The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR3003 Dissertation in Politics & International Relations

Module Overview

The researching and writing of a 10,000 word dissertation provides you with the opportunity to integrate and hone a variety of skills acquired and extended during your studies, and to significantly deepen your knowledge of a topic of your choice. In many ways, the dissertation is the culmination of your studies in the Division of Politics & International Relations. Writing a dissertation will require you to research, compile, analyse, summarise, assess, argue, formulate, structure, and evaluate. As part of the module, students: (1) are formally assigned to one of the PAIR research clusters based on their dissertation topic. The PAIR research clusters are: Political Analysis, Political Theory, Public Policy and International Relations. (2) are assigned a dissertation supervisor (3) attend four compulsory lectures/workshops on theoretical and practical aspects of writing a dissertation. These workshops will be organised and run simultaneously by each PAIR research cluster. Each student attends the workshop organised by the PAIR research cluster to which he/she was assigned. (4) submit four 500 words assignments that, following revision based on the grade and feedback received, become constitutive parts of the dissertation (5) submit the 10,000 words dissertation.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Writing a dissertation gives you a unique opportunity to conduct independent research. It is the principal opportunity in your degree programme to choose a topic you wish to develop far beyond the scope of standard essay. The researching and writing of a 10,000 word dissertations provides you with the opportunity integrate a hone a variety of skills acquired and extended during your studies and to significantly deepen you knowledge of a topic of your choice. In many ways, the dissertation is the culmination of your studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations. Writing a dissertation will require you to research, compile, analyse, summarise, assess, argue, formulate, structure and evaluate.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify a research puzzle, formulating a clearly stated research question, and justifying the topic of dissertation
  • Review relevant academic literature and critically assess the main arguments and explanations proposed by scholars to answer the research question addressed in the dissertation
  • Implement a well-formulated research design/method and conduct independent data collection/evidence gathering
  • Analyse evidence and assess the explanatory power of theoretical arguments in light of empirical findings/evidence

Syllabus

The researching and writing of a 10,000 word dissertation is a year-long project of largely independent study. The examiners will be looking for evidence that the thesis accurately reflects the title. They will look for a clear analysis and a coherent, consistent argument, informed by a good knowledge of available sources. They will expect accurate spelling, punctuation, grammar, good general presentation, etc., correct and complete referencing, and a full bibliography. These criteria are to be met by the student being examined, whilst a supervisor will offer formal advice as to structure and argument. Student will be assigned to four research clusters based on their dissertation topic: Political Analysis, Political Theory, Public Policy and International relations. Students will attend four compulsory training sessions offered by PAIR staff members with expertise in these specific research clusters. Students will get formal training on how to write a dissertation in different fields of political science and will be offered tailored advice on how to successfully complete a piece of original research. As part of the module, students: (1) are formally assigned to one of the PAIR research clusters based on their dissertation topic. The PAIR research clusters are: Political Analysis, Political Theory, Public Policy and International Relations. (2) are assigned a dissertation supervisor (3) attend four compulsory lectures/workshops on theoretical and practical aspects of writing a dissertation. These workshops will be organised and run simultaneously by each PAIR research cluster. Each student attends the workshop organised by the PAIR research cluster to which he/she was assigned. (4) submit four 500 words assignments that, following revision based on the grade and feedback received, become constitutive parts of the dissertation (5) submit the 10,000 words dissertation.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Four lectures/workshops offered to students based on their affiliation to one of the following research clusters: Political Analysis, Political Theory, Public Policy and International relations. Individual study and research developed under the guidance of the dissertation supervisor.

TypeHours
Lecture10
Independent Study290
Total study time300

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s)  (2000 words) 20%
Dissertation 80%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PAIR2004 Research Skills In Politics & International Relations 2016-17

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