module specification

ED7P43 - Learning and Teaching Dissertation / Project (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Learning and Teaching Dissertation / Project
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 600
300 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
300 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Other 100% 50 Dissertation or Project Report
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Not applicable -
Year (Spring and Summer) North Not applicable -

Module summary

The module provides participants with the opportunity for sustained scholarly work of an independent and original nature, in an area of professional interest with regards to learning and teaching in higher education.  This may take the form of a theoretical and/or empirical investigation (Dissertation) or substantive Practice-based Project which is critically evaluated.

The investigation or practice-based project is intended to be the culmination of the MA programme of study, and consequently, it is normally the last piece of work submitted.

In preparation for undertaking the work, participants must produce and pass a Dissertation/Project proposal (assessment 1) (equivalent to 20 credits) that includes a rationale for the topic and a robust plan and justification for the research/evaluation methodology – and obtain research ethics approval, involving submission of the University research ethics form (adapted for MALTHE context) which is considered by internal panel of course leader and dissertation supervisor; when the course leader and dissertation supervisor are the same person, another member of the MALTHE teaching team will be co-opted. Any queries referred to chair of the Research Ethics Sub-Committee for advice.

Throughout the process there will be access to a designated tutor for supervisory support and materials (guides, online resources, books) on research/evaluation methodology.

Prior learning requirements



• Planning the dissertation/project LO  1, 2, 3
o Deciding on a focus and rationale
o Devising an appropriate approach and method(s), including key literature/sources to be consulted

• Submitting the dissertation/project proposal (assessment 1) LO 1, 2, 3
o Agreeing the dissertation/project topic
o Finalising plans for the research/project process (approach, methods, ethics aspects)
o Completing the dissertation/project proposal (assessment 1)

• Working on the dissertation/project LO 3, 4
o Managing and implementing the dissertation/project process
o Tutor support - regular supervision sessions

• Producing the dissertation/final project (assessment 2) LO 3, 4, 5, 6
o Completing the research/evaluation and data analysis
o Writing up the dissertation or critical account of the project
o Critical reflection and commentary on the limitations and implications for scholarship/practice of the study or project

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This is primarily an independent study module, with supervision support and access to guides and resources to underpin the research/evaluation methodology and process of executing and producing an account of investigation/project. Each participant should receive a minimum of 8 hours supervision.

The form and content of the Dissertation/Project is negotiated between the participant and the allocated supervisor, making use of a dissertation/project plan proforma, which includes setting target dates for work on the various stages of the dissertation/project, with accompanying supervision meetings.  This leads to the production of a dissertation/project proposal (assessment 1), which must be passed before work commences.

Supervision sessions and actions agreed at them are recorded using the recommended supervision proforma or equivalent type of documentation (e.g. email).The dissertation/project planning and supervisory processes provide ongoing opportunities for reflective learning.

When submitting the final dissertation/project (assessment 2), as part of the course PDP requirement, the student is required to attach a personal (reflective) graduation statement (about 500 words) summarising outcomes in terms of experience/knowledge/skills gained from doing the MALTHE course and dissertation/project, and future aspirations. The final work will not be accepted without the graduation statement.

Learning outcomes

Participants should be able to:
1. Articulate a well-motivated focus for the study or project to enhance understanding and/or practice in learning and teaching in HE
2. Identify and justify appropriate and ethical research or evaluation methods for undertaking a study/project around learning and teaching in HE

3. Critically integrate a comprehensive range of literature/sources on HE learning and teaching, around the chosen subject
4. Effectively apply research/evaluation methods and data analysis in the execution of the study or project on learning and teaching in HE
5. Provide a lucid and coherent account of the HE learning and teaching study or project
6. Produce a study or project that demonstrates an original contribution in the chosen field of HE learning and teaching scholarship, through research or practice

Assessment strategy

The dissertation/project should involve systematic enquiry and rigorous analysis informed by the key literature. It may be empirical or it may be theoretically based.

After tutor assistance in determining the focus and approach of their investigation/project, participants submit a dissertation/project proposal (assessment 1) (5000 words) setting out the rationale for the topic, proposed process and research/evaluation methodology – underpinned by relevant pedagogical and methodological literature.

The proposal must be passed before proceeding with the dissertation/project. It will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and formative feedback will be provided. No mark will be given at this stage, only on the final product (assessment 2), to allow for recognition of any improvements in the subsequent research or project development and evaluation process in response to feedback and ongoing supervisor advice and guidance.

The work may take the form of a substantive action research project, based around a new approach, intervention or resource for learning and teaching, as an alternative to the standard dissertation. The final investigation/project (assessment 2) may also be presented using alternative genres (e.g. educational narrative/biography, website, video or other digital artefact), in each case accompanied by an analytical commentary (5000 words) which provides the theoretical and methodological frame and critical appraisal of the outcomes and implications for future practice and research.  The commentary (meta-reflective element) may be presented in an electronic or printed medium, as appropriate and relevant to the genre of the final product.

Continuous formative feedback is provided throughout the planning and supervision process; written summative feedback is provided on the final submission.


Useful guides

McMillan, K and Weyers, J (2007) How to write dissertations and project reports. Harlow : Pearson Prentice Hall

Rudestam, KE and Newton, R (2001), Surviving your Dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process (2nd edition). Sage.

Rowley, J and Slack, F (2004) Conducting a Literature Review, Management Research News, 27 (6) pp. 31-39

Core Text

Cohen, L, Manion, L., & Morrison, K., (2011) Research Methods in Education (7th Edition), Routledge/Falmer

Suggested web sites:

The Research Methods Knowledge Base  -
British Educational Research Association (BERA) - Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2018)
London Metropolitan University Research Ethics Policy and Code of Good Research Practice available at:

Other Texts:

Bassey, M. (1999) Case Study Research in Educational Settings (Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings), Open University Press
Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (2006) How to Research (3rd Ed), Open university Press
Bryman, A. and Cramer, D. (2008) Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS 14, 15 and 16: A Guide for Social Scientists, London, Routledge
Cousin, G. (2008) Researching Learning in Higher Education: An Introduction to Contemporary Methods and Approaches, Routledge
Denscombe, M. (2007) The good research guide (3rd Ed), OUP
Drever, E. (2003) Using Semi-Structured Interviews in Small Scale Research: A Teacher’s Guide, Glasgow, The Scottish Council for Research in Education
Gray, D.E. (2009) Doing Research in the Real World, (2nd ed), Sage Publications
Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice, London, Routledge
McKernan J. (1996), Curriculum Action Research, Routledge, London
McNiff, J. (2001) Action Research: Principles and Practice, (2nd Ed), London, Routledge
Miles, M.B., Huberman, A.M. and Saldaña, J.M. (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook, (3rd ed), Sage Publications
Oppenheim, A.N. (2000) Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement, London, Continuum International Publishing Group
Silverman, D. (2006) Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction (3rd Ed.), London, Sage
Silverman, D. (2004) Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook (2nd Ed), London, Sage
Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (2008) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, London, Sage
Tight, M. (2012), Researching Higher Education, (2nd ed), Open University Press
Yin, R. (2008) Case Study: Design and Methods, 4th Edition, London, Sage