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Unit information: Dissertation in 2021/22

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code EDUCM1900
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Carolina Gordillo Bravo
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of the taught unit stage (120 credits)



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The dissertation unit will enable students to bring together a range of approaches and frameworks introduced during taught units, particularly the research methods strands. It will provide students with experience of using research and theoretical literature to inform research design; designing and conducting a small scale research project; and communicating research in a coherent and cogent manner. Further, the students will be required to draw on previous research methods units in the design, implementation, data collection and analysis of their research. This unit will support students to become critical readers of research literature, to use classroom innovations appropriately within the research process and to become independent generators of research ideas and practice within educational settings. This unit may also function as an important first step in supporting those students who wish to go on to further PhD study by providing the opportunity to test and evaluate their research practices and theoretical approaches.

Aims of the dissertation phase;

  • to support the development of a research topic or project of worth or relevance and to locate it within an appropriate conceptual, and critical framework;
  • to demonstrate critical familiarity with a body of knowledge associated with a study topic;
  • to produce a coherent research design, critically justifying the selection of appropriate methods for collecting or creating data as a basis for drawing conclusions;
  • to demonstrate an ability to analyse data and employ appropriate methods for presentation;
  • to construct a complex and coherent argument or proposition in terms which can be understood by a range of audiences;
  • to develop an ability to reach consistently expressed conclusions;
  • to conduct research that is ethically mindful and conforms to the ethical guidelines of the GSOE;

In common with other Russell Group universities, the School of Education employs a range of staff including academics external to the University for the supervision of dissertations. This enables the School of Education to ensure personal and individual supervision for students and allows us to utilise skills and expertise of academics who may not be full-time members of staff. In employing external members of staff there is an increased breadth and depth of research knowledge allowing Schools to create the best match between students and supervisors.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will demonstrate that they can;

  • identify, select, critically analyse and evaluate ideas, perspectives, theories or data relevant to an appropriate area of study;
  • design and undertake a critical and ethical investigation by formulating coherent aims and objectives which fully utilise the available resources
  • organised and manage a study within the constraints of the programme with appropriate support;
  • locate the study within a broader context usually through a critical engagement with appropriate literature;
  • adopting a questioning, reflective and critically aware stance throughout the duration of the project;
  • select effective processes in relation to ideas, aims and context; select appropriate methodologies and use them competently and methodically;
  • show clarity and coherences in structure, writing conventions, styles and presentation of evidence to ensure work is readable, accessible to the intended audience and communicates meaning clearly;
  • conduct research that demonstrates awareness of ethical issues;

Teaching Information

As with the other units, the teaching strategy will employ three broad approaches, where appropriate, with the aims of contextualising as well as theorising issues of central importance, the development of student autonomy, and the individualisation of study and support. However, these approaches will be individualised as befits the nature of dissertation supervision. These are:

Synchronous support involving: tutorials with supervisors; discussions with peers; practical workshops where appropriate to support students with similar needs around dissertation processes and methods.

Asynchronous support including: on-line discussion with individuals and groups, online supervision, peer mentoring, guidance and feedback. Critical use of Web resources will be encouraged.

Research: to provide data for analysis for the dissertation study where appropriate. The use of small-scale empirical studies, observations of professional practice, action research, and sourcing appropriate secondary data will be encouraged and facilitated where appropriate.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

Completion of 10,000 to 15,000 word dissertation


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM1900).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.