Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Empirically Based Criminology Dissertation
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 5 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 2 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Dissertation  : 12,000 - 20,000 words to be submitted in Semester 2  100%
Supplementary Assessment Dissertation  : 12,000 - 20,000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Design a research question which is able to be tested through an empirical project

2. Demonstrate an ability to place that question within a theoretical context

3. Demonstrate the ability to carry out an effective literature review

4. Demonstrate an ability to choose and design the methodology which will best throw light on the research question(s)

5. Identify and deal with common methodological problems

6. Collect data

7. Analyse and critically evaluate research data

8. Demonstrate the ability to interpret findings

9. Draw conclusions based on the findings

10. Ensure that the conclusions reached are clearly supported by the data

11. Place findings in the broader context of theory and policy

12. Provide a logical and clear presentation and writing up of their findings.

Brief description

Academic rationale of the proposal: It is important to encourage students to develop the knowledge and skills taught in the first year in the Criminology Research Skills module by allowing them to carry out their own empirical research. This module allows them to learn to identify a research question(s) which is(are) able to be tested through an empirical project and place them within broader theory.

Brief Description: This module will enable students to design carry out and write up a rigorous empirical research project in Criminology.

Content: The research topic is chosen by the student on advice from staff.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This will be required. The critical evaluation of quantitative materials, whether their own or those of other researchers, requires analysis of numerical information. Students will be introduced to the use and analysis of numerical information, especially statistical information used in empirical research.
Communication Oral skills will not be assessed but students will be required to defend their design and methodology to both their supervisor and to other students in their group.
Improving own Learning and Performance Most students will opt to complete their own empirical project which will necessarily develop independent work which will then be assessed. Where they choose to embark on a group project each student within the project will be required to take control of a specific element of the research and their individual input will be assessed on their achievement within this section. Assessment of the individual within the group will be both by both peer assessment and by group presentations/vivas.
Information Technology Empirical research necessitates the use of IT packages, especially for the presentation of data. Research always requires the use of the libraries paper based and electronic sources as well as the web and we will expect this to be no different from other modules.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will require a high level of independent research activity, time management and an understanding of when to draw research to a close. The module aims to develop transferable skills such as research, analysis, critical evaluation, statistical evaluation which are valuable in many professional contexts.
Problem solving To set a viable topic for research, set a research question, design methodology, apply it and analyse the results. Each element of this requires problem solving skills.
Research skills (a) to develop an appreciation of the research potential of subjects through the choice of a viable topic for research; (b) to develop research skills as regards the location of relevant material, in particular through the use of bibliographical guides and subject databases; (c) to develop the skills associated with the designing, planning, organising, collecting results and analysis of results and timetabling of a sustained piece of research over a period of some months; (d) to develop the ability to organise ideas and order material for the effective presentation of argument and data; (e) to develop academic writing skills for purposes of presenting a clear, articulate and readable account of the subject in question in a substantial written format of 6000 - 10,000 words.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Some students may choose to embark on a group project and then there will be an assessment of how well the group has worked as well as individual assessment both of their ability to work as part of a group and of their individual contribution. Where students work individually on their projects they will be called together to discuss their research in groups. In lectures they will also be expected to carry out small exercises, and to solve or discuss various problems within groups.


This module is at CQFW Level 6