MRes Criminology (Social Statistics) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Evaluating Policy & Practice

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM70542
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Employability skills: In addition to subject-specific knowledge and understanding, Criminology units foster generic employable skills such as the ability to (i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present written arguments (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback. In particular this course has a close eye on the real world of policy making. It aims to support students in developing important critical thinking and employability skills derived from: analysing, mapping, and navigating actors, institutions, and processes; researching, critiquing, and designing interventions and evaluations; using diverse methods to monitor and evaluate programmes and policies; awareness of racial, gendered, and other forms of exclusion in knowledge production and policy processes. 


The unit aims to (1) introduce students to the policy cycle, policy stakeholders and policy processes in the sphere of crime and justice (2) develop understanding of tools, methods and approaches of policy design, monitoring and evaluation in relation to criminal justice and crime interventions and (3) advance critical reflection on the logic, utility and inclusivity of different research and evaluation methods and design approaches.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the unit, the student will gain: (1)   understanding of the different perspectives, approaches, tools and data sources that underpin problem identification, policy design and monitoring, and evaluation exercises (2) knowledge of the actors, institutions, and processes within the (crime and justice) policy cycle  and (3) critical understanding of policy analysis literatures relevant to academic engagement with the policy world.

Teaching and learning methods


Teaching methods will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a workshop used for a range of discursive exercises; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Assessment combines formative and summative elements. Students must complete the formative element before progressing to the summative assessment, which is a 2,500 word essay. The formative element requires students to post a maximum 2 page essay plan to a Blackboard discussion board at least three weeks before the submission date of the essay. Students must provide comments on the Blackboard discussion board on at least 2 essay plans posted by class peers within a two week period. Emphasis is on the quality of the feedback but this should not be less than 300 words per essay plan. After review of the formative aspect by the course leader, students can progress to submission of the summative element of the 2,500 word essay worth 100% of the overall mark.

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) developing essay plans. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).

Recommended reading

Bachman, R.D. and Schutt, R.K. (2017). The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 6TH edn. Thousand Oaks: Sage.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 16
Independent study hours
Independent study 50

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Julia Buxton Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Study hours: Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 9-10 hours of study per week comprised of (i) timetabled contact hours, (ii) preparation, required and further reading. Part-time students study the same number of weekly hours per unit but take fewer units per semester.


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