KE7015 - Research or Work Related Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn to identify research questions and project ideas by critically evaluating current research and /or practice in a discipline and identifying an appropriate topic for your own exploration through reviews and analyses of appropriate literature and the planning, development and management of a study. The module enables you to design your research using appropriate project methodologies including through analysis and evaluation of data and within the context of existing literature. You will learn to apply concepts, models or theories to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study whilst being aware of your own influence on the research and project process. In formulating, researching, and writing your dissertation you will be guided by your dissertation supervisor. The dissertation is the culmination of your taught experience and will enable you to deploy the skills develop during the taught programme.

The module enables you to apply combinations of theoretical, empirical or practice-based analysis in proceeding to further research and/or practice and to present findings effectively using academic conventions. You will learn to comprehend the importance and application of research and project ethics, good practice and health and safety aspects of field research and projects including confidentiality and data protection. You will be able to write up the research in the form of a 20,000-word dissertation. The dissertation module equips you to cope with an extended piece of work that significantly increases your employability in the sectors represented by the MSc programme. This may include through an internship with an external organisation.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through the process of carrying out an independent study focused on a relevant area of research or practice that demonstrates your ability to apply appropriate research methods and knowledge to the critical evaluation of issues and/or problems in the discipline with which you are registered.

The module is taught through a programme of workshops/group sessions that outline the rubric of the dissertation process, address logistical and ethical issues of carrying out research and outline the details of writing the dissertation, including appropriate formats. Following this, you will submit a final summative research proposal and appropriate ethics forms for consideration.

Students may also establish their programme of study through choosing to undertake their dissertation work during a period of internship or, for those studying part time, to base their research on a topic of pertinence in the work place.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support from the programme tutors is available for discussion of dissertation ideas and the way these can be researched. Once a proposal is accepted, a supervisor is formally appointed with whom you will interact throughout the remainder of your studies. You are expected to maintain contact with your supervisor and to take full responsibility for the management of your research project. Your supervisor will provide guidance throughout the process of dissertation writing. It is the role of the supervisor to provide formative feedback on your progress for non-assessed work, which is designed to ‘feed-forward’ and help you to monitor your progress and to reflect on areas or skills necessary for continuous academic development. Where appropriate, supervisors will advise on additional literature sources and links beyond the university that may enhance the study. Whilst no member of staff is expected to provide an internship for students wishing to use that route to studying for their dissertation, all members of staff will endeavour to contribute ideas, and in some instances specific opportunities that students might pursue. The dissertation module tutor monitors the cohort of dissertation topics being worked upon and makes available past dissertations for student consultation together with complete listing of previous dissertation topics.

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:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Critically evaluate current research and/or practice to identify research questions
• MLO 2: Apply appropriate methodology as part of your research or project process and to apply concepts, models or theories to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 3: Draw upon theoretical, empirical or practice-based results and analysis in order to produce robust, independent, coherent and substantial, advanced academic arguments
• MLO 4: Produce an authoritative account of your research or project either as a dissertation of 20,000 words
• MLO 5: Demonstrate advanced transferable skills in time management, project management, resource management, critical thought, independent working, flexible working, dissemination and communication.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 6: Empathise with and appropriately apply research and project ethics, good practice, health and safety and issues of personal positionality in your work

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will take the form of a summative project proposal which will be critiqued by staff prior to the commencement of the research project (MLO 1). This ensures that all research is appropriately focused, of the right academic standard and achievable within the time constraints of the programme. A further opportunity for formative assessment and feedback is provided through the dissertation period via supervisor comments on updates from the student including review of up to two chapters prior to its submission. This provides the opportunity to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress and an opportunity for the sharing of ideas (MLO 1-6).

Summative assessment is by way of a 20,000 word limit written dissertation. Students will be provided with guidance on the expected format and conventions for their submission (MLO 4). All dissertations are blind double marked in line with standard Departmental procedures. The learner’s supervisor will act as first marker for the dissertation with an appropriately qualified second marker appointed from the programme team.

Students receive ongoing feedback from their supervisor during one to one meetings. This may be in written or verbal form. Supervisors are expected to provide feedback on up to two chapters of the dissertation prior to final submission and may provide comments on additional chapters.

Students will receive feedback on their final dissertation submission via a written report compiled by the supervisor from the comments of both markers.





Module abstract

The dissertation module provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to research a substantive piece of work of your choice. You will be supported by programme staff to identify a topic for your own and can undertake a literature-based, empirical, practice-based or work-related dissertation. . The module enables you to design your research or project approach to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study. The module supports research-rich learning through a focus on a topic of immediate relevance to the programme themes. This may be tailored to opportunities beyond the university that enable direct contact with the chosen topic including in some instances through external internship. The module will be crucial in developing your employability skills, including data collection and analysis, concise writing, carrying out a substantive piece of research and effectively communicating the findings of your research.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Full Time (with Advanced Practice in the second year)
1 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

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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