The Use of Debating as an Aid to Effective Widening Participation in Psychology

Joy Coogan, Chris Pawson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


The UK widening participation agenda is in place to unlock the doors of universities for many students. However, contrary to popular belief, beyond the higher education sector, this widening of participation need not mean a reduction in academic standards. It does, however, demand a different approach to learning and teaching and, the authors argue, a degree of innovation. This paper focuses on one way in which the ‘less traditional’ student can participate in an effective course of study by starting at Level 0 and using nontraditional means of assessment, to which their often less academic backgrounds are better suited in the early stages of their studies. The particular module discussed herein introduces key studies in psychology using the skills of debating and essay writing. The evaluation of this module shows that the students gained a great deal of confidence from debating and enjoyed the experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology Learning Teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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