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SP60312: Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice: research enquiry

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2018/9
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 198      [equivalent to 396 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 3,960
Further information on unit levels Level: Doctoral (FHEQ level 8)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Academic Year
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: DS100
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail to be confirmed
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Further information on requisites Requisites: You must complete the taught component (two compulsory and two optional units) of the programme before commencing this unit
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
The purpose of this unit is to enable students to design and carry out a substantial and original piece of potentially publishable research into the processes of public policy making, implementation and/or interpretation.
By drawing on both academic material and direct professional experience in selected fields this is also intended to strengthen links between academic research and professional experience in policy practice.
The production of a research thesis should also strengthen the capability of students to undertake and complete substantive policy related and/or relevant research that enhances knowledge, awareness and understanding of philosophical, organisational, political, social, economic managerial, interpersonal and technical dimensions of policy. It should also enable them to hone their specialised areas of expertise and potential to make original contributions to their chosen field(s).

Learning Outcomes:
After successfully completing this unit students will have demonstrated the following:
1. deep knowledge and understanding of a chosen field of policy
2. a capacity to think critically and analytically about policy processes and outcomes in this field
3. an ability to conduct research that adds to understanding of policy processes and outcomes in this field.
More specific learning outcomes include an ability
4. to acquire, organise and interpret knowledge and understanding relevant to a chosen field (including deconstruction and reconstruction of relevant conceptual, analytical and/or theoretical frameworks)
5. to design and justify a policy relevant research project in a chosen field
6. to secure necessary ethical approval and access to data relevant to this project
7. to implement the project in potentially complex and unpredictable situations, making appropriate adjustments as necessary
8. to present and defend their research project and findings in the face of scholarly criticism and peer review
9. They will also have deepened their capacity to understand, think critically about and contribute to knowledge in other fields of policy and practice.

The outcomes above will demonstrate acquisition of
* intellectual skills (especially 1,2,3,4,5,8,9)
* practical/professional skills (especially 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
* transferrable/generic skills (especially 1,3,7,8,9)
These skills will be acquired through guided and supported experiential learning. Assessment will be based both on a written thesis (not exceeding 45,000 words) and though a viva voce examination.

Students spend two years (minimum) and three years (maximum) designing and conducting a supervised research enquiry and then writing it up as a thesis up to 45,000 words in length. This may be on any topic relevant to public policy and practice, subject to approval of the Director of Studies and a supervisory panel. Unless otherwise stated, the guidelines for the Research Enquiry follow those for PhD, including the appointment of a lead supervisor and a second supervisor. Supervision (of at least ten hours per year) may be face-to-face or virtual, with attendance at the annual residential workshop encouraged but not compulsory. Key progression points through the research enquiry phase include (a) approval of Candidature Forms following completion of the first (taught) stage of the programme, (b) ethical approval prior to field work, (c) submission of the Intent to Submit form, (d) submission of the thesis, (e) examination by viva voce.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP60312 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • RHSP-APD04 : Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice