Dissertation - Independent Research Project

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr SM Rodriguez and faculty of Department of Gender Studies.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender (Rights and Human Rights), 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 Autumn, Winter and Spring 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 spread across the AT, WT and ST. 

Students are provided supervision for the Independent Research Project during the WT 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 WT 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 during the Spring vacation.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 43.3
Merit 51.2
Pass 5.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2022/23: 148

Average class size 2022/23: 25

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

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