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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 30/03/2022 13:50:29

Title of Module: Masters Dissertation (CGD)

Code: CGAD11008 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 60 ECTS: 30
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:E  Bolger

Summary of Module

The Masters Dissertation module allows students to conduct independent inquiry and research in an area of interest in career guidance, career development or career education, supported by resources on the VLE and by an identified supervisor from the Career Guidance and Development programme in the School of Education and Social Sciences. The topic chosen may relate to an area of practice with which the student has some professional involvement. Students will progress through the stages of the research process from the development of a research proposal, to research design, data collection and analysis and the presentation and discussion of findings.

  • Allows the student to conduct independent research in an area of interest in career guidance, career development or career education

  • Develops students expertise in developing a research proposal and ethics application

  • Develops students' expertise in evaluating and synthesising a wide range of sources of knowledge/information

  • Develops students' expertise in research design

  • Develops students' expertise in the collection, analysis, presentation and disemmination of data/findings

  • Develops students' capacity to independently manage a research project in the context of the academic supervision relationship

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).
Term 1check markTerm 2check markTerm 3check mark

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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

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

L1. Demonstrate extensive and detailed critical knowledge and understanding of an aspect of career guidance, career development or career-related learning.

L2. Demonstrate the ability to apply a critical understanding of research methodology to research design.

L3. Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, understanding and/or practice in an aspect of career guidance, career development or career-related learning

L4. Communicate research ideas and findings appropriately to a range of audiences (which may include peers and/or experts).

L5. Demonstrate the ability to work independently and constructively in the context of an academic research supervision relationship.

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 11.

Develop critical understanding of the principal theories of career choice and career decision-making.

Develop extensive and detailed knowledge and understanding of aspects of the history and development of career education, information, advice and guidance policy and/or practice.

Develop a comprehensive understanding of the nature and characteristics of social research.

Develop a comprehensive understanding of how to conduct literature search and literature review activities.

Develop a comprehensive understanding of methodological issues and research design in social research, including an understanding of social research methods.

Develop an understanding of ethical practice in social research.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Develop the capacity to critically evaluate theory, engage with new and developing theoretical concepts and to explore the contribution that theory can make to practice.

Develop the ability to formulate hypotheses, refine research questions and to write research proposals.

Develop the ability to plan and execute research into aspects of career-related theory, policy or practice.

Develop the ability to critique their own and others’ practice in context.

Develop the ability to write and present research reports in a, reasoned, critical and analytical manner.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Develop the capacity to conduct research and make recommendations as a result.

Develop the ability to critically evaluate theory and the contribution that theory can make to practice.

Develop the ability to display originality, creativity and critical thinking.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Develop the ability to work with data in various forms and formats.

Develop the ability to communicate research findings to a variety of audiences.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Develop the ability to work autonomously on a research project.

Develop the ability to work appropriately in the context of an academic supervision relationship.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:The Postgraduate Diploma in Career Guidance and Development or a qualification deemed to be equivalent.
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This is an online only module delivered via distance learning. Students work independently with support from resources on the university's virtual learning environment (VLE) and from an identified supervisor. Students will be required to read widely on their chosen topic as well as on research methodology, design and process and will be required to conduct empirical research in accordance with the university's ethical codes. A range of academic resources will be made available on-line via the VLE. The effort devoted to reflection, reading and research activity is recognized as 600 notional student hours for independent learning and research activity.
Learners will be required to engage with resources on the VLE, which may include presentations, readings, audio and video recordings and discussion forums. Students are offered optional synchronous online sessions in the form of an induction session and peer workshops throughout their studies.
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)
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity30
Independent Study570
600 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:

Neary, S. and Johnson, C. (2016) CPD for the Career Development Professional. London: Trotman

Denscombe, M. (2010) Ground rules for social research: guidelines for good practice. 2nd ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Iphofen, R. and Tolich, M. (eds) (2018) The SAGE handbook of qualitative research ethics. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Alasuutari, P., Bickman, L. and Brannen, J. (eds.) (2008) The SAGE handbook of social research methods. London: SAGE.

Firth, J. (2020) The teacher's guide to research. Abingdon: Routledge.

Harris, D. J. (2020) Literature review and research design: a guide to effective research practice. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Inyang, E. (2017) Doing academic research. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Marvasti, A. (2012) ‘Writing and Presenting Social Research’ in Alasuutari, p., Bickman, L. and Brannen, J. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Social Research Methods. London: SAGE.

Potter, S. (2006) Doing postgraduate research. 2nd edn. London: SAGE.

Walliman, N. (2006) Social research methods. London: SAGE.

Terrell, S. R., (2016) Writing a proposal for your dissertation: guidelines and examples. New York: The Guilford Press.

Wheeldon, J. and Ahlberg, K. K (2012) Visualizing social science research: maps, methods & meaning. 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:
Students are required to attend all scheduled supervision sessions and participate in the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Distance learners should contact the module coordinator or supervisor if they require clarification regarding engagement.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPG Social Sciences
ModeratorM McCrory
External ExaminerG Frigerio
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
In order to successfully complete the module students will be required to:
produce a 15-17,000 word research dissertation (100% of the final mark)

In addition, to demonstrate their own continued professional development and contribution to practitioner-led research within the career guidance and development sector, students are required to submit:

• Reflective account
o Assesses Learning Outcomes 4-5 (not graded)

• A research poster summarising the study and a plan for dissemination of the research
o Assesses Learning Outcomes 4-5 (not graded)

(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
Dissertation/ Project report/ Thesischeck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
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). All lecture slides are uploaded with an additional audio commentary. 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.