Introduction to the Social Sciences) Write a report that examines how people use expert and lay knowledge about risks in order to live with them.

Write a report that examines how people use expert and lay knowledge about risks in order to live with them.

TMA 05 (cut-off date: 11 July 2011)

In this TMA you are asked to produce a report that examines how people use expert and lay knowledge about risks in order to live with and cope with those risks. Your report must include relevant examples, illustrations or case studies in support of the points you make. You should try to select and use different forms of evidence from the module materials of risks, of expert and lay knowledge about them, and of how people use these types of knowledge to live with and cope with these risks. Report writing is an important academic skill which is also widely used and valued in the world of work and indeed many other spheres of social life.

This assignment is worth 15 per cent of your total marks for the module and it is the first and only report you will be asked to write: guidance about the key features of this report is given in the a?Student notesa section below.

This assignment is designed to give you an opportunity to show what you have learned from the a?Material livesa strand of Exploring Social Lives and from the associated skills work you have done. It is also designed to bring together the skills you have been practising in TMAs 01a 04 andsoitisa good idea to review the feedback you have received on these. Although report writing is different from writing an academic essay, you are building upon skills you have already begun to develop, such as taking notes, writing in your own words and planning your work. The skill of planning is particularly important for writing a good report. We do not require you to produce a plan for this assignment, but the structure of a report is particularly important and we strongly advise you to do a plan as this will help you in writing the report itself.

The word limit for this TMA is 1250 words:

Write a report that examines how people use expert and lay knowledge about risks in order to live with them.

Student notes

The main source of information for this TMA is Chapter 2 of Exploring Social Lives, although relevant material is also contained in Chapters 1 and

3. Chapter 2 begins by introducing some risks we face in our a?daytodaya lives, and in this way identifies some of the risks we are asking you to think about for this TMA. In addition, this chapter introduces you to some different ways in which these sorts of risks are known about. You should make sure you can demonstrate in your report that there are different forms of knowledge about risks, what these are, how they can be distinguished from each other, and how we, as members of society, understand, regard and use them in ways that could be said to help us a?live witha or cope with these risks.

The audio discussion a?A risky world?a will be helpful, as will the developing skills audio a?Different types of academic writinga which provides some useful advice about how to approach report writing. You will also find the online activities associated with this strand helpful, particularly Online Activities 33 and 34, which explore the content of Chapter 2, and Online Activity 36A which specifically refers to how to write a report.

You are asked to provide a report that examines how people use expert and lay knowledge about risks in order to live with and cope with those risks; to provide relevant examples, illustrations and case studies and to select and use different forms of evidence. There is no single best way of doing this but we suggest that the following points should be borne in mind:


Think carefully about the structure of your report and make sure that this

is reflected in its contents page. The contents page should include the

main headings of your report and show what you are going to cover. The

structure should address the question asked.


You are not being asked to write a continuous, discursive essay. You can

use headings and subheadings, short and concise sentences and perhaps

bulleted lists of key points for emphasis. Only use other forms of

presentation such as diagrams, tables and so on if they are useful and

really help to enhance the content of your report.


Take care to identify and select relevant examples, illustrations and case

studies from the module materials. Think about where you will use these

in your report and about how best to identify and present different forms

of evidence.


Good answers will clearly show some examples of a?everydaya


different forms of knowledge about them, and some examples of how

people use these different forms of knowledge in order to help them live

with risk. Good answers might also consider how competing sources of

knowledge can sometimes make risks very difficult to assess.

Finally, although there are no separate marks for presentation itself, clear and accurate presentation is an important part of a well-structured, carefully and concisely written answer and will therefore be rewarded. Think about your content first and foremost, then about your presentation of that content: if you find your presentation is awkward or a?messya in the sense that it does not flow coherently or there are obvious gaps, this will probably mean that there is something missing or inaccurate in the report. In such cases, go back to the title, break it down into the tasks it is asking of you, and check the material you have identified and selected to include within your report. Have you missed something? Consider what changes you need to make, then go back to the materials if necessary and try again to select what you need and reorganise the structure of your report.”

Above is the advice given from the Open University for the report-style essay. The main book from which the evidence will come from is Chapter Two of Exploring Social Lives, by Simon Bromley, John Clarke, Steve Hinchliffe, and Stephanie Taylor, 2009. It is essential that I know ASAP if you have access to this material, if not, I will type up the chapter and email it to you. Please contact me, on (+44)07856249992.