EL6001 - English Dissertation

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What will I learn on this module?

In your third year you will be ready to become an independent thinker and researcher. The dissertation is your opportunity to research and write a substantial investigation of a topic that you are really passionate about. Your tutors will support you as you learn how to work independently and to manage a large project. You will also learn project-management, research, presentation and writing skills. You will learn to be self-motivated and independent. By the end of the module you will have produced a major piece of work that you can be proud of, and you will be ready to continue as an independent thinker in further study or in the graduate job you go on to at the end of your third year.

How will I learn on this module?

The module falls into two halves: in semester one, you will plan your project and receive skills training in workshop sessions and lectures; in semester two, you will undertake research under the supervision of a member of staff. Becoming an independent researcher can be challenging, so we will support you in each step of the process. In the workshops you will meet with other dissertation students and your tutor to learn about topics such as: project and time management; how to do research and build up a bibliography; how to use theoretical and historical research; how to use electronic sources to extend your research capabilities. The module will also directly help you prepare for the world of work. Your tutor will help you consider how to transfer the skills you have built up to a range of employment contexts, and you will receive additional careers guidance in lectures and workshops. You will receive a module workbook with exercises to help you further develop your learning: this workbook supports you through every step of the dissertation process. Your supervisor will be available to help guide your research and to provide you with commentary on your written work in one-to-one sessions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your main support will come from your supervisor. Your supervisor will have expertise in your chosen topic, and will help you find research material in relation to your topic. He or she will also help you develop your research, build a bibliography, and discuss the development of your writing. You will also have the opportunity to make a support network with other students doing dissertations through the weekly workshops.

Your module tutor will place PowerPoint slides from lectures and other material on Blackboard to help you support your engagement with your project and with the assignments.

Your supervisor will provide feedback on your ideas for your first piece of written assessment, and feedback on this piece will feed forward to help you develop your skills for the dissertation.

You have a designated Guidance Tutor. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills
• directing you to services which can help you with your academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)
The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

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:
• 1. You will have an in-depth understanding of a particular literary topic and awareness of current critical developments in your chosen field
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• 2. You will be able to plan and manage a large research project
• 3. You will have an enhanced ability to select relevant primary and secondary materials from electronic and print sources and to deploy this evidence to support a compelling argument
• 4. You will be able to analyse and offer convincing interpretations of literary texts and present this in written and oral form

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• 5. You will be able to work independently on a major piece of work that reflects your scholarly interests

How will I be assessed?

There are three pieces of assessment. The first two will help you prepare for the third, which is the dissertation itself.

1. At the end of the first semester you will give a 10-minute oral presentation of your research topic to your workshop group. This will help you frame your ideas. You will learn to present complex ideas in an easily-accessible format. The presentation does not count towards your overall grade (it is ‘formative’), but each student will provide feedback on the others. By doing so you will learn from each other. (MLO 2, 5)
2. Following this you will submit a 1500-word project proposal. This provides an outline of your ideas for the dissertation. It will allow you to develop skills in presenting your ideas in an unusual (non-academic) format, helping prepare you for the world of work, as well as helping you hone your ideas for the dissertation. This is worth 20%. You will receive feedback via written commentary. (MLO 2, 5)
3. At the end of the second semester you will submit an 8,000-9,000-word dissertation. This is the culmination of your degree and the most significant test of your ability to manage a large project, present it professionally, and work independently. This is worth 80%. You will receive feedback via written commentary. (MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

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

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

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