KE7015 - Research or Work Related Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn to identify research questions and project ideas by critically evaluating current research and /or practice in a discipline and identifying an appropriate topic for your own exploration through reviews and analyses of appropriate literature and the planning, development and management of a research / work related study. The module enables you to design your research using appropriate project methodologies including through analysis and evaluation of qualitative or quantitative data and within the context of existing literature. You will learn to apply concepts, models or theories to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study whilst being aware of your own influence on the research and project process. The module enables you to apply combinations of theoretical, empirical or practice-based analysis in proceeding to further applied research or practice and to present findings effectively using academic or project-based conventions. You will learn to comprehend the importance and application of research and project ethics, good practice and health and safety aspects of field research and projects including regards its potential commercial status, confidentiality and data protection. You will be able to write up the research in the form of a 20,000 word limit written dissertation. The dissertation module equips you to cope with and extended piece of work that significantly increases your employability in the sectors represented by the MSc programme. This may include through an internship / placement within the industry itself that you use to produce the dissertation.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through the process of carrying out an independent study focused on a relevant area of research or work based practice that demonstrates your ability to apply appropriate research methods and knowledge to the critical evaluation of issues and/or problems in the discipline with which you are registered.

Preparation for the dissertation begins during the final taught semester although formal entry to the module takes place following successful progression from the taught components of the programme. An initial proposal is submitted as part of the coursework for a Postgraduate Research Methods that all students entering this dissertation module must have successfully completed. Students have opportunities throughout the second semester of their programme for discussion of ideas with programme staff.

The module is introduced through a short programme of group discussions and mini-lectures that builds on the work undertaken in the Research Methods module, specifically to outline the rubric of the dissertation process, address logistical and ethical issues of carrying out research and to outline the details of writing the dissertation, including appropriate formats. Following this, students must submit a final summative research proposal and appropriate ethics forms for consideration.

Students may also establish their programme of study through choosing to undertake their dissertation work during a period of internship or, for those studying part time, to base their research on a topic of pertinence in the work place.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support from the programme tutors is available for discussion of dissertation ideas and the way these can be researched. Once a proposal is accepted, a supervisor is formally appointed with whom the student interacts throughout the remainder of their studies. Students are expected to maintain contact with their supervisor and to take full responsibility for the management of their research project. Where appropriate, supervisors will advise on additional literature sources and links beyond the university that may enhance the study. Whilst no member of staff is expected to provide an internship for students wishing to use that route to studying for their dissertation, all members of staff will endeavour to contribute ideas, and in some instances specific opportunities that students might pursue. Staff will read short drafts of sections of dissertation prior to its submission to provide advice on its overall standard. The dissertation module tutor monitors the cohort of dissertation topics being worked upon and makes available past dissertations for student consultation together with complete listing of previous dissertation topics. The MSc DMSD does not have formal credit-bearing placements on the programme. Nonetheless, potential voluntary internships (for example facilitated by DDN and other Northumbria links and connections) after the completion of the Postgraduate Diploma taught part of the programme could provide an opportunity for the Dissertation Research or (work-based) Project.

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:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Critically evaluate current research and/or practice to identify research questions
• MLO 2: Apply appropriate methodology as part of your research or project process and to apply concepts, models or theories to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 3: Apply combinations of theoretical, empirical or practice based results and analysis in proceeding to further applied research or practice
• MLO 4: Produce an authoritative account of your research or project either as a dissertation of 20,000 words or project portfolio with accompanying report

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Empathise with and appropriately apply research and project ethics, good practice, health and safety and issues of personal positionality in your work

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will take the form of a summative project proposal which will be critiqued by staff prior to the commencement of the research project (MLO 1). This ensures that all research is appropriately focused, of the right academic standard and achievable within the time constraints of the programme. A further opportunity for formative assessment and feedback is provided through the research or project work phase via supervisor comments on updates from the student including review of up to two chapters prior to its submission. This provides the opportunity to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress and an opportunity for the sharing of ideas (MLO 1-5).

Summative assessment is by way of a 20,000 word limit written dissertation. Students will be provided with guidance on the expected format and conventions for their submission (MLO 4). All dissertations are blind double marked in line with standard Departmental procedures. The learner’s supervisor will act as first marker for the dissertation with an appropriately qualified second marker appointed from the programme team.

Students receive ongoing feedback from their supervisor during one to one meetings. This may be in written or verbal form. Supervisors are expected to provide feedback on up to two chapters of the dissertation prior to final submission and may provide comments on additional chapters.

Students will receive feedback on their final dissertation submission via a written report compiled by the supervisor from the comments of both markers.





Module abstract

You will identify research questions and project ideas to identify a topic for your own exploration through reviews and analyses of appropriate literature and through research or a work related project. The module enables you to design your research or project approach to consolidate an extended knowledge in your chosen field of study. The module enables research-rich learning through focus on a topic of immediate relevance to the programme themes. This may be tailored to opportunities beyond the university that enable direct contact with the chosen topic including in some instances through external internship. The process of the dissertation or project enables the development of key skills that enhances employability.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

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

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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