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Researching and Writing your Dissertation

  • Module code: HS6001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

A core module for full field students and available also to half field students, the dissertation provides an opportunity for students to work independently under the personal supervision of research-active staff. Supervision is complemented by personal tuition (separate personal tuition arrangements are put in place for minor field students). In undertaking a lengthy research project students exercise and deploy historical knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the History programme, notably at Level 5. Using their experience and research skills they now focus in depth on a specific and discrete topic that they have chosen in consultation with their supervisor. Nothing else in the History undergraduate programme is quite like a dissertation. The experience is unique, as each dissertation is unique. For the History student it is a culmination of undergraduate study. It is an exercise in preparedness for postgraduate and professional life, and it is also evidence of that preparedness.  

Aims

• To equip students to work independently to an advanced level, on all stages of a defined historical project from project concept to delivery

• To enable the consolidation and deployment of historical knowledge and skills acquired in earlier stages of the programme


• To enable students to identify clearly and focus in depth on a specified and discrete topic in a given field


• To teach students how to develop and sustain a thesis, within guiding theoretical frameworks, and with some degree of originality

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstration of in-depth knowledge of contemporary theory and research in the chosen area of study;
  • Demonstration of ability to develop a detailed and logical argument within specific terms of reference;
  • Demonstration of ability to organise work effectively and independently over a period of time;
  • Location, identification, analysis and use of resources and research material in relation to a chosen topic; 
  • Evidence of originality in the use of research material.

Curriculum content

The curriculum content is determined by the student, with the guidance and agreement of the supervisor. Although every dissertation must conform to certain academic norms and conventions, each one is unique to the student undertaking it.

Teaching and learning strategy

Teaching and learning takes place in a number of ways. There are introductory taught sessions, on research, resources and employability. The supervisory team leads these sessions, which also feature support from the LRC team. Students present their proposals to peers and the supervisory team at a group workshop. The workshop will help students refine their research topics and monitor their progress. Individual supervision provides additional opportunity for feedback, feed forward and formative assessment. Personal tuition provides further additional support.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 2 one-hour sessions Introducing Dissertation module requirements and the significance of the Dissertation to student employability 2
Scheduled learning and teaching 1 two-hour proposal presentation workshop 2
Scheduled learning and teaching 6 half-hour personal supervisions 3
Scheduled learning and teaching Personal Tuition: one hour every second week 11
Guided independent study Student Independent Study and Research 282
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Student progress towards the formulation of a dissertation will be assessed via a proposal, which is both formatively and summatively assessed. Students present the proposal to their peers at a group workshop. This presentation facilitates feedback and peer-assisted learning. The completed dissertation is assessed summatively. Its length should be 8-10,000 words, exclusive of endnotes, bibliography, and appendices.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstration of in-depth knowledge of contemporary theory and research in the chosen area of study; Assessed formatively through supervision and summatively through dissertation
Demonstration of ability to develop a detailed and logical argument within specific terms of reference; Assessed formatively through supervision and at a workshop, and summatively through proposal and dissertation
Demonstration of ability to organise work effectively and independently over a period time; Assessed formatively through supervision and summatively through proposal and dissertation
Location, identification, analysis and use of resources and research material in relation to a chosen topic; Assessed formatively through supervision and summatively through proposal and dissertation
Evidence of originality in the use of research material. Assessed summatively through dissertation

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Proposal 10
CWK Dissertation 8-10,000 words 90
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Brundage, A (2008). Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Researching and Writing. Harlan Davidson.

Walliman, NSR (2004). Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success. Sage.

Bibliography recommended reading

Barber S and Peniston-Bird, CM (2009). History beyond the Text: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources. Routledge.

Ridley, D (2008). The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students. Sage.

Walliman, NSR (2005). Your Research Project: A Step-by-Step Guide. Sage.

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