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SOU44100 Sociology Capstone (20 ECTS credits)

Module Content/Outline:

The Dissertation Module provides students with guidance, tools and skills to successfully write their final undergraduate thesis. This module spans both Michaelmas and Hilary Terms with the final dissertation consisting of a piece of empirical research of between 12,000-15,000 words (excluding references) to be submitted in Hilary Term. Students work with an individual supervisor from the Department of Sociologyor School of Social Policy & Social Workat Trinity College.
The module consists of 12 sessions divided into three parts over two terms.
Part I (Weeks 1-6 in Michaelmas Term) discusses issues that are fundamental to guide the dissertation proposal and its analytical scope including (i) how to formulate research questions, (ii) how to write a literature review, (iii) how to structure a dissertation and a research proposal and (iv) how to deal with ethical issues. During Part I, students develop a research proposal that will be submitted right after reading week.
Part II (Weeks 8-12 in Michaelmas Term, i.e. after reading week). The class is split into two groups based on the methods of the student dissertation: Group 1 (quantitative projects) will be taught by Dr Laura Acosta Gonzales and Group 2 (qualitative projects) will be taught by Dr David Landy. Students decide which of these two groups they wish to attend based on topic and methodology used. In these sessions, the groups are taught relevant aspects of research design, access and sampling, data collection and data analysis techniques.
Part III (1 session in Hilary Term) consists of individual presentations and group feedback of each dissertation project. Students have the opportunity to present their work and to get valuable peer feedback. 
Learning Outcomes:
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • identify a sociological topic or problem and formulate appropriate research question(s);
  • critically discuss and synthesise relevant literature and link it with the research problem;
  • discuss and reflect on your research methodology including ethical issues;
  • analyse data and link new original findings to existing literature and theoretical aspects;
  • discuss and reflect on your work-in-progress through individual in-class presentations;
  • demonstrate the research skills required to carry out postgraduate research;
  • write a dissertation to professional standards.

Recommended Reading List
The module recommends the following as basic readings:

  • Bryman, A., (2016) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • O'Leary, Z.  (2017) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project (3rd edition), London: Sage.
  • Thomas, G. (2013) How to do your Research Project, London: Sage.

Other weekly readings will be available as PDFs for download on Blackboard.

Students will submit their dissertation in Week 10 of Hilary term 2023.