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You will need to seek ethical approval for your research from your tutor; we will look at and complete the appropriate ethical approval form during the workshops

The research project is an assessment that allows you to tackle a research area that you like.

One of the aims of this module is to help you gain experience of developing a small research project before going on to tackle a larger project (your dissertation) in your final year. In this sense the module should help to bridge the gap between your Level 4 social research methods course (SO4002) and the Level 6 dissertation (CM6014 / CM6016). Therefore, while you are encouraged to be imaginative in your choice of subject, it is important to remember that this is a small project and the research has to be practical. You will need to think through and negotiate getting access to particular individuals or organisations and assess how much information you can collect and process in the time available.

You may want to carry out research directly on or with some criminal justice organisations, or you may want to gather participants from the wider population. Do not be afraid to contact them, they may well be interested or open to your research. However, if they do not respond, or the answer is ‘no’, then you should accept that and make other plans. There are many other forms of research that can be conducted without direct involvement of any partner organisations/human participants and you can engage with the subject more theoretically or more practically as you see fit, provided that your aims and objectives clearly match your methodology. One of the aims of the course is to get you involved in thinking about and experiencing the different kinds of research and engagement that are possible in an area of this kind. Over the course of the module we will give you numerous examples of the different kind of research it is possible to do.

There are just a few important ground rules that you must be aware of:

  1. You will need to seek ethical approval for your research from your tutor; we will look at and complete the appropriate ethical approval form during the workshops, but it is essential that you have submitted your ethical approval form before you conduct any research.
  2. You must not conduct any research involving human participants without prior ethical approval; any research that is conducted without ethical approval cannot be entered for assessment; any research involving human participants that is conducted without ethical approval and which is entered for assessment will automatically fail, even if that research is excellent.
  3. Do not conduct research on people under the age of 18: we cannot grant approval for this. If you are interested in youth issues you may be able to talk to practitioners in the area, but not with the young people themselves.
  4. You cannot use your studies in this module to justify research into areas of criminal activity that put you or others at risk of harm (either physical, mental or any other kind).
  5. You must not break the law, or aid or abet anyone else in breaking the law, in the course of your research. In particular, there are no circumstances under which it is permitted for you to access documents or websites, or contact organisations that reproduce or produce pornographic or indecent images or terror-related or other illegal material in the context of this module.


  • your reasons for carrying out that particular research; and the questions / problems it seeks to solve or clarify; [Approx. 200 words]      
  • brief overview of current literature in that area; [Approx. 800 words]
  • the methodological approach you have taken, demonstrating how this enables you to answer the question you have set and to engage with, or critique, other research; [Approx. 300 word]
  • the data you have collected, which should be clearly presented; [Approx. 600 words]
  • your analysis of the data, relating it back to existing research on the subject; [Approx. 600 words]
  • your conclusions and recommendations. [Approx. 500 words]



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