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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5842M Research Project

60 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Mel Evans

Taught: 1 Dec to 30 Sep View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

ENGL5128M, ENGL5503M, ENGL5129M, ENGL5840M

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module provides you with training and guidance in literary studies research skills and approaches as you complete an independent research project (dissertation). During the module, you will select and develop your research project topic, undertake independent research and communicate your findings through an extended essay, or equivalent format (with school approval). We support you through a combination of plenary lectures and workshops, and in your one-to-one supervision meetings with your dissertation supervisor.


The module is designed as a capstone to the MA programmes in English Literature and MA Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies, allowing you to develop your own research agendas and advance your analytic skills and theoretical knowledge in a specialist area of the discipline. The module also develops professional skills in time management, prioritisation, decision making and autonomous working. These aims are achieved through a combination of workshop taught sessions, covering topics such as proposal writing, presentation skills, and argumentation; and individual supervision meetings with an assigned supervisor.

Learning outcomes
1. Be able to identify and develop a research topic that is relevant and appropriate for the discipline and level of study
2. Design and implement appropriate and effective methods of research and analysis for the chosen topic
3. Develop substantial knowledge about the chosen topic area
4. Identify, interrogate and critique previous scholarship relevant to the research project
5. Produce an extended piece of written scholarship (or equivalent) that communicates clearly, effectively and professionally according to standards of academic communication

Skills outcomes
You will develop research skills that are highly transferable to professional contexts as well as to further and higher levels of academic research (i.e. PhD). This includes the ability to develop an individualised research agenda, involving time management, autonomous working, prioritisation and decision making. The production of the written dissertation, or another format of extended discussion, develops communication skills. The MA student research conference, which is integrated into the module schedule, also provides an opportunity to hone spoken presentation. The projects will see you advance your skills in textual analysis, such as close reading, and the synthesis of ideas relating to your specialist topic.


The module does not cover any specific content, as each student has their own specialist area, on which they receive assistance and support from their supervisor. Plenary workshops cover study skills and research techniques for humanities and literary studies projects.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours582.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)600.00

Private study

Students will be guided towards appropriate library and online resources by their supervisor.

Private study and independent learning is at the heart of this module, which encourages students to take responsibility for their own research and writing practice.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students submit:

A research proposal for their dissertation topic at the start of semester 2,

2 x 1500-word draft extracts from their project at different stages. Draft one is by week 11 of semester 2, and draft two is by the end of May.

Students have the option of giving a presentation or a poster about their work-in-progress at the MA Student Conference.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationA 12,000 word written essay. An equivalent format (spoken word, image) is permitted in agreement with supervisor, programme lead and PGT Director.100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

In recognition of student diversity and accessibility, as well as potential inappropriateness of the traditional academic essay for some topics and subject-matter, students are invited to submit their research projects in an alternative format to the 12,000 word written dissertation, with consultation and approval of supervisor, programme lead and PGT director. The format should be deemed to be equivalent to the 12,000 words and allow the student to demonstrate their competency in the learning objectives of the module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/08/2023 12:47:52


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