Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Social Science Dissertation
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation outling their research  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 12,000 word dissertation  90%
Supplementary Assessment Oral Presentation outling their research  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 12,000 word dissertation  90%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Plan, design and execute a piece of rigorous social science research.
2. Undertake research to high standards, including the collection of primary and/or secondary data (as appropriate).
3. Analyse research findings in a rigorous manner, employing appropriate techniques and analysing the results in the context of existing knowledge and theories.
4. Produce a substantial written dissertation in an appropriate academic style.
5. Demonstrate self-motivation, planning and initiative in working on an advanced project independently.
6. Present their research findings in a professional manner, both in a written format and in an assessed presentation.

Brief description

This module takes the form of a student-led advanced independent research project. An appropriate topic will be proposed by the student and approved by the degree and/or dissertation module coordinator. The project involves four stages: (i) the identification of a research topic and development of an appropriate research plan; (ii) empirical research to collect primary data and/or collate information from secondary sources, as appropriate for the research issue; (iii) the analysis of data and information, including the interpretation of findings in the context of existing knowledge and theories; (iv) The delivery of an assessed presentation; and (v) the production of a 12000 word dissertation


This module takes the form of a student-led independent research project. Each student will be allocated a supervisor after Easter of their second year who will provide guidance on the development and reporting of the project. Students will receive support for their independent study in a number of different contexts:

1. Sessions will be provided by the module convenor to introduce students to the module and the aims of the dissertation.

2. Supervisors will hold formal project supervision meetings with students at the end of the second year and during the third year. Over the course of the year, students are expected to meet their supervisors and tutor approximately six times, i.e. 6 x 30 minutes

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number If appropriate to the selected research topic, students may develop numerical skills through the collection, analysis and presentation of quantitative data.
Communication Written communication skills are developed through the production of the dissertation. Oral communication skills are not developed directly in this module, although they may be developed through empirical research where verbal research methods are employed (e.g. interviews and questionnaires).
Improving own Learning and Performance The intensive period of self-directed study undertaken on this module will provide students with an excellent opportunity to improve their own independent learning skills.
Information Technology Students will be expected to employ appropriate IT resources in identifying data sources and collecting data (e.g. internet, electronic information resources), in data analysis (e.g. statistical packages), and in producing the final dissertation (e.g. word processing and/or GIS and mapping packages).
Personal Development and Career planning Personal development and career planning may be developed through discussions with the student’s dissertation supervisor. In addition, the generic skills developed in the dissertation will have significant transferability to a wide range of career contexts.
Problem solving Problem solving skills are developed through the identification of research questions, an appropriate methodology and research plan, and through responses to difficulties experienced during data collection.
Research skills Research skills are developed through the collection and analysis of data appropriate for investigation of the research questions.
Subject Specific Skills Subject specific skills will be developed and assessed depending on the nature of the dissertation topic students study.
Team work These skills are not developed through this module


This module is at CQFW Level 6