Module Catalogue 2018/19

MCH8299 : Dissertation for MA Media and Journalism

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Liviu Popoviciu
  • Lecturer: Ms Laurel Hetherington, Dr Chris Haywood, Dr Steve Walls, Dr Majid Khosravinik, Mr Chris Falzon, Dr David Baines, Dr James Ash, Dr Darren Kelsey, Professor Deborah Chambers, Dr Ian McDonald, Dr Gareth Longstaff, Dr Murray Dick
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



•       To enable students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a selected topic in the field of Media & Journalism and Media & Public Relations
•       To enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the research process by devising and conducting an original investigation in the field of Media & Journalism and Media & Public Relations
•       To provide students with the opportunity both to extend their repertoire of methodological skills and demonstrate a capacity for critical reflexivity
•       To heighten students’ awareness of the dilemmas encountered when undertaking research in this field of study and to be able to address them.

The module provides the student with experience of undertaking a substantial, independent textual, theoretical or empirical enquiry into an approved topic relating to the subject-matter of the programme. The dissertation provides invaluable experience of undertaking research and acts as a sound foundation for students who may wish to undertake a PhD after completing the MA. The module entitled Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society performs the crucial role of supporting the Dissertation by guiding the students in their decision about the topic, methodology, scope and planning of the Dissertation. Thus, preparation for the research work involved in the dissertation requires the production of an assessed research plan in the module, Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society before each student is permitted to proceed. When the students embark on their dissertation in the third semester, they are asked to a) revise their research proposal in the light of feedback on the Methodologies module, b) produce a literature search or equivalent, and c) produce a 12,000 word completed dissertation.

In these ways, students are carefully guided within the implementation of their aim of conducting a detailed exploration of a specific area, problem or issue within the field of study. Students are expected to support this exploration by independent study and research activity through the following: retrieval of information, location of evidence, analysis, interpretation and synthesis of materials, critical thought and evaluation, questioning of assumptions and where appropriate, to relate theory and practice.

The research is to be presented in the form of a conventional dissertation of 12,000 words or equivalent in the form of practice-based research in the context of professional or work-related experience. The approval of dissertation topics will be subject to the agreement of the module leader and relevant tutor.

Members of the programme team will assist students both in the initial stages of identifying a suitable dissertation topic for themselves and during the period when the dissertation is being researched and written. The programme team will offer additional advice on appropriate research methods and provide students with feedback on drafts of their dissertation. Guidance will be provided throughout by an individual supervisor allocated to the student according to the topic and theme of the dissertation.
All dissertations, irrespective for format or topic, will be expected to conform to the following requirements:

•       The dissertation will draw upon primary data to address the research question (or questions)
•       The research will be appropriately contextualised with critical reference made to relevant published sources
•       An appraisal of the theoretical underpinnings of the research will be undertaken
•       A reflexive commentary on research methods will be provided and the strengths and limitations of the design discussed
•       The ethical issues raised by the research will explored
•       The findings will be reported in an unambiguous and transparent manner
•       The discussion will include reference to the practical implications of the findings as well as indicating possible future lines of enquiry

Outline Of Syllabus

Students must pass all the 20 credit core modules in order to embark on the dissertation. The programme team will assist students in negotiating an appropriate title. Support and guidance on topic, focus and methodology will be provided on the module, Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society. The outline of the syllabus is as follows:

1.       Interactive session: Devising and planning a research project I
2.       Interactive session: Devising and planning a research project II
3.       Regular meetings on a one-to-one basis with supervisor
4.       Regular group tutorials to report on progress

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       Specialist knowledge and understanding of a specific aspect of the course
•       Critical grasp and detailed knowledge of the relevant literature in the selected field
•       Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the research process
•       Enhanced knowledge and understanding of methodological issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research design and different types of data
•       Enhanced knowledge and understanding of matters relating to informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, objectivity and transparency
•       Ability to develop a sustained argument that is supported by systematically collected evidence

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       Capacity to devise and carry-out independent research in the field of study
•       Ability to utilise key concepts, theories and approaches relevant to the selected field
•       Ability to interpret and evaluate primary and secondary research data
•       Ability to formulate a valid research question and select and apply the appropriate methods for its investigation
•       Communicate the research findings in a transparent and unambiguous manner outlining, where appropriate, their practical implications

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Assessed
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Assessed
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Written Other : Assessed
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1595:00595:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Dissertation Supervision sessions: group or one-to-one sessions allowing for Q&A sessions regarding the planning and execution of the dissertation and intensive appraisal of student performance. These sessions are expected to facilitate development of cognitive and key skills, and to give feedback to the student.

Guided Independent Study: to facilitate intended knowledge outcomes, and to develop both cognitive skills and key skills (as above).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation3A10012000 words, research-based or professionally-based dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module is initially introduced with two interactive sessions. These will enable the students to explore issues of common concern relating to research design, methods and the conduct of their planned enquiries (including ethics). These initial sessions, together with subsequent group tutorials, will provide an additional source of support complementing the one-to-one tutorials with supervisors.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.