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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 29/03/2022 18:18:41

Title of Module: Criminal Justice Dissertation

Code: CRIM10004 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 40 ECTS: 20
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Heather  Myles

Summary of Module

This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in substantial self-directed research and analysis within a structured framework of independent study. Building on research methods related classes completed in past study years, the students will form the basis of a dissertation.As part of their first assessment students will write a literature review to help situate their study within the appropriate academic framework. This will then be followed by the submission of a final dissertation.

The dissertation may be on an empirical or a theoretical topic. Research can be wholly or largely library-based (involving secondary sources, official statistics and reports) or can involve empirical data collection.

The dissertation allows students to demonstrate all of the developed skills they have acquired during their studies on the Programme to date, and to display their grasp of the subject matter of their chosen area of research.

Guidance is given through a series of workshops / seminars and one-to-one guidance meetings with a designated supervisor. The student-supervisor relationship will be central to the development of the dissertation, especially in terms of formative feedback, and a continuous dialogue between student and supervisor will be maintained throughout the course of the module.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically identify, define and conceptualise an appropriate topic for research within criminal justice.

L2. Undertake a systematic review and analysis of relevant and appropriate primary and secondary sources

L3. Execute a defined research project using appropriate research methodologies and techniques of enquiry

L4. Critically evaluate evidence and methods used in the dissertation.

L5. Use appropriate and acceptable academic writing and referencing conventions.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Students will demonstrate:

Knowledge that covers and integrates the principle areas, features, boundaries, terminologies and conventions of their chosen dissertation topic;

A critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles of associated with their chosen topic.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:

In executing a defined project of research, development or investigation and in identifying and relevant outcomes and how they might be implemented in practice.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex / professional problems and issues.

Offer insights, interpretations and solutions to problems and issues.

Demonstrate some originality and creativity in suggesting solutions to identified issues.

Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the chosen topic.

Make judgements where data/information is limited or comes from a range of sources.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices for completing a criminal justice dissertation including to:

Present or convey, formally and informally, information about the chosen topic to informed audiences;

Communicate with other students, academics, and potentially specialists on a professional level;

Use a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and adjust features to suit purpose;

Interpret, use and evaluate a wide range of data to set and achieve agreed goals and targets.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Exercise autonomy and initiative in all activities associated with the completion of a dissertation;

Work, under the guidance of a supervisor, to reach agreed aims and objectives;

Manage complex ethical and professional issues in accordance with current ethical codes and practices;

Recognise the limits of these codes and seek guidance where appropriate.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module runs across both trimesters and learning and teaching will take place through a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and on-going, regular supervision.

Lectures will run in trimester 1 and will be used to demonstrate to student’s available methodologies and how to conduct a literature review. Lectures will also be used to discuss issues relating to criminal justice research and the rigours of independent study.

Workshops will be used to expand on issues raised in the lectures and to indicate to students where they should be in the course of the module. a minimum of 2 workshops will run in each trimester. Students will be encouraged during the workshops to reflect on their progress.

Seminars will be used in trimester 1 to ensure small-scale discussion of issues and problems students may encounter in the early stages of their research.

Supervision is an integral part of the learning and teaching process at this level of study. Students will be assigned a supervisor who will guide and advise the student throughout the module. Regular supervision meetings will take place which will be negotiated and scheduled between the individual student and supervisor. A key role of the supervisor is to provide formative feedback.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery8
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity4
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop29
Personal Development Plan24
Asynchronous Class Activity14
Independent Study321
400 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bell, J. (2010) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science. (5th ed) Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press.

Booth, A; Sutton, A; Papaioannou, D (2016) Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review London Sage.

Burnett, J (2009) Doing your social science dissertation. Sage. London

Davies, P. Francis,P. Jupp, V. (2011) Doing Criminological Research (2nd ed) Sage Publications

Seale, C (2017) Researching Society and Culture 4th Edition London Sage.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All full time students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Politics & Criminal Justice
ModeratorGeraldine O'Donnell
External ExaminerWilliam Graham
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment one is a 2000 word literature review. For those who are doing a thematic based approach it can be a theme and for those doing an empirical approach it can be an overview of the most relevant literature surrounding the topic.
Assessment two is the submission of the final dissertation which will be 8,000-10,000 words in length. This dissertation may be presented in traditional dissertation (literature review, methodology, discussion, analysis etc.) or thematic (textbook chapter style) format as directed by individual supervisors. This assessment must be presented utilising acceptable academic conventions.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck mark   150

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay  check markcheck markcheck mark850
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.