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SOC3097 : Dissertation in Sociology

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


The dissertation is a significant piece of independent research and writing that enables students to undertake an in-depth examination of a sociological topic of their choice. With the support of their academic supervisor, students identify a question about an area of social life or theory that interests them; develop a research project; collect and analyse original data; and write up a substantial report. The dissertation module builds on and develops students’ understanding of a range of aspects of sociology and social anthropology encountered during the first two years of the degree, as well as skills in research design and methods acquired on the modules Researching Social Life I and II.

The module aims to:
Support students to undertake an independent research project;
Enable students to develop an in-depth understanding of their chosen topic in the context of relevant sociological perspectives and theories;
Support students to devise and conduct a feasible, appropriate and ethical methodology to investigate their topic;
Advise students on identifying and exploring the relevant literature and empirical research in their chosen field;
Support students to produce a well-structured, clearly written and analytically robust dissertation report.

Outline Of Syllabus

In the pre-requisite module Researching Social Life II at Stage 2, students select a research question and develop a dissertation proposal with the support of a supervisor. On the dissertation module students move from the proposal to the research project. They review and refine the dissertation proposal and research methods; collect relevant data; conduct a review of the literature in their chosen field; and write up the dissertation of 10,000-13,000 words.

Students investigate a wide range of topics. In recent years these have included: educational inequalities, changing patterns in tourism, gender roles in India, online remembrance, sexual consent, student activism and occupations, vegetarianism, the medicalization of death, young motherhood, Green utopian ideas and youth, euthanasia, and student drinking, among many others. Studies of these diverse topics are informed by a sociological or anthropological framework and focus on the collection/reuse and analysis of empirical materials. Projects apply a wide range of methodologies including qualitative interviews, media and discourse analysis, questionnaires and surveys, statistical analysis, focus groups, case studies and more.

Students are supported by meetings with their supervisor throughout semesters 1 and 2 through four group meetings of one hour, and five individual meetings of 30 minutes. At the beginning of semester 1 there is a dissertation workshop to help students begin their Stage 3 dissertation work, with talks about the research process from staff and post-graduate researchers and opportunities to ask questions and explore issues related to specific research methods. A second workshop takes place shortly before the Christmas break, which is designed to support students as they begin to structure and write up their dissertation work.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists