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The University of Southampton

PSYC3015 Social and Psychological Approaches to Understanding Sexual Health

Module Overview

This module will help you to develop graduate attributes, including: - academic attributes – ability to critically appraise knowledge claims based on qualitative and quantitative methods; and - communication skills – ability to communicate research designs and findings, using evidence to illustrate and develop an argument. This module will help you develop the following employability skills: - team working - respecting others, co-operating, negotiating, contributing to discussions, and awareness of interdependence with others; - communication and literacy – application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy – including listening and questioning; - problem solving– analysing facts, opinions, values and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions; and - application of information technology – basic IT skills, including familiarity with word processing, presentation programmes, file management and use of internet search engines.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • be familiar with some theoretical and methodological issues concerning research on sexual health
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • be able critically to evaluate published and unpublished material
  • be able to consider the relevance of social and psychological approaches to policy formulation
  • be able to communicate ideas clearly and succinctly and without bias


Summary of syllabus content In the case of sexual conduct, there is concern over the threat of HIV/AIDS and other STIs globally, as well as the high UK rates of teenage conceptions. Much research has been carried out in this field over the past few years, some of it in this department. In this course, emphasis is given to lessons learned from the research and how these may be applied in intervention programmes and policy development of various kinds. Topics covered include: - Methods in sexual health research - Theoretical approaches to understanding sexual risk - Early sexual conduct and contraception use - Teenage conception and abortion - Emerging forms of and communication and sexual relationships - Problems and pleasure - STIs and HIV/AIDS in richer and poorer countries - Sex and relationships education in and out of school - Pornography and policies

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Sessions involve a combination of small-group student presentations and tutor-guided discussion; sessions are held with groups to help prepare the presentation material. Other linked small groups produce some follow up work based on the topic of the week's session; these may include a health promotion booklet, leaflet, video, etc. and need to be justified on theoretical and/or empirical grounds. Students are enouraged throughout to enhance the reading list provided with their own searches and reading additional material, as well as paying close attention to media coverage of some of the issues covered.

Independent Study124
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Other. There is no set text for this course. Books, reports and journal articles are indicated on weekly reading

Burtney, E. & Duffy, M. (Eds.) (2004). Young people and sexual health: individual, social and policy contexts.. 

Wellings, K., Mitchell, K., & Collumbien, M. (Eds.) (2012). Sexual health: A public health perspective. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment will be by a piece of coursework (either the presentation or the follow up work, depending on the group students are assigned to). The coursework accounts for 30% of the seminar marks, while the final assessment accounts for the remaining 69% of the mark. Details of the coursework will be given at the start of the course. Research participation counts for 1%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Participation credits  (2 hours) 1%
Presentation or Follow-up coursework 30%
Written assessment 69%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PSYC1016

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