SML3030 - Extended Dissertation

2021/2 Module description

StaffDr Susana Pinto Cavadas Afonso - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesMLX 2001 (or equivalent) with a final mark of 65% or above plus an average mark of 60% across Level 2 modules relevant to the subject of the dissertation (see below under Details of Learning and Teaching Methods) Students desiring to take this module in their final year should agree their topic area with a supervisor from Modern Languages by the end of Term 2 of their third year of study. Dissertation choice forms should be returned to the Dissertation Co-ordinator by email at this point.
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

The dissertation enables you to direct your own learning by producing a sustained critical essay on a cultural, historical, or linguistic topic within Modern Languages. . If you already have a strong grounding in a particular sub-discipline of Modern Languages (e.g. Literary Criticism, Linguistics or Film Studies), you might be ready to meet the challenge of a Dissertation module. This requires you to devise your own research questions, programme of work and produce a detailed bibliography, under the guidance of an academic supervisor, with a view to writing the Dissertation You’ll develop in-depth knowledge of your chosen area; identify and answer appropriate, subject-specific questions; and expand your capacity for independent study, inquiry and research, using primary and/or secondary material in your target language. You will also reflect on research methodologies and relevant critical theory..

Module aims

The module aims to enable you to:

  • Operate independently and responsibly and to take a positive and active role in your learning, in the service of the production of a sustained piece of critical work
  • Devise your own research questions and to pursue these lines of inquiry
  • Work under the guidance of an academic supervisor

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject, building appropriately on the work completed during the earlier years of their programme
  • 2. Demonstrate a capacity for independent study and self-directed inquiry and research
  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to identify and pursue appropriate, subject specific questions
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to reflect on research methodologies and to draft, revise and edit written work accordingly

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. With guidance from the dissertation supervisor, analyse the chosen texts, materials, artefacts or evidence, and relate it/them to relevant historical, cultural, linguistic and/or theoretical contexts within Modern Languages
  • 6. Make effective use of all sources of information relevant to the topic (including digital and online resources, secondary critical literature, archival material), including source material in the target language
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to relevant arguments, cultural phenomena or historical events
  • 8. Using recommended bibliographical tools, present a critical bibliography giving a balanced overview of the topic

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Demonstrate time management skills and flexibility to devise and follow your own research questions, extending your knowledge in a specialist research field
  • 10. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 11. By completing independent research for the dissertation or dissertation portfolio, demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis, competence in compiling a bibliography, and advancing a critical interpretation and/or an original argument

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, The schedule of tasks and supervision sessions usually looks like this:

  • A brief (one-side) outline of your planned topic, saying which Primary material you intend to use, how you intend to go about the project, and any problems you envisage
  • A draft bibliography, stating the sources used to compile it (e.g. bibliographies in secondary literature, electronic bibliographies, Internet searches). Your bibliography should comprise sources available in the University Library, the electronic library, or free-to-access elsewhere
  • A critical response (up to 1000 words) to one or two key pieces of secondary literature (identified in conjunction with your supervisor)
  • If your supervisor judges your progress with the dissertation by December to be unsatisfactory, you will be transferred to SML 3015 (Dissertation for 15 credits). You will then take an additional taught optional module for 15 credits in Term 2
  • A one-side plan of the chapters of the dissertation
  • Draft of one section of the dissertation (about 1000 words)
  • Submit to your supervisor a one-side progress report, including any remaining problems in organising the material / constructing the argument

In between supervision sessions, you are expected to work independently. During Term 2 you will be asked to give a short presentation on your research to your fellow students and the module convenor.

Dissertations are regarded as examinable components and as such, feedback will not be available until after the exam board has met.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 2Lectures by dissertation co-ordinator on course preparation and bibliographic skills.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 6One-to-one tutorials with supervisor; dissertation portfolio students will have 1 tutorial on exhibition curation with BDCM Curator and 2 tutorials with the supervisor.
Guided Independent Study292Guided independent study and writing.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft Bibliography, Chapter Plan, Draft Sections of Dissertation2000 words maximum1-11Oral and/or written
Presentation to fellow students on the key findings of the research.10-15 minutes1-3, 5-7Oral (from peers and academic staff)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Dissertation1008000 words1-11Written feedback sheet

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written DissertationWritten Dissertation1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

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Key words search

Dissertation, independent research

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Foreign Language Centre modules 2020/21

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