module specification

SJ7P01 - Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project / Dissertation (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project / Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 600
591 hours Guided independent study
9 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 5%   Proposal
Dissertation 95%   Dissertation/project
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies North Not applicable -
Autumn semester North Not applicable -
Spring semester North Not applicable -

Module summary

This module is focused on the production of a practice-based project or an academic dissertation. It provides students with the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of work that integrates the subjects and approaches studied on the course, or alternatively to specialise in one area of the curriculum. Students will devise, plan and research, draft and bring to final form a dissertation or a practice-based project plus reflective commentary. The emphasis throughout will be on the student’s ability to successfully study independently under supervision.

The main aims of the module are to provide students with the means to enhance their communication skills through an extended piece of creative, creative nonfiction or professional writing; or an audio-visual/ digital production appropriate to the multi-media modes of current digital practice; or through individual research and writing of a scholarly or journalistic nature. It will enable students to develop a reflexive awareness of the creative, theoretical and technical processes required to engage in the planning, research and production of extended creative, creative nonfiction, journalistic or professional writing, audio-visual/ digital documentary production, or an academic dissertation; and to develop those skills through sustained independent enquiry and innovation appropriate to a Masters level award.

Prior learning requirements

Students must have passed the four core modules and two optional modules


The approach to and the content of the MA Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project/ Dissertation module enables students to develop an area of interest that has emerged through their study of creative, digital and professional writing, bringing together technical proficiency, critical perspective and knowledge acquired on the course. Students will undertake an extensive piece of independent, original, practice-based or written research, leading to the production of either a digital/ audio-visual project or journalism portfolio or extended piece of creative writing, creative nonfiction or professional writing or written dissertation, appropriate to a Masters level award.

Learning Outcomes 1, 2

The form of the project is not fixed: the choice of topic, scope, genre, approach and medium will be developed in discussions between the student and their supervisor. It is subject to agreement by the supervisor, on the basis of a satisfactory proposal by the student, and will be formalised in a learning contract. For example it may take the form of a novella or collection of short stories; an extended piece of creative nonfiction or professional writing; a portfolio of themed, extended journalistic writing; or an audio, visual, digital or audio-visual documentary (appropriate to the multi-media modes of production of current digital practice), accompanied in each case by a substantial analytic, critically-informed commentary; or an academic dissertation. Students will be expected to build on their previous writing and/or digital/ audio-visual production strengths as they have emerged on the course. 

Learning Outcomes 3, 4


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The project/ dissertation is conducted through supported independent study, research and creative endeavour. Students are assigned an individual supervisor, who will support and advise in matters of topic, genre and design, and give tutorial guidance and feedback on draft work during the period in which the project/ dissertation module is being devised and produced/ written. Additional appropriate resources will be posted on WebLearn.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:

Subject specific skills:
LO1 plan, develop and produce an extended, original piece of individual research and writing meeting professional norms and standards, either creative, professional or journalistic, or audio-visual/ digital production, or an academic dissertation;

Knowledge and understanding:
LO2 articulate conceptual knowledge and evaluative understanding of writing or digital practice;

Cognitive intellectual abilities:
LO3 reflect critically on the creative and technical processes required to engage in the planning, research and production of a sustained practice-based project or on aspects of writing, media, communication or the creative industries;

Transferable skills:
LO4 learn independently for the purposes of continuing professional development.

Assessment strategy

The assessment consists of two parts. The first is an initial proposal that will test the student’s ability to formulate a research question or originate an idea for an extended piece of creative work, plan the research, reach agreement on its appropriate form and negotiate a learning contract with the supervisor. The proposal should be 500 words, and include agreement on the word-length for written material, and duration of digital/audio-visual material.

The second part is a substantial practice-led project consisting of a critical, analytic commentary and either a piece of creative writing/creative nonfiction/collection of short stories; a portfolio of themed journalistic articles; a piece or portfolio of professional writing; or a digital/ audio-visual production; or an academic dissertation.


Core Texts:

Barret, E. and Bolt, B. (2014) Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, London: I B Tauris
Gray, D. E. (2009) Doing Research in the Real World, 2nd edition. London: Sage

Other Texts:
Barzun, J. and Graff, H.F. (1992) The Modern Researcher, 5th edition. Stamford, Conn: Thomson
Berry, R. (2004) The research project: how to write it, 5th edition. London: Routledge
Booth, W.C., Colomb. G. G., Williams. J. M., Bizup. J., and Fitzgerald. W. T. (2016) The craft of research, 4th edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Brett Davies, M. (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods, Basingstoke: Macmillan
Gash, S. (2000) Effective literature searching for research, 2nd edition. Aldershot: Gower
O'Leary, Z. (2009) The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project, 2nd edition. London: Sage
Plummer, K. (2001) Documents of Life 2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism, London: Sage
Reading Digital Fiction,
Rose, G. (2011) Visual Methodologies, 3rd edition. London: Sage
Silverman, D. (2010) Doing Qualitative Research, 4th edition. London: Sage
Silverman, D. (2009) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Qualitative Research, 3rd edition. London: Sage
Smith, H. and Dean, R.T. (2009) Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Journal of Creative Writing Studies
Writing in Practice: The Journal of Creative Writing Research
Creative Nonfiction
River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative