WB0716 - Work Based Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

This module comprising the implementation of a quality improvement project in your workplace is designed to promote your personal development, equipping you with a range of inter-personal, intellectual and practical (functional) skills. The real-time work-based dissertation will be of benefit to your employing organisation. It seeks to raise your awareness of the workplace as a learning environment, extend your capability and enhance your individual effectiveness, employability and business competitiveness. It will focus on organisational-based issues and seek to develop your skills in the diagnosis of problems, research and analysis. You will develop strategies to address complex problems in your organisation and practice, responding to internal and external factors that every organisation has to contend with. You will demonstrate that appropriate ethical, commercial, confidentiality and data protection issues are taken into consideration. The module will instil intellectual curiosity in you as a professional learner, and lay a foundation for a philosophy of lifelong learning. This will culminate in a dissertation report reflecting on the learning derived from implementing the project.

How will I learn on this module?

Your learning on this module will engage you in a wide variety of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, seminars, independent learning and a formative presentation to your peers and academic tutor. The quality improvement activity will be negotiated between you, your tutor and the appropriate person in your organisation, therefore work place learning will also take place through this activity and working with others in your organisation.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by way of a negotiated series of seminars at which you will be directed and guided through the various stages of implementing a work-based dissertation. In addition you will receive tutorial support with a choice of face-to-face, skype, telephone or e mail from your academic tutor and supervisor. Your work based advisor will be your point of contact for any issues relating to your organisation and your work. You will also be able to share ideas with peers on the discussion board on the University’s eLearning Portal (Blackboard). You will be signposted to library resources to support your learning.

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?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• You will demonstrate a critical understanding of their organisation’s key drivers and how their chosen quality improvement project addresses organisational issues arising within the remit of their professional role.
• You will be able to plan and strategically manage a real time project within an agreed framework dealing with complex and unpredictable situations, making informed judgements and managing dilemmas, and value-conflicts which include those, that impact outside the immediate work area and organisation

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

1. You will critically analyse and apply appropriate theories, frameworks and principles, adopting an ethical and critical approach to ideas and assumptions in your immediate practice and beyond.
2. You will be able to critically evaluate the areas relating to the project, drawing upon concepts, models and theories to demonstrate innovative thinking, presented through high level oral presentation and a written report.
3. In the final report you will draw conclusions and make for yours and your organisation’s future development and practice, proposing a strategy for implementation.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

1. You will enhanceyour communication and team working skills through the implementation of your project and the subsequent discussion that it informs in your summative dissertation.
2. You will extend your time management skills which will be demonstrated through the timely implementation of research project and your dissertation.
3. You will further enhance your problem solving capabilities which will be demonstrated in the discussion within your dissertation.
4 You’ will further develop your research skills which will inform discussion within your dissertation.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
You will give a presentation of your project to peers and academic tutor for verbal and written feedback.

Summative Assessment:
The intrinsic nature of work-based learning will be incorporated into the assessment strategy by encouraging learner autonomy, collaboration and reflection on practice.

The culmination of this process is the submission of a 15,000 word report; which will be submitted along with any relevant supporting evidence in accordance with the subject of the project and the area of practice. This will reflect your personal and professional development, intellectual growth and journey of learning.

The report will demonstrate the application of a broad base of knowledge, experience and new learning to a range of workplace problems, dilemmas and value-conflicts within and beyondyour area of responsibility

MLOs: KU1 & 2; IPSA1-3: PVA 1-4

Written, graded feedback against the set criteria will be provided.


Pre-requisite(s) (SRS 0007)
Any module which must already have been taken, or any stipulated level of prior knowledge required in order to study this module, (co-requisite core models need not be listed

Those who have completed the module ‘ Project Management and Change Leadership’ may use a project planned during that module for their dissertation. However, this is not mandatory.

In order to be eligible for this module you will have to:
• be employed in or have access to an organisation within which the dissertation can be located
• be working at an occupational level that will enable you to undertake learning at the level required by the dissertation module
• have the support of your employer or the organisation in which the dissertation is to be located, in the form of time, resources and advice
• identify and have access to a work-based advisor who is able to help, advise and support you and to critically comment on the progress and outcomes of the dissertation.



Module abstract

This work based learning module will provide you, as a professional learner and practitioner with the opportunity to conduct secondary research and engage with a variety of literature, policy and theory to inform the implementation of a real time work based project to address an issue in your practice, within the remit of your work role. You will identify an issue that provides the opportunity for personal, professional and organisational development and improvement, then plan and implement a negotiated quality improvement project.
The project will focus on key drivers in your organisation and area of practice, presenting you with the opportunity to research and stay up-to-date with pertinent issues, thereby significantly enhancing career progression. Also of value will be the development of diagnostic skills, enquiry and analysis, development of strategies to address problems, and presentation techniques.
You will reflect upon learning derived from implementing the project within the summative 15000 word report.
Your university sessions will take the form of seminars, workshops and group discussions. You will also engage in workplace activities with the support of your work-based advisor. Your academic supervisor will be available in person, via email, telephone, Skype or any other technology- enhanced method, as agreed between you. Your tutor will work closely with you to ensure you develop the appropriate skills, confidence and autonomy to accept responsibility and accountability for developing and managing the process.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 24 months Part Time
2 other options available

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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