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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2022/2023

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

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation - MSc in Applied Social Science (PGSP11568)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryAll students will undertake a 13,000-word dissertation on a topic related to the field of social work or applied social science to be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations. The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship in which a student is expected to formulate and sustain a substantive piece of research. The dissertation is expected to engage critically and analytically with literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree and deploying a range of secondary (and in some cases primary) sources as well as appropriate data-analytic and bibliographic skills. Students will work with the personal tutor in year 1 of the MSW programme to develop a proposal and will have a research supervisor from the beginning of second year to advise on and oversee her/his research progress.

Course description
Academic Description:

The dissertation is an extended piece of scholarship up to 13,000 words on a topic related to the field of social work or applied social science to be submitted by a date specified in the University Regulations, where the student is expected to formulate and sustain a substantive piece of research. The dissertation is expected to engage critically and analytically with literature in the field, building upon relevant concepts and theory covered in the taught element of the degree and deploying a range of secondary (and in some cases primary) sources as well as appropriate data-analytic and bibliographic skills. Students will work with the personal tutor in year 1 of the MSW programme to develop a proposal and will have a research supervisor from the beginning of second year to advise on and oversee her/his research progress.

Outline Content:

The dissertation is a culmination of research on a topic in the field of social work or applied social science chosen by the student in consultation with the personal tutor in year 1 of the MSW programme, with further support from an allocated dissertation supervisor in the final year of the programme.

Student learning experience:

The course will be taught via a combination of lectures, workshops and supervision meetings:

a) In the first year of the programme, all MSW students undertake "Doing Social Work Research", a course that equips students with methodological knowledge and skills for undertaking the dissertation. In year 1, students are expected to finalise a dissertation proposal in consultation with the personal tutor. The DSWR course essay enables the students to examine some of the methodological and ethical issues around the proposed topic.

b) In year 2, there are 4 workshops to enable students to 1) complete ethics application, 2) design the research tools and begin fieldwork, 3) analyse data, 4) write up findings.

c) Meetings with programme director in semester 1 and 2

d) Meetings with dissertation supervisor (3-4; in-person/over phone/video call) from the beginning of year 2 of the programme until submission.

e) Detailed feedback on one chapter and verbal feedback on the rest of the chapters

f) Substantive feedback on, the general structure and organisation of dissertation.

g) Ongoing help with specific queries (in person or email).



Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Evidence a systematic understanding of contemporary knowledge and an awareness of current problems and new insights into an identified area of social work or applied social science;
  2. Demonstrate the ability to manage the processes of their own inquiry, including the literature review, methodological considerations and where empirical design is adopted, interviews with key informants, systematically and purposefully;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to write at length coherently and to purpose and to work independently meeting deadlines;
  4. Deal with complex ethical and professional/academic issues and make informed judgements on issues arising in the context of independent research;
  5. Demonstrate the ability to identify and critically evaluate implications of their findings for social work policy and practice.
Reading List
Becker S., Bryman, A. and Ferguson, H. (2012) Understanding Research for Social Policy and Practice, Themes, Methods and Approaches, 2nd edition. Bristol: The Policy Press

Carey, M. (2013) The Social Work Dissertation: Using small scale qualitative methodology. 2nd edition. Berkshire: Open University Press.

D┬┐Cruz, H. and Jones, M. (2004) Social Work Research: Ethical and Political Contexts. London: Sage.

Hardwick, L., & Worsley, A. (2011). Doing social work research. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Kiteley, R. and Stogdon, C. (2014) Literature Reviews in Social Work. London: SAGE Publications.

Shaw, I., Briar-Lawson, K., Orme, J. and Ruckdeschel, R. (2009) The Sage Handbook of Social Work Research. London: Sage.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop:

- Professional skills in critical analysis;
- Professional skills in presenting complex information in accessible ways;
- Ability to work with others to debate complex issues and prioritize approaches.
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr George Palattiyil
Tel: (0131 6)50 3907
Email: g.palattiyil@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMr Dave Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
Email: dave.nicol@ed.ac.uk
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