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POL3046 : Dissertation in Politics

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr lucrezia Canzutti
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


•       to enable students to undertake an in-depth study of a topic within politics of their choice
• to provide students with the opportunity to engage in a major research exercise and one that, in scope and scale, significantly exceeds that of an essay or project
• to develop students’ ability to undertake original research, the results of which they will present in a scholarly fashion
• to develop other skills such as written communication, planning and initiative

Outline Of Syllabus

This module allows students to undertake a substantial piece of original research on a politics topic chosen in conjunction with their supervisor. Students will receive introductory lectures on the nature of the dissertation, how they should settle on a dissertation topic, and how they should organize their work on the dissertation. Each student will obtain a supervisor, who will help her/him to refine the topic and develop a research strategy. Periodic supervisory meetings will supply guidance to the student and written drafts of chapters will be commented on, provided these are submitted by the given deadlines. Students are required to submit a dissertation proposal in mid-November. They will receive an extended lecture advising them on how to construct the proposal and, more particularly, on methodological issues relating to the dissertation. A dissertation conference, held in March, will provide students with the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their research and that of others before submission.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture16:006:00One day dissertation conference
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture72:0014:00Intro. Lecture, How to Write a Dissertation Proposal, Managing your dissertation and supervision
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1380:00380:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The initial lecture outlines the aims and administration of the module and how students should go about writing a dissertation. Subsequent lectures advise students on how to construct their dissertation proposal, how to confront the methodological issues raised by their dissertation topic, and how to deploy research methods. The meetings with supervisors provide students with much needed advice on the initial choice and subsequent refinement of their dissertation topic, on how they should design their dissertation, and on how they should go about their research. Supervisors also provide feedback on chapter drafts.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M101,200 word Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation2M9010,000 word Dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment of the research proposal provides students with an incentive to take the proposal seriously and to grapple with the topic of their dissertation, with the relevant literature, and with methodological issues, at an early stage in the year. However, the most important manifestation of the student’s overall achievement is the dissertation itself and that is why it provides 90% of the overall mark.

Reading Lists