Developing Dissertations: Exploring approaches and outcomes
This project aims to examine our institutional practices and assessment strategies used in a typical final year dissertation module, with the aim of developing a wider range of potential outputs to inform and innovate curriculum design.
Many of our undergraduate courses include a dissertation module at level 6; in most cases this is a long form piece of supervised, but independent, research and academic writing. However, this format is not one that necessarily suits all students or reflects the development of contemporary research skills appropriate to all disciplines.
Without rejecting ‘traditional’ dissertation as a format, there are other outputs, with equivalent academic rigour and criticality, which vary depending upon the research culture of the discipline. For example, in
creative disciplines, a written piece incorporating some form of visual media or delivered and presented/performed in a form appropriate to the practices of the discipline might be considered, a portfolio of critical essays, or a shorter written piece and a conference paper. Projects might include group work, primary research, engagement with stakeholders or portfolios containing multiple different, but related, research outputs.
At the core of this project is the aim to develop innovative and inclusive pedagogic practices that better serve the diverse range of backgrounds, aspirations and interests of our students, in line with the core principles of the education strategy. Additionally, more choice in dissertation outputs contributes to a personalised and flexible learning approach for students, which may respond to requirements of industry research approaches and enhance employability.