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SEL2210 : Independent Research Project

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Leanne Stokoe
  • Lecturer: Dr Emma Whipday, Dr Aditi Nafde, Dr Edward Clough, Dr Chloe Ashbridge
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


-To help students develop skills in researching, planning and writing an extended piece of independent work;
-To give students the chance to develop specialised knowledge of a subject area of their own choosing and to explore it in depth;
-To help students develop skills in presenting their work to their peers and to respond to constructive appraisal in the formation of a final version of their project.

Outline Of Syllabus

The Independent Research Project guides students in forming a research question for a 3,000-word discursive essay. Students will have considerable scope for selecting a historical period and cultural phenomenon (from the subject areas taught in Literature at Stage 2 in the School of English Literature, Language & Linguistics), for selecting methods of inquiry and for specialising in prose, poetry, drama or film. In developing their research areas, students might choose to study a particular text or body of texts that falls within the subject area of another module but which is not studied in depth on that module, or to design a comparative study of several texts (again normally working with primary works not studied in depth in other parts of the Stage 2 curriculum). Students are first directed in the processes necessary for establishing a question appropriate to their chosen area of research and, in small-group seminars, are then guided through the tasks necessary to argue an informed answer to that question.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00Lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading175:0075:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching171:0017:00Seminars and study groups
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Drop-ins with seminar tutors and Module Leader
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study160:0060:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials will be used to help students develop their research questions and to introduce them to some of the theoretical and conceptual approaches they will need to help them produce independent work. The seminars, chaired by a member of staff, are designed to help students develop their research. The primary focus here will be formative appraisal of work in progress introduced to the seminar by students. These sessions will foster long-term planning, clarify approaches to writing at length and give students the opportunity to refine their skills in research and presentation.

Study groups will allow students to interact with their peers and share ideas about their developing projects, usually in response to set activities.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A853,500-word essay.
Written exercise2M15500-word essay plan and annotated bibliography.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MMid-module presentation on research topic.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1 x 500-word research plan and annotated bibliography: 15%

1 x 3,500-word essay: 85%

Producing the mid-module essay plan and annotated bibliography will encourage students to express their research project in a concise and structured way. It will also allow them to reflect upon the relevance of the secondary materials that they have gathered to date.

Producing the final essay will allow students to apply the research skills they have developed over the course of the seminars and consultations with their seminar tutors. It will also provide students with the experience of writing a substantial essay prior to embarking upon their dissertation at Stage 3.

The mid-module formative presentation will allow students to express their research project to their peers and seminar tutors in a way that helps them to reflect upon its structure, methodology and argument.

Reading Lists