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

Postgraduate Course: Placement-Based Dissertation (MSc Sociology and Global Change) (PGSP11545)

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 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 Sociology and Global Change 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 Sociology and Global Change. 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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Block 5 (Sem 2) and beyond
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 583 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %

1. A Project Diary of a maximum 3000 words
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 dissertation supervisor and the placement coordinator. The diary should track the development of the internship and include comments on the issues raised by specific project being undertaken as the student develops their knowledge of the placement. Secondly, the diary should reflect the personal development of the student within the work situation, making reference to the skills being developed.
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.The research paper will be assessed according to the following criteria:
- Clear definition of the task, including research questions/aims and objectives;
- Degree of reflexivity and critical thinking;
- Development and coherence of arguments;
- Evidence of the use and application of appropriate methods, including data collection and analytical frameworks;
- Review of literature and contextualisation of study within the academic literature;
- Use of supporting evidence and critical 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; and
- Formal presentation of report, following normal academic conventions.

The project diary and research paper are to be submitted as one 15,000 word document. It will be marked as one document according to SPSS standardised marking descriptors.
Feedback During the dissertation project, learning takes place on a much more individual and independent basis.
General guidance on the dissertation is contained in the Graduate School Taught Masters Student
Structure and guidance for the project is provided in part through regular meetings with a supervisor,
through formal presentations of dissertation proposals and preliminary conclusions (in dedicated
workshops that will be organized for subject area once dissertation work is underway), and through
informal discussion sessions with the Programme Director and other students on the programme. The
project is, however, your own responsibility, and must be entirely of your own work. Students - and
supervisors - rights and responsibilities during the dissertation stage are described in the Code of Practice
for Taught Postgraduate Programmes.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Learn to undertake independent work on a topic chosen in conjunction with a host organisation, drawing on knowledge and insights from courses taken within Sociology and Global Change
  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. Employ relevant knowledge, concepts, and analytical approaches from their chosen field to inform their project report;
  4. Exercise and consolidate their time-management, task-management, and self- motivational skills in the planning, conduct, and execution of their research;
  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 Angelica Thumala
Tel: (0131 6)50 6631
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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