Dissertation - SO998

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 4)
Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 60 (30)


Students are required to have successfully completed Stage 1 of the programmes - this module is compulsory





The aims of this module are twofold:

First, to provide students with the opportunity to independently carry out an in-depth inquiry to investigate a research question(s) of their choice, producing a coherent review of the relevant literature, a logical discussion and a clearly communicated set of conclusions in the form of a dissertation.

Second, to prepare students to become ‘research-minded’ practitioners in order that they have the capacity to undertake research in practice settings and/or take a lead role in supervising others in such work.

The following represents the likely format for curriculum delivery:

In mid-November, there will be a two-hour workshop, which will outline the aims, the structure, the process of the dissertation. During the spring term, the students will finalise their proposal with their chosen supervisor. If the dissertation requires ethical research approval, an application will be submitted to the school research ethics committee by the beginning of the summer term. During the summer term and vacation, students will meet their supervisor every fortnight to discuss the progress of their dissertation. The supervisors will provide feedback on written work and will set monthly work plans and targets for the students. The dissertation topic will relate to a key question, issue and problem within social science.


This module appears in:


Summer term and vacation

Method of assessment

The assessment of this module is based 100% on a completed dissertation, which will be between 12-15,000 words (including bibliography, footnotes and appendices). The range reflects the different programmes that use this module. Through completion of their dissertation students will demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge pertaining to carrying out an in-depth independent research enquiry at Masters Level.

Preliminary reading

Furseth, I and Everett, E (2013), Doing your master's dissertation, Sage
Hart, C (2005), Doing your master’s dissertation, Sage
Biggam, J (2011) Succeeding with your master’s dissertation, Open University Press
Rudestam, K and Newton R (2001), Surviving your dissertation, 2nd Edition, Sage Publications
Meloy, J (2002), Writing the qualitative dissertation, Lawrence Erlbaum
Burnett, J (2009), Doing your social science dissertation, Sage

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, student will be able to:

Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theoretical approaches within sociology, criminology and social policy and to evaluate their application to the chosen research topic and questions;

Critically analyse the nature of social relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions and the nature of social change and stability, drawing upon an extensive review of literature and/or qualitative and quantitative research techniques;

Identify research strategies and methods and/or research publications, and illustrate their use in gaining knowledge in sociology, criminology and social policy;

Demonstrate the critical ability to undertake investigations of social questions, issues and problems;

Demonstrate originality in the critical analysis of research data and literature relevant to the chosen topic area;

Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the complex social, ethical and political context in which social science research takes place;

Demonstrate the capacity to formulate a research question, to produce a research proposal, and to plan and execute a piece of independent research using primary and/or secondary data sources or other research publications.

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