Preparing Your Dissertation - SOCI9981

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 5 (2.5) David Garbin checkmark-circle


The module will serve to provide students with an overview of the scope and expectations of a dissertation at MA-level. We discuss the ethical challenges of doing empirical research in the 21st century, and prepare students for carrying out an independent piece of research within a given timeframe. If the dissertation requires ethical research approval, an application will be submitted to the School research ethics committee.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 6
Private study hours: 44
Total study hours: 50


Compulsory to the following programmes:
* Criminology MA
* International Social Policy MA
Methods of Social Research MA
Sociology MA
* 'Two year Masters' versions of the programme above

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
This module is assesses on a pass/fail basis, and comprises a portfolio of research activities (100%).

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Biggam, J (2011), Succeeding with your master's dissertation, Open University Press
Flick, U., (2020), Introducing Research Methodology: Thinking Your Way Through Your Research Project. Sage.
Hart, C (2005), Doing your master's dissertation, Sage
Kara, H., (2018), Research ethics in the real world: Euro-Western and Indigenous perspectives. Policy Press.
Levin, P., (2012), Excellent dissertations! McGraw-Hill Education (UK). (available online)
Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M. and Jessop, J. eds., (2012), Ethics in qualitative research. Sage.
Walliman, N., (2019), Your Research Project: Designing, Planning, and Getting Started. SAGE

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Develop original ideas on complex topics into focussed research questions that relate to an identified academic literature, aligned to an appropriate research design;
2. Be able to critically reflect on the ethical issues raised by social research, and to autonomously develop research designs that are both ethical in a broader, critical sense and which (more narrowly) meet the requirements of research ethics governance;
3. Critically engage with the methodological choices made in published research studies based on a systematic understanding of appropriate research techniques.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Manage their time, prioritise workloads and manage stress as well taking responsibility for their learning and professional development;
2. Solve problems that are common in social research;
3. Understand and appropriately respond to feedback.


  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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