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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation by Placement (MSc Childhood Studies) (PGSP11384)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryStudents will undertake a 15,000 word dissertation linked to a work-based placement on a topic related to Childhood Studies issues, to be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations, usually mid-August. The dissertation will comprise a 12,000 word research paper and a 3,000 word project diary. The placements generally consist of eight weeks of on-location research with a host organisation in the UK or overseas, from our network of contacts, which includes NGOs, charities, social enterprises, think-tanks and government bodies.

The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship in which a student is expected to formulate and sustain a substantive piece of independent research in Childhood Studies. Previous placement students have produced briefing papers, literature reviews, project progress reports, field monitoring reports, grant proposals, annual reports, policy documents, and field based research outputs. The final 3,000 word diary will be submitted alongside the research paper, and fortnightly draft submissions will also be required.

The work is expected to engage critically and analytically with the literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theories introduced in the taught elements of the degree and deploying a range of primary and secondary sources as well as appropriate data-analytic and bibliographic skills. Each student will be allocated a research supervisor by the end of the second semester to advise on and oversee her/his research progress.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 580 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be on the basis of:

1. A Project Diary of a maximum 3,000 words, worth 20% of the final mark.

The diary is designed to assess the student's performance in the placement organisation. The diary will consist of a fortnightly progress report sent to the academic supervisor and the Placement Coordinator. The student will submit the final diary alongside the research paper; the two comprise the dissertation.

The diary aims to:
- Track the development of the placement and include comments on the issues raised as the student develops his/her knowledge of the project placement.

- Reflect the personal development of the student within the placement situation, making reference to the skills being developed.

The diary should include a description of the work undertaken, an analysis of how this fits into the overall aims and objectives of the placement, a description and analysis of any obstacles encountered in fulfilling these aims and objectives, a description and analysis of the attempts made to overcome these obstacles and their relative success, and a description and analysis of what went well.

The diary will be assessed according to the following criteria:
a. Evidence of regular entries.
b. Evidence of a clear engagement with the work of the organisation.
c. Evidence of critical reflection on the work being undertaken and skills developed.

2. A Research Paper of a maximum 12,000 words, worth 80% of the final mark.

The research paper will be assessed according to the following criteria:

- Clear definition of the task
- Degree of reflexivity and critical thinking
- Development and coherence of arguments
- Evidence of the use and application of appropriate methods
- Review of literature and contextualisation of report within the academic literature
- Use of supporting evidence and evaluation of evidence
- Drawing together major arguments by way of conclusion in relation to the original research or policy problem
- Evidence that the report is of value to the project placement organisation
- Formal presentation of report, following academic conventions
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Undertake independent work on a topic chosen in conjunction with a host organisation, drawing on knowledge and insights from courses taken within the MSc in Childhood Studies
  2. Display and extend their research and analytical skills, training and knowledge acquired in the previous coursework, and apply them to the agreed project
  3. Exercise and consolidate their time-management, task-management, and self-motivational skills in the planning, conduct, and execution of their research
  4. Develop and refine their communication and presentational skills
  5. Demonstrate attention to the relevant data analysis, referencing, and bibliographic skills necessary to complete the report
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Morag Treanor
Tel: (0131 6)50 3918
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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