Research Dissertation - POLI6880

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


POLI6880 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science, or liberal arts topic close to their specialist interests. The dissertation module gives them the opportunity to further these interests and acquire a wide range of study and research skills in the process. All dissertation topics have to be approved by the module convenor as well as by an academic supervisor. The module takes students through the entire process of writing a dissertation (8,000 words long): from the original 'problem' to a suitable research ‘question’, to choosing a method, to designing the research, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting the dissertation, to revising and writing the dissertation, and finally to submitting the dissertation. Lectures, supervision and a conference help students along the way. The curriculum includes structured opportunities for students to discuss their research ideas with each other as well as mock panel presentations in preparation for the student conference.


Contact hours

Total contact hours 32
Private study hours 268
Total study hours 300


Compulsory to all Liberal Arts programmes.
Optional module to all students in the School of Politics and IR.
Not available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Student Conference Presentation, 15-20 minutes (15%)
Dissertation Outline, 1000 words (10%)
Dissertation, 8000 words (75%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

• Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 3rd Edition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008)
• Stella Cottrell, Dissertations and Project Reports: A Step by Step Guide (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014)
• Stella Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook, 4th Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2013)
• Bryan Greetham, How to Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation, 2nd Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014)
• Sandra Halperin and Oliver Heath, Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
• Martin Davies and Nathan Hughes, Doing a Successful Research Project Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods, 2nd Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2014)
• David Marsh and Gerry Stoker (eds.), Theory and Methods in Political Science, 3rd Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010)
• Dimiter Toshkov, Research Design in Political Science (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 demonstrate systematic understanding of the academic literature relevant to their research project
8.2 construct a feasible and significant research question
8.3 locate, explain and justify the significance of their research by relating it to ongoing debates in the relevant literature
8.4 analyse and deploy the theories, concepts and methods relevant to their research projects
8.5 develop a research design to enable them to answer their central research question
8.6 be able, within the framework of the research design, to conduct research that relates to the forefront of the discipline
8.7 draw on feedback from peers and academic supervisors, exercise reflection and self-criticism
8.8 communicate the findings of their research effectively and fluently, both orally (in a conference setting) and in a substantial piece of writing (8,000-word dissertation)


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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