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CAES9930 Research Writing in the Social Sciences

Coordinator: Dr. Eleanor KWAN

Course Description:

This 6-credit course aims to help year 3 students in Geography, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology (and any other Social Sciences programmes) to develop writing skills essential for independent learning projects (such as capstone projects and final year theses or dissertations). Students will be introduced to the principles underlying research as well as academic writing for projects involving collection and analysis of empirical data. They will also be given practice opportunities to apply these in their own writing.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Connect a research question or a hypothesis to relevant literature and methodology
  • Synthesise reports of other researchers’ work in the context of a research question or hypothesis
  • Analyse the development of argument in other researchers’ work
  • Develop a critical argument based on analysis of the collected empirical data


  • Students identify a research topic within their own discipline.
  • Students critique a range of dissertations, focusing on their structural, stylistic and linguistic characteristics.
  • Students exchange opinions through small group discussions, tutorials and presentations.

Assessment Methods:

(with breakdown of percentage weighting of the various methods)

  • Essays (20%)
  • Oral Presentations (30%)
  • Other genres of writing (50%)