Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: PO2SOP The Study of Politics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Dawn Clarke

Email: d.clarke@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
Students prepare a thesis of 8,000-10,000 words on a topic chosen in consultation with advisers within the Department of Politics.

The purpose of the module is to hone the research and writing skills of students to the degree that they are capable of successfully undertaking major research projects.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The student will be expected to demonstrate the ability to absorb a range of relevant literature and to marshal a range of evidence in the construction of a coherent and persuasive discussion of the chosen topic.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have gained experience in the preparation and conduct of independent research.

Outline content:
The topic of the dissertation must reflect, and relate to, competencies acquired through one, or more, of the units studied in the Department of Politics, by the particular student.

It should be based on the student’s own research. That research may be based on a variety of sources, including (but not limited to) published works, documents, quantitative data, interviews, and materials gathered through placements. Criteria of assessment are in all cases the same, based on demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the topic and the quality of the analysis and presentation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students prepare a thesis of 8,000-10,000 words on a topic chosen in consultation with advisers within the Department of Politics. The preparation is a continuation of work carried out for the PO2SOP module.

(i) By the end of week 2 of the Autumn term of year 3 students must submit to their supervisor a synopsis outlining the structure, general content, main sources and analytical/conceptual framework of their dissertation. Supervisors will be available for two or three consultations (the total time for which should not exceed two hours). Students are advised to employ these meetings productively, preparing for them and bringing their dissertation plan and work in progress. At the student's request, supervisors will read and comment on a single draft chapter.

(ii) Submission: By 12 NOON on the FIRST DAY OF THE SUMMER TERM OF THE FINAL YEAR, two bound copies of the completed dissertation must be handed to the Department Secretary. If they are posted, the recorded delivery service should be used. At the same time an electronic version of the dissertation must also be submitted on blackboard for which a receipt will automatically be issued. This receipt is the official acknowledgement of submission. Dissertations should NOT be given or posted to members of the academic staff.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Project Supervision 2 2
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 192 196
Total hours by term 200.00 200.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable).

    Coursework: Failed or missing dissertation should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: 2 bound copies including printing from Mailbox in the Student Union is approximately £30. A less expensive option is home printing then securely bound in a soft PVC clear fronted punched pocket or clip presentation file which are available from stationery shops for approximately £5 for two.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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