Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Dissertation - Languages and International Studies

Module summary

Module code: COGA1006
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Cecile Laval / Maria Arche



The course aims to develop and test students' ability to learn independently and complete a substantial piece of work to honours degree standard within a given time period; to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of subjects which they have encountered in their studies; develop students' awareness of research techniques and skills available in, and applicable to, their discipline or field of study; test the students' performance against the educational objectives of breadth, depth, synthesis and originality in their discipline area.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1. select an appropriate topic given the parameters laid down by their programme of study;

2. construct and justify appropriate research questions related to the topic;

3. design a research framework which incorporates appropriate theoretical approaches, conceptual models, and provide a review and critique of the existing literature;

4. put the research framework into practice by identifying sources of appropriate evidence, accessing those sources using accepted and rigorous methods, and analysing and interpreting the material gathered;

5. structure a discussion of the findings in a coherent and convincing fashion by synthesising the material gathered, summarising key arguments, drawing valid conclusions;

6. reflect and comment on the results of the dissertation and the process of research critically and present the dissertation in an appropriate written style adhering to standard academic conventions.

Indicative content

Students will produce an extended piece of written work according to the guidelines and in consultation with their supervisor. They should: - identify a topic - develop research questions - investigate chosen questions in depth - interpret the material (literature and data) they gather - structure an argument and formulate conclusions Students must be able to justify the relevance of the dissertation topic to the overall focus of their programme of study and demonstrate the ability to learn independently. They will need to engage with what has been written before in their chosen area of study. Their dissertation should also explain why their topic is relevant and of interest to scholars, researchers, and to wider society.

Teaching and learning activity

Learning support will be provided at three-levels to students who might consider doing a dissertation. 1. School-Level -Prior to the process of course selection by Level 2 students in their Summer Term, the school dissertation co-ordinator will provide generic support to the students. Information will be provided on 'what doing a dissertation involves', and on the procedures for registering for this option in Year 3. To help students make an informed decision this session will be held in March prior to the Choice Exercise. This will be timed to make sure that students have sufficient time to formulate their proposal; to discuss it with their proposed supervisor before submitting the proposal during the Choice Exercise. The support at this level will inform students on how to construct a proposal; and on the intellectual process of identifying an area of interest and narrowing it down to a research question, its aim and objectives. The students will also be made aware of the timetable of activities pertaining to this course, leading up to Choice exercise. 2. Department/Discipline-Specific Support -For those students who have opted to do a dissertation, departmental Dissertation Representatives to provide guidelines on structuring a dissertation; time management; expected style for citing references; assessment criteria and modes of assessments; presentation and submission of dissertation for students before the end of summer term. At this time, the students to be instructed on how to use the different sources of information available in the university library and beyond, and on conducting electronic journal search. The latter to be led by the library staff. During the induction week, at the start of Year 3, each departmental/discipline to provide subject-specific support to those students who have opted to do a dissertation. These sessions will be planned to inform students of particular intellectual and methodological requirements of the subject area; criteria used to assess the dissertations; and agree on milestones for the academic year. The group sessions led by the library staff in May should continue. The Department will also organise a joint presentation session for dissertation students and their supervisors in week 4 of term 2. 3 One-to-One-Support from Dissertation Supervisor All students doing a dissertation will be allocated a supervisor. A schedule of tutorials will be mutually agreed. It is expected that there will be at least two one-to-one-sessions in each term. While self-directed learning is central to carrying out an independent piece of research, the supervisor will provide overall academic guidance and pastoral care.


Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Dissertation
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment 1,2,3,4,5,6
Weighting % 100
Pass Mark 40
Word Length 10,000
Outline Details: The dissertation should have a coherent structure and include the following: (i) a discussion of the relevant literature; (ii) a description of the method of enquiry; (iii) an analysis and interpretation of results; (iv) an evaluation of the methods used; (v) conclusions (and recommendations, if appropriate); (vi) a list of references using the Harvard style. Other material may be incorporated, but this is optional.