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BASS Philosophy and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Long Dissertation

Unit code CRIM30610
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore and investigate their own research topic. It is an excellent chance to develop an independent research project, which students can identify, refine, explore in depth and evaluate using the knowledge and skills that have been gained over the previous two years of study. There are no generic teaching sessions that students have to attend. Instead, due to the individualised nature of the dissertation, there are one to one sessions with an allocated supervisor throughout the year.

This course unit aims to:

  • Engage students with the theoretical and practical issues involved when undertaking criminological research.
  • Encourage the exploration of dilemmas and synergies of particular research design and methods appropriate to the selected area of study.
  • Enable students to explore a research question in depth, by conducting a piece of secondary data analysis, library-based desk research, or through data collection.


Restricted: to BA (Criminology) students if not doing LAWS30620. Also available to students on the BASS Criminology pathway. 

Pre-requisites: 40 credits of 2nd year Criminology course units. 

Please note that to qualify for the Long Dissertation you must achieve a minimum of 60% in ALL second year modules. 


At the discretion of the School, students may write a dissertation upon an agreed topic, contributing 40 credits to their final year of study.  The Long Dissertation provides students with the opportunity to study a topic in depth by identifying and developing a research question and then carrying out a small piece of original, independent research and analysis under the supervision of a member of staff.  The original research can take one of three forms:

  • The collection and analysis of qualitative or quantitative data (subject to ethical approval);
  • The secondary analysis of an existing data set (such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales or General Household Survey);
  • Or the analysis of primary documents within a clear analytical framework. 

Students who want to do the Long Dissertation must indicate their interest in semester 2 of their second year, when requested, and with the Course Unit Leader and their Dissertation Supervisor, agree a short programme of work to be undertaken during the summer.  Only those students who can demonstrate completion of this summer programme of work will be invited to proceed to the Long Dissertation in September.

Any proposed empirical research is subject to approval by the University's ethics protocols.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course unit, students who take full advantage of the opportunities offered will be able to demonstrate the following outcomes and personal skills:

  • Appreciate the theoretical and practical issues of undertaking an extended piece of research under supervision.
  • Ability to explore a research question in depth.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of research design to address an identified researchable question.
  • An effective use of literature search tools.
  • Ability to research, select and critically analyse key literature, using appropriate referencing to support the work.
  • An engagement with the dilemmas and synergies of particular research design and methods appropriate to their field of study.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of how to 'do research'.
  • Understanding the debates concerning the ethics of research.
  • Ability to research, select, and critically analyse key literature, using appropriate referencing to support the work. 
  • Illustrate strong time management skills.
  • Demonstrate skills in conducting and communicating findings from a piece of empirical research.

Teaching and learning methods

Students are expected to have between 3 and 5 supervision meetings in semester 1, and similarly, up to 5 meetings in semester 2. The purpose of these supervision meetings is to check on your progress, offer support and advice and to help develop the structure of your work. These sessions are critical to the development of your dissertation.

Assessment methods

10,000 word dissertation

Supervision sessions will provide formative feedback.

Recommended reading

Due to the individualised nature of this unit, there are no recommended generic readings. However, students will be expected to complete some work over the summer before commencing their 3rd year of study. This will be agreed with the Course Unit Leader or supervisor. 

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caroline Miles Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Admission to the long Dissertation is at the discretion of the Course Unit Leader. Students who do not meet the pre-requisites or who do not demonstrate sufficient commitment to the dissertation will not be allowed to progress with this unit. 

Up to 5 supervision meetings per semester, arranged individually with the allocated supervisor. 


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