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SP30281: Social policy dissertation

[Page last updated: 11 August 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Further information on credits Credits: 18      [equivalent to 36 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 360
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Academic Year
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 10%, DS 90%
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
The aims of the unit are:
a) To develop the student's knowledge and understanding of social policy, as set out in the learning outcomes listed below
b) To develop the general critical and analytical powers of the student
c) To develop research skills, with particular reference to those skills relating to investigation and analysis
Students will design and carry out either a fieldwork based piece of research or a library-based piece of research on a social policy topic of their choosing. The dissertation will be carried out under supervision. Further details are provided in the Dissertation Handbook

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit the students should be able to:
* conceptualise and design a 10,000 word piece of research on a social policy topic of the students' choosing
* conduct a thorough literature review in the area of research chosen
* display critical and broad knowledge of research on the chosen topic
* identify clear research aims for their dissertation
* produce and apply an appropriate research design;
* analyse, synthesise and evaluate sources used in the research;
* structure the material into a clear and coherent argument that addresses the aims of the research produce a professional dissertation in the appropriate academic style, systematically organised, well laid out and fully and accurately referenced.

Intellectual skills: Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of:
* the fundamental concepts of social policy relevant to the student becoming an effective practitioner;
* theories of welfare state development;
* the main sources of data about social welfare and a critical approach to their use;
* how to apply knowledge and concepts from across various social sciences disciplines;
* the main sources of data about social issues and a critical approach to their use;
* issues of human needs and social welfare - poverty, inequality, exclusion, diversity and differences;
* key concepts, theories and developments in at least two of sociology, social policy, politics, economics, psychology;
* methodological principles and research design;
Transferable/Key skills:
* To develop critical and analytical powers in general;
* To develop research skills with particular reference to those skills relating to investigation and analysis;
* To think creatively and analytically;
* To communicate an argument;
* To evaluate others' arguments and research;
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information;
* To gather information, data, research and literature from a number of different sources (i.e. library, web-based, archives etc.);
* To select appropriate and relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge;
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding;
* To utilise problem solving skills;
* To reflect upon new technology and innovation within social sciences and to make decisions regarding legitimacy, reliability and effectiveness;
* Study & Learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagiarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing);
* Basic Information and Computing Technology skills (word processing, email, using the web to search for information);
* Inter-personal and communication skills;
* Essay research, preparation and writing skills;
* To construct a bibliography of varying complexity.

Students will choose a specific research topic and design a research project. Students will undertake either a library-based piece of research or fieldwork research on their chosen topic. Students will write up their research project in the form a 10,000 word dissertation.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP30281 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 3)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 4)