Document Sample
UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD - Get as DOC Powered By Docstoc
					  Master of Arts in Social Work

  Dissertation Handbook

  Academic Year 2006/2007

Faculty of Health and Social Care
The School of Community, Health Sciences & Social Care

           I Site

           iSite is the central point of advice, information and support for
           students at the University of Salford. If you need information or advice
           about financial issues, about accommodation, employment,

           This document is available electronically via the School intranet   1
health and welfare, visa or immigration issues or any other
question, iSite should be the first place you go.

iSite has a customer service point on the ground floor of Humphrey Booth House, open from 8.30am
until 5.00pm every weekday. You can drop in any time and speak to an adviser. If they cannot help you
themselves right away, they will direct you to the office or service that can. If you need an appointment,
they will be able to make an appointment for you.
Web site email
Telephone 0161 295 0023               Fax 0161 295 2018

Debt and Finances for free, confidential advice, help with tuition fees, student loans and information
on the access (hardship fund) 0161 295 0023 /
Consumer Credit Counselling Service 0800 138 1111, Monday - Friday 8.00am - 8.00pm
Local Education Authority Support

Council Tax for Students               (0161) 295 16300 information on council tax exemption

Failing Work All students are entitled to have another chance if they do not achieve the pass mark, so
don’t lose heart; your tutor will help you to improve the work.

Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) If you are unable to hand in work on time/attend
examinations or other assessments YOU MUST complete a PMC form and attach documentary evidence
(e.g. Medical Certificate) PMC forms with no evidence are rarely accepted.
NB A PMC form for “late submission” can only be accepted TOGETHER WITH your late work

Personal Tutors/Personal Development Planning Every undergraduate student has a dedicated
personal tutor and every student (UG or PG) is offered the opportunity of personal development planning

Plagiarism/Unfair Means (copying from books, website, journals or other students) Last year over 150
students were found guilty of plagiarism. Look at THE REGULATIONS in your student handbook. If you
don’t understand them, talk to your tutor. It is important to understand that PLAGIARISM = FAILED

School Staff/Student Committee (0161) 295 2556 This committee is chaired by students. Regular
meetings are held to discuss student issues, complaints and suggestions. Contact School Administrator
for more information.

Careers Advice The Careers Service offers a wide range of information, advice and guidance to help
you plan for your future Also Jobshop (for p/t and holiday work)
Volunteering @ Salford call 0161 295 5088/5668

This document is available electronically via the School intranet


Introduction and Rationale…………………………………… 4

Aims…………………….……………………………………… 6

Objectives and Learning Outcomes.……………………….. 6

Supervision…... ………………………………………………. 7

Your Role……………………………………………………… 8

Assessment…………………………………………………… 9

Presenting your Dissertation………………………………… 10

Structuring your Dissertation………………………………… 12

Other sources of support…………………………………….. 16

Submission……………………………………………………. 16

Conclusion…………………………………………………….. 18

This document is available electronically via the School intranet
MODULE TITLE:                                                       DISSERTATION

CREDITS:                                                                   60

MODULE CO-ORDINATOR:                                                       Dr JOHN LAWSON


Qualified social workers operate in a public arena. One
effect of this is that your actions are open to scrutiny and
are, frequently, challenged. Along with public scrutiny there
is the added element of practice being regularly examined by
agencies charged by the state to monitor the delivery of
social services. This is currently being done within the
framework of ‘best value’ so, if the way services are
provided, both at the personal and organisational level, are
to bear scrutiny, there must be a clear rationale underpinning
them One aspect of this increased visibility is that,
increasingly, social service provision has become the focus
of research with few aspects of the way services are
provided ignored by researchers. Over the last decade or so
there has been a shift from ‘the professional as expert’ to the
views of services users being seen as significant and,

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

therefore, they have become a key element in much
contemporary research.

As a master’s student you will be expected to demonstrate
the ability to synthesise and analyse research findings and
operationalise recommendations which impact on your area
of practice. Additionally you will be expected to prepare
summaries of research findings and prepare documents
identifying how research findings should be implemented.
To enable you to demonstrate your ability to conduct
original, independent research, and to prepare you for the
above tasks, you are required to conduct a research project
and submit a dissertation. The skills you acquire during this
process should equip you to fulfil these expectations.
Notwithstanding the above, conducting research is an
exciting and satisfying activity which gives you the chance to
devote your attention to an aspect of social care which you
wish to explore and question. I hope you embrace the
opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills and make a
contribution to your chosen area.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet


The aims of the dissertation are to provide you with the
experience of:

1. Undertaking an original research project.

2. Writing an extended review and analyse of current
     knowledge in your chosen field, and

3. The opportunity to make a contribution to knowledge in
     your chosen field.


On completion of the dissertation you will be able to:

1. Identify a problem suitable for investigation.

2. Formulate a research question.

3. Design a research project within the context of current
    knowledge in your chosen area.

4. Plan, conduct, and complete an empirical research study
    in line with the chosen research question.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

5. Analyse and discuss your research findings.

6. Make recommendations based on the analysis of your
    research findings.

7. Produce and present a clear, concise, and coherent report
    of your research in the form of a dissertation.



You will be allocated a supervisor who will be responsible

1. Advising you on the formulation of your research question
    and your study design.

2. Ensuring that the research you undertake does not
    transgress ethical standards.

3. Providing advice on issues which may emerge during the
    process of your research.

4. Providing progress reports on your research for nominee’s
    of the school’s research committee.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

5. Reading and advising you on draft writings of your

6. Maintaining confidentiality.

Additionally, your supervisor will be one of the two people
who mark your dissertation. The second marker will be a
member of the School of CHSSC academic staff.


Supervision is not a passive process and only works
effectively when both supervisor and student meet their
obligations. Consequently your role is to:

1. Formulate a realistic timetable for the completion of your

2. Meet agreed deadlines for submitting daft copies.

3. Keep your supervisor informed of progress and issues
    which may emerge during the course of your research.

4. Attend agreed supervision session.

5. Maintain confidentiality.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet


You may select the type of dissertation you wish to complete
from two options. These being:

OPTION A:                  An original research study.

OPTION B:                  An extensive analysis of secondary data
relevant to your area of interest.

Whichever option you choose it should be borne in mind that
whilst conducting research is a vital component in the
acquisition of key research skills it is through the medium of
a dissertation that the process will be assessed. You are,
therefore, required to submit a dissertation which will be
assessed according to the following criteria:

1. Identification of an appropriate research question/problem
    for investigation.

2. Design of a study within the context of current knowledge.

3. Planning and conducting the research study with rigour,
    leading to the acquisition of new knowledge.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

4. Presentation: concise, clear, appropriately structured and
    written in a manner appropriate for master’s level.


Your dissertation is the visible manifestation of the work you
have put into conducting your research. It is also placed in
the University’s library and, thereby, becomes part of the
body of knowledge on your subject and available to others
interested in your chosen area. Care needs to be taken so
that your final presentation reflects the standard of your
work. You must, therefore adhere to the following guidance.

You are required to submit two copies of your dissertation.
Both copies should be soft bound with a fabric spine by
the University’s bindery, located at University House. All
dissertations must comply with the following guidelines.

Dissertations should be no more than 15000 words in length
excluding Bibliographies, Reference Lists and Appendices.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

Dissertations must be word processed and formatted as

1. Double or 1½ line spacing.

2. 1½ " left hand margin, 1" right hand margin.

3. All pages must be numbered sequentially.

4. A font size of no less than 12 points should be used.

5. A clear font, preferably ARIAL should be used.

The following sequence should be adhered to:

1. A front page/cover containing: the name of the university,
    the name of the faculty, the name of the school, the title of
    your dissertation, the date of submission, the award (i.e.
    MA in Social Work Studies).and your PIN. [See the
    sample at the back of the handbook]

2. An abstract. This should be a precise summary of the
    research and it’s findings and should not exceed 250
    words, or one side of A4 paper.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

3. A list of contents

4. Lists of abbreviations, tables, keys etc. (if any)

5. Acknowledgements (if any).

6. Preface (if any).

7. Body of the text.

8. References.

9. Appendices. (any questionnaires, interview schedules or
    other relevant material should be included).


As you will be aware there is a convention for the
ordering of sections in the body of a project. In the case of
the Directorate of Social Care it is as follows:

This should comprise an outline of your project
identifying your aims and objectives, your hypotheses (if you
have one), the nature of your research; including who was

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

involved and where it was conducted, and conclusions you
arrived at.

In this section you should cover literature relevant
to your chosen area of research. It should be critically
analysed and the patterns it demonstrates should be
to give a rationale for your hypothesis, or aim in choosing the
specific area of research. You may be wanting to 'test out'
existing theory in relation to a specific phenomenon or social
group. This is acceptable but should be identified.

Included in this section should be a full and
critical analysis of your research process with including:

 How and why your sample was selected.

 A critical evaluation of your chosen method reference to
    relevant research methods literature.

 Ethical issues.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

 Access.

 Chosen method of data analysis.


This should cover a description, discussion and analysis of
how you collected your data.

How you do this will largely be dependent on how you
collected your data but it should include the following:

 Statistical tables, charts, figures, graphs etc., with
    appropriate discussion.

 Quotations from, or transcripts of, interviews.

 Analysis of observations.

 Any other relevant items.

Having covered the above elements you now move on to
synthesise and analyse the way in which your collected data
This document is available electronically via the School intranet

combines with your literature review to produce a coherent
argument - that is A THESIS. This should be rigorous in it's
application and you should not shirk any flaws in your
but should seek to discuss and evaluate them and their
impact on
your findings.

You need to summarise and contextualise your findings
succinctly and move on to make any recommendations for
either future research or changes in practice. Depending on
your research there may not be recommendations but there
will certainly be some form of conclusion. Too many
students avoid making a conclusion or suggesting
recommendations but it is very important that this is
attempted because, ultimately, the object of research should
be advancement so all researchers share a responsibility to
recommend how they consider this might be achieved.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet


Clearly your main source of support will be your supervisor.
However, the Faculty has a specialist librarian who can be of
great assistance. His name is Tom Taylor. Tom is located
in the Allerton Building AIS library.

There are also a number of ‘How to ….’ guides which can be
of help during the long nights and weekends. They can be
useful for helping you to organise and focus on your
research. They can also be reassuring when you realise
that you are not the only student to feel the way you do.


The date on which you should submit two bound copies of
your dissertation is determined by the Programme
Assessment Board which confirms that you have passed
your final assessment for the award of the Diploma in Social
Work. If this is achieved at the July 2004 meeting of the
PAB then two bound copies of your dissertation should be
submitted to the School office on fRIday 6 January 2006. If
it is achieved at the September 2004 PAB then you should
This document is available electronically via the School intranet

submit as above on Friday 31 March 2006. Any deviation
from these dates will be negotiated on an individual basis
between yourself and the module co-ordinator.

Extensions to this date will only be allowed in exceptional
circumstances and are at the sole discretion of the Assistant
Registrar for Post-Graduate Studies. If there are exceptional
mitigating circumstances which impede your ability to
complete your dissertation, or prevent you from handing it in
on the above date, then you must discuss the situation with
your supervisor and submit a written request for an
extension to the module co-ordinator. A report will also be
required by your supervisor. Should the Assistant Registrar
agree to a request for an extension you will be informed of
the revised hand-in date.

This document is available electronically via the School intranet


Research is notoriously a solitary experience and, because
of its uniqueness, there is an element of inevitability about
the singularity of the experience. However, the support is
there for you, use it, share your anxieties and ‘highs’, get the
most out of your opportunity and enjoy the experience.

John Lawson
MA Social Work Studies Dissertation Co-ordinator

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

                                   NEW HORIZONS

            A study into the effectiveness of foster care

                                        I. M. A. Academic

A dissertation submitted as a requirement for the award of MA in
                      Social Work Studies

                                UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

                 School of Community, Health Science
            and Social Care, Faculty of Health and Social Care

                                            January 2003

                                           PIN 999000123
This document is available electronically via the School intranet

This document is available electronically via the School intranet

                     ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS

If you are unable to hand in work on time/attend examinations or other
assessments YOU MUST:
 Complete a PMC form
 Attach documentary evidence (e.g. Medical Certificate) PMC forms
  with no evidence are rarely accepted
NB A PMC form for “late submission” can only be accepted TOGETHER
WITH your late work
Your tutor no longer signs the form. It will be signed when you hand it
in at the office.
All PMCs are considered by the School PMC panel. If your PMC is
accepted (“effect applicable”), the Board of Examiners will:
 For lateness : Remove late penalties from the piece of work in
 If you have passed the module: Offer you the chance to re-submit/ re-
  sit the piece of work/ exam in question as if for the first time (i.e. for
  an uncapped mark)
 If you have failed the module: Offer you the chance to re-submit/ re-sit
  the piece of work/ exam in question as if for the first time (i.e. for an
  uncapped mark) OR offer you a choice between accepting
  compensation of the failed module
        Full details of the University’s PMC rules are available via the website:
                            and in student handbooks.
  The University have made these new rules in order that all students are
                       treated fairly and equally.

     This document is available electronically via the School intranet

The school has the following student groups. If you would like to join a group or would
like further information, please contact the group leader. You will also find below other
points of contact that may be useful.

Disability students group
Barbara Walmsley email: 0161 295 2044
Equality & Diversity office 0161 295 9000
 Local Education Authorities may be able to offer assistance if you have a disability.
  Contact the University’s Equality & Diversity Office (as above) for more information
 Book – The Disabled Student’s Guide to University Publishers, Trotman
 Visit for more information

Black and Asian students group
Suryia Nayak email: 0161 295 0716
 Commission for Racial Equality Website
 Buddies, Black users and Survivors of mental health

Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender student group
Steve Pugh 0161295 2375 or
Christine Sheehy 0161 295 2052
 Visit or ring 027 881 9440
 Lesbian and Gay foundation helpline (0161) 235 8000, 6am to 10pm and operator
  service 10pm to 6am for whatever is on your mind – free and confidential service
 Outnorthwest magazine (0161) 235 8035

Women students group
Rita Haworth 0161 295 2477 or
Sandra Shaw 0161 295 2055

Dyslexia & Literacy issues student group
Viktoria Low 0161 295 2240
 WORDSCOPE Ring (0161) 295 0467or see your personal tutor or visit for guidance
 National Literacy Association visit for information, support and
 Visit for more information or ring (0161) 295 2340
  to book study skills workshops

Further support and advice
 Equality and Diversity, University Office (0161) 295 9000
 Minicom 2952467

This document is available electronically via the School intranet
                      You will find this handbook on Blackboard

                Please ensure you use your University email account. We
                           will contact you regularly by email

                                                 The School Intranet

         Come and visit your one-stop shop for all your school informational needs:

     View module specification forms, minutes of committee meetings, copies of
                   handbooks and other resource information.

School of Community, Health                                         How about becoming a Student Rep?
Sciences and Social Care
The University of Salford, Allerton                                 We need Student Representatives to bring
Building                                                            comments and suggestions to Staff Student
Salford, Greater Manchester                                         Committees. Refreshments always provided.
M6 6PU, United Kingdom
                                                                    Contact Jayne for further information,
T + 44 (0)161 295 6463                                              (0161) 295 2556
F + 44 (0)161 295 2360

       This document is available electronically via the School intranet

Shared By: