module specification

GI7P12 - International Relations Dissertation (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24, but may be subject to modification
Module title International Relations Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 600
291 hours Guided independent study
18 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
291 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Dissertation 100%   Dissertation (15,000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module aims to:
• allow students the opportunity to engage in a major piece of independent research in International Relations
• enable students to apply the knowledge and analytical techniques they have gained from studying International Relations to a topic of their choice
• develop their research, analytical and time-management skills
apply and develop their skills in writing up their findings in dissertation form


- Students will select a research topic, formulate and then conduct a sustained piece of focused research LO1,LO2
- They will select and apply appropriate theories and locate, select and evaluate appropriate evidence LO3,LO4

Provide a thorough accounting of sources of material employed LO2,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students enrol in this module for the whole year. They are given a detailed course handbook offering advice on the planning and carrying out of their research for the dissertation. They are prepared for their dissertation work through the lecture/workshop classes in the first semester enrolled in the module .They are then allocated a tutor with whom they will meet regularly in order to receive feedback and guidance as their work progresses.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:
1. the ability to formulate a significant research question and to carry through systematic research towards a defensible answer to the question

2. the ability to master available sources in the given research topic area

3. the ability to reflect upon and find solutions to theoretical and methodological issues raised by the research

4. the ability to evaluate critically evidence and relevant secondary sources in the field

5. the ability to reference their work thoroughly, using a consistent referencing system

Assessment strategy

Students must produce a dissertation of 15,000 words, which will be assessed in line with the learning outcomes above, accounting for 100% of the final grade. (The dissertation may be no more than 10% longer or shorter than the set word length.)

Students will also be required to produce a 500 word research proposal during the first semester of study. This will be an ungraded formative piece of assessment, designed to allow students to be given feedback on their initial research plans.


Core text

Babb, J. (2012) Empirical Political Analysis (Harlow: Pearson Education)

Other Texts

Bell, J. (2014) Doing your Research Project, 6th edn. (Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill Education)
Berry, Ralph (2004) The Research Project: How to Write It, 5th edn. (London: Routledge)
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods, 4th edn. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Burnham, P., Gilland, K., Grant, W. and Layton-Henry, Z. (2008) Research Methods in Politics, 2nd edn. (Basingstoke, Palgrave)
Davies, M. and Hughes, N. (2014) Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods, 2nd edn. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)
Grix, J. (2010) The Foundations of Research, 2nd edn. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)
Harrison, L. (2001) Political Research: An Introduction (London: Routledge)
Marsh, D. and Stoker, G. (2010) Theory and Methods in Political Science, 3rd edn. (London: Palgrave Macmillan)
McMillan, K. and Weyers, J. (2013) How to Improve your Critical Thinking and Reflective Skills (Harlow: Pearson)
McMillan, K. and Weyers, J. (2014) How to Complete a Successful Research Project (Harlow: Pearson)
Mounsey, C. (2002) Essays and Dissertations (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Pennings, P. et al. (2006) Doing Research in Political Science: An Introduction to Comparative Methods and Statistics, 2nd edn. (London, Sage)
Remenyi, D. and Bannister, F. (2013) Writing up your Research for a Dissertation or Thesis (Reading: Academic Conferences and Publishing International)
Rudestam, K.E. and Newton, R.R. (2007) Surviving your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process, 3rd edn. (Newbury Park: Sage)
Savigny, H. and Marsden, L. (2011) Doing Political Science and International Relations: Theories in Action (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan)
Silbergh, D.M. (2001) Doing Dissertations in Politics: A Student Guide (London Routledge