Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 60 (30) Paolo Dardanelli checkmark-circle
Year 7 60 (30) Paolo Dardanelli checkmark-circle


This module builds on and applies the skills and learning outcomes attained in Stage 1 of all PGT courses, and in particular Research Methods 1 & 2. It does so through the assessment of individual MA thesis projects, including via oral presentation and a final thesis document. This dissertation forms a major assessed element of the Masters course and is on a topic that falls within the scope of your MA. The overall goal is to help you move through the components of the dissertation, including the actual research as well as presenting and writing up your findings.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 13
Private study hours: 587
Total study hours: 600


All Politics and International Relations postgraduate courses

Method of assessment

Presentation (10%)
Dissertation, 12000 words (90%)

Reassessment method: 100% coursework

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)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Have a good understanding of the issues involved in formulating a meaningful and feasible research question, as well as of the ways of dealing with these issues.
8.2 Understand how to work methodically and systematically in their studies, and to adopt a critical perspective in their use of work done by other political and social scientists
8.3 Be able to apply their knowledge and skills to a research project that they have developed on their own.
8.4 Be able to conduct an advanced academic research project, present the findings, and write-up in a concise and coherent manner.
8.5 Have a good familiarity with learning resources in politics and international relations, including primary and secondary sources, and different forms of data and other empirical materials.
8.6 Critically engage with political phenomena, including the vocabulary, concepts, theories and methods of political debate
8.7 Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events and solutions to political problems.
8.8 Describe, evaluate and apply different intellectual approaches in collecting, analysing and presenting political information.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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