Digital Societies - The Living Lab SOCIO5104

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course "The Living Lab" is designed as a synthesis of the courses "Theory and Substantive Issues in the Digital Age" (SOCIO5102) and "Practicing Research and Working with Data in the Digital Age" (SOCIO5102), proposed for the 1st semester. The Living Lab creates a context that has both technological resources and community resources for research. It has the support of technology providers and organisations and communities in the area. In this course, students will apply both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills they have gained in those two courses.

Working with supervision from the course lecturers, they will create and conduct a small pilot project. with participants from the University's smart campus, related innovation district and Glasgow local authority organisations and community groups. Students will learn to engage with research participants and with digital technologies for their projects. This will involve them developing communication and digital skills such as setting up a webpage and a blog. Students may also choose to undertake an internship to gain knowledge of working in industry, the public sector or third sector in the area of digital social research. They will have access to large corporations, SMEs and non-profit and community organisations.


While some links with external collaborators and suitable practitioners are already in place, an agreement about whether and under which conditions students may conduct practical work outside the classroom has not been firmly established.


5 in class sessions of 2 hrs each (weeks 1-3, weeks 9 and 10). 5 sessions of practical work

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



At least one of the 2 core courses Digital Society-Theory and Substantive Issues (SOCIO5103) or Practicing Research and Working with Data in the Digital Age (SOCIO5102) must be completed before enrolling on the Living Lab course.


The sole assessment (100% of the total module mark) will be in the form of a 4000-word research report from the Pilot Project undertaken during the module (see Living Lab section). The research report should include:

■ a critical reflection on the research and learning process underpinning the pilot project as well as the opportunities and challenges raised by collaborating with non-academic/community-based partners

■ a critical reflection on specific technologies used in the pilot as well as distinct problem-based solutions adopted throughout the research process

■ a summary of key findings and a set of practical recommendations ensuing the research.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with the skills for designing and implementing research outside of the classroom. By employing a problem-based approach, the aim Is to develop four dimensions of learning: constructive, collaborative, contextual and self-directed. The course teaches research and critical skills in real research contexts. It also develops communication skills and research skills in a fully supported and supervised environment. The practical work from the Living Lab can be continued and deepened into the dissertation/final practical project.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Demonstrate an extensive and detailed knowledge about the steps and preparation necessary for designing a small research project in different areas of social life where there is a strong element of digitalisation;


■ Apply a significant range of notions of project design and digital sociology in constructing a feasible plan for a pilot study;


■ Produce critically complex and empirically relevant arguments in relation to the empirical context in which the out-of-class teaching takes place;


■ Use a wide set of communicational, technological, interpersonal skills necessary in conducting research in different social environments (e.g. corporate, NGO etc.)


■ Develop an ample evaluation, in both written and oral form, of the ways in which the social processes and realities in question are shaped by digital technology.  


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.