Module Information

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

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written Dissertation (15,000 words) OR  Practice-based research: Production (approx. 45 minutes) 70 % and 5,000 word Written Reflection 30%  100%
Supplementary Assessment Written Dissertation (15,000 words) OR  Practice-based research: Production (approx. 45 minutes) 70 % and 5,000 word Written Reflection 30%  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. demonstrate successful project design and application in the field of practice-based research
2. demonstrate mastery of the strategies and operational procedures involved in formulating, planning, managing and realizing a research investigation through practical work leading to a substantial output
3. demonstrate advanced skills - in a range of conceptual and representational practices and procedures - to achieve well-defined and conceptualized creative outcomes in addressing political and/or aesthetic issues
4. critically evaluate these outcomes in relation to contemporary knowledge, practice and research traditions in the appropriate scholarly fields

Written dissertation
5. demonstrate the ability to formulate an answerable research question and design and implement securely grounded research procedures
6. demonstrate the ability to analyse the results of such procedures and a sophisticated awareness of their strengths and limitations
7. relate such research to contemporary thinking and knowledge in the appropriate scholarly fields
8. manage a richly critical attitude towards such thinking and knowledge and ground evaluations in an understanding of different research traditions in the identified fields


The aims of this module are:

- to enable students to complete their MA Politics, Media and Performance through undertaking a substantial piece of original research work

- to allow them to achieve this through two distinct kinds of submissions: either

i) a work of practice-based research in the form of a substantial piece of live performance or media work (film, broadcast, digital artifact, etc), supported by a written critical outline and assessment of the research component of the work, situating it in an appropriate body of literature and practice


ii) a written dissertation comprising of an independent investigation into a research topic in the area of politics, media and performance

Brief description

The module enables students to engage with a sustained and detailed research enquiry into a specific aspect relating to the convergences of performance and media practices and politics. Students can either develop a work of practice-based research in the form of a substantial creative output, with supporting critical reflection and evaluation, or submit a written dissertation on a research topic of their choice.

The submission type, topic and methodology for the research will be identified with the help of a research proposal, to be submitted at the end of the first semester. Research projects will be approved by the module coordinator in consultation with the staff team and subject to the availability of suitable resources and academic advisors with expertise in the chosen topic.

Students will work with the support of a dissertation advisor, who will be assigned following the submission of the proposal.

Students who have chosen to submit a practice-based research project will be given the opportunity to present the work in a public showcase.


Students will be asked to begin thinking about their dissertation topic (and its associated research question and methods) in semester 1. Through a series of seminars and workshops they will be acquainted with a range of methodologies and research tools. These may include, for example: performance analysis and phenomenological approaches to performance research; field research and performance ethnography; archival research practices and historiographic research methods; practice-based research in performance; feminist epistemologies and researching through the body; queer theory and the interrogation of affect; research ethics and the politics of research process.

At the end of the first semester they will be required to produce a dissertation proposal (formative assessment) that will help them shape their research topic and that will be focused further through individual supervision in the second semester to lead to a 15,000 word dissertation or a practice-based presentation accompanied by written critical reflection. The dissertation proposal will inform the allocation of an appropriate supervisor, based on expertise related to the proposed topic and methods. A total of 12 hours (six one-hour seminars, two three-hour workshops in semester 1) and a total of six hours of supervision time (face-to-face, via email and skype, semester 2 and summer) is given to each student, where supervision is arranged on an individual basis. Supervisors can read and comment on up to one third (maximum) of a student’s draft dissertation.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/a
Communication Students will be expected to discuss their dissertation and its progress in the group and with their supervisor (in tutorial sessions). They will practice, through the proposal, how to write in a clear and effective way.
Improving own Learning and Performance In tutorials, students will be expected to critically reflect on their own readings and preparatory research, and on how their dissertation plans are progressing. In addition, students will be expected to develop their motivation, organization and time-management skills, by planning their work on the dissertation through the dissertation proposal and drafting chapters, whilst keeping in regular contact with their supervisors. Students engaged in practice-based research will develop relevant skills in devising, making and performing as appropriate to their projects.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use the web and the numerous e-learning resources in the library in order to search for and locate journal articles and other primary materials that have relevance to their research projects.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be encouraged to develop their research, writing, learning and organizational skills. These attributes will feed into their development as effective researchers, which will be particularly suited for an academic career or a career within the field of the performing or media arts.
Problem solving This element is developed through students considering methodologies appropriate for their dissertation topic. They will learn about practical issues and demands associated with employing such methods through the seminars. By problematizing the perception of what constitutes good and effective research, the students will have to think differently about their research projects and the questions and issues they will need to tackle in order to plan and carry out their research.
Research skills This element is developed through students identifying, guided through seminars, the most appropriate research methods and procedures to employ in order to answer their research questions and then applying these in a clear and effective way throughout their research projects. These skills are also developed through research of relevant literature and identifying the key literature that will inform and academically ground their work.
Subject Specific Skills SSee QAA Dance, Drama and Performance Subject Benchmark Statement (Version 2007).
Team work Students will test their research projects on their peers, who will comment, thus enriching the learning process through a set of team-related and common practices. Students will be expected to work with their supervisor, to arrange tutorials and plan their dissertation work, to share and negotiate ideas and opinions on methods and relevant readings, and to reflect on and share ideas about their developing dissertation plans.


This module is at CQFW Level 7