KA7032 - Dissertation

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will design and implement a substantive research based investigation in order to address a self-selected, authentic work based or professional/practice related problem within your discipline area. This student-led, independent study allows you to synthesize and apply previous learning and experience, and build upon existing academic, research and personal skills.

You will learn how to effectively engage with the research process in an applied context. Aspects will include:
• Application of appropriate research questions
• Critical evaluation of existing literature and other sources to develop conceptual and theoretical frameworks for analysis
• Critical awareness of research theory, approaches, methods and ethics, to inform effective research design
• Implementation of research in practice, including gathering empirical data
• Application of frameworks to provide an integrated critical analysis of theory and data to identify evidence based conclusions and recommendations
• Project management

You will develop your skills as autonomous, reflective learners in the process of completing the dissertation.

An in-depth and complex understanding of the chosen area of your professional discipline, and the skills developed in this module, will be demonstrated in a scholarly, academically rigorous dissertation. The advanced knowledge gained through original data collection and analysis, and theoretically informed critical evaluation, will have the potential to contribute to the relevant disciplinary community of practice.

How will I learn on this module?

Your learning in this module is through actively engaging with the research process. Through defining your own study objectives, identifying and critically evaluating relevant literature and designing, implementing and analysing your own research in order to develop a coherent, substantiated argument within an academic dissertation, you will develop a critical understanding of the process through which knowledge is created as well as contributing to new knowledge.

In this module you are empowered as partners in the learning process, taking responsibility for your own learning. The self-directed aspects of this module are supported by guidance at the module level – provided via the vle - and a system of one- to-one supervision.

Information contained in the Dissertation Preparation module, KA7055, ensures that you have a clear understanding of what is required at the commencement of this module.

The supervision process provides opportunities for learning through interaction and dialogue with an individual supervisor. Formative feedback throughout the process, as well as an opportunity for interim summative feedback, facilitates your ongoing learning and reflection, informing the evolution of your dissertation in practice – both in terms of subject knowledge and application of the research process.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be an autonomous, self-motivated learner within a supportive distance learning environment. The module tutor provides generic module guidance in various formats via the vle. This includes an introductory video from the module tutor as well as a module handbook, guides to particular aspects of the process (eg supervision), and an evolving ‘frequently asked questions’ section of the module site. The module tutor provides regular updates via the vle throughout the process of completing this module.

Learning materials are provided via the vle in relation to the different aspects of the research process, using a variety of written, audio and video methods. Interaction with these modules, as well as directed and independent reading, will develop your understanding of the research process which you can then apply to your individual study. The university library provides additional support in terms of research skills as well as identifying literature in relation to your chosen topic.

In terms of your specific research based study, support is provided through one- to-one supervision. You will be allocated an individual tutor as your supervisor. As self-motivated learners, you are required to negotiate an agreed communication plan with your supervisor, identifying a schedule of communication and appropriate mechanisms (for example e-mail, telephone or skype). The supervision process facilitates dialogue and opportunities for formative feedback to inform the development and completion of your research based dissertation. An interim (proposal) summative assessment provides summative feedback to inform the early development of your study.

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:
• MLO1: A complex, effectively focused, in-depth critical analysis of a self -selected aspect of your discipline area, grounded in both new and existing knowledge.

• MLO2: A critical evaluation of the theory and practice of research methods and the research process

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO3: Define a researchable problem, establishing aims and objectives that are focused and justified in terms of professional relevance, theoretical framework, and research methodology,
• MLO4: Identify and critically evaluate relevant literature (both theoretical and professional/practice sources) to effectively inform analyses.
• MLO5: Design and implement a programme of research, effectively applying your knowledge of research methods and the research process to the particular aims and objectives of your study, critically reflecting on theoretical, methodological, ethical, and other constraints and limitations.
• MLO6: Critically evaluate the subject area by analysing and synthesising research findings and literature/theory to advance knowledge and complexity of understanding, identifying evidence based conclusions (and recommendations, where appropriate).
• MLO7: A professionally presented dissertation in an academically acceptable format; well written, effectively structured, appropriately referenced, with a coherent, substantiated argument.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO8: Demonstrate the capacity for independent working, critical reflection and autonomous decision making, initiative and creativity in problem solving, and effective project management

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment: Engaging with tasks in the learning materials will provide formative feedback in terms of general understanding of the research process. In relation to the development of your specific study, the supervision process facilitates ongoing dialogue with opportunities for formative feedback.

Summative assessment: There are two components to the coursework.

1. Dissertation Proposal
Accounting for 20% of the overall mark, this assignment requires students to present their plans for the dissertation at an interim stage in the process (including aims and objectives, an initial overview of the literature, planned empirical research design, proposed timetable). It partially tests MLO2, MLO3, MLO4, MLO5, and MLO8)

As a result of this coursework you will receive summative feedback which can be used to inform the ongoing evolution of your dissertation.

2. Dissertation
The final dissertation accounts for 80% of the module mark and tests all the module learning outcomes. This substantive piece of coursework presents your in-depth, research based, study of your chosen subject. You will be required to demonstrate your understanding and application of the research process as well as the advanced knowledge developed as a result of critical integrated analyses.

Coursework will be submitted, assessed, and feedback provided to you, online

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

You will design and implement a substantive research based investigation in order to address a self-selected, authentic work based or professional/practice related problem within your discipline area. This student-led, independent study allows you to synthesize and apply previous learning and experience, and develop your understanding of the research process. Through actively engaging with the research process you will explore ways in which knowledge is created and contribute to new knowledge. This challenging and rewarding enquiry based module is supported through module information and learning materials about the research process on the vle, and, crucially, through one to one supervision providing you with the opportunity for personal dialogue and guidance in developing your research skills and critical thinking. You will produce a scholarly dissertation, with the potential to contribute to your discipline’s community of practice, as well as demonstrating employability and professional development skills such as creativity and project management.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Architecture and Built Environment

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

Fee Information

Module Information

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