CP6011 - Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (3D) (2017/18)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2017/18|
|Module title||Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (3D)|
|Module level||Honours (06)|
|Credit rating for module||30|
|School||The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)|
|Total study hours||300|
|Running in 2017/18||
The module is framed in terms of a dissertation. The student undertakes an enquiry into a topic of his or her own choice and, based on this enquiry, develops an extended critical study. The module involves individual supervision designed to support the student’s ambitions and confidence in becoming an independent learner, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years, and providing scope for initiative and development. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work methodically and productively.
The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical, should be closely related to the student’s main field of study and be complimentary to their practice. It may be envisaged as one of several different types: for example, visual, technical or other non-written material may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole; the dissertation may be professionally oriented and include field-work; or it might be academic and theoretical in its source material and methodology. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.
Students may develop their topic independently or, as an option, within a specific dissertation Interest or Subject Group. Interest or Subject Groups will provide a short taught programme. They are offered on an annual basis and may incorporate:
• research based specialisms
• areas of scholarly interest in history and theory
• industry related practice
• workshop, digital or media based technical studies
Prior learning requirements
The aims of this module are twofold:
• To provide a platform for ambitious individual work;
• To call for graduate levels of achievement across a range of professional and transferrable skills.
The dissertation affords a sophisticated instrument for exploring, testing and presenting ideas at graduate level: it encourages the student to deploy and develop a variety of skills to show how well they can conduct and present an investigation, from researching sources to analysing evidence. It requires that the student constructs and interprets their chosen material and presents it in an integrated and coherent fashion. Depending on the aim and choice of subject and material, this may take the form of an argument, a discussion, a critical reflection or exposition.
The syllabus will depend on the student’s field of study and specific topic. This may incorporate or be supported by material provided by the Interest or Subject Group
Learning and teaching
After a series of introductory seminars or workshops, students have regular individual or group tutorials in which they are given detailed guidance in the development of their topic and in the form and content of their final document. This may be organised within an Interest or Subject Group or on an individual or group basis.
The student is free to propose his or her specific topic, which will be refined and approved during the induction period. Students may also work with a specific Interest or Subject Group option, when available, and develop their individual dissertation topic within the scope specified by the Interest or Subject Group.
The topic, the form and content of the dissertation must be negotiated with the appointed supervisor and approved, together with the programme of interim submissions, for the purposes of formative feedback through group or individual tutorials. Interim submissions are required as written drafts but may also include or be supplemented by other forms of presentation. Students will receive one formal written feedback as part of a ‘Progress Review’ during the programme. The Progress Review will operate in a similar way to the Interim Portfolio Review for the purposes of establishing parity.
Students will have access to a detailed Dissertation Handbook (see above).
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Select, manage and produce a thorough and penetrating investigation into a historical, theoretical, practice based or technical question;
2. Identify and explore the context and formulate the key arguments or issues at play in the selected topic;
3. Research, analyse, evaluate and make appropriate use of original evidence, scholarly materials, current research and techniques;
4. Order material in a coherent manner, constructing a clear argument or line of thought whilst recognising the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.
5. Work professionally in terms of attendance, participation and contribution to class; prompt submissions; time management; communications, notes and record keeping.
The module is assessed 15% on a dissertation plan and literature review submission, which will comprise part of the dissertation itself, and 85% on the final submission.
The length of the dissertation will be a minimum of 6000 words or a maximum of 7500 words. Exceptionally, the dissertation may be between 4,500 to 6,000 words with a practice based element if the latter is deemed equivalent to written research.
Criteria for assessment include:
1. Ambition, originality and scope of approach;
2. Depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding;
3. Analysis of original work, texts, images, data, other media or material;
4. Clarity of the position or argument;
5. Clarity and appropriateness of the design, structure and methodology of the submission;
6. Use of appropriate scholarly conventions, e.g. references and bibliography;
7. Management, development and progress of the work.
The bibliography will be developed as part of the student’s field of study.
Students will have access to a detailed Dissertation Handbook, which will include, for example, guidance on critical thinking, the analysis of texts, information retrieval, time management, bibliography and referencing, acknowledgement and requirements for presentation. On-line guidance may also include a range of examples reflecting different approaches and forms of writing appropriate to the variety of subject areas.