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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 04/07/2022 11:41:11

Title of Module: Social Science Dissertation

Code: SOCY10027 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:A  van der Zwet

Summary of Module

This module will guide students in undertaking social science research. It will enable them to extend the research knowledge, understanding and research skills gained at Level 9 within a structured framework of independent study. Building on the research proposal developed in Level 9, students will carry out a review of the literature in their chosen topic area and identify an appropriate methodology and research design. They will then undertake data collection and analysis and produce a written dissertation at the end of the process. This will provide students with the opportunity to develop graduate attributes, including critically review and consolidate knowledge, understanding, research skills and practices, and to demonstrate originality and creativity in their research practice.

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 3


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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 the social sciences.

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, analyse and present research findings.

L5. Communicate complex theories, ideas, concepts and findings in appropriate audio/visual or written form.

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.

The demonstration of a broad and integrated knowledge of principal areas, features and boundaries that define the social sciences.

The demonstration of a critical understanding of central theories, principles, ideas, arguments and debates within the social sciences.

The demonstration of a critical knowledge and understanding of the relationship between the theory and the practice of research with in the social sciences.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

The execution of a defined research project in an area related to the social science disciplines.

The application of appropriate social science methodologies and methods to the practice of research.

The ability to gather, retrieve, synthesise and apply information from appropriate primary and secondary sources.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

The critical evaluation and analysis of complex and contested ideas and concepts within the social sciences.

The critical review of knowledge, understanding skills and practice within social science research.

Judging, evaluating and synthesising contested concepts and data in the production of cogent argument.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

The communication and interpretation of quantitative and/or qualitative data in the production of a written thesis.

The development in key skills relating to the use and application of research software.

The development of digital literacy in the use of online research engines and tools.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

The ability to undertake independent, self-directed study to achieve negotiated goals.

To work effectively and reflectively with a supervisor.

To consider complex ethical issues with a framework of defined codes of practice, seeking supervisory guidance where appropriate.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Other:or equivalent at level 9.
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module will run across two trimesters.

Guidance and teaching comes through regular sessions conducted by a supervisor. In collaboration with their supervisor, students develop their own research question and design, collect and analyse their own data and produce their own written report presenting all this, on a topic of their own choosing, enabling them to gain an indepth knowledge of this area as well as practical experience of employing a research methodology. Ongoing formative feedback is provided to students by their dissertation supervisor.

The module will support the acquisition and development of generic attributes and employability, lifelong learning and citizenship competencies by:

1) Surfacing assessment-employability linkages to ensure the skills and competencies learners are developing are made explicit and allowing learners to evidence the development of these skills and competencies;

2) Supporting learners in the development of digital literacies through, for example, the use of online research engines and electronic tools. Learners will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their digital skills and competencies and develop their understanding of ‘digital influence’;

3) Providing learners with the opportunity to work with peers in order to develop leadership and negotiation skills and support the development of diversity awareness and interpersonal sensitivity;

4) Supporting learners in the development of self-reflection and evaluation skills and competencies through the explicit focus on personal development planning and the production of a reflective portfolio.

The assessment structure on this module is designed to explicitly support learners in the development of the competencies identified below:

Assessment 1 - Competencies developed
Cognitive - Evaluation
Generic - Organising
Personal development - Initiative

Assessment 2 - Competencies developed
Cognitive - Synthesis
Generic - Researching
Personal development/citizenship - Persistence/responsibility
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 Delivery4
Independent Study396
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:

Bloomberg, L.D. & M. Volpe. (2012) Completing Your Qualitative Dissertation: A Roadmap from Beginning to End. 2nd ed. London: Sage.

Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Field, A.P. (2013) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS: (and Sex and Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll). 4th ed. London: Sage.

Fink, A. (2010) Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 3rd edn. London: Sage.

Smith, K.P., M.J. Todd & J. Waldman. (2009) Doing Your Undergraduate Social Science Dissertation. London: Routledge.

Clark,T., L., Foster, & A. Bryman (2019) How to do your Social Research Project or Dissertation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(**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 fulltime 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
ModeratorG Rice
External ExaminerR Ryder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Assessment 1: Literature review (15% of final grade)
Assessment 2: Written dissertation (85% of final grade). The dissertation will be between 8,000-10,000 words in length.
(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/ Thesis check markcheck markcheck markcheck mark850

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
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck mark  check mark150
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.