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 and the process of the dissertation. During the spring term, the students will finalise their dissertation 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.
Total contact hours: 9
Private study hours: 591
Total study hours: 600
Method of assessment
Main assessment methods
Coursework – dissertation (12,000-15,000 words) - 100%
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)
The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
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.
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.
3.Identify research strategies and methods and/or research publications, and illustrate their use in gaining knowledge in sociology, criminology and social policy.
4.Demonstrate the critical ability to undertake investigations of social questions, issues and problems.
5.Demonstrate originality in the critical analysis of research data and literature relevant to the chosen topic area
6.Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the complex social, ethical and political context in which social science research takes place.
7.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.
The intended generic learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.The ability to communicate a line of argument in writing using appropriate technical aids as necessary.
2.The ability to critically assess and summarise arguments, reports, documents and other written data.
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.
4.Problem-solving skills: evidence of an ability to propose alternative solutions to social questions, issues, problems.
5.Evaluative and analytical skills: an ability to provide accurate descriptive summaries of arguments, reports, documents and other written and verbal data.
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Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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