Your dissertation is an important piece of individual and independent work. It can be the most exciting and challenging piece of work you do at university, since you are able to research a topic of interest to you in some depth.
The dissertation is different from coursework, because it is a much larger piece of work, and you have a lot more freedom about the topic and approach. You will be assessed on how you manage your dissertation project, as well as on the report and presentation /viva to examiners.
The aim of the Project is to enable the student to:
• carry out a critical, in-depth study; of an area of knowledge relevant to the course.
• demonstrate the application of techniques, acquired from the taught component of the programme, to the solution of a product development problem.
The project will be a self-contained piece of work of greater depth than could be accommodated within the taught modules. Ideally the project should encompass many aspects of the taught modules.
The postgraduate nature of the project should be evident from the overall higher standard compared with an undergraduate project. This will be reflected in the depth of the analysis and critical review, the insight required and in the complexity of the task undertaken.
The benchmark for determining the degree of success of a project will normally be whether or not the project and its report can form the basis for a publishable academic paper.
Students will be expected to demonstrate project management and presentation skills throughout the period of the project.
Topic Selection and Supervision
Most students will have already selected and developed a topic through the Research Methods module (ENGT5214), and found a supervisor. For those who have not (or perhaps have changed their mind about their topic), there are the following options.
a) Select a topic that has been set by the academics. These are posted in the Research Methods Module on Blackboard. This is probably the easiest route to select an appropriate research topic. They are only ideas and can be tailored to your interests.
b) Select a topic from the list of projects available in the individual project module. Contact the relevant supervisor and start your research.
c) If you are working, it is a good idea to select a topic that has value to the organisation you work for. This is a good route for part-time students. The 4 topic needs to of appropriate scope and content for an MSc dissertation. Check that the organisation gives permission and can provide support for the project. You must agree the research question and research aim with your supervisor. It must not simply shadow or reproduce a work project; it must be separate and include an element of your own research, although it could certainly use materials from your work
d) Select an area of your own interest. It can take a significant amount of time for students to identify a suitable area of appropriate scope. It is best t choose an area you are already familiar with or is related to the work you do
e) If you are in any doubt, contact the Individual Project Module Leader / Programme Leader