KA6032 - Surveying Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

This module is designed to support you in independently pursuing an original piece of research on a built environment topic of your own choice and aims to provide you with an opportunity to design and conduct a substantive piece of investigative work that is directly related to your programme of study. You will draw upon and develop your independent research skills to answer a research question or test a hypothesis of your choosing. You will assemble and review relevant scholarly literature and data and to present a cogent, reasoned and objective critique of published scholarly work on your chosen topic, in order to define a precisely focus for your research.

You will develop expertise to achieve the following:

• identify an appropriate research topic
• critically review relevant academic literature;
• formulate research questions/hypotheses and appropriate methods of inquiry;
• collect your own data and/or using existing datasets and literature
• analyse and interpret your results using appropriate quantitative, statistical and/or qualitative techniques,
• relate your findings to existing and up-to-date literature and theory;
• objectively appraise the ethical considerations of conducting research; and
• independently manage and implement your own research project.

How will I learn on this module?

Module learning is largely by independent study supported by a tailored programme of lectures, workshops, tutorials and supervisory meetings. You will be expected to take ownership of your own learning through a process of self-reflection of your own needs and, using the guidance provided, ensuring you master all the skills needed to successfully complete your research project. By applying what you have learnt and engaging in the process of research itself you will become more self-sufficient and gain key employability skills of time-management, retrieval and critical application of relevant knowledge and information, effective communication, problem solving and analysis, and make informed decisions.

You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will guide you through the process of executing and writing-up your study, with whom you will be expected to meet regularly to discuss and reflect upon progress, whilst maintaining a research process archive containing all correspondence and documentation associated with the process of conducting your research. Informal verbal and formal written formative feedback will be provided throughout by your supervisor.

A programme of lectures will cover generic guidance on how to develop and complete your dissertation, manage and conduct a research project and learn from examples of good and bad practice. Workshops will be run on the data collection methods and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. Group tutorials, including presentations, will be offered to allow you and your peers to share their experiences and learn from each other.

If you are in employment your workplace will be the main learning environment, in effect acting as a framework for dissertation. However, tutor support will be available via drop-in sessions throughout the module study period. If you are in employment it is recognised that there is the need for modes of blended learning delivery, experiential assessment, and opportunities to combine work and study through independent study, embedded learning opportunities, and relevant communications technologies. Lecture capture will be used to elaborate on the content contained in any teaching material along with audio recording and notes to support presentations on key topics.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module guidance will be made available in a Module Handbook and elearning platform, Blackboard,and enhanced by the use of discussion boards, group tutorials to encourage peer to peer learning. Materials and information on how to academic writing, time management, reviewing literature, referencing etc. is available through the University’s Skills Plus modules. Examples of previous submissions and best practice will be available on the module’s Blackboard site; contemporary research questions and potential topics are provided by both staff and local practitioners and well established external relations with the local surveying and wider built environment professions offer a network of contacts. You will also be supported by a digital reading list of generic reading covering research methods, data collection techniques and critical analysis.

Your learning journey will be guided by 1:1 meetings with your dissertation supervisor who will:
• guide you through the research process, drawing upon their specialist knowledge of your topic, directing you to up-to-date literature and data, and advising you appropriate data collection methods and analytical techniques
• advise you on ethical issues involved in carrying out your research;
• be available to provide advice and answer questions on assessments
• give detailed constructive feedback on your literature review chapter to help you improve both content and academic writing
• provide formative and summative feedback on your interim research proposal and final dissertation submission.

A Research Process Archive will be used to record meetings with your supervisor and other formal and informal feedback and interaction with your research project.

If you are in employment your workplace will be the main learning environment, however, tutor support will be available via drop-in sessions throughout the module study period. The eLP, telephone and email will be used as a means of communication once the initial briefings have taken place and work-based visits will be made by tutors if appropriate.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

You are required to complete an original 9,000 word dissertation (a written record- an academically acceptable format of a completed research project) that is analytical and summative in nature, covering methodological issues related to the researchable subject topic, and demonstrates an accurate interpretation and clear presentation of original research findings. (x ref to PLOs)

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO 1 – You will explore published literature, information and data to inform your identification of a feasible and focussed research topic
MLO 2 - You will formulate research questions/hypotheses on your chosen topic and relate these to existing subject knowledge and literature
MLO 3 – You will evaluate different methodological approaches to propose a clear and logical research design, data collection and analysis strategy appropriate to your research topic and its context

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO 4 – you will write a critical appraisal and detailed analysis of related and relevant scholarly literature that recognises academic authority, identifies and systematically analyses all of the main research variables.
MLO 5 – you will design and implement a detailed programme of research, data collection and analysis that integrates research aims, data requirements and standardized methods of collection and analysis,
MLO 6 – you will demonstrate that you can take into consideration theoretical, methodological, ethical and other constraints and limitations
MLO 7 - you will interpret and evaluate the findings of your research in relation to other published research on the topic
MLO 8 – you will recognise the validity of your research findings and the limitations of conclusions drawn

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)
MLO 9 – you will demonstrate understanding of the good practice with regard the ethics of research
MLO 10 -you will critically recognise the contested nature of knowledge and research findings

How will I be assessed?

• Formative assessment is provided at an early stage by presentation of your research topic to your peer group.
• Research Proposal (2000 word limit)(Formative & Summative) is a written summary of your proposed research topic, including the working title of your dissertation, a statement of the proposed research aims and objectives, research questions/hypotheses, rationale for the research. The student will also submit their Research Ethics Registration form at the same time. The objectives of the proposal are to provide students with an opportunity to gain formative feedback at a relatively early stage in their process of considering their proposed topic, thus enabling the outcomes to feed-forward to inform the research process, and to ensure the proposed topic fully satisfies the ethos of their programme of study. The proposal will be assessed by the supervisor and an independent moderator, who will also review and, if appropriate, approve the ethics registration.
• Dissertation (9,000 word limit) - the research project is the summative assessment for this module. You are expected to evaluate, appraise and critique ideas, concepts and theoretical models, and to identify any biases and assumptions inherent in these generic components of research, before developing focused analytical and evaluative skills that are based on a thorough and systematic approach to the handling and manipulation of primary and secondary data. You will then write up this original work that is analytical and summative in nature, covering methodological issues related to the researchable subject topic, and demonstrates an accurate interpretation and clear presentation of original research findings

Assessments and Module Learning Outcomes:

Presentation: MLO1; 2
Research Methods portfolio MLO1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9
Interim submission: MLO1-7, MLO9
Dissertation: MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10





Module abstract

The dissertation module allows you to choose a topic that interests you and potentially supports your chosen career path. With the support of staff that have expertise in your chosen field, you will carry out and implement a coherent and extensive research project. You will have the opportunity to deploy data collection methods and analytical techniques to answer your research questions or test your hypothesis. You will be required to present your research ideas to a group of your peers, submit a research proposal and write a 9,000 word dissertation. By conducting and writing-up your own research project you will become more self-reliant and independent, gaining key employability skills of time-management, data retrieval and critical application of relevant knowledge and information, effective communication and problem solving and analysis.

Course info

UCAS Code K230

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Architecture and Built Environment

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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