Course Details

Course code: REDU11064

Course leader: Dr James Lamb

Course delivery: Jan 2021, Sept 2021, Jan 2022, Sept 2022


The Dissertation is a major, 60-credit study demanding a high level of individual application and commitment to research and enquiry. It provides you with the opportunity to identify, reflect on and explore a topic that has implications for your own professional development and scholarly interest. The Dissertation will involve a critical interrogation of the relationship between academic theory, professional practice and the design, ethics and interpretation of research.

Following successful completion of the PG Diploma phase, normally concluding with the Introduction to social research methods course, you will be allocated a supervisor for guidance and support.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the dissertation, you will be able to:

  • specify a topic of enquiry suitable for a dissertation and justify its theoretical significance, relevance and practical feasibility
  • identify and reflect critically on relevant up-to-date literature, research reports and other scholarly evidence with specific reference to the research process chosen
  • collect and analyse evidence, justifying the approaches and techniques used, demonstrating that the study complies with relevant ethical guidelines, and identifying the implications of these decisions
  • critically examine the contribution and limitations of the study undertaken in theoretical and applied terms


The structure of both the process and product of the dissertation will vary because of the individual nature of the work.  

  • You can enrol any time after the dissertation proposal and ethics proposal have been agreed with your supervisor.
  • If you are a part-time student, you then have a year to complete and submit your dissertation.
  • You will have produced a timetable as part of your proposal, but this may require constant review.
  • Your time on the dissertation will inevitably entail a planning phase, a literature review, a period of gathering and analyzing data, and will involve a fair amount of writing in draft and polished forms. 


15,000 words, excluding appendices and list of references.

It is possible to submit the dissertation in an alternative to the standard written format, for example as a web essay.  In such cases, the proposal needs to detail how you will demonstrate an appropriate level of critical analysis, academic knowledge and reflection on the nature of enquiry.

Teaching Methods

You will negotiate with your supervisor the most appropriate times for supervision meetings and review. The supervisor has an allocation of 14 hours for reading, commenting and discussion with the student.


You will devise your own reading list, which should include methodological texts as well as content relevant to your research topic.


You will need access to an internet-enabled computer and browser. It may be helpful to use Skype for synchronous communication with your supervisor.