Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 3 (Dissertation)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written work 1  1 x 2,000-word written assignment (justification of key research questions)  10%
Semester Assessment Written work 2  1 x 2,000-word written assignment (justification of methodology and presentation of pilot phase findings)  10%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  Oral presentation based on the effectiveness of the pilot phase indicating how the pilot phase methodology needs to be adapted to undertake a larger study in preparation for the dissertation  5%
Semester Assessment Dissertation  15,000 word dissertation  75%
Supplementary Assessment A mark below 50% in any assignment will result in the student having to re-do the failed assignment. 1 x 2,000-word written assignment (justification of key research questions)   10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000-word written assignment(justification of methodology and presentation of pilot phase findings)  10%
Supplementary Assessment Oral presentation  Oral presentation based on the effectiveness of the pilot phase indicating how the pilot phase methodology needs to be adapted to undertake a larger study in preparation for the dissertation  5%
Supplementary Assessment Dissertation  15,000 word dissertation  75%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Undertake independent study by planning and presenting an extended investigation: aims; literature review; methods; analysis;

Demonstrate skills which are associated with library-based study: effective use of bibliographic searches; an ability to choose relevant sources; a sound knowledge and understanding of sources; critical interpretation and synthesis of sources; an ability to present coherent argument;

Demonstrate research skills in an investigation: an appropriate method of data collection; an appropriate method of data analysis; an awareness of ethical and legal issues in data collection; to apply the results of the analysis to the aims of the dissertation;

Demonstrate an ability to think critically and construct one'r own position in relation to existing and ongoing debates in the field;

Identify, understand, interpret and evaluate relevant subject-specific arguments made by others; construct independent arguments

Plan and justify the research question and methodology for the pilot phase of their dissertation study and subsequently evaluate the outcomes of the pilot phase and to critically review the effectiveness of the methodology in light of these outcomes.


Following Part One of the MA in Childhood Studies and Professional Practice (and related named awards), students will progress to Part Two where they can choose to follow a `research route? or a `work based or professional practice route?. This dissertation-based module will be a core requirement for those students opting to take the `research route?. This `Dissertation? module will offer the opportunity to conduct an academic research project written up and presented in the form of a 15,000 word dissertation. This dissertation study will be preceded by completion of three smaller preparatory assignments, the purpose of which will be to develop an initial research design, pilot methodologies and reflect on their success, before proceeding to the main dissertation.

Consequently, this module will draw upon the methodologies of educational research that were introduced in EDM7140 Research Methods.

Brief description

This module provides students with an opportunity to investigate a topic of their own choice. It involves independent study under the guidance of two members of staff. The project will typically involve an empirical investigation. Given this, all students will need to engage with and abide by the University'r procedure on research ethics.

The preparatory phases of the module will provide the initial support that students require to plan and prepare for their dissertation. Emphasis will be placed on the justification of the key research questions from the literature. The protocol and justifications for undertaking a pilot study will be covered and support will be given to draft appropriate data collection instruments. Following the pilot phase, emphasis will be placed on the evaluation of the process and appropriateness of data collected. The preparatory phase will also focus on how to present research findings in the form of a dissertation. Particular emphasis will be given on how to undertake, write and manage a dissertation.


The dissertation may be on any topic of the student'r choice but this will have been negotiated and decided upon as part of EDM8020 Planning for your Dissertation. Students will be aware from EDM8020 that if they wish to graduate with a named certificate, the dissertation must relate to the theme the student has followed throughout the MA.
Sessions during the initial phase of the module will include the following topics:

1. Purpose of pilot phase (Pilot Study) within context of research (2 hours).
2. Planning Pilot Study (2 hours).
3. Designing data collection instruments (2 hours)
4. Reporting and evaluating pilot phase outcomes (2 hours)
5. Extending pilot phase to main study (2 hours)

Seminar 1: Planning for oral presentation of pilot phase effectiveness (2 hours)

6. Oral presentation of draft research proposal (3 hours)

Planning dissertation (2 hours)
During the preparatory phase, and thereafter, students will be required to meet with their supervisor at least once a fortnight.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will work with and present data where appropriate.
Communication The ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing, will be an essential element of the research process. Students will need to develop logical and clear argument and show an aptitude for the effective use of information in a direct and appropriate way.
Improving own Learning and Performance The ability to reflect upon one’s own progress and identify and act upon one’s own development needs will be essential throughout this module.
Information Technology Students will need to use appropriate ICT throughout their research projects, particularly in the case of data analysis.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will need to demonstrate the ability to negotiate diverse and competing pressures; cope with stress; and achieve a work / life balance
Problem solving Students will need to show efficiency in the organisation of large amounts of complex information and the ability to identify, describe and analyse the key features of the information
Research skills Research skills form the main part of this module.
Subject Specific Skills Students will demonstrate an ability to think and argue in novel and enterprising ways, to display originality of thought and argument and the ability to clearly support arguments in innovative ways
Team work Collecting data is likely to involve working with others. Students will have to work with two academic supervisors.


This module is at CQFW Level 7