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Study information

Think Tank

Module titleThink Tank
Module codeLIB2000
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Henry Knight Lozano (Convenor)

Dr Mike Finn (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, you will work closely with other students as you tackle a key social, political, business or economic challenge. This challenge will be posed by an external consultant (for example, someone from business, a social policy group, or the media). Working in a ‘think tank’ team, and under the guidance of your lecturers, you will research the problem posed, debate its likely causes and challenges, agree a set of potential solutions to the problem, and design strategies for their implementation. You will then present your findings and proposals to the module consultant, your lecturers and peers.  

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is designed to help you learn:

  • critical thinking and research skills
  • problem-solving abilities skills
  • teamwork and employability skills
  • how to research quickly and effectively
  • how to engage with a variety of non-academic material and data
  • how to communicate persuasively and professionally in the workplace 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. engage critically with a range of resources drawn from a professional or non-academic context
  • 2. identify, assess and manage key issues within a larger project
  • 3. work efficiently as a member of a team
  • 4. demonstrate problem-solving skills and strategic thinking

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. gather and analyse a variety of evidence
  • 6. think critically across academic and non-academic boundaries
  • 7. apply intellectual tools to challenges in the workplace

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. work closely and generously with others as part of a team
  • 9. develop project-management skills
  • 10. meet deadlines and manage your own time
  • 11. communicate effectively and persuasively with non-academic professionals

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will have the following structure:

Introduction: The aims of the module will be outlined. The form and function of a Think Tank will be explained. The student groups, each acting as a Think Tank, will be established. Presentations from academic researchers whose work current engages with real-world challenges will model how the research of a Think Tank can be of use in a wide variety of workplace environments.

Setting the challenge: External professionals will present their own experience of working with researchers. They will introduce a current challenge in which their organisation is engaged and highlight the central questions it raises to be resolved. The student groups will select the organisation and challenge with which they will work.

Preparation and planning (Phase 1)

Each student group will meet as a Think Tank to prepare a work-plan, agreeing a schedule, identifying key targets and distributing tasks.

Research (Phase 1): Each Think Tank will carry out initial research to establish the scope of the final report and presentation. They will meet weekly, drawing on the advice of the group facilitator.

Interim review : Each Think Tank will meet mid-term to review their plans for the final report and presentation, to agree a final schedule of work, including outstanding research to be completed, and will collaborate in the preparation of the formative assessment.

Research (Phase 2): Each Think Tank will carry out further research to support their plans for the final report and presentation.

Final report and presentation: Each Think Tank will prepare a presentation to be delivered to the representatives of the organisation whose challenge they have tackled; each Think Tank member will prepare a final written report which articulates the response of the Think Tank group to the challenge posed and also offers their own individual insights.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
scheduled learning and teaching activity4Lectures (2 x 2 hours)
scheduled learning and teaching activity22Peer-led seminars (11 x 2 hours)
scheduled learning and teaching activity3Presentations (1 x 3 hours)
Guided independent study121Guided independent study including reading, research and preparation for all activities

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group research plan (co-authored by each team)500 words1-6, 8, 9-10Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual written report502000 words1-11Written and oral
Team presentation5020 minutes1, 3-7, 9-11Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual written reportIndividual written report 2000 words1-11Refer/Defer period
Group presentationIndividual learning log 2000 words, reflecting on the individual contribution to each stage of the Think Tank group work including the preparation of the presentation1, 3-7, 9-11Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

You will be given a basic reading list and catalogue of other resources at the start of the module.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE –

Key words search

Liberal Arts, Interdisciplinary, Think Tank, Research, Professional

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

LIB1105 Being Human in the Modern World

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date