Module Catalogue 2024/25

MCH8299 : Dissertation for MA Media and Journalism

MCH8299 : Dissertation for MA Media and Journalism

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Bethany Usher
  • Lecturer: Dr Mercy Ette, Dr Majid Khosravinik, Dr Gareth Longstaff, Dr Florian Zollmann, Dr James Ash, Dr Steve Walls, Dr Chris Haywood, Dr David Bates, Mr Chris Falzon, Dr Chris Haywood, Dr Murray Dick, Dr Darren Kelsey
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

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

Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
MCH8054Researching Media, Journalism and Communications
Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



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

Students undertake a substantial, independent textual, theoretical or empirical enquiry into an approved topic relating to the programme of study. MCH8054 Researching Media, Journalism and Communications supports Dissertation for MA Media and Journalism by developing skills in terms of method and conducting research and developing an assessed dissertation proposal. Students submit their proposal in MCH8054 and then revise their proposal with feedback from a dedicated supervisor in the second semester, before conducting substantive work in the third semester. Students will explore issues of common concern relating to research design, methods and the conduct of their planned enquiries (including ethics). This, along with group tutorials, provides an additional source of support, complementing the one-to-one tutorials with supervisors.

Students are expected to support this exploration through 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, relating theory and practice.

The research is presented in a chaptered dissertation of 10,000 words. The approval of dissertation topics is subject to the agreement of the module leader and relevant tutor and ethical approval.

Members of the programme team assist students both in the initial stages of identifying a suitable dissertation topic (in MCH8054) and during the dissertation research and writing-up periods (through an allocated supervisor). The programme team offers additional advice on appropriate research methods and provides students with feedback on some draft writing. Guidance is provided throughout by an individual supervisor allocated to the student according to the topic and theme of the dissertation.

The dissertation project offers students the opportunity to bring together and demonstrate their learning on the MA programme and acts as a foundation for those who may undertake a PhD after completing the MA.

Outline Of Syllabus

The programme team assists students in negotiating an appropriate title for their own independent research and so the syllabus followed during the supervisory process is tailored and reactive to the students' areas of interest.

Support and guidance on topic, focus and methodology is provided in MCH8054 with feed-forward to students and supervisors. The outline of the transition between these modules and the learning process is as follows:
1. Revising and planning a research project;
2. Engagement with learning opportunities around study skills, library research skills and dissertation presentation;
3. Group supervisory meeting to schedule availability and discussed revised proposals;
4. Regular meetings on a one-to-one basis with supervisor with reactive syllabus according to student research work.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module will gain:

K1: Specialist knowledge and understanding of a specific aspect of the course
K2: Critical grasp and detailed knowledge of the relevant literature in the selected field
K3: Enhanced knowledge and understanding of the research process
K4: Enhanced knowledge and understanding of methodological issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research design and different types of data
K5: Enhanced knowledge and understanding of matters relating to informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, objectivity and transparency
K6: Ability to develop a sustained argument that is supported by systematically collected evidence

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students successfully completely the module will have:

S1: The capacity to devise and carry out independent research in the field of study
S2: The ability to utilise key concepts, theories and approaches relevant to the selected field
S3: The ability to interpret and evaluate primary and secondary research data
S4: The ability to formulate a valid research question and select and apply the appropriate methods for its investigation
S5: The ability to communicate the research findings in a transparent and unambiguous manner outlining, where appropriate, their practical implications

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Dissertation launch session. Can be delivered in person or online.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1587:00587:00Developing and completing dissertation
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials22:004:00Focused on study skills and presentation of dissertation. Delivered non synchronously online.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading12:002:00Library research and study skills support for dissertation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00Supervisory meetings and support conducted either remotely or present-in-person.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Dissertation supervision sessions may be group or one-to-one sessions and allow for in-depth discussions regarding the planning and execution of the dissertation and intensive appraisal of student performance. These sessions facilitate development of cognitive and key skills, and offer opportunities for feedback and feed-forward.

Guided independent study facilitates intended knowledge outcomes, and develops both cognitive skills and key skills necessary for the dissertation.

Scheduled and non-synchronous lecture materials, directed independent research and readings support academic skills and critical development towards the completion of dissertation.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation3A10010000 words, research-based or professionally-based dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment: 10,000-word dissertation

The dissertation is an independent, critical and academically stringent research project. Students produce a chaptered piece of work that includes an introduction with research questions; theoretical framework; method and ethical considerations; research findings; conclusion and future lines of inquiry; and full bibliography.

Additional task-specific assessment criteria are as follows:
- Quality of the theoretical and research framework and argument, drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources (K1; K2; S2)
- Evidence of a critical and reflexive commentary of the research methods and ethical considerations of the project, including discussion of strengths and limitations of research design, drawing on a range of pertinent literature and analysis of methodologies (K3; K4; K5);
- Use of appropriate methodological and theoretical frameworks to develop and then answer, using primary and secondary data and evidence, clearly considered research question or questions (K6; S2; S3; S5);
- Coherence and written structure of the dissertation, including appropriate academic written tone for postgraduate-level research and effective display of data and analysis (S1; S6)


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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