Postgraduate Course: Dissertation MSc by Research Politics (100 credit) (PLIT11008)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||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 23,000 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 take the form of 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.
In this 100 credit dissertation, the dissertation will normally include a more comprehensive review of relevant literature and/or some pilot research as well as the full proposal. In addition, some of the elements required for 60 credits will normally be more developed: eg, additional specific canonical bibliographic data relevant to the research topic; more advanced engagement in salient debates, concepts or theory; more detailed treatment of ethical and methodological issues.
The dissertation is an extended piece of writing of up to 23,000 words, based on independent study of a topic largely of your own choosing. It tests your ability to conduct research autonomously, to organise effectively bigger quantities of information and to communicate your research findings in a fluent and structured fashion. The topic is negotiated with your supervisor from within the broad field of politics.
This is a supervised course in which you work autonomously, and so you will have a great deal of freedom to choose your own content.
If you are proceeding from this dissertation to a PhD or MPhil, the dissertation will normally take the form of 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 method, data collection and analysis elements, and conclusions.
The course consists of independent study and research, under the guidance of your supervisor. The timetable is for you to negotiate with your supervisor, working from January through to the submission date of mid-August. You would meet your supervisor regularly in that period, and receive advice on what to read, on your emerging ideas, and - in due course - on drafts of your dissertation.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 5,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 20,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||100% assessed by a 23,000 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, critical thinking and originality of argument.
8. Formal presentation of dissertation: correct referencing and quoting; spelling, grammar and style; layout and visual presentation.
||The supervisor will:
- help you to define the research problem and focus your argument and topic;
- advise on the methods you will use, and on the coherence of your dissertation;
- give advice on relevant bodies of literature to get your research started or refer you to another member of staff for suggestions on sources;
- discuss and approve draft outlines and timetables of your work;
- provide comment and constructive suggestions on at least one full chapter;
- advise you on the structure of your dissertation.
|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, and to produce a research design capable of answering the chosen research question
- Demonstrate the ability to frame a coherent and answerable set of research questions, to justify these in relation to existing knowledge and theories, and to demonstrate that answering them would constitute an advance on existing knowledge
- Achieve a command of existing knowledge in their field of research, through a critical and (where relevant) comprehensive review of relevant literature engaging in salient debates, and where relevant, come up with credible conclusions (eg, on the implications of a pilot study for a fuller study)
- 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 researchand, where relevant, demonstrate the ability to implement the chosen research design and methods of data collection and analysis
- Produce written scholarship in line with research and bibliographic conventions
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Prof Juliet Kaarbo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4252
|Course secretary||Miss Lindsay Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)51 1587