Postgraduate Course: Dissertation MSc by Research - Social Work (60 Credits) (PGSP11090)
|School of Social and Political Science
|College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)
|SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Not available to visiting students
|The dissertation is an extended piece of independent scholarship in the field. It is the main work in which students demonstrate achievement of crucial learning outcomes for the MSc by Research, drawing on relevant material covered in the taught element of the degree and through supervision. The dissertation can be up to 15,000 words in length.
The nature of a dissertation for the MSc by Research may vary. For students proceeding to a PhD or MPhil, it will normally comprise a full research proposal. In this case, it will contain an extended review of the literature, establishing the research questions, plus an extended discussion of the likely research design and any methodological issues. Alternatively, the dissertation may comprise a discrete piece of (usually empirical) research, possibly a pilot study for the eventual doctoral research. This will usually incorporate literature review, research questions, research design and methodology, data collection and analysis elements, and conclusions.
The nature of a dissertation for the MSc by Research may vary. For students proceeding to a PhD it will normally comprise a full research proposal. In this case, it will contain an extended review of the literature, establishing the research questions, plus an extended discussion of the likely research design and any methodological issues. Alternatively, the dissertation may comprise a discrete piece of (usually empirical) research, possibly a pilot study for the eventual doctoral research. This will usually incorporate literature review, research questions, research design and methodology, data collection and analysis elements, and conclusions.
The course consists of self-study and research: however an indicative timetable is below.
Mid-February the desired topic area and type of dissertation to be confirmed with supervisor(s).
April - meeting with supervisor(s) to discuss the dissertation, an outline and timetable for the MSc dissertation to be provided in advance.
May to July - agree with supervisor(s) key points where supervisory input will be required including timing of submission of one draft chapter. Contact supervisor as mutually agreed.
Mid-July complete first draft of the dissertation.
Early-Mid-August - submit dissertation.
This is dissertation course and comprises independent scholarship. Students can expect the following from their supervisor: normally 3-4 meetings, detailed feedback on one chapter, help with and feedback on the general structure and organisation of the argument(s), and ongoing help with specific queries.
The supervisor should: help you to define the research problem and focus your argument and topic; advise on methodology, the coherence and relevance of the dissertation, alert you to obvious problems; discuss mutual availability and methods of contact etc.; give basic advice on relevant bodies of literature to get you started and/or refer you to another member of staff for suggestions on sources; discuss and approve draft outline and timetable of work (as above); provide diagnostic comment and constructive suggestions on one chapter in good time (normally within two weeks of receipt); help you with issues of thesis and dissertation structure.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|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)
|100% assessed by a 15,000-word dissertation. The assessment criteria are:
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 and critical thinking; originality of argument
8. Formal presentation of dissertation: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; lay-out and visual presentation
|Students will have an opportunity to discuss a draft outline and timetable of work (as above), receive detailed feedback on one chapter, help with and feedback on the general structure and organisation of the argument(s), and ongoing help with specific queries.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to carry out a sustained piece of independent scholarship, involving project and time management
- Demonstrate the ability to frame a coherent and answerable set of research questions, to justify these in relation to existing knowledge and theories, to demonstrate that answering them would constitute an advance on existing knowledge, and demonstrate the ability to produce a research design capable of answering the chosen research questions
- Achieve a command of existing knowledge in their field of research, through a critical review of relevant literature engaging with salient debates, and throughout the dissertation produce written scholarship in line with research and bibliographic conventions
- Demonstrate an understanding of research methods, appropriate to the research topic and questions, taking due account of any practical, political and ethical issues affecting the conduct of their research
- Where relevant, demonstrate the following: the ability to implement the chosen research design and methods of data collection and analysis; come up with credible conclusions (eg, on the implications of a pilot study for a fuller study); demonstrate the ability to integrate theoretical and empirical elements
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Ms Janice McGhee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3910
|Ms Agata Paluba
Tel: (0131 6)50 3772