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A detailed knowledge of the social, political, cultural and economic history of post-WW2 Britain up to contemporary times.

Unit title & code

Sociology of Modern Britain ASS067-1

Assignment number and title

Assignment 1: Essay

Assignment type


Weighting of assignment


Size or length of assessment

2000 Words

Unit learning outcomes

1 Demonstrate the following knowledge and understanding:

  • a detailed knowledge of the social, political, cultural and economic history of post-WW2 Britain up to contemporary times.

2 Demonstrate the following skills and abilities:

  • Design, implement and derive sound conclusions from an investigation into a chosen topic/event of sociological interest via set writing exercise and examination etc.


What am I required to do in this assignment?

ASSIGNMENT 1: ‘ESSAY’ / Journalistic article

To prepare for the assignment:

  • The task is to deliver a 2000-word journalistic piece based on:
    • A specific post-war event or issue that interests you; you then need to
    • Develop a written piece that places the event or issue into the modern society in which we live; thus
    • Developing a piece that understands original context of the event/issue and how it might play out/be received/impact on today’s society (if it were happening now etc.)
    • The journalism piece should be submitted in WORD format but can, should you wish, alternatively be set out in ‘newspaper’ style (i.e. using a DT publisher etc.) and should be legible and can, if you wish, use pictures inset;
    • The article must be accompanied by a full academic bibliography (reference list) of sources cited and used, appearing separately to the newspaper ‘page’ (i.e. the bibliography should be in Word format).
    • The use of FOOTNOTES is required to reference sources (whether in Word format or DTP).  Footnotes are required in this Assignment to compliment the flow of the ‘journalistic’ writing (i.e. ‘hiding’ the sources from the main body of writing, but listing them ‘off page’)

You will be required to submit your ‘piece’ (that should include the Bibliography) via Grade Centre. 

QUESTIONS/TITLES OF ARTICLES (choose one of the below):

  • Would it be possible to create an NHS in 2018?
  • ‘Was 1940’s ‘Austerity’ a different kind of hardship?
  • Is there any value in ‘returning to the 1950’s’?
  • Did the 1960’s really ‘swing’?
  • Were we ready for the EU in 1973?

NOTE: Further details (to help students) will be posted up on BREO in the approach to the assignment delivery, including examples of writing style, referencing needs (i.e. how to use footnotes to evidence sources in order to allow for ‘journalistic’ feel to writing) and discussions on materials and approaches will take place in all classes Weeks 3-6).

What do I need to do to pass? (Threshold Expectations from UIF)

In order to pass Assessment 1 you will need to:

  • Show an understanding of the sociological, political and ideological, economic and cultural aspects of the unit (in its chronological, socio-historical context).
  • Present information and argument in a logical form, using concepts accurately and following standard rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling and referencing.
  • Articulate accumulated knowledge from the Unit lectures and associative reading, drawing on debates and analysis, to produce clear and reasoned written assessed work.
  • Illustrate innovative ways of exploring and presenting information in ‘project’ style (i.e. using text, graphics, photographs etc.) while retaining academic/scholarly focus.
  • In order to pass Assessment 2 you will need to:

Present written information and argument in a logical form, using concepts accurately and following standard rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling and referencing

How do I produce high quality work that merits a good grade?


This Assignment is designed to give you an opportunity to explore issues raised in the first 5 weeks of lectures and incorporate the themes into a ‘journalistic’ article.

Based on an article type that is found in The Guardian or it’s ‘sister’ paper The Observer newspapers (available in hard copy from such places as newsagents, supermarkets and train stations every day of the week, except The Observer which appears on Sunday only, and found online at guardian.co.uk), the article that you are expected to produce should be written with a degree of journalistic informality, approaching the subject and informally asking the question ‘What would be the impact of [subject] if it were to be played out in contemporary Britain?’

You then need to write as if addressing an audience who might be sitting having a coffee and reading the paper in their lounge, coffee shop, train station waiting room or kitchen with a piece of toast and a pot of tea on a Saturday or Sunday morning. 

Please note: The ‘If This Were Now’ feature title does not exist in the real Guardian/Observer newspaper – it is designed as an imaginary series that would exist in the paper, following the themes of the papers’ writers such as Andrew Rawnsley, Simon Jenkins, Matthew D’Ancona, Zoe Williams and so on.  Check out their (real) journalism to get a feel for the approach required. 

The article should be informal, but informed.  You get to write opinion too, which means that you are able to conclude with a thrust of argument that you believe is right (i.e. if writing a piece on nationalisation, you might think, for example, that public ownership is a good thing – but you must JUSTIFY this conclusion with evidence).

The article does not need to use the Harvard referencing system (the one with the brackets and dates included) in the text (it’s journalism), but you will need to give asides to indicate you are aware of important matters (and their robustness) in the article, for example,

‘Tony Blair’s government of 1997-2001 – as evidenced by Andrew Rawnsley – considered PPI’s to be the way forwards, but they have since been critiqued by both left and right….’

And then ‘footnoted’, to read like the style used by Ken Morgan, thus:

‘Tony Blair’s government of 1997-2001 – as evidenced by Andrew Rawnsley[1] – considered PPI’s to be the way forwards, but they have since been critiqued by both left and right….’

[the above includes an aside that you are using Rawnsley’s book, but you don’t reference it ‘traditionally’.  You need to put the book in your separate bibliography, to evidence to your tutors that you have looked at this book etc.].  This can be found firstly in the footnote and then in an attached bibliography.

The format for the article is up to you, but, as said, feel free to use DTP’s and inset photographs and stuff like that to perhaps make it look like a real newspaper article.  It’s up to you how you want to approach it – feel free to talk to your Tutor.

Students will be marked on their grasp of the history, impact and sociological connotations of the subject chosen.  It should not be considered acceptable to use rhetoric to ‘fill’ the piece.  The bibliography should also be detailed and, where possible, alluded to in the text of the piece. 

GOOD GRADES will be awarded for good structure, sound argument, good sourcing/referencing, attention to grammar and style and intellectual connectivity with the subject (i.e. your ability to use information and ‘work with it’ rather than reproducing the work of other scholars in your own words).  Students shall therefore, in short, be required to illustrate good grasp of taught materials, show evidence of research and further reading and write to a good standard within the allotted Assignment format.

How does this assignment relate to what we are doing in scheduled sessions?

The Assignment is representative of materials taught in Weeks 1-6 of the Unit – namely the Introductory session and ‘The 1940’s Government’ through to the first scheduled week that features the ‘1970’s).

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