DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Exploring and Defining Problems
Module Code GC2EX
School 53
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Semester 2: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Autumn: Roman-Gabriel Olar
Module TeachersRoman-Gabriel Olar
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This ASC will advance students' skills and abilities to explore the evolution of global challenges over time and to identify the most pressing problems of society. They will learn how to apply the fundamental mathematical skills acquired in year one to deterministically model the evolution of dynamic systems using differential equations. They will develop their ability to analyse trends in the data using appropriate statistical tools and methods. This ASC will also introduce students to the logic and approaches of carrying out comparative research in social sciences and its importance in identifying and understanding the causes and consequences of global challenges. The mathematical tools and statistical analysis and research skills that students will acquire in this ASC will allow them to conceptualize and analyse global challenges in a more rigorous and systematic manner. Students will apply the obtained knowledge and skills to modelling current, real-world problems which will be simplified for pedagogical purposes, but also complex enough to be meaningful and applicable to the real world.

Learning Outcomes

1. Analyse and critically evaluate information using data analysis.
2. Articulate the purpose, benefits, challenges and principles of data acquisition and use.
3. Identify research puzzles and research questions.
4. Apply appropriate modelling techniques and mathematical analysis to empirical/real-world data..
5. Identify the complex relationships between factors in the real world, and eliminate explanations that could confound the explanation of the process under examination.
6. Apply key concepts and theories of political science to global challenges.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Workshop24biweekly 2hr workshops
Total Workload: 24

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Applied Comparative Research
This topic provides an introduction into the basic strategies of comparative empirical analysis in social sciences. Students will learn how to explore questions that aim to explain and understand variation between units (individuals, cities, countries, etc.) in various outcomes from the social sciences. The aim of this course is to provide students with the necessary analytical and logical foundations to conduct empirical research. The focus lies on the basic logic of scientific inference. Students will learn to identify and select units of analysis, to identify cases suitable for comparative analysis and will hone their skills in developing an empirical research design aimed at understanding and addressing global challenges

Politics and Law
Modern political ideas as manifested in modern political ideologies, and how they inform current political debates. This course begins with the concept of ideology itself, and then introduces students to some of the most important Western political ideologies in turn. Besides some classic ideologies (i.e. Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism) we also discuss some others that have emerged from these or in opposition to these. We seek to put these ideologies to use in considering big questions in political philosophy as relate to global problems and public policy debates. introduce students to public international law. International Law - Identifying the sources, principles and subjects of public international law; understand how public international law and international bodies regulate the behaviour of State and non-State actors; and apply public international law to hypothetical and actual case studies.

Deterministic and Statistical Modelling
Introduction to statistical modelling and exploration of issues of independence and dependence, confounding variables. This FLO will introduce students to powerful statistical analysis tools that can describe uncertainty, allowing practitioners to measure, control and counter its effects. Starting from a discussion of the fundamental principles of probability theory this FLO will introduce the student to the key concepts and tools of statistical analysis. The emphasis is on application and the students will investigate these topics using a suitable computational statistics platform. A secondary emphasis will be placed on the potential for statistics to be used, intentionally or unintentionally, in misleading ways and the central importance of ethical communication of statistical results. Motivational context will be continuously provided from relevant examples in the political, social and engineering sciences. Students will learn how to communicate, defend and critique results based on mathematical and statistical modelling.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentSolve systems of ordinary differential equations (ODE) as applied to a variety of problems from physical modelling / social sciences.10%n/a
Report(s)Report to describe the application of modelling to a simplified contemporary problem10%n/a
Loop QuizWeekly quizzes: fundamentals of probability theory.10%n/a
AssignmentApply statistical methods to a range of real-world data sets20%n/a
AssignmentDevelop a research design for answering a substantive research question20%n/a
AssignmentApply the principles of research design and statistical analysi30%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    Programme or List of Programmes
    GCBSc in Global Challenges

    My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement