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EDU8215 : Dissertation: International Development and Education

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Pauline Dixon
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • 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


•       To enable students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a selected topic in the field of International Development and Education
•       To enable students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the research process by devising and conducting an original investigation in the field of International Development and Education
•       To provide students with the opportunity both to extend their repertoire of methodological skills and demonstrate a capacity for critical reflexivity
•       To provide students with the opportunity to utilise statistical software if desired
•       To heighten students’ awareness of the dilemmas encountered when undertaking research in this field of study and to be able to address them
•       To provide an enhanced knowledge and understanding of methodological issues, including the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research design and different types of data
•       To provide an enhanced knowledge and understanding of matters relating to informed consent, privacy, confidentiality, objectivity and transparency
•       To develop the ability to develop a sustained argument that is supported by systematically collected evidence

The module provides the student with experience of undertaking a substantial, independent textual, theoretical or empirical enquiry into an approved topic relating to the programme's subject-matter. 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.

Outline Of Syllabus

Research may be of a qualitative or quantitative nature. The core research module Research Strategies and Methods initially performs the role of providing students with the tools required to be able to carry out their own research and analyse data, ensuring as much as possible viability and reliability within their own research.

Other modules throughout the course, such as Economics for Development: Competition, Innovation and Entrepreneurship allow the student to read widely and learn to appreciate and critically evaluate literature, thus assisting in the literature review part of the dissertation. The other core module Education Policy and Entrepreneurship for Development looks at different methods of gathering data in international education settings. Thus preparation for the research work involved and the writing of the dissertation is central throughout the whole course.

When the students embark on their dissertation in the third semester, they are asked to a) produce a research proposal, b) produce a literature search or equivalent, and c) produce a 12,000 word completed dissertation. 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 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
•       The ethical issues raised by the research explored and ethical approval will be applied for through the School
•       The findings will be reported in an unambiguous and transparent manner allowing for BERA and Newcastle University ethics codes to be followed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1508:00508:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities180:0080:00Fieldwork (in person or virtual)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery101:0010:00Drop in/surgery with dissertation supervisor
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The workshops convey best practice for carrying out research in the field and include information on validity, reliability, ethics etc. Research methods, framework, analysis and data gathering are all discussed and examples of previous dissertation topics are provided. The drop in/surgeries offer advice on research methods for analysis as well as the writing up of the dissertation. Carrying out a literature review is revised. SPSS training specifically aimed at International Development and Education topics is also a focus. Individual support is provided by dissertation supervisors who advise on research methodology, analysis, writing and progress throughout the whole dissertation process.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation3M100A 15,000 word research based or professionally based dissertation on an approved topic in the field of Int Dev and Edu
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.

Reading Lists