Module code: SOC3028

Module provider


Module Leader

BURNINGHAM KA Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Year long

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 3

Independent Study Hours: 431

Lecture Hours: 10

Seminar Hours: 1

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework DISSERTATION REPORT 8000 - 12000 WORDS 100%

Alternative Assessment

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A  This module is not available to ERASMUS or other international exchange students.

Module overview

This module involves working on an individual dissertation with the guidance of an individual supervisor and participating in a series of workshops designed to provide guidance for key stages of the dissertation. The dissertation requires students to conduct independent, original research on a topic of significance in relation to the student’s degree programme (i.e. sociology, criminology or media studies as appropriate). This will involve reviewing appropriate literature, developing a suitable research approach and carrying out appropriate forms of analysis. This analysis  may relate to data collected by the student (through interviews, self-completion questionnaires or observation for example), to secondary analysis of large-scale or other existing data sets, to library research on primary theoretical sources, or to  artistic, literary or media content.



Module aims

The dissertation aims to provide experience of undertaking an individual research project

The workshops aim to provide support for all stages of dissertation preparation

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Formulate a clear research question and design appropriate methodology for a small piece of social, criminological or media research KCP
Critically review academic literature relevant to the research question KC
Identify or collect relevant data, documents, media content or primary theoretical sources KPT
Undertake appropriate analysis and identify findings KCPT
Develop conclusions through relating findings to existing research and/or theory KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

The dissertation requires students to conduct independent, original research on a topic of significance in relation to the student’s degree programme (i.e. sociology, criminology or media studies as appropriate).

The workshops will provide support for key stages of dissertation preparation including:

developing a research question
reviewing literature
designing a research project
ethical issues
data analysis
drawing conclusions

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to support students in independently designing and undertaking their own piece of empirical research. The bulk of the module involves the student designing and carrying out research on a topic of their choice and writing this up into a report.  The workshops provide general guidance on the dissertation requirements, ethical considerations and the content of specific sections while individual sessions with supervisors provide ongoing guidance, support and feedback on the student’s own project.

The learning and teaching methods include:

6 x 2 hr workshops which integrate elements of lecture style content with practical, student-centred exercises

Individual sessions with dissertation supervisor

Individual reading, data collection, analysis and writing up of dissertation


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to formulate a research question, relate this to relevant literature, design and execute a small piece of empirical research and write up research findings.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         A dissertation report of 8,000-12,000 words usually comprising an introduction, literature review, methodology, analysis and discussion and conclusions.

Formative assessment and feedback

A dissertation proposal is submitted to the supervisor in week 4 to enable feedback on the viability and ethics of the project and early suggestions for improvements. Supervisors provide written feedback on drafts of each chapter of the dissertation and oral feedback and guidance in one to one sessions. The workshops provide forums for students to discuss common issues with peers and receive general guidance from workshop leaders. The dissertation co-ordinator is available for one to one meeting with any student who requires information about the dissertation process.

Reading list

Reading list for DISSERTATION : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/soc3028

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.