What is a dissertation?

 Introduction to dissertation

This section aims to provide guidelines and advice to help you to successfully complete your dissertation.  By following the information in this guide you will be able to successfully meet the learning outcomes of the dissertation which include:

  1. Identify and critically discuss appropriate literature sources
  2. Identify and critically discuss the applicability of a range of research methodologies and paradigms within a range of disciplines
  3. Critically evaluate and apply appropriate research tools and techniques
  4. Appraise the validity and reliability of research data.

 What is a dissertation?

Your dissertation is a 60 credit module that is expected to be 3 months ( see table for indicative learning hours) in duration.

Indicative learning hours
Lecture 30 Fieldwork  
Seminar 10 External visits  
Tutorial 5 Work based learning  
Project supervision 20 Guided independent study 535
Demonstration Practical classes and workshops   Placement  
Supervised time in studio/workshop   Year abroad  

The dissertation involves the execution and communication of a piece of investigative academic research which demonstrates an understanding of a specific problem, together with evidence of critical and analytical evaluation.

There are three types of acceptable dissertations all of which require a literature review. The distinction between the three types comes in the application of material in the literature review.

Type 1 Primary data based dissertation

Primary data based dissertations involves students collecting primary data.  Here the primary data must be based on the secondary data and should compare and contrast your findings with the data presented in the literature.

Type 2 Secondary data based dissertation

Secondary data based dissertations requires students to find related data which can be further analysed using primarily statistical techniques. The University have data sources, companies and historical macroeconomic time-series data for many countries.

Type 3 Product/service/innovation based dissertation

Product/service/innovation based dissertation requires students to develop a new product or service or enhance an existing product or service based on their analysis of secondary data and stakeholder expectations.  Such dissertations may be the result of a specific request from an industrial partner.

Most students find the dissertation both challenging and rewarding. There will inevitably be ups and downs but by keeping in regular contact with your supervisor you will find that most problems can be overcome before they become too big.

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