Social Policy (Research) - Dissertation

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tania Burchardt 32L 3.30


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The purpose is to allow students to apply the research design, methods and critical analysis skills they are acquiring through other courses to carry out their own study addressing a social policy research question. The expectation is that empirical work will be undertaken - for example interviews or secondary data analysis - as part of the study, although the precise design will be governed by the research question. Students may opt to carry out their dissertation through a placement in another organisation such as an NGO working on social policy issues, which we can help to facilitate.


1 hour of help sessions in the MT. 1 hour of help sessions in the LT. 1 hour of help sessions in the ST.

An appropriate supervisor will be appointed in the first half of Michaelmas Term to meet regularly, advise each student throughout the dissertation process, and to provide feedback on ideas and draft material. The number and content of meetings will be determined by agreement between the student and supervisor, but as a rough guide, students might expect two half-hour meetings each term.

Students will also receive guidance through compulsory course MY400 Fundamentals of Research Design.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the ST.

The student and his/her supervisor will discuss the content and timing of formative work as appropriate to the individual dissertation.

Indicative reading

Robson, C (2016) Real World Research

Bryman, A (2015) Social Research Methods


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words).

The dissertation must not exceed 10,000 words. Please see departmental webpage for further guidance.

Student performance results

(2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 18.2
Merit 63.6
Pass 9.1
Fail 9.1

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: 26

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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