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PL30983: Extended politics dissertation

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 24 [equivalent to 48 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 480
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: CW 10%, DS 90%
Assessment Detail:
  • Presentation (CW 10%)
  • Dissertation (DS 90%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: Students who complete the unit successfully will have enhanced skills which are widely transferable in the workplace and will also be well-prepared for postgraduate study. They will have been able to demonstrate the ability to:
* frame a research topic in politics, identifying research questions
* develop a research framework with an explicit and appropriate methodology
* develop an expert knowledge of state-of-the-art literature and primary sources relevant to the topic
* conduct sustained and in-depth analysis
* present that analysis in writing in a clear and cogent manner
* work independently.
They will also have demonstrated a critical awareness of the importance of methodology and conceptual analysis in political research and writing.

Aims: This unit gives students the opportunity to design and conduct a research project of greater depth than is possible in the alternative 12-credit dissertation, under correspondingly enhanced supervision. It must be on an approved topic in politics (understood broadly to include related political aspects of related subjects such as social policy) under supervision.

Skills: Skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, and the planning/conduct/reporting of research are developed and assessed in this unit.

Content: Students will choose a specific research topic and design and conduct a research project in consultation with a suitable supervisor.
Students will be required to deliver a formal outline of their research project in a presentation to their supervisor and a second member of staff. This presentation will provide in-depth feedback and act as a formal assessment worth 10% of the overall project.
Students will receive advice and support throughout the year in the form of individual supervision. Dedicated timetabled hours will be put aside for students and staff to ensure that these meetings can take place regularly. A degree of flexibility will be retained for such a project, as research can be conducted in a myriad of ways and supervision needs differ. Twelve half-hour meetings will be recommended to staff and students and staff will be asked to keep track of such meetings to ensure that adequate support has been offered.
In addition to personal supervision, five workshops will be organised early in the first semester to provide guidance and advice on advanced research techniques which will also allow students to share and reflect on their experience in designing a research project.
Students will be expected to engage with a broader range of primary and secondary source material and to devote more attention to methodology and transferable skills than is required in the12-credit dissertation.

Programme availability:

PL30983 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB13 : BA(Hons) French and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB12 : BA(Hons) German and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB16 : BA(Hons) Italian ab initio and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB17 : BA(Hons) Spanish and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AFB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations (Year 3)
  • UHPL-AAB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AKB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics (Year 3)
  • UHPL-AAB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 4)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.