Module Catalogue 2023/24

HSS8003 : Dissertation Preparation

HSS8003 : Dissertation Preparation

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nicky Gardiner
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Jen Tarr
  • Owning School: School X
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to enable postgraduate researchers to:

Understand the practicalities involved in managing and writing a dissertation at Masters level in a UK university.
Employ a range of strategies for managing and writing a dissertation at Masters level in a UK university.
Critically reflect on their existing research presumptions, habits and strategies.
Adapt generic guidance and strategies to fit the specific needs of their own research.
Identify obstacles or challenges to effective practice and respond appropriately.

Outline Of Syllabus

Managing time, priorities and workload.
Working with academic literature
Researching and writing a literature review
Strategies for getting started with academic writing.
Maintaining healthy writing habits.
Building an academic argument and writing critically.
Structuring a Masters dissertation.
Strategies for editing academic writing.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The module aims to enable postgraduate researchers to:

Understand the requirements and practicalities of researching and writing a Masters level dissertation in the UK.
Obtain knowledge of a range of research-informed study strategies for producing academic research and writing.
Recognise the features of an academic argument and critical writing
Understand and use reflective models such as Gibbs, Driscoll and Kolb.
Achieve greater clarity about their own research habits and strategies.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The module aims to enable postgraduate researchers to:

Reflect on own strengths and areas for improvement as an academic researcher and take action accordingly
Identify their own habits, preconceptions and approaches to academic research and writing.
Critically assess the benefits and limitations of study strategies within the context of their own dissertation.
Adapt, modify and/or replaces existing approaches to study to make them more effective and efficient.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials102:0020:00Guided critical reflection in preparation for each lecture and seminar. Asynchronous online reflection questions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Lectures to introduce context, challenges and strategies for future reflection. Synchronous in-person + asynchronous recap recording & lecture slides
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:307:30Workshops for researchers to discuss and compare reflections and findings. Synchronous in-person.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study166:3066:30N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
HSS8001Thinking about Research
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module has been scaffolded to give researchers the space and time required to engage in full, meaningful reflection on their existing presumptions/habits around academic writing and research, experiment with alternative approaches and make adaptations according to individual need. It includes both synchronous in-person and asynchronous online activities to offer different ways of engaging with the module according to researchers' individual abilities and circumstances.

Aside from first introductory lecture, researchers will be set a series of reflective prompts to help excavate existing study habits around particular issues (e.g. time management, critical reading, developing arguments etc.). These topics will then be contextualised within the lecture and strategies offered for experimentation and reflection. Further reflective prompts will be provided after each lecture and researchers will discuss their responses and findings within the workshops.

Weekly structured reflection will give students practice in reflective writing and potentially generate content that builds towards the completion of the summative portfolio at the end of the module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M100A 1500-2000 word reflective portfolio detailing issue/s encountered when conducting academic research and strategy/ies deployed in response.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio1MA 750-1000 word reflective portfolio detailing issue/s encountered when conducting academic research and strategy/ies deployed in response.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment will build a portfolio of critical reflections that will assess researchers' ability to identify, interrogate and adapt study strategies to more effectively and efficiently conduct their dissertation. In doing so, the reflective portfolio appropriately assesses student development in relation to the previously stated learning outcomes

A formative assessment will give students the opportunity to practice and receive feedback ahead of the summative assessment.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.