Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Researching the Social (SOCI2082).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Essay module in Sociology and Social Policy (SOCI3121).


  • To encourage students to undertake an extended piece of work concerned with any theme in the study of sociology and social policy.


  • Dissertation on a topic chosen by the student from within the field of Sociology and Social Policy and approved on behalf of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies and the Board of Examiners.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having completed the dissertation, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an ability to formulate sociologically informed questions relating to a chosen area of research.
  • Display a critical understanding of key theoretical concerns and appropriate underlying concepts relevant to their chosen area of research.
  • Display a critical understanding of the core methodological issues relating to their area of research.
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the particular issues (e.g. theoretical, methodological and, where appropriate, policy-related) associated with their research topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Having complete the dissertation students will be able to demonstrate a capacity to:
  • Evaluate sociological arguments and evidence.
  • Use abstract sociological concepts with confidence.
  • Undertake and present theoretical and empirical material in a scholarly manner.
  • Employ both theoretical and methodological expertise in analysing key issues related to their chosen research topic.
  • Convey, in writing, the meaning of abstract theoretical and methodological concepts in ways that are understandable to others.
  • Perceive (where relevant) and relate, insights developed from the knowledge of their chosen topic area to social and public policy.
Key Skills:
  • Having completed the dissertation, students will be able to:
  • Communicate complex ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate a range of numeracy skills where appropriate.
  • Demonstrate a capacity to compile extensive bibliographies using a range of online search tools and web-based resources.
  • Reflect, in writing, on their experience of conducting an extended piece of sociological research.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Prior to the module students are offered four general dissertation/essay paper workshops
  • Teaching is via four, one-hour tutorial sessions with the student's supervisor. The first tutorial takes place towards the end of Term Three in year two.
  • Assessment is based upon a 10,000-15,000 word dissertation
  • The module is designed to encourage independent learning and the production of a dissertation in a selected specialist area of sociology.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorial 4 1 4
Preparation and Reading 396
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation, due the penultimate day of the Epiphany Term 10-15000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University