Communication for Development: Advances in Social Action, Planning and Evaluation

Course - second cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students autumn 2019, autumn 2018

Course Code:
KK625B revision 1.3
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Communication for Development
Date of ratification:
27 March 2015
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
28 August 2017
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
27 March 2015

Entry requirements

30 credits on advanced level in Communication for Development, Media- and Communication Studies, Development Studies or other Social Science discipline + English B.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included as a part of a general degree at graduate level.


This course aims to enhance skills and deepen knowledge around the use of strategic media and communication interventions used in international development cooperation. A variety of Communication for Development theories and methods are explored and students have the opportunity to independently plan, implement and evaluate a Communication for Development intervention.


The course has two modules:

Communicating and Planning Social Action (7.5 credits)
This module will explore social action as an agenda setting process offering students specific tools to assess and critically analyse different communication strategies for individual and social change. This will include a breakdown of behaviour change theories examining for example Behaviour Change Communication, Social Marketing and Communication for Social Change. Addressing specific case studies students will be asked to examine the different roles of a communication for development professional.

Evaluating Social Action (7.5 credits)
This second module focuses on monitoring and evaluation of communication for development interventions. This will include critical engagement with a range of different approaches and analytical methods with a specific emphasis on the qualitative frameworks developed by June Lennie and Jo Tacchi (2013). Students will apply the knowledge and skills they acquire to the evaluation of both their own and others communication initiatives.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After having completed the course the student will

1. Be familiar with various social and behaviour change models and their use in development interventions.

2. Understand the subsequent stages that constitute communication interventions aimed at social action or sustainable development: design and planning a strategy as well as monitoring and evaluating an intervention.

Skills and abilities
After having completed the course the student will

3. Have acquired a critical understanding of development project planning from a variety of perspectives including the role of locally and culturally-grounded insights, and data, and participatory engagement, and decision-making.

4. The ability to independently design and carry out a communication intervention aiming at social change and development including engaging in formative research, choosing change theories and models, engaging with communities, stakeholders and target audiences, designing and implementing a plan, developing potential indicators and reporting.

Critical skills and approach
After having completed the course the student will

5. To be able to critically reflect upon the complexity of using communication for transformative action, social change and sustainable development, including the ability to reflect critically on their own roll in these processes.

Learning activities

The course uses a 'convergence pedagogy' which combines online teaching and resources with intensive two day in situ seminars that students are expected to attend in person. All teaching is video streamed using online tools so that even students that cannot attend seminars in person can participate online. Course work will be a combination of individual assignments and group work projects. Peer review and collaboration between students is an important learning activity through out the course.


Learning outcomes 1 and 3 are assessed through a group work assignment, and individual literature review. Both assignments require students to analyse, contrast and compare different types of strategic communication initiative (3 credits).

Learning outcomes 2 and 4 are assessed through the planning and implementation (either individually or in pairs) of a simpler communication intervention (4.5 credits).

Learning outcomes 3, 4 and 5 are assessed through the evaluation, individually and as a group, of the student's own and other group members work (4.5 credits).

Learning outcome 5 is assessed through the completion of an individual diary or field journal documenting and reflecting critically over the learning process (3 credits).

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Enghel, Florencia & Karin Wilkins (eds.) (2012). Communication, Media and Development : Problems and Perspectives. Nordicom Review vol. 33/Glocal Times, issue 17/18
Hemer, Oscar and Thomas Tufte (eds.) (2005) Media and Glocal Change. Rethinking Communication for Development. Buenos Aires, Göteborg: CLACSO/Nordicom //
Lennie, June. & Tacchi, Jo. (2013). Evaluating communication for development: a framework for social change. New York: Routledge
Mefalopulos, Paulo and Thomas Tufte (2009). Participatory Communication. A practical guide. World Bank Working Paper 170. The World Bank
Patton, M. Q. (2012) Essentials of utilisation-focused evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Quarry, Wendy & Ramírez, Ricardo (2009) Communication for another development: listening before telling. London: Zed Books
Ramirez, Ricardo & Dal Brodhead (2013). Utilization Focused Evaluation : A primer for evaluators. Penang: Southbound
Available online
Wilkins, Karin. Tufte, Thomas and Obregon, Rafael (eds.) (2014) The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwel
Chapter 4, Wilkins, Karin (2014) Advocacy Communication pp. 58 - 71
Chapter 10, Wasiboard, Silvo (2014) The Strategic Politics of Participatory Communication pp.147 - 167
Chapter 17, McKnee, Neil. Becker-Benton and Bockh, Emily (2014) Social and Behaviour Change Communication pp. 279 – 297
Please note: The Hand Book in Development Communication is available as an online resource through the Malmö University library
Suggested additional and thematic readings will be announced at the beginning of the course

Course evaluation

The course is concluded with an individual course evaluation focusing on the goals of the
course. The evaluations are summarized and made available to the students at the completion of the course.

Interim rules

In a case when a course is no longer given, or the contents have been changed essentially, the
student has the right to two opportunities during a one year period to be examined according to the course plan which was valid at the time of registration. The exam opportunities are set by the department and it is the student’s responsibility to contact the department to find out how and when the re-examination will take place.

Other Information

The language of tuition is English.

To participate in the course students must have access to a stable Internet connection with bandwidth sufficient for streaming audio and video content and for the use of online video and audio conference call applications.