60 credits at level HE7
The module aims to develop advanced skills of conducting research, analysing results and disseminating findings.
The dissertation for MSc Applied Criminology will normally consist of a problem-oriented study in a clearly defined area of criminology involving both theoretical and empirical components. The theoretical component may involve any of the following: a critical review of frelevant theory and data; the construction of a new theory or model; an evaluation analysis of an applied problem area. The empirical component will depend on the nature of the project and is a matter for discussion between student and supervisor but it will normally consist of a problem-oriented research project in a community setting involving a variety of criminal justice agencies. Typical methods to be utilised would be case studies, field research, surveys, interviews, or the planning, implementing and evaluation of intervention schemes. Typical examples may be: community safety initiatives in local areas, intervention with specific offender groups, neighbourhood policing initiatives, drug & alcohol harm reduction measures, interventions with problem families. The maximum length for the dissertation is 15,000 words in the main text (excluding references and appendices).
Independent Study: The dissertation is undertaken by supervised independent study. Students are allocated to a provisional supervisor so that they can discuss their proposal in tutorial sessions. Students are assigned to a utor with expertise in the area of the proposed idssertation. For laboratory-based research, or research requiring technical support, the supervisor will liaise with Mr. Ian Harrison, Supervisory Technician. Students are expected to use and develop skills acquired in the prerequisite research methods module by: carrying out a piece of independent research using appropriate methods and analyses with due regard to ethical issues; writing a concise research report in the appropriate format. Students are required to exercise analytic, synthetic, evaluative and creative thinking in designing and carrying out the research. The work should be characterised by advanced subject knowledge, advanced research skill and understanding and by independence of thought and action. Students are expecgted to be self-motivated and proactive in their interactions with their supervisor. Students should, however, be in regular contact with their supervisor so that the advanced skills outlined above can be facilitated during supervision.
Dissertation Seminars: These timetabled sessions are intended to enable students to discuss and present their work to their peers, their supervisor and other MSc tutors. The aims of the seminars are:
1. to provide a structure for the study period
2. to allow students to develop their skills of communication and presentation
3. to encourage students to share their ideas with their peers
4. to generate a constructive discussion of students' work amongst staff and other students of a new theory or model; an evaluation analysis of an applied problem area.
Apprenticeship and independent topic dissertations: Following precedents in other MSc Pathways at the University of Bolton, two alternative models of research training will be adopted for the BMSc Applied Criminology Dissertation: the 'apprenticeship' and the 'independent topic' models. In both cases, the dissertation will be carried out under the guidance of a Dissertation Supervisor to ensure that the highest ethical and professional standards are maintained. In the apprenticeship model of research training the research questions for the dissertation would have been initially proposed by the provisional supervisor, normally derived from his or her on-going research. In contrast, in the independent topic model, the process of developing research questions would have been initiated by the student. Both models are regarded as equally valid, and assessment of the dissertation is organised to ensure that students opting for either model are not disadvantaged.
when you have successfully completed this module you will:
to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcome you will:
|1.||Have understood in detail key developments and current issues in the dissertation topic (theory, evidence, application)||Show a high standard of competence in relation to the definition of a social problem pertaining to crime and the analysis of existing research literature|
|2.||Have designed and completed an advanced piece of independent, innovative, empirical work||Be able to formulate a justifiable research strategy to address the issue|
|3.||Have extended their critical capacity to design research and evaluate problems in conducting research||Demonstrate a high standard of competence in relation to the execution of the strategy and find solutions to problems that arise|
|4.||Have extended their skills of literature review, report writing, data analysis and interpretation, and oral communication||Produce a research report to a professional standard which displays a depth of understanding of conceptual, interpretative and analytic modes of inquiry|
|5.||Have an appreciation of ethical issues in applied criminological research||Show how ethical issues were approached and resolved during the course of the study, including the obtaining of consent and the maintenance of confidentiality|
Your achievement of the learning outcomes for this module will be tested as follows:
Before taking this module you must have successfully completed the following:
You cannot take this module if you are taking or have taken:
Crow, I. & Semmens, N. (2008) 'Researching Criminology'. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.
Government Social Research Unit (2007) 'The Magenta Book: Guidance notes for Policy, Evaluation and Analysis'. Available online: http://www.national school.gov.uk/policyhub/magenta book/
In addition, the reading list for the prerequisite research methods module is appropriate, supplemented by specific methodological texts and material relevant to the topic of study.
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