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The University of Southampton

GERO6009 Gerontology Dissertation

Module Overview

This module supports the requirement for students to carry out independent research on a topic of their choice within the field of Gerontology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify key research questions within the field of Gerontology upon which you will carry out independent research
  • Apply the research training acquired in the taught element of the programme by designing an appropriate research strategy and research methodology to carry out your research
  • Use developed report writing skills
  • Undertake the collection, analysis and interpretation of qualitative, quantitative or documentary data to investigate your chosen key research questions; or carry out a literature-based study on a selected research issue
  • Use referencing skills and other aspects of academic writing
  • Carry out independent research
  • Carry out a literature review of the relevant field
  • Identify and summarise relevant literature
  • Understand and apply theoretical frameworks to the chosen area of study
  • Write up the process of carrying out independent research and report your results with reference to existing literature
  • Draw out the implications of your research for further research and policy/practice
  • Manage your time effectively whilst working on your independent research
  • Collect, analyse and interpret data


The module will include: - Dissertation Workshops to outline expectations for the preparation of the Dissertation (guidelines, aims, choice of topic, period of study, supervision, length, layout, language, referencing, figures/tables, risk assessment form, ethics, disclaimer); - meetings with your Dissertation Supervisor over the summer period; - and independent study. As part of this module, you will be offered an opportunity to discuss and agree the topic of your dissertation with the MSc Dissertations Tutor and your allocated Dissertation Supervisor. You will be given guidance on the preparation of your dissertation via Dissertation Workshops and through general support and direction by your Dissertation Supervisor while you are carrying out your independent research and writing it up. Your Dissertation Supervisor will meet with you during the summer period to discuss progress of your dissertation, advise you on the structure and comment on outlines of chapters. You will have the chance to present your dissertation proposal to members of the Centre for Research on Ageing team, and receive formative feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

MSc Dissertation Workshops, MSc Dissertation Handbook, use of Blackboard, supervision meetings.

Independent Study593
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods. 

Bell, J. (2010). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science. 

Denscombe, M. (2010). The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 

Petticrew, M. and H. Roberts (2006). Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. 

Aveyard, H. (2014). Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide. 

Biggam, J. (2015). Succeeding with your Master's dissertation: A step-by-step handbook. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Conference expenses

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as conference registration fees).


Students have access to workstations in the Hartley Library and in Computer rooms around the campus. Students may wish to purchase their own laptop/PC/tablet.

Parking costs (including on placements at hospitals)

For students not residing in Southampton, paid parking is available on the University campus. Maps of the campuses can be downloaded from here:

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. However, for some modules outside Gerontology, there are some items where students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

Software Licenses

Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password.


You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.


Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Please note that the vast majority of readings in Gerontology are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.

Travel Costs for placements

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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