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MCH8199 : Dissertation for MA Media and Public Relations

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s):
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0


• To enable students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a selected topic in the field of 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 & 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

Students undertake a substantial, independent textual, theoretical or empirical enquiry into an approved topic relating to the programme of study. MCH8058 Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society supports MA Media and PR Dissertation by developing skills in terms of method and conducting research and developing an assessed dissertation proposal.

Students embark on their dissertation in the third semester. The module is introduced with interactive sessions provided in MCH8058 Methodologies. These 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, provide an additional source of support complementing the one-to-one tutorials with supervisors.

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, relating theory to practice.

The research is presented in a chaptered dissertation of 12,000 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 MCH8058) 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 drafts of their dissertation. 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 assist students in negotiating an appropriate title. Support and guidance on topic, focus and methodology is provided via individual supervision of students and via the module, Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Dissertation launch session. Can be delivered on campus or online.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials42:008:00Focused on study skills and presentation of dissertation. Delivered non synchronously online.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00Supervisory meetings and support conducted either remotely or on campus.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1585:00585:00Developing, researching and completing dissertation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Structured Guided Learning materials will be existing themed Learning Sways released non-synchronously online to students throughout the summer.

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 facilitate the development of cognitive and key skills, and include providing students with feedback on draft work.

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

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation3A10012,000 words, research-based or professionally-based dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessment: 12,000-word dissertation

The dissertation is an independent, critical and academically stringent research project. Students are asked to 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 criteria are as follows:
- Appraisal of the theoretical and research framework and position drawing on primary and secondary sources (K1; K2; S2);
- Commentary on the research methods and ethical considerations of the project, including discussion of strengths and limitations of research design, drawing on pertinent literature and analysis of methodologies (K3; K4; K5);
- Use of methodological and theoretical frameworks to develop and then answer a research question or questions, using primary and secondary data and evidence (K6; S2; S3; S5);
- Written structure of the dissertation, including academic written tone for postgraduate level research and effective display of data and analysis (S1; S6).

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