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SSCI3010 – Evaluation and Applied Social Science

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor
Adam Stebbing
Contact via Email
By appointment
Dong-Ju Lee
Contact via Email
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(SSCI1000 or SSCI100) and (SSCI2010 or SSCI201) and (SSCI2020 or SSCI202)
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Social science theories and methodologies have many practical and professional applications in the workplace, including positions in applied policy and research. What are the main applications of social science in today’s workplace? This unit focuses on evaluation and policy research, which apply social science theories and methods to ascertain whether a program or policy intervention is making a difference. This unit has three parts. The first examines the policy context of evaluation and applied social science. In the second part, we survey influential research designs for evaluation and applied social science that incorporate qualitative and/or quantitative methods. And, in the third part, we consider ethical and practical issues that arise when designing and doing applied social science. Through these three parts, the unit aims to introduce students to the skills required to design ethical and robust evaluations and applied social science projects. By doing this, the unit applies knowledge and methodologies from earlier social science units to practical situations in order to prepare students for working on a professional social research project as part of the capstone unit.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: apply existing knowledge of qualitative and quantitative social inquiry to evaluation problems and applied research
  • ULO2: design and evaluate how program logic models display the workings of a program or policy
  • ULO3: display knowledge of key evaluation and applied social science research approaches
  • ULO4: employ skills in interpreting and assessing data quality in evaluation and applied social science research
  • ULO5: explain key research problems, methodologies and evaluation approaches using professional writing formats.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is an intergral part of the core values and principles contained in the Macquarie University Ethics Statement. Its fundamental principle is that all staff and students act with integrity in the creation, development, application and use of ideas and information. This means that:

  • All academic work claimed as original is the work of the author making the claim
  • All academic collaborations are acknowledged
  • Academic work is not falsified in any way
  • When the ideas of others are used, these ideas are acknowledged appropriately
  • Self-plagiarism (resubmitting your own work - including past assignments for this or other units - without attribution) is an unacceptable academic activity


University Grading Policy

The grade that a student receives will signify their overall performance in meeting the learning outcomes of the unit of study. Graded units will use the following grades

HD    High Distinction        85-100

D      Distinction                 75-84

Cr     Credit                        65-74

P      Pass                          50-64

F      Fail                              0-49

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University.


Return of Marked Work

As per university policy, written assessments will be returned to students within three weeks of the submission date. Early assignments will not be marked early.


Special Consideration (Extensions)

The University recognises that students may experience events or conditions that adversely affect their academic performance. If you experience serious and unavoidable difficulties at exam time or when assessment tasks are due, you can consider applying for Special Consideration.

You need to show that the circumstances:

  1. were serious, unexpected and unavoidable
  2. were beyond your control
  3. caused substantial disruption to your academic work
  4. substantially interfered with your otherwise satisfactory fulfilment of the unit requirements
  5. lasted at least three consecutive days or a total of 5 days within the teaching period and prevented completion of an assessment task scheduled for a specific date.

More information about Special Consideration is available in the Policies and Procedures section of the unit guide.


Late Penalties

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.


Campus Wellbeing

Macquarie University offers a range of wellbeing services (including [but not limited to]: health, welfare, counselling, disability and student advocacy services) that are available to you at any time during your studies. Campus Wellbeing is here to support you and help you succeed, both academically and personally. More information is available in the Policies and Procedures section of the unit guide.

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Unit Sessions

Lectures are at 10am to 12pm on Wednesdays in Tutorial room 220, 4 Western Rd from weeks 1 to 12 of semester (inclusive). They will be recorded and become available online via ECHO360's Active Learning Platform (accessible via iLearn). 

Workshops (tutorials) will run online via the unit iLearn page. Please see the weekly tabs for more information.

Required and recommended resources

There is no required textbook for SSCI3010. Required readings are online available via Leganto (see below).


Technology used

The following technologies are used in this unit...


Make sure that you regularly check your student email for correspondence with teaching staff and course announcements.


Important information about the weekly schedule, course readings and assessment are all available on the course iLearn page. If you do not have access, please contact IT help. You are required to check iLearn and your student email regularly for course updates and information.


All written assessments need to be submitted online via Turnitin only. A link to Turnitin is available via the Assessments tab on the iLearn page. Please contact the convenor if you cannot find it (do not leave it until the day of the assessment). There is no need to submit a hard copy of the assessment or to include a cover sheet.


Feedback will be made available online via GradeMark. It will take four forms (in no particular order): specific comments in the text of your paper; overall comments; a score on a qualitative rubric (that cannot be used to calculate your mark numerically); and a numeric score. Once you have received your assignment back, please make sure that you have access to these forms of feedback. 


Leganto is the electronic system for accessing unit readings that can be accessed via the iLearn page. Readings are allocated via topic. As well as the required readings for each topic, you will find recommended and optional readings. The required readings are available in pdf or electronic format. If you are not able to access the readings, please contact the unit convenor via email.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Unit Schedule

The following table identifies the weekly topics for SSCI3010. More information can be found about the weekly topics and required readings on the unit iLearn page. Lectures will be held from weeks 1 to 12 (inclusive), whilst online tutorials will run from weeks 2 to 12.

Week Topic
1  Introducing evaluation and applied social science
2  Understanding social issues, programs and public policies 
3  Program logic models: A critical appreciation
4  What is credible evidence? The politics of evidence-based policy
5  Designing evaluation as applied social research
6  Uses and misuses of quantitative methods in evaluation
7  Participatory and qualitative methods for evaluation
8  Developing indicators and instruments
9  Applying unobtrusive methods: From policy documents to big data
10  Beyond 'gold standards': Demystifying mixed methods research
11  The ethics of applied social science: Case studies
12  Designing research proposals
13  Revision week


Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.