Surrey University Stag

DISSERTATION - 2023/4

Module code: SOCM070

Module Overview

This module provides students with individual support to gain first-hand experience of conducting original independent research projects. There are five weeks of lecture/workshop content in Semester 1 in order to provide students with a strong background in academic research relevant skills appropriate to the programme and the dissertation (e.g. literature searches, referencing, academic practice, ethics etc). Following this, students are allocated their dissertation supervisors who are selected on the basis of subject knowledge and/or methodological expertise. There are a number of recommended formative deadlines throughout the module based on key features of the dissertation. These include 1) a brief review of the proposed research 2) a recommended ethics application deadline (if applicable) and 3) a first chapter draft deadline.
The workload for the module is very much grounded in independent research and study by the student with support from their supervisor. Students are expected to take the lead on their chosen project and take on the responsibility for their own dissertations.

Module provider

Sociology

Module Leader

HUBBARD Katherine (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code:

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 5

Independent Learning Hours: 590

Lecture Hours: 5

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

The exact content of this module is dependent on the student¿s choice of dissertation project, topics and their research objectives. Students will receive five weeks of key academic research-relevant skills relevant to the dissertation and University scholarly expectations and will be allocated a supervisor to assist them in their project development.
This module is a yearlong module and key information from elsewhere on the programme will inform the dissertation practice. Perhaps most crucial to the dissertation are the methods modules available in Semester 1 (whereby students select the one most relevant to their dissertation methodology). Similarly, the other compulsory modules will also directly inform the dissertation. For example, the Histories of Sex/uality module will also provide students with a strong background in historical methods and archival approaches and Queer Feminist Approaches and Trans/sending Gender will contribute relevant theoretical perspectives and analytical concepts.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Dissertation (10,000-15,000 words) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

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

Their ability to design, conduct and communicate a full research project in which they complete independent analysis and produce a cohesive and scholarly dissertation. Such a requirement allows for the demonstration of knowledge and analytical ability, but also key transferable skills such as leadership, initiative and originality. Advanced communication skills are also central to the assessment: students will be fully supported to develop their communications skills across various modes. For example, in honing their ability to convey their arguments in an evidenced and scholarly fashion that genuinely contributes to the field. Successful dissertation projects also show strong professional and interpersonal relationships with advisors.  It is a highly authentic assessment and one which has the potential to genuinely contribute to scholarship in this area.

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • 10,000-15,000 word Dissertation



  Formative assessment


  • Students will have the opportunity for each of their dissertation chapters to be read once by their supervisor and to receive written feedback  Students are expected to engage with this opportunity and utilise such feedback effectively.

  • Ongoing communication and advice is available from supervisors throughout the module

  • Supportive formative deadlines are provided for 1) a brief review of the proposed research 2) a recommended ethics application deadline (if applicable) and 3) a draft of the first written chapter



Feedback


  • The five workshops and seminars allow for ongoing discussion about dissertation ideas and plan and so verbal feedback is freely available during those sessions

  • Supervisors will be available via email, for office hours, and for individual in person or online meetings to provide guidance and advice

  • Supervisors will also supply written feedback for each chapter draft provided (this is limited to one version of each chapter). Students themselves are agentic in this process and are able to plan the submission and feedback schedules for their chapters in collaboration with their supervisor.

  • Upon final submission of the dissertation, students also receive a full feedback sheet with qualitative feedback as well as the mark for their dissertation


Module aims

  • Critically identify, define and conceptualize an appropriate topic for research and carry it through from conception to write up
  • Undertake a systematic review and analysis of relevant and appropriate primary and/or secondary sources
  • Execute a defined research project using appropriate research methodologies and techniques of enquiry
  • Allow interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary opportunities in the research endeavor
  • Provide insightful, original and pertinent analysis which contributes to the field of study
  • Gain experience in conducting and presenting research findings according to scholarly expectations in the relevant discipline/s

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critical awareness of relevant theories, debates and contributions in the field of study CK
002 Understanding of techniques of research and enquiry and their application CK
003 In depth knowledge and appropriate level of expertise in the specified topic area K
004 Designing and conducting an independent research project CPT
005 Analyse and synthesise a wide range of material, this may include: applying frameworks, linking theoretical and empirical findings, dealing with complex issues and deploying evidence and information from a range of different sources CKP
006 Demonstrate self-direction and originality in solving problems and making appropriate and informed decisions CPT
007 Clear evidence of problem-solving, organization, digital literacy, communication skills, professionalism, argument development, proactive and responsible approach PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Provide students with a strong background in scholarly expectations and key academic research based skills and then provide a suitable supportive network in order to allow independent research to develop. The central aim of the strategy is to encourage independent learning and curiosity in the research process. It will allow students to gain first-hand experience of research practice in their chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary field of study. In conducting such a project from conception to final write up, students are clearly demonstrating independent and autonomous skills, their ability to develop professional working relationships with their supervisors, problems solving and analytic skill.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOCM070

Other information

The Dissertation component of this master's programme is critical in ensuring we are providing graduates with varied and high-level academic and research based skills. The dissertation module substantially contributes to the programme¿s ability to ensure our graduates are professional and employable; able to navigate, synthesise and use digital platforms; sensitive and respectful of global and cultural contexts and differences; are able to engage with ethically sustainable research practice and are able to use resources to genuinely contribute to the field in an original agentic way. In line with Surrey¿s Curriculum Framework, we are committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the five pillars in the following ways: Employability Throughout this module students will gain a vast range of skills which are relevant to future careers across a wide range of sectors. In terms of direct content, the workshops will include key areas of academic research based skill development. As an independent project the dissertation module allows students to draw upon a vast range of previous skill development and is a accumulative. The final submission of the dissertation signifies the advanced level of research skill (including within specialist areas such as: research and practice integrity, larger scale project development and leadership). Pedagogically, students will learn a vast range of transferable skills highly desirable at the point of entering the job market. These include: initiative in an area of genuine scholarly interest; time management and planning (from conception to implementation to communication) for larger scale projects; independent learning and self-motivation; leadership; forming professional relationships; and written and verbal communication skills. In terms of student journey, as projects progress, students will be able to draw upon and apply skills and knowledge acquired in either the Field Methods or Research and Writing Skills modules. Students will complete this module having gained experience of professional work place environments that will have prepared them in multiple ways for future employment with skills directly related to sectors such as: the charity sector, civil service, social services, office of national statistics, teaching and pedagogy / education sectors, media, publishing etc. Digital capabilities A sophisticated level of digital skill and confidence is a clear output of the programme and this module specifically. This module will use a range of digital platforms and media outputs to give students a full experience of relevant content. This includes but is not limited to the use of the Virtual Learning Environment Surreylearn, multiple media resources (inc. recorded lectures), and workshops which have the potential to use various peer to peer platforms (eg student may engage with WhatsApp, social media, Microsoft teams). Students are also expected to communicate via email with Dissertation supervisors and of course write up their dissertations electronically and submit all relevant content for feedback via digital platforms. It is also possible that if students are using more social science methodologies, they may be conducting interviews, focus groups, observations etc and this would also include social media recruitment, various other technologies (eg transcription software). For more humanities-focused methodologies digital library catalogues and archives will be critical to navigate and of course all students will be expected to engage with literature which is, more often than not, electronically sourced. In terms of student journey, students will complete this module feeling confident to be able to contribute in a highly professional way to a globally networked digital academic society. Global and cultural capabilities While individual dissertation topics will be niche and specific, for the write up it is likely all students will engage with wider literature and thinking from various locations and sources in order to contextualize their own arguments (with the probability that some students will choose topics with significant global dimensions). It is crucial in this programme as a whole that diversity in lived experience is recognized alongside understanding how specific social, historical and political contexts impact the studies of sex, gender and sexuality. The dissertation module itself therefore is likely to have high levels of content relevant to global and cultural capabilities, but the ways in which it is relevant will be more individual. In terms of pedagogy, students will be given access to and encouraged to engage with diverse, culturally rich and global perspective present at the University, including a wide range of staff with relevant research experience and expertise and will be made familiar with wider supportive networks and events via the Sex, Gender and Sexuality research group. Upon completion, students will have been made familiar with and encouraged to be involved with a diverse and research-active cultural environment. Sustainability At the core of this module, and in the concept of sustainability, is ethics. Students will be given the opportunity, and supported fully through, engaging with strong scholarly and ethically sound research practice. In doing so, they are not only able to demonstrate their own abilities as a future leader or thinking in sustainable research practice, but can use such skills and thinking across other areas (eg for employability). Key considerations of sustainable research practice is relevant to the topics that will be covered in this module by all students ¿ in particular, the challenges of sustaining scholarly communities and accessibility of data in adverse contexts. Aligned with the UN¿s sustainability goals, the module will allow students to draw upon key areas, such as quality education (Number 5 of UN goals) and sustainable communities (Number 11 of UN goals). This module allows students to not only demonstrate sustainability in terms of master's level education, but also sustains the scholarly future of research in sex, gender and sexuality studies. Resourcefulness and resilience The dissertation module heavily contributes to the educational elements of resourcefulness and resilience as students are honing their autonomous learning and agency to a sophisticated and advanced level. Throughout the module, from conception to implementation to write up, students will be highly independent, yet supported by their supervisor. Students will gain particular skills in informed decision making and project planning: having to find their own sources, literature and resources (including data). They will have to problem solve, navigate ethical considerations and consider their arguments and findings in context. Within a network of support, students will further develop the extent to which they are independent and resourceful learners with a great deal of confidence in conducting and leading independent research projects. Students are encouraged and expected to be autonomous and lead their own independent research projects and in doing so this will assist students to evolve their resourcefulness and resilience in contributing to this field of research.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sex, Gender and Sexualities MSc(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

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 2023/4 academic year.