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SOCL361: Independent Research Project by Placement

Department: Sociology NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF6//RQF6
Study Level: Part II (yr 3) Credit Points: 30.0
Start Date: 10-10-2016 End Date: 24-03-2017
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr B Szerszynski

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • Week 23 (of year before module commences): Students attend a 'look ahead' event to learn about doing an independent research project by placement.

    Week 30 (of year before module commences): Students submit request to do dissertation project by placement form to UG Office, including type or name of one or more organizations in which they would like to do a placement.

    Weeks 1-3: Developing research proposal and identifying host organizations and securing placement

    Three 2 hour group tutorials to help develop research questions, identify relevant literature, draft project proposal, secure placement position, negotiate and sign learning agreement with host organization. Tutorials led by Sociology academic and FASS Placements Officers.  

    Weeks 4-20: Placement period. Time in which students would be doing their placements (up to 70 hours in total)

    Week 7: Summative and formative feedback on reserach proposal. Exit onto MCS or SOCL 360 Independent Dissertation Project if student unsuccessful in securing placement.

    Weeks 11-20: Individual meetings with supervisor (and Placements Office if required) to provide consultation on placement and progress of research and drafting of written report.

    Week 13: Submission of draft literature review chapter for formative feedback

    Week 22: Submission of academic report and reflective log.

    Week 23: Oral presentation to host organization on key findings


Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • BA Sociology, BA Media and Cultural Studies


  • 60% Report
  • 20% Reflective report
  • 20% Proposal

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • There are three assessed elements associated with this module:

    1.  A project proposal (20%; 2000 words) will identify the overall aims of the project and the main research question(s) or objective(s) to be addressed.  It will provide a detailed outline of the intended structure for the final report indicating the main issues/ topic areas relevant to the research and the intended research methods.  A bibliography should be included that identifies the main sources relevant to the project. The proposal will be submitted in week 5. 

    2. Reflective Log (20%; 2000 words) will normally be completed on a weekly basis and will provide supporting evidence to the main report.  The log should record significant incidents that took place during the placement and provide evidence of student's planning, reflection and the development of specific skills. It will be submitted together with the report. The log will be submitted week 22

    3.  A written academic project report (60%; 5000 words) is designed to allow students to explore in-depth an issue related to their main subject area.  In it they should utilise and draw on the experience and evidence gained during the work placement, in addition to being well informed by relevant theory, in order to pursue a cogent argument.The project report will be submitted week 22

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

    • Foster students’ ability to ask critical questions, drawing on sociological and critical cultural theories to analyse ‘real world’ problems to come up with viable solutions;
    • Enable students to engage with current debates in sociology and media and cultural studies and to analyse social and cultural phenomena in relation to contemporary life; to encourage them to think critically and independently about social and cultural issues;
    • Familiarise students with a range of different theoretical and methodological perspectives within sociology and media and cultural studies so that they are able to apply their general understanding to real world examples.

Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

    • Develop students’ capacity to initiate, design, conduct and interpret original research in a placement environment;
    • Encourage students’ capacity both for independent working, including time management and self-organisation skills, and to work cooperatively with representatives of the host organization;
    • Develop students’ oral, written and multi-media communication skills;
    • Foster students' cultural senstivity, empathy and interpersonal skills;
    • Develop students' decision-making and evaluation skills.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to

    • Carry out and write about an extended piece of research that follows established academic conventions, drawing together theoretical and methodological issues in doing sociological or media and cultural studies scholarhsip;
    • Critically discuss and synthesise relevant literature in sociology and media and cultural studies,
    • Use and reflect on use of research methodology and analytical frameworks; and analyse data and link new original findings to existing literature and theoretical aspects;
    • Use and reflect on how they can apply their subject knowledge in either sociology or media and cultural studies and their skills to their host organisation;
    • Reflect critically on the theoretical and methodogical frameworks they have applied in relation to their placements. 

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    • Recognise the thought and planning required in producing a piece of research and the methodological and ethical issues involved;
    • Apply their general understanding of the research process to their placement in the host organization;
    • Demonstrate the ability to formulate and clearly communicate their ideas for research to others;
    • Demonstrate their planning and project design skills, as well as time keeping and self-management skills;
    • Reflect upon the skills they have developed during their placement in the host organization.

Contact Information

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