Postgraduate Course: Dissertation (MSc/Dip Social Research) (PGSP11057)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||All students undertake a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic (largely) of their choosing.
The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship which provides an opportunity to pursue in some depth an interest. It should be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations. It should demonstrate an ability to engage critically and analytically in literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree. There is usually expected to be a balance of empirical and theoretical work. However, students are not required to conduct primary empirical research. The subject should be chosen iteratIvely on the basis of students' own interests, what subjects staff are able to supervise, and what is feasible in terms of the literature and time available.
Each Masters programme culminates in a dissertation or equivalent extended, self-directed piece of work. The dissertation is an extended piece of writing of up to 15,000 words, based on independent study of a topic largely of the student's choosing. It tests students' ability to conduct research autonomously, to organise effectively bigger quantities of information and to communicate their research findings in a fluent and structured fashion.
The dissertation is the element of a Masters degree which most clearly differentiates it as an 'advanced' course. It is also the point at which the student progresses from the externally structured study of set courses to independent self-structured study.
You are free to choose any research strategy and methods that seem appropriate and practical to answer your research question. MSc dissertations can thus take a variety of forms, including:
- Analysis of documents, such as policy documents
- Analysis of secondary data (quantitative or qualitative data)
- Fieldwork-based, involving the generation or collection of primary data
- Analysis primarily aimed at advancing conceptual and/or theoretical insights
- Any combination of the above.
The dissertation is your chance to undertake an extended piece of scholarship. It gives you the opportunity to pursue in some depth an academic interest in a topic (largely) of your choosing. The dissertation is an extended piece of writing of up to 15,000 words, based on independent and self-directed study. In assessing the dissertation, examiners look for similar analytical and presentational qualities to those expected in all coursework. In addition, they expect the dissertation to explore the chosen topic in much greater depth, and to sustain a coherent analysis of considerably greater length.
You are expected to demonstrate your ability to engage critically and analytically with literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree. Students usually undertake a balance of empirical and theoretical work, but are not specifically required to conduct primary empirical research. The subject will be determined on the basis of your own interests, the expertise of staff, and what is feasible in terms of the literature and time available. Therefore, choose a topic that interests you, and which has a clear focus and definable boundaries.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 6,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A standard dissertation will be assessed according to the following criteria:
1. Formulation and presentation of research problem
2. Review of literature and contextualisation of study
3. Discussion of methods used to collect and analyse relevant information, including ethics
4. Development and coherence of arguments
5. Use of supporting evidence and evaluation of evidence
6. Drawing together major arguments by way of conclusion in relation to the original research problem
7. Degree of reflexivity, critical thinking and originality of argument
8. Formal presentation of dissertation: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; layout and visual presentation
||Your dissertation will be blind double-marked during September/October of the year of your programme. This means that two internal examiners will read and mark your dissertation independently, then meet to agree the final mark. One marker may be your Supervisor, the other will be an independent internal marker. All dissertations are marked anonymously. Your dissertation may also be reviewed by an external examiner as part of the examination process, and all marks are confirmed at the Board of Examiners in October. You should be aware that the University Regulations do not allow a dissertation to be referred or resubmitted. Any student who does not pass the dissertation may be eligible to receive the Diploma, provided their coursework marks are sufficient. The degree is normally awarded at the November graduation.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Undertake a sustained piece of supervised but independent work which displays the research skills, training and knowledge acquired in the previous coursework
- Demonstrate an ability to engage critically and analytically with the literature in the field of their specialist interest
- Employ relevant social science concepts and theories in formulating a thesis
- Identify and explore a body of primary sources
- Manage the conduct, presentation, and timing of an independent research project, employing appropriate data analysis
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
|Course organiser||Dr Alan Marshall
Tel: (0131 6)51 1462
|Course secretary||Mr Jack Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485