Module Information

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

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 Hours. 5 in Semester One and 5 in Semester Two.
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours


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.

Reading List

Essential Reading
E Bryman, Alan. (2008.) Social Research Methods 3rd ed. Oxford University Press Primo search E Gilbert, N (2008.) Researching social life /edited by Nigel Gilbert. 3rd ed. SAGE Primo search E,Crow, I. and Semmens, N. (2008.) Researching Criminology Open University Press Primo search
Recommended Text
(2000.) Doing criminological research /edited by Victor Jupp, Pamela Davies, Peter Francis. SAGE Primo search (2005 (various p) Research methods in the social sciences /edited by Bridget Somekh and Cathy Lewin. SAGE Primo search Bachman, Ronet. (c2011.) The practice of research in criminology and criminal justice /Ronet Bachman, Russell K. Schutt. 4th ed. SAGE Primo search Bayens, Gerald J. and Robertson C. (c2000.) Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice /Gerald J. Bayens, Cliff Roberson. Paper text ed. Copperhouse Pub. Co. Primo search Bernard, H. Russell (2000.) Social research methods :qualitative and quantitative approaches /by H. Russell Bernard. Sage Publications Primo search Bryman, Alan. (2008.) Social research methods /Alan Bryman. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press Primo search Champion, Dean J. (c2006.) Research methods for criminal justice and criminology /Dean John Champion. 3rd ed. Pearson/Prentice Hall Primo search David, Matthew. (2004.) Social research :the basics /Matthew David and Carole D. Sutton. SAGE Primo search Fitzgerald, Jack D. (Sept. 2001) Research Methods in Criminal Justice:An Introduction 3rd ed. Cengage Learning Primo search Maxfield, Michael G. (c2006.) Basics of research methods for criminal justice and criminology /Michael G. Maxfield, Earl Babbie. Thomson/Wadsworth Primo search May, Tim (2001.) Social research :issues, methods and process /Tim May. 3rd ed. Open University Primo search McIntyre, Lisa J. (May 2004) Need to Know:Social Science Research Methods McGraw-Hill Higher Education Primo search Neuman, William Lawrence (c2000.) Criminal justice research methods :qualitative and quantitative approaches /W. Lawrence Neuman, Bruce Wiegand. Allyn and Bacon Primo search Neuman, William Lawrence (2000.) Social research methods :qualitative and quantitative approaches /W. Lawrence Neuman. 4th ed. Allyn and Bacon Primo search Punch, Keith. (1998 (various p) Introduction to social research :quantitative and qualitative approaches /Keith F. Punch. SAGE Primo search R Jupp, V. (1989) Methods of Criminological Research Routledge. Primo search R Seale, C. (2004.) Social research methods :a reader /Edited by Clive Seale. Routledge Primo search Schutt, Russell K. (2001.) Investigating the social world :the process and practice of research /Russell K. Schutt. 3rd ed. Pine Forge Press Primo search Walliman, Nicholas S. R. (2006.) Social research methods /Nicholas Walliman. 1st ed. Sage Publications Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6