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2012/13 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

DESN3660 Independent Study Dissertation

40 creditsClass Size: 300

Module manager: Dr Kevin Laycock

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2012/13

This module is mutually exclusive with

DESN3460Ind Study: Minor Dissertation

This module is not approved as an Elective


The module provides students with the opportunity to investigate a subject area of relevance to their programme of study. The dissertation will allow the student to demonstrate coherent and detailed subject knowledge and should be informed by recent research/scholarship in the discipline.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- demonstrate the ability to select and investigate a topic of relevance to the core components of their programme of study;
- collect, edit, assess and review qualitative and/ or quantitative information;
- test hypotheses, fulfil aims and / or investigate research questions;
- produce a written dissertation which reports clearly and concisely on their investigation and discuss findings / conclusions with clarity and succinctness.


The student will select the general area of investigation at the end of level 2 and prepare a written proposal indicating the topic and provisional title, an outline of the dissertation and a list of key sources / texts. Guidelines on the format of the written dissertation will be given to support the development of the topic will be given in an introductory lecture in semester 2 of Level 2.

Skills lectures in semester 1 of Level 3 will consolidate and develop writing style, literature searching and research methods and time and project management to support the production of the dissertation.

Students will receive individual tutorial support, but the emphasis will be on independent study. It is expected that dissertations will be of no fewer than 10,000 and may be no more than 12,000 words. Accompanying illustrative material may be included in any suitable format agreed after consultation with the supervising tutor.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours363.00
Total Contact hours7.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

- Online (VLE) support for dissertation skills in information literacy, writing style, research skills and planning and time management will offer timely support to the material introduced in the skills lectures = 30hours
- Library research and selection of topic
- Preparation of provisional proposal = 33 hours
- Identification and review of background reading material / primary research = 120 hours
- Drafts of text (and, where appropriate, illustrative material) produced = 130 hours
- Final draft produced and submitted = 80 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular tutorials and group seminars during the first semester.

Suggested monitoring of progress, to be agreed with supervisor:

Semester 1
Week 1: Initial meeting with supervisor. Students will negotiate their own 'learning contract' detailing milestones to completion. Suggested milestones include:
- Week 4: Submission of aims and objectives, including research plan 600 - 1,000 words
- Week 8: Submission of a provisional literature review 2,500 - 4,000 words.

Semester 2
Week 4: Submission of first draft 6,000 - 12,000 words
Week 8: Submission of final draft for assessment 10,000 - 12,000 words.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation10,000 to 12,000 word dissertation100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 18/03/2014


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