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Independent Research Module


  • Credit value: 60 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Margarita Aragon
  • Assessment: a 10,000-12,000-word dissertation (100%)

Module description

The Independent Research Module consists of four elements: a taught element called Psychosocial Research Methods, individual or group supervision, a research proposal workshop and dissertation support workshops.

The Psychosocial Research Methods element of this module will be taught over 11 weeks in Term 1 of full-time study or Term 4 of part-time study, leading into the proposal stage for the dissertation. All sessions of the taught element will attend to issues of reflexivity, ethics, power and inequality in the research process as an integral element of the teaching; all sessions will also attend to the epistemological and ontological assumptions of the particular method(s)/ approach; all sessions will interrogate what validity and reliability mean in relation to the particular method(s)/approaches being discussed; and all will have a focus on exploring answers to the module's central question, 'What is psychosocial research?'

Following completion of the taught element, you will be allocated supervisors to support the development of your dissertation proposal and then will pursue research for your dissertation over Term 2 and especially Term 3 of full-time study, or Terms 5 and 6 of part-time study.

Your research and supervision will be complemented in Term 2 (or Term 5, if part-time) by a workshop about the scope of dissertations and the development of research proposals, including attention to ethics, to be submitted by the end of Term 2 (or Term 5, if part-time).

In Term 3 (or Term 6, if part-time), you will attend four two-hour dissertation support workshops, one of which will focus on ethics. These workshops will also offer you the chance to present your work in progress to staff and peers and so gain valuable feedback before completing your dissertation.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand (psychosocial) research methods through the completion of a piece of independent research of your choice
  • understand a substantive topic in the fields of psychosocial studies, psychoanalysis, history, cultural studies, social anthropology or education, through the appropriate choice and in-depth exploration of your research area.