Dissertation - Independent Research Project

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Members of Department of Gender Studies.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Sexuality), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Gender, Peace and Security and MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Gender. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The Independent Research Project is a student-led module facilitating learning on how to conduct original research independently, with support to develop research ideas and to achieve research ‘milestones’ during development stages. 

The completion of the Independent Research Project module entails the following:

• Achievement of all ‘milestones’/ development stages of your project throughout the academic year.

• Completion of GI499 Methodologies Series - attendance at all compulsory (varies between six to eight) and a minimum of three optional classes.

• Submission of a dissertation/independent study project, meeting departmental standards and requirements.

The Independent Research Project and resulting dissertation may be on any approved topic within the field of the MSc programme studied.

The ‘methodologies series’ provides introductory compulsory and optional workshops in the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer Terms designed to provide support for the conception, development and completion of the Independent Research Project. Students will be introduced to dissertation guidelines, common difficulties, ethical issues, basics in research practice, managing sources, the process of research and writing, and ways of creating research impact. The sessions will consider challenges raised by quantitative and qualitative methods, and include examples from and approaches to policy research, interviewing, discourse analysis, oral histories, archival studies, and visual and media analysis. The workshops may vary and are taught within the Department of Gender Studies according to expertise, and will involve student participation.


The ‘methodologies series’ involves a combination of compulsory and optional dissertation workshops of up to 90 minutes spread across the MT, LT and ST.

Students are provided supervision for the Independent Research Project during the LT and ST .

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Indicative reading

• Ackely, B. and True, J. (2010) Doing Feminist Research in Political and Social Science, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

• Badgett, Lee (2016) The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World. NY: New York University Press.

• Belcher, W. L. (2009) Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, Chicago, London: Chicago University Press.

• Biggam, J. (2017) Succeeding with your Master’s Dissertation: A Step-byStep Handbook, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

• Creswell, J. W, Creswell, J. D (2018) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches, California: Sage.  

• Harding, Sandra G. (ed.) (2003) The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. NY: Routledge.

• Hart, C (2005) Doing your Masters Dissertation: Realising Your Potential as a Social Scientist, London: Sage. 

• Hesse-Biber, S. N., Leavey, P. L. (2007) Feminist Research Practice: A Primer, Thousand Oaks, London: Sage.

• Swetnam, D., Swetman, R. (2000) Writing Your Dissertation: How to Plan, Prepare and Present Your Work Successfully, Oxford: How to Books.

• Weiss, Robert S. (1995) Learning From Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. NY: The Free Press.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in August.

Additionally, in the LT students will submit milestone documents: (a) title or topic of research; (b) summary proposal including research question, methodological and analytical / theoretical approach; (c) and an annotated bibliography at the beginning of Summer Term.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 34.1
Merit 54.1
Pass 11.1
Fail 0.7

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2019/20: 109

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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