Introducing the Complete Case Study into an Australian Undergraduate Sociology Major

Brenton Prosser, Alastair Greig, Shanti Sumartojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, higher education institutions have paid greater attention to establishing learning thresholds, benchmarks and outcomes for the teaching of sociology. This paper explores how course redesign using case studies can align with the recently established Australian Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for sociology, and assesses its advantages and challenges for students and lecturers. Case studies are common components of undergraduate courses in the social sciences; either as illustrative examples provided by teachers or as discrete participatory exercises for students. However, little has been written on integrating case studies into single-semester courses, or how teachers can navigate institutional and disciplinary requirements when delivering such courses. In this paper, we describe the development and delivery of a later-year undergraduate course in sociology that used a student-led ‘complete case study’ project to enhance students’ research skills and/or prepare them for higher-level research projects. We begin by explaining how our methods were inspired by the work of Pierre Bourdieu and the practice of ‘relational pedagogy’. We then discuss how these aims aligned with the emergent Australian TLOs with the participating university’s learning objectives of student engagement and questioning. We also reflect on the constraints and challenges presented by delivering case studies to undergraduate students
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEnhancing Learning in the Social Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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