Dissertation (TRU3032)

StaffDr Kate Hext - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisites120 credits at level 2
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to enable the student to operate independently and responsibly, and take a positive and active role in his or her learning, in the service of the production of a sustained piece of critical work. At the same time, the module supports their research development through a structured programme of lectures and workshops that addresses both practical and conceptual aspects of the research process, as well as through traditional one-to-one supervisions focusing specifically on students’ discrete projects. Students are encouraged to see their research projects as part of a process that is founded upon conceptual as well as methodological, expository, and bibliographic training. The training provided in lectures/workshops and also in specifically tailored supervision meetings involves the production of a formative portfolio of writing that feeds directly into the extended dissertation essay itself.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject, building appropriately on the work completed during the earlier years of their programme.
  • 2. Demonstrate a capacity for independent study and self-directed inquiry and research.
  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to identify and pursue appropriate, subject specific questions.
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to reflect upon research methodologies, and to draft, revise and edit written work accordingly.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the chosen literature and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context.
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history.
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills.
  • 9. Demonstrate a capacity to select and develop an appropriate research topic.
  • 10. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument.
  • 11. Demonstrate a capacity to write clear and correct prose.

Syllabus plan

Preparation. Following examinations in Year 2 Term 3, students attend the dissertation   forum. They then have the vacation and Year 3 Term 1 to consider their area   of focus and to discuss it with one or more members of staff. By the Term 1   deadline (end of November), students must submit a completed ‘General Area of   Study’ Form, which outlines their proposed area of interest and the kinds of   project that they might develop in relation to existing scholarship in this   area. Students are strongly recommended to work within the expertise of staff   within the Department. Based as much as possible on stated areas of interest,   students are assigned to an individual supervisor in Week 10 Term 1.


Term 2. In weeks 1-2, the supervisor will hold the first of 3 supervision   sessions, which may be a group supervision. The two remaining supervision   sessions will take place during Term 2 by arrangement between the student and   supervisor. They will be initiated by the student in response to their own   assessment of their pace, progress, and needs. Also in Term 2, alongside   individual supervision sessions, students attend weekly (x10)   workshops/lectures, which may cover topics such as Choosing the Best Topic, 2.   Beginning your Dissertation, Choosing a ‘Style Sheet’, Conducting Theoretical   Research, Conducting Material Research, Writing a Literature Review, Establishing   Argument and Building Structure,

Abstracts, and Editing, and include an optional   Workshop.


Over the course of   the 11 weeks, students will have chances to produce and workshop the discrete   elements that together form their formative portfolio (literature review,   critical intervention statement, abstract), as well as to discuss these   documents with their supervisor in supervision sessions. By the Term 2   deadline (late March) students may elect to submit (online) a formative   portfolio and extract, on which the supervisor will offer feedback. This   constitutes the formative coursework for the module. The extract constitutes   formative coursework for the module. At the same time, the final title   confirmation form should be submitted.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 10lectures
Guided independent study286Private Study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Extract from Dissertation-inprogress2000 words1-11Oral and written feedback in supervision meetings
Portfolio2000 words1-11Oral and written feedback in supervision meetings

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation1008,000 words1-11Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Dissertation 8,000 wordsDissertation 8,000 words1-11referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Same as above but in the reassessment period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

students are asked to purchase:
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (MLA, 2009)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Resources are developed, under direction, by the student.


ELE – http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1749

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Other resources to be developed, under direction, by the student.
Module supported by dedicated site on the Exeter Learning Environment (e-learning platform)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date