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Module SXU-3010:

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Stefan Machura

Overall aims and purpose

The general aim of this dissertation module is to allow for a substantial element of independent study, to complement the taught components of the degree programme.

The aims of the module are to: 1. Provide a framework and guidance for conducting individual independent study. 2. Assist students in the development of their analytical and written skills. 3. Enable students to acquire an understanding of the methodological issues involved in undertaking a piece of social scientific research.

Course content

The dissertation is a substantial piece of work. The completed dissertation submitted at level 6 (year 3) consists of a written piece of work of 6,000 words. Within this module students will build on work begun at level 5, and work towards the completion of the dissertation. This will involve the refinement or expansion of the literature review begun at level 5, and will include discussion of major themes arising from the literature.

Research for the dissertation may include a small amount of primary empirical research, for example a qualitative or quantitative study conducted by the student under the direction of their supervisor. Throughout the module, students will be engaged mainly in developing their analysis of the literature and any other data collected, and in writing the dissertation.

Assessment Criteria


Present a dissertation that addresses one or more substantive topic(s); describe some of the main empirical and/or methodological issues arising from the literature and any other data collected during the course of research; present an adequate extended piece of written work with basic bibliographic sources and referencing.


Present a coherent and competent dissertation; analyse a range of empirical, theoretical and methodological issues, as appropriate to the topic studied; demonstrate a sound awareness of the position of the topic studied within the relevant social science discipline(s); provide sound bibliographic support, with correct referencing.


Present a highly competent dissertation; display a critical awareness of empirical, theoretical and methodological issues, as appropriate to the topic studied; put forward cogent arguments in support of the core themes of the dissertation; demonstrate good awareness of the position of the topic studied within the relevant social science discipline(s), and an ability to engage critically with contemporary debates within the relevant literature; provide well-organised and thorough bibliographic information.

Learning outcomes

  1. Present a substantial piece of written work (6,000 words) based on their own research in this module.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
DISSERTATION Dissertation 6,000 words (Sem2) 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy


2 one hour drop-in sessions at the first two weeks of semester 1 with the allocated dissertation tutor 9 drop-in sessions of 20 minutes each with the dissertation tutor spread out over semesters 1 and 2

Individual Project

Students working individually on their BA dissertation, supported by a supervisor, who can be contacted about any issues.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Critically evaluate the mixed economy of welfare and the interrelationships between health and social care and between the agencies, practitioners and individuals involved in their provision;
  • Explain the origins and nature of the social organisation of healthcare and associated services in advanced industrialised and majority world societies globally;
  • Evaluate the impact of difference and diversity on the incidence and experience of illness;
  • Compare and contrast cultural variations in medicine;
  • Analyse health and health issues, alongside health information and data that may be drawn from a wide range of disciplines;
  • Draw upon, and consider, lived experiences of health, well-being and illness from diverse sources and perspectives.
  • Capacity to identify and describe the causes and consequences of social order and change in specific contexts.
  • Ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions.
  • Appreciate a range of research designs and strategies and how they may be applied to sociological investigations.
  • Competence to carry out a piece of sociological research using either primary or secondary data, or both.
  • Be able to recognize how social data and sociological knowledge apply to questions of public policy.
  • Use the theories and concepts of social policy and other social sciences to analyse policy problems and issues
  • Undertake either on their own, or in collaboration with others, investigations of social questions, issues and problems, using statistical and other data derived from research publications.
  • Analyse and discuss social policy and related issues distinguishing between normative and empirical questions
  • The ability to identify criminological problems, formulate questions and investigate them
  • Competence in using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance; and representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the traditional and new media and official reports
  • The capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime
  • The ability to recognise a range of ethical problems associated with research and to take action in accordance with the guidelines of ethical practice developed by the British Society of Criminology and cognate professional bodies
  • The ability to identify and deploy a range of research strategies including qualitative and quantitative methods and the use of published data sources and to select and apply appropriate strategies for specific research problems; and the ability to present the philosophical and methodological background to the research of others and to one's own research.
  • the ability to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions
  • competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life
  • the capacity to analyse, assess and communicate empirical sociological information
  • the ability to identify a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • the ability to conduct sociological research
  • the ability to undertake and present scholarly work
  • the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry
  • the ability to recognise the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public and civic policy.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: