

We will raise questions concerning the use of issue-based and problem-based learning as a pedagogic strategy to deliver first year study support. This will include: the process of introducing such an innovation; the implementation of it by the staff given the deliberate lack of strict boundaries and guidelines; the student responses to it and the staff responses to implementing the project and its findings.

Reflection of the value of issue-based learning in first year study support has raised questions about its use in other areas of the curriculum. Moreover, it has highlighted the problem of linkage between the study support module and other core modules in the first year curriculum, leading to some emerging propositions for its future use in our programme.

We will also report on the unintended consequences of the process, especially in terms of the staff reaction to the innovation.


Mike McManus  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy
School of Social Science and Law
Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Malcolm Todd  (United Kingdom)

Sheffield Hallam University

  • Issue-Based Learning
  • First Year Undergraduates
  • Study Support
  • Social Sciences

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)