Undergraduate Modules - POL3017

Module Code

POL 3017

Module Title



Level 3


Semester 1 and 2


40 credits

Taught by:

Dr Liam Stanley

Module Description:

This module involves supervised research on an agreed topic in Politics. Students will meet their tutor individually, undertake individual research and be assessed on the basis of a 12,000 word maximum dissertation.

Each year, the best dissertation is awarded the Bernard Crick Memorial Prize.

Module Aims:

This module aims to provide an opportunity for supervised research on an agreed topic in Politics.
In developing their dissertations students will be expected to design, organise, and execute a
research plan. This plan will be presented to their supervisor. This module requires students to take a high degree of responsibility for the learning process and will require them to manage their own learning, reflect on it critically, and seek and use constructive feedback.
By the end of the dissertation module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate significant knowledge of their chosen area of study
  • Illustrate their ability to conduct independent research relevant to their chosen topic, by selecting an appropriate approach and methodology and by utilising a broad range of primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate critical transferable skills such as the ability to effectively deploy a considerable body of research; assess the arguments of primary source materials against relevant secondary studies; critically evaluate different interpretations within the political studies community; elucidate their conclusions in a clear, logically-structured, analytical and independently-argued piece of work.

Module Schedule:

4 Dissertation workshop
5 Proposal submission
9 Supervision 1
13 Supervision 2
22 Supervision 3
30 Supervision 4
33 Supervision 5

Teaching Methods:

  • 1 * dissertation workshop
  • 5 * tailored one-to-one supervision


  • 12,000 word maximum dissertation

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with supervisor, in addition to scheduled supervision.
  • Dedicated module intranet site.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Blaxter, L., Hughes, C., and Tight, M. (2006) How to Research, third edition. Buckingham: Open
University Press.

King, G., Keohane, R. and Verba, S. (1994) Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press.

Brady, H. and Collier, D. (eds).(2004) Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools,  Shared Standards. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Hay, C., (2002) Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Marsh, D., and Stoker, G. (eds.) (2002) Theory and Methods in Political Science, second edition.
Basingstoke: MacMillan.

May, T. (2003) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process, third edition. Buckingham: Open
University Press.

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