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The University of Southampton

GERO6013 Researching Ageing Societies (DL)

Module Overview

Students will gain an understanding of the individual, social, economic and political implications of population ageing by examining substantive and research methods issues around ageism, discrimination and exclusion; changing family forms and diverse lifestyles; they will investigate the contributions of older people such as their social and economic participation, and caregiving in later life; and gain an appreciation of the diverse meanings and experiences of ageing over the lifecourse by examining ageing through the lenses of ethnicity, gender, socio-economic group and sexual identity, and discussing the methods, data and ethical implications of conducting empirical research on such issues.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss contrasting viewpoints on key contemporary issues in ageing societies and critically evaluate the evidence for them.
  • Identify and discuss the methods, data and ethical implications of researching substantive issues concerning ageing and older people
  • Draw upon theoretical perspectives in Gerontology and apply them to real world social and economic issues impacting upon the lives of older people.
  • Locate relevant literature and published data.
  • Demonstrate understanding of methods for researching ageing societies in a clear and succinct way, drawing on qualitative and numerical evidence, and referencing your sources correctly.
  • Gain communication skills through the preparation of assessed coursework.


The module will include online lectures on: critical consideration of the quantitative and qualitative research methods, secondary data sources and ethical issues concerned with researching older people in society; issues around diverse lifestyles in later life and their implications for old-age support; poverty and social exclusion in old age; ageing in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society; researching 'hard to reach' groups; conducting research in care homes; how ageing is structured by gender and ethnicity; work and retirement; negotiation of social care; and end of life care and dying. The module will also include a session on 'Tips on Writing a Project Proposal'.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Online lectures, tutor-led discussion boards. Learning activities include: Online lecture and tutor-led triggers for discussion boards, student discussion boards, and independent study. Designing a research proposal. Developing essay writing and presentation skills. Assessments: 1 essay assignment and 1 individual PowerPoint presentation (accompanied by audio commentary)

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (eds) (2013). The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology. 

Jamieson, A. and Victor, C.R. (2002). Researching Ageing and Later Life. 

Denscombe, M. (2010). The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 

Victor, C. (2005). The Social Context of Ageing: A Textbook of Gerontology. 

Phillips, J. et al (2010). Key Concepts in Social Gerontology. 

Bell, J. (2010). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science. 

Module resources will be available on Blackboard, such as lecture PowerPoint slides, audiorecordings of lectures, key readings, coursework details, discussion boards, references and module updates. You will be provided with guidance to use Skype for verbal/visual communication with tutors and to prepare and submit a narrated presentation through PowerPoint technology. 

Biggam, J. (2015). Succeeding with your Master's dissertation: A step-by-step handbook. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment feedback on written work is given in written and verbal format. Students will receive both individualised and generic feedback. Formative methods of assessment are used throughout the module in providing students with ongoing feedback on their progress and understanding through group discussions in discussion board, and question and answer sessions. Summative assessments are also used, focussing on specific evidence of students' knowledge in module essays.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Presentation  (15 minutes) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s)  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Accommodation and Travel

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. All students are invited to attend a 4-day online workshop focusing on Ageing in the 21st Century and on preparation for the MSc Dissertation.

Conference expenses

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees).


Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to already have access to a PC/ laptop. Students may also wish to purchase their own PC/laptop or tablet in order to access Blackboard. Distance Learning students are also expected to have access to the internet, and to bear the cost of this themselves.

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. All learning information, including the MSc Student Handbook, Module Outlines and lecture handouts, is available online through Blackboard. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.


You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.


All readings in all modules are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books, however students may prefer to buy their own copies of specific textbooks. These can be purchased from any source. Students on the modules GERO6014 and GERO6015 receive one key textbook via post. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module. Software Licenses: Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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