Module code: POL3061

Module provider


Module Leader

CHAPPELL LC Dr (Politics)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Year long

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 430

Lecture Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework DISSERTATION (10000 WORDS) 80%

Alternative Assessment

N/A This is a compulsory module for all students at level 6 on BSc Politics, BSc International Politics, BSc Politics with Policy Studies, BA International Politics w/& Languages.

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

The Dissertation is an opportunity for students to explore a subject of their choosing in much greater detail than would otherwise be possible, applying their knowledge, understanding and skills to a particular question.  Supported by general and specific guidance, the student will be able to pull together much of their degree and (where applicable) start to look towards post-graduate study.


Module aims

Give students an opportunity to put into practice some of the research skills they have developed through relevant modules at Levels 4 and 5 (Introduction to Study & Research Skills and Research Theories and Approaches to Research).

Enable students to explore, in an in-depth manner, an area of particular interest to them within their chosen pathway of study.

Enhance students' skills at working independently, and managing their time effectively.

Engage with supervision as means of guidance to their own projects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Formulate succinct and relevant ‘research questions' or identify a relevant topic for research.
Select research methods appropriate to their research questions and/or topic and use these methods effectively.
Critically analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data.
Present research findings in an appropriate format, constructing reasoned arguments and exercising critical judgement.
Work independently, over a sustained period of time, managing their time effectively.

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

The dissertation gives students an opportunity to engage in an extended piece of work and to develop, in a detailed manner, their interests from their chosen pathway of study. The type of dissertation will vary, depending on individual interests, but is likely to follow one of the following patterns – or a combination of them:

A piece of empirical research, using the research methods and skills covered by modules at Levels 4 and 5 of the programme. Students may conduct primary research on a politics- or policy-related issue (using methods such as interviews and questionnaires) or secondary research in a similar area (for example, interrogating a pre-existing data set; analysing the images and representations used in a recent election campaign).
An action research project, which aims to bring about change in a politics-, policy- or citizenship-related organisation in which the student works. This would typically be carried out during the professional placement year, within the placement organisation but in negotiation with the tutor, could also be conducted in another organisation to which the student has some connection, if appropriate.
A theoretical piece of work exploring, in considerable depth, one or more of the issues raised by programme modules. For example, a dissertation could analyse, in more depth than would be required for individual modules, the work of one or more political theorists, or theory development around a particular politics- or policy-related theme.

It should be noted that students will be expected to choose a substantive topic that fits within their degree programme.

Students will be expected to submit an abstract, a chapter outline and a literature review during the autumn semester. They will receive feedback on both pieces and their work will contribute towards their final mark. They are also expected to engage with their supervisor in a constructive way to receive feedback throughout the two semesters.

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Introduce students to independent work, with access to regular one-to-one supervision and appropriate guidance through the module workshops.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Workshops first semester 2x4
Workshops second semester 2x3
Supervision meetings at a minimum students are to be offered supervisor meetings 1x3 per semester

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

·  Abstract, chapter outline and literature review: it aims to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their fundamental interest for the topic of their choice; to reflect on their own learning throughout their degree and make use of the reading material; identify relevant theoretical frameworks and schools of thought; critically apply their perception on the needs of a research project; evaluate different research approaches and their relevance to their research question(s); access relevant material to extract information; prepare the grounds for their dissertation.

·   Dissertation: it aims to provide the students with the opportunity to apply all the above; reflect on their own performance, assess and constructively incorporate previous feedback from their supervisor and their workshops; identify relevant literature that supports their choice of method; identify, investigate, analyse and project different empirical evidence through appropriate research methods and design; critically assess evidence to draw their own conclusions; demonstrate a range of research skills; become highly-versed in the topic of their choice; consolidate the knowledge gained through their degree.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·  An abstract, chapter outline and literature review of 2000 words, setting the ground for the dissertation project.

·  A dissertation of approximately 10,000 words that incorporates a revised version of the first assessment in addition to expanding on the research methods and research design components and adding on further empirical material as required by the topic.

Assessment deadlines to be confirmed in the module handbook, yet:

•  The first piece of assessment is due roughly towards the end of the autumn semester

•  The second piece of assessment is due some time after the Easter break

•  Please note that there will be deadlines prior to the Easter break for students to receive final guaranteed feedback from their supervisors.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive regular feedback based on their questions through the dissertation workshop and based on their consultation meetings with their supervisor. They will also receive extensive feedback from their markers in the abstract, chapter outline and literature review components, to be used as frameworks for guidance in addition to their supervision meetings. Workshops will be an opportunity to discuss feedback and provide peer review to the students’ work.

Reading list

Reading list for DISSERTATION : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/pol3061

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.