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Unit information: Dissertation in 2015/16

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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 Mrs. Elisabeth Lazarus
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


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;

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 details

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:

Face to Face This will be centred on tutorials with supervisors, including presentations from staff and students and practical workshops where appropriate to support students with similar needs.

ELearning ELearning approaches will be used to facilitate individualised study and support. These will include: on-line discussion (with individuals and groups, online supervision and 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 action research, small-scale empirical studies and observations of professional practice will be encouraged and facilitated.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment:

Completion of 10,000 to 15,000 word dissertation

Reading and References

Further reading will be specific to the students chosen area of research.