Dissertation - SOCI9980

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Module delivery information

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


The aims of this module are two-fold:
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 provide students with an assessed opportunity to apply their skills as 'research-minded' practitioners with a view to being able to undertake future research in practice settings and/or take a lead role in supervising others in such work.

During the spring term, the students will finalise their dissertation proposal with their chosen supervisor (having received prior guidance on the aims, the structure and the process of the dissertation). 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 regularly to discuss the progress of their dissertation. The supervisors will provide feedback on written work and will set work plans and targets for the students. The dissertation topic will relate to a key question, issue and problem within social science.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 3
Private study hours: 597
Total study hours: 600


* Criminology MA
* International Social Policy MA
* Methods of Social Research MA
* Sociology MA
Political Sociology MA
* 'Two-year Masters' versions of the appropriate programmes above

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – dissertation (12,000) - 100%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Biggam, J (2017) Succeeding with your master's dissertation (4th edn), London, McGraw-Hill education : Open University Press
Burnett, J (2009), Doing your social science dissertation, Sage
Furseth, I and Everett, E (2013), Doing your master's dissertation, Sage
Hart, C (2005), Doing your master's dissertation, Sage
Meloy, J (2002), Writing the qualitative dissertation, Lawrence Erlbaum
Rudestam, K and Newton R (2015), Surviving your dissertation : a comprehensive Guide to Content and process (4th edn), Los Angeles, Sage Publications

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theoretical approaches within sociology, criminology and social policy and to evaluate their application to the chosen research topic and questions.
8.2 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.
8.3 Identify research strategies and methods and/or research publications, and illustrate their use in gaining knowledge in sociology, criminology and social policy.
8.4 Demonstrate the critical ability to undertake investigations of social questions, issues and problems.
8.5 Demonstrate originality in the critical analysis of research data and literature relevant to the chosen topic area
8.6 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the complex social, ethical and political context in which social science research takes place.
8.7 Demonstrate the capacity to properly execute a formulated a research question, research proposal, and to execute a piece of independent research using primary and/or secondary data sources or other research publications.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 The ability to communicate a line of argument in writing using appropriate technical aids as necessary.
9.2 The ability to critically assess and summarise arguments, reports, documents and other written data.
9.3 The capacity for self-directed and independent study and the application of learning to the production of a single piece of original research; and the ability to organise learning in terms of employing time management skills, and the capacity to work to deadlines.
9.4 Problem-solving skills: evidence of an ability to propose alternative solutions to social questions, issues, problems.
9.5 Evaluative and analytical skills: an ability to provide accurate descriptive summaries of arguments, reports, documents and other written and verbal data.


  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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