Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM038: Data Governance and Ethics

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Aims

This module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills to reason around the complex issues of data governance and ethics, and make good decisions in your own professional and personal practice of data management. The module introduces the key ethical questions around the use of big data and associated technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and places them in the broader framework of contemporary digital society (including its reliance on automation, social media and related platforms for communication and service provision). The legal and social contexts for decision-making, and their social and philosophical significance, will be explored through a number of real-world case studies. Each case study will be examined from end to end, beginning with a real-world example of data collection, storage and analysis, following the possible (intended and unintended) ways in data is subsequently used to support decision-making, and considering the ethical and legal issues that arise at each stage. Key issues such as data protection, open data, citizen science and use (and mis-use) of social data will be explored through lectures and seminars.

Guest lectures by practitioners responsible for data governance in different contexts will enrich the course content.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Evaluate the choices made at each stage of a data science process and the associated legal, ethical and governance issues.
2. Identify key social concerns in relation to digital tools within contemporary society.
3. Understand the core regulatory and legislative frameworks that govern collection, storage, processing and communication of data.
4. Assess and critically evaluate the differing costs and benefits associated with use of data when considered from perspectives of data user, data provider, decision-maker and regulator.
Discipline-Specific Skills5. Evaluate the social contexts of data science and related technologies, including current issues such as open data, data protection, automated data analysis, and misuse of data and related analytics.
6. Critically reflect on the ethical considerations associated with use of data within organisations and governments.
7. Display a comprehensive and critical understanding of key contributions to scholarship on data studies and the digital society.
Personal and Key Skills8. Effectively communicate complex ideas using written and verbal methods appropriate to the intended audience.
9. Demonstrate cognitive skills of critical and reflective thinking.
10. Demonstrate effective independent study and research skills.