Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
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The Dissertation is the test of the Master's degree standard. The purpose of the Dissertation is to contribute substantially to the research training aim that is appropriate to a taught Master's programme. To achieve this aim the student is required to demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy and principles of research (empirical or non-empirical) and show competence in the design, execution and reporting of a research project. In this way the student's ability is developed to carry out subsequent research independently and to commission, manage and evaluate the research activities of others. The dissertation may be empirical or non-empirical in nature.
This module is available within all master’s courses in Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences for which there is a 60-credit dissertation.
- Communicate a framework of reference (such as a literature review) to show the relevance of the proposed research.
- Display evidence of critical analysis, independence of thought and an understanding of advanced concepts and methods related to research.
- Demonstrate the appropriateness and intellectual coherence of the research design/plan of argument for linking questions to methods and conclusions.
- Select appropriate information gathering methods and implement these effectively and with a high level of judgment.
- Show evidence of advanced methods of analysis and of a high level of skill in their execution.
- Where appropriate, evidence of critical evaluation and reassessment of results and techniques during the research period.
- Show evidence of intellectual rigour in the interpretation of the results of the analysis.
- Analyse ethical issues (where appropriate).
- Produce a report of appropriate style, organisation and structure.
- Display a high level of written English and expository methods.
Normally a postgraduate diploma in a topic relevant to the title of the degree, passed at an appropriate level, as specified by the Course Regulations.
Based on his or her understanding from a previous research methods module, the student will prepare a dissertation proposal addressing the learning outcomes above and setting out a programme of work including supervisory arrangements.
To assist the student to prepare for the dissertation the Dissertation module leader will provide a calendar of events setting out the timing of arrangements for the submission and approval of a research plan, key dates in the execution of the individual student's plan, the submission date for the dissertation and the Assessment Board dates. This process will begin before the start of the formal dissertation stage.
The outline proposal will be considered by the Dissertation module leader and at least one other staff member, to judge its feasibility and appropriateness, and to ensure comparability between the different approaches likely to be proposed. The content of the proposed dissertation must be demonstrably relevant to the name of the final award.
N.B. At this stage the outline proposal may be referred back to the student as not acceptable and the student will be asked to resubmit. A student whose outline proposal is referred back may find that their progress is delayed.
After the outline proposal is approved, the student is allocated a supervisor who will advise the student of any modifications thought to be necessary and guide the student to prepare a final proposal for formal approval (mandatory for progression to the formal Dissertation stage), and advise the student on appropriate ethical approval and work with them if external ethical approval is required. At this stage the final proposal may be referred back to the student as not acceptable. A student whose proposal is referred back may find that their progress is delayed.
Workshops will be organized to assist students with their progress. Preparatory workshops will be run to help the students prepare their outline proposal, prior to the formal Dissertation stage, and further workshops (approximately 5 hours) will be offered on a cross-Faculty basis to support the preparation of the dissertation, after the proposal has been approved; these will run alongside one-to-one supervision. Workshops therefore take place both prior to and following formal registration on the Dissertation module; they thus serve to prepare students for the Dissertation module as well as support their research once registered on the module.
The principal learning and teaching methods used in the programme are:
- Lectures, seminars and workshops: The core of each module delivery mode is a series of face to face tutor-led or group-led seminars or workshops.
- Web-based learning using the Keele Learning Environment (KLE), Blackboard.
- Group work and peer support. All modules use focused group work and class discussions within face to face tutor time
- Directed independent study. Most of the study hours for each module comprise independent learning by expecting participants to add depth and breadth to their knowledge of topics, to practice skills and to reflect on critical incidents and their practice.