SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHL424388
Module Leader Lani Russell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • B (January start)-A (September start)
  • C (May start)
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • S-C (May start)-A (September start)
  • C (May start)-A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally successful completion of level 3 module, 'Research Methods: Theory and Practice'

Summary of Content

The completion of an Honours Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project is the culmination of a student's undergraduate studies. The work offers individuals a sustained opportunity to conduct research into business and management and/or social and cultural issues, some of which could be international in focus, and execute a defined project of research, development or investigation. This module builds on the Level 3 'Research Methods: Theory and Practice' module and requires the completion, to the required standard, of a 10-12,000 word (excluding appendices) individual Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project. The module requires students to demonstrate familiarity with a range of data, research sources and appropriate methodologies. Students may also wish to incorporate a research-based placement into their programme of study. Summary of how PRME-related issues / topics are covered in this module: Students will be encouraged to identify and investigate contemporary research topics which directly address issues which confront public and private sector organisations including the cultural sector and how such dilemmas may be successfully explored and addressed.


The Module Guide issued to students provides detailed instruction about how to prepare a Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project and is supported by further learning resources on the VLE, GCU Learn. A menu of support workshops and 'master classes' some of which are delivered online provides the opportunity to reinforce issues around methodology, analysis, and writing. Indicative programme for Trimester 1: Planning and designing the dissertation 1 and 2 Library session on literature searches and online source materials. How to prepare a poster Ethical issues in research Engaging with data and sources Evaluating debates in the secondary literature. Subject specific sessions (3) Trimester 2: The writing process Subject specific sessions (3) including completing the dissertation: question and answer The flexibility of the module means that extra support workshops and drop-in sessions may be provided in response to student demand. Students will also participate in individual tutorials with their dissertation supervisors (with a requirement for a minimum of 2 in each Trimester).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:1). Initiate, design and execute an individual piece of research and present a Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project thesis.2). Plan and work independently and systematically over an extended time period on the Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project.3). Identify, review and critically evaluate theory and research findings relevant to the Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project.4). Demonstrate the ability to apply analytical and evaluative processes towards the solution of relevant topic issues.5). Demonstrate the ability to identify relevant limitations of the research process and ethical considerations.6). Form appropriate conclusions from their research findings.7). Clearly express and present the dissertation within a fixed deadline.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A directed programme of independent learning is provided structured so as to ensure students take increasing responsibility for their own learning and learning outcomes over the course of trimester A and B. In some cases this may include a placement element in trimester A. Students are assigned a supervisor who will be a member of staff appointed on the basis of fit of expertise on their part to the topic under investigation. The supervisor will guide and support the student in planning and structuring the dissertation whilst fostering independent activity. Individual meetings and/or small group meetings will be agreed between the supervisor and student throughout the academic session. Students will also attend workshops and master classes to reinforce skills in research design, bibliographic research, and constructing and writing a dissertation. This engagement will be supplemented with material provided on the VLE GCU Learn. Formative assessment will be undertaken over the course of the module to help students work towards submission of the final dissertation. In some instances, a Viva Voce will also be undertaken after submission of the Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project in order to ensure issues such as the student's understanding of the work and to ensure authenticity.

Indicative Reading

-567 Books and articles: Essential reading Bell, J. (2014) Doing your Research Project. Sixth edition. Milton Keynes Open University Press (e-book). McMillan, K. and Weyers, J. (2011) How to Write Dissertations and Project Reports . Second edition. UK: Prentice-Hall (e-book). Supplementary Adams, J. (2015) Grammar: Know Your Shit or Know You're Shit. Chichester: Summersdale. Berry, R. (2004) The Research Project: How to Write It. Fifth edition. London: Routledge. Deane, M. (2010) Academic Research, Writing & Referencing. Harlow: Longman (e-book). Black, T. R. (1998) Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences. An Integrated Approach to Research Design, Measurement and Statistics. London: Sage. Bryman, A. (2015) Social Research Methods . Fifth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Davies, M.B. (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods. London: Palgrave. Denscombe, M. (2010) The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Denscombe, M. (2009) Ground Rules for Good Research: Guidelines for Good Practice. Second edition. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (2005) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Third edition. London: Sage. Field, A. (2013) Discovering statistics using SPSS statistics: and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. Fourth Edition. London: Sage. Fink, A. (2009) Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . London: Sage. Flick, U., von Kardof, E. and Steinke, I. (2004) A Companion to Qualitative Research . London: Sage. Gray, C. and Kinnear, P. (2011) IBM SPSS 19 Made Simple. UK: Psychology Press. Gilbert, N. and Stoneman, P. (2016) (eds) Researching Social Life. Fourth edition. London: Sage. Hardy, M. A. and Bryman, A. (2004) (eds) Handbook of Data Analysis. London: Sage. Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Imagination. London: Sage. Hart, C. (2001) Doing a Literature Search. A Comprehensive Guide for the Social Sciences. London: Sage. Homan, R. (1991) The Ethics of Social Research. London: Longman. Israel, M. and Hay, I. (2006) Research Ethics for Social Scientists. London: Sage. Jensen, K.B. and Jankowski, N. W. (1991) (eds) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research . London and New York: Routledge. Jesson, J., Matheson, L. and Lacey, F. (2011) Doing Your Literature Review. Traditional and Systematic Techniques. London: Sage. Kaplan, D. (ed) (2004) The SAGE Handbook of Quantitative Methodology for the Social Sciences. London: Sage. -720 Layder, D (2013) Doing Excellent Small-Scale Research , London: Sage. Lee, R. (1993) Doing Research on Sensitive Topics. London: Sage. Levin, P. (2011) Excellent Dissertations! Second edition. UK: McGraw Hill Open University Press (E-BOOK). May, T. (2011) Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process . Fourth edition. Buckingham: Open University Press. Miles, M.B., Huberman, A.M. and Saldana, J. (2011) Qualitative Data Analysis : An Expanded Sourcebook . Third edition. London: Sage. d3Dochartaigh, N. (2012) Internet Research Skills: How to Do Your Literature Search and Find Research Information Online. Third edition. London: Sage. Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2010) Cite Them Right. The Essential Referencing Guide. Eighth edition. Palgrave Study Skills. UK: Palgrave MacMillan. Preece, R. (1994) Starting Research: An Introduction to Academic Research and Dissertation Writing. London: Pinter. Punch, K. F. (2016) Developing Effective Research Proposals. Third edition. London: Sage. Robson, C. and McCartan, K. (2015) Real World Research . Fourth edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Salkind, N.J. (2010) Statistics for People Who (think they) Hate Statistics . Fourth edition. London: Sage. Seale, C. (ed) (2012) Researching Society and Culture . Third edition. London: Sage. Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.G. and Silverman, D. (eds)(2004) Qualitative Research Practice . London: Sage. Silverman, D. (ed) (2016) Qualitative Research. Fourth edition. London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2013) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Qualitative Research . Second edition. London: Sage. Silverman, D. (2013) Doing Qualitative Research. A Practical Handbook. Fourth edition. London: Sage. Thomas, G. (2009) How to Do Your Research Project. A Guide for Students in Education and Applied Social Sciences. London: Sage. Truss, L (2011) Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. London: Profile Books. Walliman, N. (2013) Social Research Methods. Second edition. London: Sage. Walliman, N. (2013) Your Undergraduate Dissertation. The Essential Guide for Success. Sage Study Skills series. Second edition. London: Sage. Walliman, N. (2011) Your Research Project: Designing and Planning Your Work. London: Sage. Walliman, N. (2010) Research Methods: The Basics. London: Routledge. White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists. UK: Palgrave Macmillan. -567 Online sources: The Journal of Economic Methodology Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice; International Journal of Social Research Methodology; Internet Journal of Criminology Sociological Research Online Advanced level texts in relevant fields. Research and professional journal articles in relevant fields. Conference papers and trade journals in relevant fields. Web based resources as appropriate to the dissertation topic.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: - Analytical and critical thinking skills - Interpretation and critiquing of written work - Communication skills (oral and written) - Discussion skills - Quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis and problem solving skills - Interpersonal skills - Time management skills - Problem solving - Personal motivational skills - IT skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals 14.00
Assessments 60.00
Independent Learning 320.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW2 Course Work 02 n/a 85.00 n/a Coursework 2 - Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project - 10,000-12,000 words
CW1 Course Work 01 n/a 15.00 n/a Coursework 1 - Dissertation Poster- 1,000 words