Dissertation:Politics - PO998

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 60 (30) DR B Seyd




This Module is for students on MA courses in the School of Politics and International Relations only.



This module offers an introduction to writing a postgraduate dissertation, which forms a major assessed element of the Masters programme. The dissertation is on a topic that falls within the scope of each student's MA programme. The purpose of the dissertation is to give students the leeway and time to follow and develop their own particular research interests, while receiving guidance from members of staff. Supervision of work on the dissertation is concentrated in the second half of the academic year (spring-summer). The module offers a general overview of the components of the dissertation, along with identifying methods and techniques for writing a successful dissertation.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 8
Private study hours: 592
Total study hours: 600

Method of assessment

100% coursework - Presentation at Student Conference (10%) Dissertation (90%)

Indicative reading

• Stella Cottrell, Dissertation and Project Reports: a Step by Step Guide, Palgrave 2014
• Jonathan Biggam, Succeeding with your Master's Dissertation: a Step by Step Handbook, Open University Press, 2011 (2nd edition)
• Mark. J. Smith, Social Science in Question, London: Sage, 2003
• Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods, Oxford University Press, 2012 (4th edition)
• David Marsh and Gerry Stoker, Theory and Methods in Political Science, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (3rd edition)
• Peter Burnham, Karin Gilland, Wyn Grant, and Zig Layton-Henry, Research Methods in Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 (2nd edition)
• Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994
• Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2008 (3rd edition)
• Kjell Erik Rudestam and Rae R. Newton, Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process, London: Sage, 2007 (3rd edition)
• Gina Wisker, The Postgraduate Research Handbook: Succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007 (2nd edition)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this module are as follows:

• Awareness of how to formulate a meaningful and feasible research question
• Awareness of the need to be methodical and systematic in their studies, and to be critical in their use of work done by other political and social scientists
• Familiarity with learning resources in politics and international relations
• Familiarity with the theories, concepts and methods relevant to their research topic
• An ability to critically engage with political phenomena, including the vocabulary, concepts, theories and methods of political debate
• An ability to examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues, events and solutions to problems
• An ability to describe, evaluate and apply different approaches involved in collecting, analysing and presenting research information
• Familiarity with the various conventions of academic writing (style, footnoting, bibliography etc.)

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