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The University of Southampton

GERO6016 Dissertation (DL)

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 unit will include: - online 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); - a minimum of 4 supervisory sessions with your Dissertation Supervisor over the summer period using Skype technology and/ or email, for which you will receive guidance in your Programme Handbook; - structured email correspondence with written feedback from your Dissertation Supervisor following supervision meetings; - and independent study. As part of this unit, 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 online 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 be in communication with you using Skype technology and/or email to assess the progress of your dissertation, advise you on the structure and comment on outlines of chapters.

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. 

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. 

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

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

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:

Accommodation and Travel

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

Conference expenses

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any conference registration fees.


Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to already have access to a PC/ laptop. Students may also wish to purchase their own PC/laptop or tablet in order to access Blackboard. Headphones are sent to the Distance Learning students in receipt of a Commonwealth Scholarship via post as part of their tuition fees at the beginning of their programme. Distance Learning students are also expected to have access to the internet, and to bear the cost of this themselves.


Students on the MSc Gerontology (DL) or MSc Global Ageing and Policy (DL) programme, subject to academic performance, are invited to attend a one-week Residential Course in Southampton. For those students who are in receipt of Commonwealth scholarships, the travel, accommodation and food is covered as part of their Scholarship.

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. Distance Learning students are provided hard copies of the MSc Student Handbook and Semester 1 Module Outlines via the post at the beginning of their programme, as part of their tuition fees. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.

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 key texts these should generally be available electronically 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 all readings in Gerontology are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books.

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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