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Department of Development Studies

Issues in development practice

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2

This module provides an introduction to development practice by examining some of the key challenges and constraints faced by development practitioners in the light of trends in development theory and policy. It is divided into three subject areas. First, a range of planning and management tools and frameworks employed by governments, donor agencies and NGOs are examined. These include tools associated with project cycle management including log frame analysis, participative planning and management, monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Second, the module examines the organisational challenges for improved development practice. This involves analysis of capacity building challenges including those relating to management, culture, leadership and learning. Finally how development agencies relate to one another, and approaches to coordinated action, are examined with a particular focus on managing external relations, building alliances and advocacy. Students are encouraged to develop their own particular interests within the module and to explore the implications of policy and practice in particular countries, by particular agencies or in specific sectors.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate:

  • a critical understanding of evolving debates on development practice and their significance in relation to actual practice
  • an understanding of how to use a number of development tools and frameworks, and an appreciation of their strengths and weaknesses
  • an appreciation of organisational issues in relation to development practice
  • an understanding of various approaches (and practical constraints) related to managing external relationships and policy development.


Teaching will take the form of a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial each week.

Method of assessment

One two hour written examination which will constitute 60% of the final mark, with the remaining 40% consisting of marks from an assessed essay. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 4000 words. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply to this module.