Understanding Social Indicators and Social Policies

01.02.2021

   
Course Title                                    Understanding Social Indicators and Social Policies
Course Code                                   SOC503
Recommended Study Year        Taught Master Year 1
No. of Credits/Term         3
Mode of Tuition                 Lecture and seminar
Class Contact Hours          3 hours per week
Category Core course
Discipline Social sciences
Prerequisite(s) N/A
Co-requisite(s) N/A
Exclusion(s) N/A

 

Brief Course Description

A good understanding of the nature, measurement, and limitations of major social indicators used internationally is crucial for one to be able to comprehend and assess social policies in the context of rapid urbanisation. Students will learn to apply these indicators in understanding and comparing social policies cross-regionally.

 

Aim

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge to understand internationally used social indicators, and to instill in them the ability to apply such knowledge to evaluate and to compare social policies across regional contexts.

 

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

(1). Demonstrate knowledge of the nature, measurements, and limitations of major social indicators;

(2). Apply such knowledge to the evaluation and comparison of social policies cross-regionally;

(3). Conduct research on social indicators data using dependable sources; and

(4). Effectively communicate orally and in writing selected cross-regional analysis of social policies with reference to social indicators

 

                

Indicative Content

This course will consist of two parts. The first part will discuss various social indicators and explain the relevance of these indicators help inform policy. The lectures and class discussions will cover issues related to human/social development, health inequalities, poverty and social exclusion, child poverty and child well-being. The second part will refer to the theoretical studies of social indicators systems on quality of life, social quality, and other indicator systems. Comparison of social indicators will also be included. The integration of these two parts of knowledge may deepen students’ understanding about the origin, features and development of social indicators system and the application of these indicators to the policy studies.

 

Teaching Method

This course is taught partly as lectures, partly as seminars with assigned readings and discussions. Students will form groups and give presentations on topics suggested by the instructor. Each student has to submit an individual essay focusing on discussion of a specific topic related to course content.

 

Assessment Weightings

Participation in discussion (20%) Students need to actively participate in class discussions
Group presentation (30%) Students will form groups and give presentations on topics suggested by the instructor
Individual essay (50%) Each student has to submit an individual essay focusing on discussion of a specific topic related to course content

 

 

Measurement of Learning Outcome

Learning Outcomes Participation in discussion Group Presentation Individual

Essay

(1) Demonstrate knowledge of the nature, measurements, and limitations of major social indicators;  

ü

ü ü
(2) Apply such knowledge to the evaluation and comparison of social policies cross-regionally;  

ü

ü ü
(3) Conduct research on social indicators data using dependable sources; and   ü ü
(4) Effectively communicate orally and in writing selected cross-regional analysis of social policies with reference to social indicators.   ü ü

 

                

SOC503 Understanding Social Indicators and Social Policies

(Term 2, 2020/21)

 

Time: 10:00 – 13:00 (Mondays)

Venue: LKK301

OR

Zoom link: 

https://lingnan.zoom.us/j/98374126190?pwd=QUdIbS91SUl2OEpEVTh1TkxlbkxnUT09

Meeting ID: 983 7412 6190

Passcode: 95575309

 

Class Schedule and Topics

 

Session Date Topics and readings
1 18 Jan. Introduction: Human and social development: A global perspective (Maggie Lau)

**Course assessment and presentation groups**

 

Readings:

•       *Midgley, J. and Tang, K.L. (2001). Social policy, economic growth and developmental welfare. International Journal of Social Welfare. .10: 244-252.

•       Midgley, J. (2014). Defining social development. In J. Midgley (ed.) Social Development: Theory & Practice. London: Sage, pp.13-17.

Websites:

•       UNDP. Human Development Reports: http://www.hdr.undp.org/en/global-

reports

•       Oxfam and Development Finance International. The Commitment to

Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index: http://www.inequalityindex.org/#/

2 25 Jan. Health Inequalities and the Social Determinants of Health (Maggie Lau)

 

Readings:

•       *World Health Organization, Social determinants of health: Key concepts.

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/social-determinants-of-healthkey-concepts  

•       *Inchley J, Currie D, Budisavljevic S, Torsheim T, Jåstad A, Cosma A et al., editors. Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being. Findings from the 2017/2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Europe and Canada. International report. Volume 2. Key data. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2020 (“Introduction”, “Mental well-being” and “School experience”).  

•       Inchley J, Currie D, Budisavljevic S, Torsheim T, Jåstad A, Cosma A et al., editors. Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being. Findings from the 2017/2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Europe

    and Canada. International report. Volume 1. Key findings. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2020 (“Executive summary”, “Introduction”, “Mental well-being” and “School experience”).

•       World Health Organization (2010). A Conceptual Framework for Action on the Social Determinants of Health. Discussion Paper. Geneva: WHO.

Websites:

•       Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC):

http://www.hbsc.org/about/index.html  

3 1 Feb. Multidimensional approach to poverty and social exclusion (Maggie Lau)

 

Readings:

•       *Bradshaw, J. and Finch, N. (2003). Overlaps in dimensions of poverty. Journal of Social Policy. 32(4), 513-525.

•       Guio, A. and Marlier, E. (2017). Amending the EU material deprivation indicator: impact on size and composition of deprived population. In A.B. Atkinson and A. Guo and E. Marlier (eds.) Monitoring social inclusion in Europe. Luxembourg: Office of the European Union, pp.193-207.

Websites:

•       Deprivation and poverty. Joanna Mack.

https://www.poverty.ac.uk/definitions-poverty/deprivation-and-poverty

•       Consensual method. Joanna Mack. https://www.poverty.ac.uk/definitionspoverty/consensual-method

•       PSE UK – Poverty and Social Exclusion UK – Explore the data.

https://www.poverty.ac.uk/pse-research/explore-data

4 8 Feb. Child poverty and child well-being (Maggie Lau)

 

Readings:

•       *UNICEF (2007). Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Wellbeing in Rich Countries. Innocenti Report Card 7. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf

•       *Bradshaw, J. (2015). Subjective well-being and social policy: Can nations make their children happier? Child Indicators Research. 8: 227-241.

•       Bradshaw, J., B. Martorano, L. Natali and C. de Neubourg (2013). Children’s Subjective Well-being in Rich Countries. Working Paper 2013-03. Florence: UNICEF Office of Research. http://www.unicefirc.org/publications/pdf/iwp_2013_3.pdf.

Websites:

•       *UNICEF Innocenti Report Card: https://www.unicefirc.org/publications/series/report-card/?page=1

•       *Children’s Worlds, International Survey of Children’s Well-being (ISCWeB):

https://isciweb.org/the-data/wave-3/

 

5 22 Feb. A healthy standard of living (Maggie Lau)

**Student consultations (I): Group presentation**

 

Readings:

•       *Taylor, L. (2018). Housing and health – an overview of the literature. Health Affairs. June. 1-6.

•       *Standing, G. (2010). Labour market policies, poverty and insecurity. International Journal of Social Welfare. 20: 260-269.

•       OECD            (2020). How’s    Life?      2020      Measuring          Well-being. http://www.oecd.org/statistics/how-s-life-23089679.htm.

Websites:

•       OECD Better Life Index: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/  

•       ILOSTAT: https://ilostat.ilo.org/

6 1 Mar. **Student consultations (II): Group presentation** (Maggie Lau)

Group discussion: 10.00 – 10.30am (1-2 page notes)

Group 1: 10.30am – 11.00am (Consultation)

Group 2: 11.00am – 11.30am (Consultation)

Group 3: 11.30am – 12.00pm (Consultation)

Group 4: 12.00pm – 12.30pm (Consultation)

 
7 8 Mar. Social indicators and the indicator systems (Prof. Lin Ka) **Real-time online teaching (Prof. Lin Ka)**

 

Readings:

•       *Harkness, S. (2004). Social and Political Indicators of Human Well-being. Research Paper No. 2004/33. Helsinbki: United Nations University.

•       Lee, J (2010). Data sets on pensions and health: Data collection and sharing for policy design. International Social Security Review. 63(3-4): 197-222.

8 15 Mar. Social Indicators and quality of life (Prof. Lin Ka)

 

Readings:

•       *Costanza R, Fisher B, Ali S et al. (2008). An integrative approach to quality of life measurement, research, and policy. S.A.P.I.EN.S. 1(1): 17–21.

•       Somarriba, N., & Pena, B. (2009). Synthetic indicators of quality of life in Europe. Social Indicators Research. 94(1): 115-133.

•       Whelan, C. T. Watson, D. & Maître, B. (2019). From Income Poverty to Multidimensional Quality of Life. The Economic and Social Review. 50(4): 683-705.

 

9 22 Mar. Social indicators and social inclusion (Prof. Lin Ka)

 

Readings:

•       *Atkinson, A.B. and Marlier, E. (2010). Analysing and Measuring Social Inclusion in a Global Context. New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

•       Lin, K. et al (2013). Social Exclusion and Its Causes in East Asian Societies: Evidences from SQSQ Survey Data. Social Indicators Research. 112 (3): 641660.

10 29 Mar. Indicators of social quality and its regimes (Prof. Lin Ka)

 

Readings:

•       *Lin, K. (2013). A Methodological Exploration of Social Quality Research: A Comparative Evaluation of the Quality of Life and Social Quality Approaches. International Sociology. 28(3): 316–334.

•       Lin K. & Li H. (2017). Mapping Social Quality Clusters and Its Implications.

Social Indicators Research. 134 (2):403-419.

11 12 Apr. Comparison of social indicators on welfare and social well-being (Prof. Lin Ka)

 

Readings:

•       *Marcussen, J. M. (2017). Social Protection in the Nordic Countries: Scope, Expenditure and Financing, Copenhagen: Nordic Social Statistical Committee.

•       Lee, J (2010). Data sets on pensions and health: Data collection and sharing for policy design. International Social Security Review. 63(3-4): 197-222.

12 19 Apr. Student consultations (III): Group project presentation (Maggie Lau)

Group discussion: 10.00 – 10.30am (1-2 page notes)

Group 1: 10.30am – 11.00am (Consultation)

Group 2: 11.00am – 11.30am (Consultation)

Group 3: 11.30am – 12.00pm (Consultation)

Group 4: 12.00pm – 12.30pm (Consultation)

13 26 Apr. Group project presentation (Maggie Lau)

 

10 May Submission of Individual Essay

 

*Essential readings

 

 

                

Group presentation and individual essay

 

Grouping and presentation topic

Students will form groups and give presentations on a specific topic.

 

 

Question: Students are expected to select ONE policy issue with specific social group and discuss the relevance of social indicators to inform policy. Substantiate your argument with examples.

 

 

List of suggested policy issues

(1). To ensure better life chance in early childhood: e.g. child poverty; early childhood care and education

(2). To enable children, youth and/or adults to maximise their capabilities: e.g. education and training opportunities; quality work

(3). To ensure a healthy standard of living: e.g. living wage; food security, poverty and deprivation; social protection systems

(4). To create healthy and sustainable places and communities: e.g., quality housing; housing affordability

 

 

Student consultations

Students are expected to submit an outline of their group presentation with a topic, relevant social indicators and references for student consultations on 22 Feb. 2021 and 19 Apr. 2021, respectively.

 

Group presentation

Students are expected to give 20-minute group presentation followed by class discussion on 26 Apr. 2021.

 

 

Submission of individual essay

Each student is required to submit an individual essay (word limits: less than 3,000 words) two weeks after the group presentation on/before 10 May 2021.

 

                

Required/Essential Readings

Land, Kenneth C., Michalos, Alex C. Sirgy, Joseph (eds.) (2012). Handbook of Social Indicators and Quality of Life Research. NY: Springer.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Various years, Society At A Glance, OECD Publication.

 

Recommended/Supplementary Readings

Census and Statistics Department, Various years, Annual Digest of Statistics, Hong Kong: Government

Printer.

Census and Statistics Department, Biennial, Hong Kong Social and Economic Trends, Hong Kong: Government Printer.

Census and Statistics Department, An outline of Statistical Development, Hong Kong: Government Printer, 2009.

The United Nations (UN Women), Progress of the World’s Women 2015-16: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights. NY.: United Nations, 2015

The United Nations (Department of Social and Economic affairs), Global Challenge and Global Opportunity: Trends in Sustainable Development, N.Y.: United Nations, 2002.

The United Nations (Population Division), World Population Ageing, 2007, N.Y.: United Nations, 2008.

The United Nations (Population Division), World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision. N.Y.: United Nations, 2009.

The United Nations (Statistics Division), Handbook of Social Indicators, N.Y.: United Nations, 1989.

The United Nations (Statistics Division), The World’s Women 2005: Progress in Statistics. N.Y.: United Nations, 2006.

The World Bank, Various years, World Development Report, The Work Bank.

World Economic Forum, Various years, Global Competitiveness Report. WEF Publication.  World Health Organisation, Various years, The World Health Report, WHO Publication.

 

 

Important Notes:

  • Students are expected to spend a total of 9 hours (i.e. 3 hours of class contact and 6 hours of personal study) per week to achieve the course learning outcomes.
  • Students shall be aware of the University regulations about dishonest practice in course work, tests and examinations, and the possible consequences as stipulated in the Regulations Governing University Examinations. In particular, plagiarism, being a kind of dishonest practice, is “the presentation of another person’s work without proper acknowledgement of the source, including exact phrases, or summarised ideas, or even footnotes/citations, whether protected by copyright or not, as the student’s own work”. Students are required to strictly follow university regulations governing academic integrity and honesty.
  • Students are required to submit writing assignment(s) using Turnitin.
  • To enhance students’ understanding of plagiarism, a mini-course “Online Tutorial on Plagiarism Awareness” is available on https://pla.ln.edu.hk/.

 

                

Rubrics for Assessment

Discussion and Participation (20%)

Criteria  Excellent Good Pass Failure
A (85-100)

A- (80-84)

B+ (75-79)

B (70-74)

B- (65-69)

C+ (60-64) C (55-59)

C- (50-54)

F (0-49)
Student has made effort to prepare for discussions during class

(100%)

 

Expression of ideas is consistently accruate, logical and clear. Expression of ideas is generally accruate, logical and clear. Lapses are rare and minor in nature. Expression of  ideas is generally  factually  accurate,  logical and  clear, but with  a number of  minor lapses. Ideas are not expressed logically and are characterised by significant inaccuracies and lack of clarity

 

Group Presentation (30%)

Criteria  Excellent Good Pass Failure
A (85-100)

A- (80-84)

B+ (75-79)

B (70-74)

B- (65-69)

C+ (60-64) C (55-59)

C- (50-54)

F (0-49)
Content

(30%)

Comprehensive understanding and coverage of issues. Wide range of evidence used to support arguments and demonstrate critical thinking.

 

Clear discussion of relevant issues. Good use of evidence support arguments. Go beyond description. Show some coverage and understanding of main issues. Adequate range of evdience used. More description than analysis in content. Very little or no understanding of the issues. Inadequate use of evidence to support argument. Describe the issues but show

significant misunderstanding of basic issues.

Organisation

(30%)

Clear structure. Present a convincing and well-developed argument. Clear structure. Present a sound argument. Argument needs further development.Struc ture needs more clarity. Poor structure nd no clear argument.
Style of presentation and effectiveness in leading the discussion

(40%)

Demostrate excellent presentation skills and communication with audience. Demostrate competent

presentation skills and communication with audience.

Demonstrate good presentation skills and communication with audience. Demonstrate poor presentation skills and communication with audience.

Individual Essay (50%)

Criteria  Excellent Good Pass Failure
A (85-100)

A- (80-84)

B+ (75-79)

B (70-74)

B- (65-69)

C+ (60-64) C (55-59)

C- (50-54)

F (0-49)
Understanding of topic (20%) Comprehensive understanding and coverage of issues. Insightful and wellinformed.

Clearly answers the question.

Clear discussion of relevant issues. Shows good insight into the subject. Answers the question. Shows some coverage and understanding of main issues. Does not answer the question fully/directly enough. Very little or no understanding of the issues.

Does not answer the question.

Use of evidence

(20%)

Wide range of evidence used to support arguments. Thoroughly researched. Use of primary sources. Good use of evidence to support arguments.

 

Adequate range of evidence used. Could have drawn on more suitable evidence. Inadequate use of evidence to support argument. No use of evidence to support argument
Critical analysis

(20%)

Excellent critical awareness of subject matter and current issues. Shows original thinking and analysis. Goes beyond description. Analyses material to develop argument. More description than analysis in content. Needs to draw material together to develop argument. Describes the issues but shows significant  misunderstanding of basic issues.
Structure of argument

(20%)

Clear structure. Presents a convincing and well developed argument. Clear structure. Develops a sound argument.

 

Argument needs further development. Structure needs more clarity. Poor structure.

No clear argument. No clear linkage from point to point.

Writing and referencing

(20%)

Uses references correctly.

Demonstrates excellent writing skills.

Generally uses references correctly but some parts less well referenced. Competent writing skills. Some parts not referenced correctly. Writing skills could be improved. Not referenced correctly.

Poor writing skills. Needed proof reading.