AC7024 - Dissertation Project

What will I learn on this module?

This research rich module will enable you to bring together the knowledge, understanding and skills that you have accrued from other modules on your programme. Prior to the undertaking this module, you will have completed the appropriate level of study that prepares you for engagement with a Masters dissertation process. The module provides you with a vehicle for developing, refining and applying your research skills in an independent project.
You will identify a topic with which you are familiar, and which you believe has scope for development or change that will be the focus of your independent study. You can chose one of two methods to structure your dissertation.
- Systematic Review :A structured analysis of evidence
- Empirical research: Based on primary data analysis or secondary sources

In the module, you will revisit and deepen your understandings of a range of key topic areas linked to the research process within your chosen method. This may include discussion of worldviews and research paradigms, research design, working with literature and theory, developing ethical codes, collecting robust research evidence, ensuring quality assurance within your research work, and writing and disseminating the research dissertation work.
There will be a series of research seminars during the module and you will have access to a named supervisor for one to one supervision work. Both the seminars and supervision will enable you to critically examine how the research process will work best for your dissertation goals and design.

How will I learn on this module?

You will participate in this module as an active learner as there is a strong emphasis upon your own independent study. The module is built around a number of individual and group learning activities that will help you to explore the different aspects of undertaking your project. You will work with a named supervisor for the duration of your research project. This will involve you in 12 hours of one to one contact with this individual. The supervision work that you undertake will focus on your independent project and should follow the path of the study as it unfolds. This one to one support will enable you to explore areas of the work that are troublesome and the critical dialogue that it enables will help you to develop your understanding of the theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of your study process. In addition to supervision work, a series of seminars are provided within each of the chosen methods. During each seminar, individuals will share their project’s challenges and successes. The sharing of understandings and experiences will be an integral part of the way in which the module helps to socially construct individual’s perceptions of their work. Step-by-step dissertation writing and content guidelines, specific method support materials, the module handbook, electronic reading list and turnitin software will be available on the E Learning Portal to assist with your learning journey.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through a series of group seminars relating to the specific method chosen for your independent study and individual supervision tutorials. These will provide opportunities for feedback on the development of your dissertation. The module team have a wide range of expertise to aid your learning and you will be allocated a supervisor. Supervisors help and support your learning, and will use a variety of approaches to help you conceptualise, focus, plan and implement your ideas, proposals, and plans. The module leader can be contacted to offer module guidance when necessary.
Formative assessment will offer the opportunity for critical feedback from peers and from academic staff, which can feed forward into the development of your final dissertation. You will also get verbal feedback and email communication on progress at and after individual supervision sessions. Seminars will provide you with opportunities to monitor your progress and to enable you to share your ideas within your peer group. You will also be encouraged to form collegiate team groups with peers outside of formal scheduled teaching, where issues and topics can be discussed together. The E learning portal is used to support you by providing a range of learning materials and resources including study guides, electronic reading lists and other web based sources. The University Library offers an extensive collection of material, both hard copy and electronic, access to international databases in addition to study space and IT equipment. Study skills help can be found on the Library’s Skills Plus site on the university library website.

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:
1. Conceptualise a project topic and established its relevance to your practice area/field of expertise and define a project in terms of one of the two methods; systematic review or empirical research.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Carry out an extended literature review to support and develop the project.

3. Depending upon the method chosen you will have developed and implemented a small-scale empirical study to explore a research question; systematically appraised evidence based published studies in order to answer your research questions(s).

4. Report the outcomes of the study in a written final dissertation report written in a journal submission format.

5. Prepare and deliver a critical oral presentation on the process of completing your research project.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
6. Critically appraise your own project writing skills development, identifying your ongoing learning needs.

How will I be assessed?

Your knowledge and understanding, learning needs, and academic progress on the module will be monitored by the completion of a formative task (a written plan of your dissertation project). You will receive feedback from your dissertation supervisor on your plan. Additional formative feedback will come from the sharing of project work during seminar discussions.
(Covers all MLOs.)

The summative assessment will consist of two parts:

Part 1) An 8000-word final dissertation report written in a journal submission format. 80% of the total mark for the module.

Part 2) An oral presentation which should critically reflect on the process of completing your research project. The presentation should critically discuss your data collection and data analysis process and any project challenges and successes. 20% of the total mark for the module. (Covers all MLOs)


Progression with 120 programme credits



Module abstract

This module focuses on you as an independent researcher and learner. It provides an opportunity to undertake an independent study on a project of your choice both in terms of the topic area and the methods used. There are two approaches you can choose from, a systematic review or an empirical project. You will be supported in the module by a named supervisor and through the provision of a series of research seminars.
The summative assessment will consist of two parts:
1) An 8000-word final dissertation report written in a journal submission format. 80% of the total mark for the module.
2) An oral presentation which should critically reflect on the process of completing your research project. The presentation should critically discuss your data collection and data analysis process and any project challenges and successes. 20% of the total mark for the module.

This module will uphold the ethos of adult education, you will be encouraged to operate in a collegial and collaborative manner and to share and deepen your research based understandings through critical dialogue with your supervisor and module peer group.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time
1 other options available

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

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