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Department of Social & Policy Sciences, Unit Catalogue 2011/12

SP50252: Dissertation in international public policy analysis

Click here for further information Credits: 30
Click here for further information Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Click here for further information Period: Dissertation period
Click here for further information Assessment: DS100
Click here for further information Supplementary Assessment: Supplementary assessment information not currently available (this will be added shortly)
Click here for further information Requisites: Before taking this unit you must take SP50219
Click here for further information Description: Aims:

* to give students the opportunity to identify a feasible research question and relate it to relevant literature and empirical material and to develop a cogent and credible argument that addresses the research question, and to do this within a fixed time period. The period allocated for writing dissertations may also provide some students with an opportunity to go on placement (sometimes also referred to as internship - in this case the two terms mean the same thing) in order to gain work experience relevant to any aspect of their programme of study. Where possible dissertation topics and placements will be explicitly linked, but this is not a requisite for a placement;
* to demonstrate a critical understanding of the institutional and policy environment within which governments, corporations and other socio-political actors are shaping systems of governance and decision making at national, supra-national and global levels. to analyse the policy choices and conflicts with which these actors are presenting each other and the issues of public and private responsibility which these raise through the use of techniques of policy analysis;
* demonstrate a thorough understanding of the merits and limitations of different types and styles of public policy analysis through their application to a specific field of public policy.

Learning Outcomes:
An ability (a) to define and answer a research question in a chosen area of interest related to globalisation and international policy making, (b) to support the argument with relevant empirical evidence and/or reference to appropriate theory, and/or linking together arguments from disparate literatures or disciplinary perspectives, (c) to do all the above in written form in a dissertation that conforms to acceptable standards of presentation and expression, and (d) to complete the assignment within an agreed deadline.


* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication. T/F
* Ability to select, analyse and present numerical data. T/F A
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesis written information from multiple sources. T/F A
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models. T/F A
* Ability to synthesise multidisciplinary perspectives on the same problem. T/F A
* Ability to formulate a research question, then develop and present an original & coherent answer. T/F A
* Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines. T/F A
* Ability to work independently, without close supervision or guidance. T/F A

Research field to be chosen by the student but it could be any area of globalisation and international policy making for which an adequate level of supervision can be offered. Dissertations may be based on any combination of (a) review of published literature (b) analysis of secondary data (c) analysis of primary data collected by the student, for example through participant observation while on placement. The nature of a placement may vary, but should be set out clearly and approved by the Director of Studies in a placement proposal letter prior to its inception. At the minimum, a placement should comprise a structured set of meetings and agreement with a named organisation to collaborate in collection and analysis of data to be incorporated into the student's dissertation. At the other extreme, a placement may require the student to undertake substantial tasks that are not directly related to their dissertation. In all cases the Director of Studies may agree to an appropriate extension of the deadline for submission of the dissertation. This may also require a change of the student's status from full-time to part-time, and in some cases temporary suspension of registration.
Click here for further informationProgramme availability:

SP50252 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • THSP-AFM13 : MSc International Public Policy Analysis (Full-time)
  • THSP-APM13 : MSc International Public Policy Analysis (Part-time)

NB. Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.