SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code MHL423139
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)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

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

Summary of Content

T he 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, following the 'Community Links' model. Summary of PRIME related challenges and themes: 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 Handbook issued to students provides detailed instruction about how to prepare a Dissertation Thesis or Honour Project and is supported by further learning resources on the VLE, GCU Learn. A menu of support workshops and 'master classes' provides the opportunity to reinforce issues around methodology, analysis, and writing. Indicative programme for Trimester 1: -360b7 Research methods refresher b7 Planning the dissertation b7 Library session on literature searches and online source materials. b7 Poster presentations/webpage/prospectus b7 Managing fieldwork b7 Ethical issues in research b7 Engaging with data and sources b7 Evaluating debates in the secondary literature. b7 The writing process b7 Completing the dissertation: question and answer session Trimester 2 sessions will build on those from Trimester 1 but be discipline-focussed. 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).

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

Books and Articles: Essential: Bell, J. (2010) Doing your research project. 5th Ed. London: OUP (E-BOOK). McMillan, K. & Weyers, J. (2011) How to write dissertations & project reports. 2nd Ed. UK: Prentice-Hall. (E-BOOK) Supplementary: Bachman, R. and R. K. Schutt (2010) The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (4 th edition). London: Sage. Berger, Arthur Asa (1998) Media Research Techniques. 2nd edition. Newbury Park, California: Sage. -720 Black, T. R. (1998) Doing Quantitative Research in Social Sciences. London: Sage. Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2011) Business Research Methods. 3rd Ed. UK: Oxford. Deane, M. (2010) Academic Research, Writing & Referencing. UK: Pearson. Burnham, P., K. Gilland, , W. Grant and Z. Layton-Henry (2008), Research Methods in Politics, 2 nd edition, Basingstoke. Field, A. (2013) Discovering statistics using SPSS statistics: and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. 4th Edition. London: Sage. Galgano, M.J., J. C. Arndt and R. M. Hyser (2012) Doing History: Research and Writing in a Digital Age. Boston. Easterby-Smith, M.; Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A. (2012) Management Research: an Introduction. 4th Ed. London: Sage. Fink, A. (2009) Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. London: Sage. Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An Essential Guide for Business Students. 3rd Ed. UK: Pearson Education (E-BOOK). Flick, U.; von Kardof, E. & Steinke, I. (2004) A Companion to Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers. 4th edition. London: Sage. Gray, C. & Kinnear, P. (2011) IBM SPSS 19 Made Simple. UK: Psychology Press. Gunter, Barrie (2000) Media Research Methods: Measuring Audiences, Reactions and Impacts. London: Sage. -426 Halperin S. and O. Heath (2012) Political Research. Methods and Practical Skills. Oxford. Jensen, Klaus Bruhn and Jankowski, Nicholas W. (1991) (eds.) A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research. London and New York: Routledge. Jesson, J., Matheson, L. & Lacey, F. (2011) Doing Your Literature Review. Traditional and Systematic Techniques. London: Sage http://www.uk.sagepub.com/authorDetails.nav?contribId=643346> (E-BOOK) Levin, P. (2011) Excellent Dissertations! 2nd Ed. UK: McGraw Hill Open University Press (E-BOOK) Miles, M.B. & Hubberman, A.M. (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis. London: Sage. d3Dochartaigh, N. (2012) Internet research skills: how to do your literature search and find research information online. 3rd Ed. London: Sage. Pears, R & Shields, G. (2010) Cite them right. The essential referencing guide. 8th Ed. Palgrave Study Skills. UK: Palgrave MacMillan. Robson, C. (2011) Real World Research. 3rd Ed. Oxford: OUP. Salkind, N.J. (2010) Statistics for People Who (think they) Hate Statistics. 4th Ed. London: Sage. Saunders, M.; Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. 6th Ed. London: Pitman Publishing: London. (E-BOOK) -567 White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions. UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Wilson, J. (2010) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project. London: Sage. -567 Online sources: Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods; Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice; International Journal of Social Research Methodology; International Journal of Research and Method in Education, -567 Research Methodology in Strategy and Management. Topic specific texts: Advanced level texts in relevant fields. Research and professional journal articles in relevant fields. Conference papers and trade journals in relevant fields. -567 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: b7 Analytical and critical thinking skills b7 Interpretation and critiquing of written work b7 Communication skills (oral and written) b7 Discussion skills b7 Quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis and problem solving skills b7 Interpersonal skills b7 Time management skills b7 Problem solving b7 Personal motivational skills b7 IT skills.

Module Structure

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

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 15.00 n/a Coursework 1 - Dissertation or Project Poster, Webpage or Prospectus - 1,500 words
Coursework 2 n/a 85.00 n/a Coursework 2 - Dissertation Thesis or Honours Project - 10-12,000 words