The Sociological Dissertation

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Francine Tonkiss STC S114


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Sociology. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Students undertaking this course need to have completed the first two years of the BSc in Sociology.

Course content

The dissertation takes the form of an independent and extended research project of 10,000 words on a sociological topic of the students’ choosing, subject to approval by the Department of Sociology. The topic should be chosen from any area within the discipline of sociology, preferably from an area covered by the BSc in Sociology. The process generally includes reviewing the literature in the chosen area, formulating a viable and sociologically-relevant research problem, collecting and analysing primary and/or secondary data (such as a case study, data set, fieldwork observation, survey results or interviews), and drafting the findings of their investigation into a research project.

Students’ work on the dissertation is supervised in one-to-one sessions by their Academic Advisor over MT and LT.

The Dissertation process is supported by a series of compulsory workshops in the MT and LT which focus on research design. The workshops cover topics such as identifying a sociological problem for investigation, constructing a bibliography, selecting appropriate methods, research ethics, research access, data collection, quantitative data analysis, qualitative data analysis, writing up and trouble-shooting.


9 hours of seminars in the MT. 6 hours of seminars in the LT.

Individual supervision by the Academic Advisor, supported by ten group workshops over MT and LT. Academic Advisors can be expected to offer advice on preliminary reading, research design, data collection and analysis, and on organisation of the dissertation. They can also read and comment on an outline of the dissertation, or on one draft chapter. Academic Advisors are not permitted to read or comment on a final draft of the whole dissertation or any part of it.

Formative coursework

One piece of formative coursework in the MT.


Research proposal (10%) in the MT.
Research project (90%) in the ST.

Assessment Particulars:

Two hard copies of the 10,000 word dissertation must be submitted to the Sociology Administration Office, Room S116, by 4.30pm on the second Thursday of ST, with a third copy posted to Moodle by 18:00 on the same day. Accidental loss of data or text on a computer will not be accepted as a reason for non-submission.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
First 21
2:1 50.6
2:2 19.8
Third 2.5
Fail 6.2

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2015/16: 26

Average class size 2015/16: 28

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills