Research Dissertation - SO679

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn and Spring 6 30 (15) DR M Mills checkmark-circle


This module aims to enable students to design and conduct their own piece of research. This can be primary research where students collect and analyse their own data, or it can be library based, where students research existing literature or re-analyse data collected by others. The research can be about a particular policy or policy area, social problem, social development, or matter of sociological interest. The dissertation will usually be set out as a series of chapters. In order to assist students with designing and writing a dissertation a supervisor – a member of staff in SSPSSR - will have an initial meeting with students (during the summer term of Year 2 where possible) and then during the Autumn and Spring terms students will have at least six formal dissertation sessions with their supervisor. These may be held individually or with other students. In addition there will be two lectures by the module convenor which will also support students’ progress.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Two sessions (two hours each, one in Autumn term and one in Spring term) with module convenor and subject librarian. Meetings with supervisor every 4 weeks to cover topics such as project design/ identifying a research questions; literature search; critical analysis; dissertation design; and writing styles.

Method of assessment

2,500 word interim coursework submission (25%) 12,500 word dissertation (75%)

Indicative reading

Aveyard, H. (2014) Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide, 3rd edition, Open University Press
Aveyard, Sharp and Wooliams (2011) A beginner’s guide to critical thinking and writing, Open University Press

Bell, J. (2005) Doing your Research project, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Cottrell, S. (2003) The Study Skills Handbook, Basingstoke, Palgrave

Crème, P. & Lee, M. (2003) Writing at University, Maidenhead, Open University Press.
Denscombe, M. (2010) The Good Research Guide 4th edition, Open University Press
Denscombe, M. (2012) Research Proposals: A Practical Guide, Open University Press
Girden, E. (2001) Evaluating research articles from start to finish, London, Sage.
Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review, London, Sage.
May, T. (1997) Social Research, Issues, Methods and Process, Buckingham, Open University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Ability to identify a social research question

Skill in identifying appropriate means of investigating selected research question
Ability to test research question in terms of findings
Skill in understanding and putting into practice links between theory and research
Skill in understanding and putting into practice links between theory and research
Skill in systematically writing up the selection and investigation of, findings, and implications of a specified research question
Bibliographic and computer search skills
Skill in critical thinking, analysis and synthesis, including ability to evaluate statements in relation to evidence, line of reasoning and implicit values
Ability to distinguish between technical, normative, moral and political questions
Ability critically to assess scholarly theory and data and their implications


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  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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