Subject Code / Name : MAC 390 / Dissertation and Research Methods
Credit Hours : 10.0 Credits
Batch : BMCC2018022 and BMCC2017021
Lecturer’s Contact : 012-6852714
Pre-Requisites : MAC 201, MED 217, MAC202, MAC 390 A
Duration : 14 weeks / 28 Weeks
IACT CLASSROOM RULES
As a student in this subject, you are EXPECTED to:
• Maintain an 80% attendance throughout the study weeks, as indicated in the student handbook.
• Be punctual for lectures. Students will be marked for ONE (1) ABSENT for every three incidence of tardiness.
• Provide an ORIGINAL Medical Certificate (MC) to the Registry Office within FIVE (5) working days if you are absent.
• Turn off your mobile phones or set it on silent mode during lectures and tutorials. You are STRICTLY not allowed to make or answer calls, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook or play games during lectures and tutorials.
• Be prepared for all classes. All reading assignment and written work must be completed without any excuses.
• Participate in all class discussions. As a college student pursuing tertiary education, you are encouraged to express your viewpoints and be critical in your thoughts.
• If you face any problems or difficulties in terms of the teaching and learning process or any other aspects related to this subject, do consult your lecturer immediately or the STUDENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT.
1. SUBJECT DESCRIPTION
As the dissertation is a piece of independent work, the content will vary from student to student and will be based on theoretical or empirical approaches, or a combination of these. However, the following requirements apply in the choice of all topics:
1. You must identify which area of study will primarily inform the research question and approach (media studies, cultural studies, language studies, or film studies).
2. Feasibility of the chosen research topic in terms of available sources must lend itself to investigation at an appropriate level for final-year work, and be compatible with staff research expertise.
3. All topics will be discussed in advance with a relevant member of staff and formally approved before research begins.
2. LEARNING OUTCOMES
Upon successful completion of this module, you will have demonstrated:
1. Systematic knowledge and understanding of an aspect of media, cultural studies, or film studies
2. Understanding of how to identify appropriate research questions and apply appropriate methods of investigation
3. Ability to engage critically at an appropriately sophisticated level with concepts, theories and approaches relevant to your area of study via independent study
4. Ability to develop well-constructed and sustained argument, support by solid evidence, and present work to a professional standard, including evidence of conformity to the best principles of academic writing.
3. WEEKLY SCHEDULE (Sept 2019 – Jan 2020 MAC390 B)
Week No. Topic(s) Lesson Date(s)
Managing your dissertation
Updating your folders
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Chapter 4 Discussion and Analysis
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 4 Conclusion of data Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 5 Chapter 4 and 5 Research, writing, consultation Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
DEEPAVALI BREAK (26/10/2019 – 3/11/2019)
Week 6 Chapter 4 and 5 Research, writing, consultation Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 8 Referencing and Appendix
Content page Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 9 Intensive Workshop COMPULSORY Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 10 Final draft for editing – submit comb-bind copy Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 11 Feedback and final revision – 10,000 words Tuesday
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Week 12 Finalization of Research file
Reflective Essay (1000 words)
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
CHRISTMAS BREAK (21/12/2019 – 29/12/2019)
Week 13 Submission of hardcopy to printers
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Submit of softcopy on Canvas / email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission of 2 hardcover thesis to Ms Sheila
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
4. INTRODUCTION TO THE MODULE
Welcome to the module! The following guide will provide most of the information you need in the course of the year. It contains 8 sections:
1. Introduction to the Module
2. Getting Started
3. Assessment Deadlines and Criteria
5. Presentation of Dissertation
6. Research File
7. Important Note on Infringement and Plagiarism
8. Suggested Reading Material
Please read it carefully as the dissertation requires you to be more self-sufficient in your approach to study than is common in most of the modules you have taken up until now. Your main contact throughout the year will be with your supervisor, although any general problems or concerns should be discussed as early as possible with the module leader.
Your commitment to the research process
You have a real opportunity during this module to research a subject that interests you and to develop ideas relating to your degree programme. The dissertation is worth 40 credits, and has an unusually high number of hours allocated for independent study (376, which works out at about 17 hours a week). Sustained commitment to your project throughout the year is expected as a result, and this time should be spent in planning, researching and developing your topic, and preparing drafts of your work for comment by your supervisor. Research is time-consuming, but is also fun, whether you are exploring new material, testing out new ideas or synthesising critical approaches in new ways. Feedback forms each year indicate that students appreciate having the time to devote to an area of study that particularly interests them, and comment that they have learned a lot in the process.
The value of research in developing employability and postgraduate research skills
In the course of this module you have the opportunity to acquire and develop a variety of skills that are both valued by employers and valuable if you are planning to pursue postgraduate study. These include:
? the ability to work to a minimum of supervision
? the ability to research a subject independently and show initiative and creativity in pursuing it
? the ability to manage your time effectively
? the ability to be reliable, get things done and demonstrate commitment
? the skill of synthesising a range of disparate material from a diversity of sources
? the ability to communicate
? presentational skills in producing a finished piece of work that demonstrates quality of writing and reads well (remember that ability to write well – and importantly, to spell – is a skill much valued by a variety of employers).
Depending on its subject matter, your dissertation may also enable you to develop skills in interviewing or in conducting ethnographic or focus-group research. However, if you intend to use such approaches, you must discuss these well in advance with your supervisor. Such approaches require considerable planning and you will need to demonstrate your ability to carry them out.
5. GETTING STARTED
Dissertations take varied forms, but key ingredients in a successful dissertation include the following (and these also inform the criteria on which you will be assessed; see section 3):
? evidence that you have identified relevant research questions and approaches
? evidence of sustained research effort (supported by your research file)
? appropriate development of your topic within the word limit
? engagement with relevant concepts, theories and debates
? clarity in the development and expression of a coherent and well substantiated argument
? critical evaluation of secondary and primary sources in your chosen area
? evidence that your work conforms to the best principles of academic writing and is carefully presented.
Many of these qualities should develop through the process of planning and drafting the dissertation, and you will be given further advice on these both in the introductory sessions, and in your supervision sessions. Two aspects that need immediate decisions, if you have not already made these, are:
? your choice of topic
? your choice of research approach.
Choice of topic
Most of you have already decided on a topic, at least in broad terms, but this will usually need to be more precisely defined as you proceed, and your central research question will need to be clearly identified. The sooner you can accomplish this, the sooner you will make real progress with your research and writing. You need to have a clear topic by weeks 2–3 of the module at the latest, and a fully defined topic and central research question by weeks 7–8 of the module at the latest.
If you have still to choose a topic, bear in mind that it needs to hold your interest throughout the year, and that it must be within an area of staff expertise (if in doubt, consult the module leader). Your topic must also lend itself to treatment in appropriate depth for the final year of an honours degree course and be feasible in terms of access to suitable material.
It is perfectly acceptable to develop in further depth, or use a different approach to, a topic you have already tackled on a previous module, but you must not substantially reproduce work that you have already submitted for a previous assignment.
Change of topic
Refinement of your original topic is to be expected in the initial weeks of your research, but a complete change of topic is not recommended. Once you have been assigned a supervisor, it is not normally possible to change the supervision arrangements, and any alteration of topic loses valuable time and may mean that your supervisor no longer has specialist expertise in your area of research. If you feel that the change is unavoidable and that there are particularly good reasons for it, please consult your supervisor and the module leader as soon as possible before reaching a decision, and make sure that the parameters of the new topic are identified in negotiation with your supervisor. Changes of topic after week 4 of the module will not normally be accepted.
You will want to discuss the best approach to your own research interest with your supervisor, but the list of possibilities below will help you to make a start in deciding which is best for you. The timetabled library session on online sources will also provide invaluable advice on research materials. Research activity may involve any of the following:
? seeking out material for analysis that has not already been subject to critical scrutiny (archive material relating to the press or film of the North East, for example)
? re-assessing theoretical perspectives by applying them to particular textual material (reviewing feminist and post-feminist theory, for example, in relation to the representation of black women in film)
? re-assessing theoretical perspectives by looking comparatively at their help in explaining particular cultural phenomena (which aspects of cultural theory provide most help in understanding the club scene, or shopping malls, for example?)
? exploring theory, or policy decisions through the conduct of empirical qualitative research (focus group interviews with readers of teenage women’s magazines might, for example, be used to re-examine theoretical approaches to female sexuality, or to assess government strategies on teenage pregnancies and anorexia)
? undertaking close textual analysis of current or historical media, cultural or film texts,
? applying specific forms of analysis (discourse analysis of the language used in health campaigns, for example. Note that a text-based dissertation in any of the relevant areas of study will, at this level, require you to demonstrate a sound command of the analytical techniques appropriate to the particular medium)
? examining how perspectives from media production or media relations might be used to illuminate our understanding of media texts (how an understanding of public relations would help in assessing media coverage of environmental or food safety issues, for example).
If you are proposing conducting interviews, ethnographic or focus-group research, you must discuss these approaches well in advance with your supervisor. While such approaches are highly appropriate for certain kinds of research, they require considerable planning and can be very time consuming. You will also need to demonstrate your ability to carry them out.
6. ASSESSMENT DEADLINES AND CRITERIA
The final dissertation must be approximately 10,000 words long (excluding bibliography and notes), and must be written in your own words (see warning on Plagiarism in section 7). Your dissertation must also conform to the Presentation Guidelines (see section 5).
For candidates taking MAC390B two copies and a research file (see section 6) must be submitted at the Admin Office of IACT College on the deadline given. You must also submit your dissertation online via the module space on Canvas on the given date.
Dissertations handed in late will receive a fail mark, unless mitigating circumstances have been agreed. You should also hand in a feedback form on your experiences on this module at the same time. This is available on Canvas.
Extensions will only be given in exceptional circumstances, and you must seek permission from the module leader in advance after discussing it with your supervisor. If you wish to claim mitigating circumstances (e.g. severe illness affecting your work as a whole, or bereavement), you must fill in a mitigating circumstance form, in advance of the deadline wherever possible.
Your dissertation will be independently marked by your supervisor and by another internal examiner, and the marks will be moderated by the relevant external examiner. . You are required to submit one hard copy of your dissertation and one copy of your research diary. However, please also keep your own copy as a back-up in addition to the copies you submit.
As with any other module, the dissertation requires commitment and effort throughout the year, and you will most readily reach the final submission date without panic if you plan your timetable early on and stick to it. Evidence that you are failing to demonstrate satisfactory progress will lead to warning emails/letters and the possibility of deselection from the module. Although the ultimate deadline for submission may initially appear to be a long way off, the dissertation requires you to undertake in-depth research, which is inevitably time-consuming. In order to encourage a steady pace of work, a number of deadlines have been built into the year and are outlined below.
Deadlines in the course of the year: key stages providing evidence of progress
There are 5 deadlines that you need to observe to maintain satisfactory progress with the dissertation. One of these is already past, so if you have missed it you particularly need to ensure that you make swift progress in order to catch up. Missing subsequent deadlines and continuing evidence of insufficient progress will decrease the likelihood of you successfully completing the module. This clearly has serious implications in your final year, and is to be avoided at all costs.
REMEMBER: throughout your research process keep backup copies of your work and update these regularly. Loss of copy through defective disks or computers does not constitute grounds for requesting an extension.
Stage 1: submission of topic proposal form (part of satisfactory completion of MED 217). Most of you will have already done this. But if you have not, you must submit a topic proposal by WEEK 2 to your module leader.
Stage 2: by WEEK 3 you must have established contact with your supervisor and discussed an initial programme of work. This should include refining of your topic if necessary and an agreement about your research approach. You should also have made a start on a literature review by this time.
Stage 3: by WEEK 3 you must have produced evidence for your supervisor of the following:
? clear definition of your topic and your main research question
? identification of an appropriate research approach
? development of an outline structure for your dissertation
? development of an initial bibliography of key critical sources
? clear identification of your primary source material
? a feasible timetable for completing your work by the deadline (taking account of Stage 4/5 requirements, holiday periods, and the availability of your supervisor).
In order to help you to formalise your ideas and gain the benefits of feedback from a small group, your supervisor may organise group sessions with other supervisees, around mid-November, where you will present your work. This presentation is not formally assessed, but will help you greatly in clarifying your ideas. Notes from this presentation, and any feedback from your supervisor, should be included in your research file (see section 6), to be submitted along with the dissertation.
Stage 4: by end of semester 1 at the very latest – preferably earlier – you must have submitted a draft of between 3000 and 5000 words direct to your supervisor via email and online via Sunspace. The actual word length should be negotiated with your supervisor and will depend on your progress and the nature of your topic. The draft will enable your supervisor to provide you with useful feedback which you can use to improve your work.
Stage 5: regular production of remaining sections or chapters in draft form must be undertaken during Semester 1& 2. These must be submitted to your supervisor for feedback. Supervisors cannot give you useful feedback once the final deadline approaches, as you will not have time to respond to any recommendations they may make. For this reason, the final deadline for submission of DRAFT chapters to your supervisor is Semester 2, Week 5. Supervisors will, of course, still be available thereafter for consultation on final queries but they will not be able to comment on your written work (remember too, that you will have assessments for other modules to be completed before and during this period – it is essential that you manage your time effectively).
Please note that these are minimum requirements: faster progress is encouraged to reduce last-minute panic.
Problems in meeting deadlines
If you have difficulty in meeting any of the deadlines indicated above because of circumstances beyond your control, you MUST let your supervisor and the module leader know about this as early as possible. You should also seek early advice from your supervisor or module leader if you are beginning to get behind for other reasons.
If we know early enough that you are having genuine problems, we will do our best to help you reorganise and renegotiate your schedule, but you need to keep in contact and convince us that you are making sufficient progress to meet the final submission deadline.
Any extenuating circumstances communicated to your supervisor or the module leader will be treated in confidence and will not be communicated to anyone else unless you expressly request this. Where these circumstances affect your work in this module only, and are affecting your ability to meet an interim deadline, you should seek an extension for the relevant deadline as soon as is possible from your supervisor. Where these circumstances are more serious and likely to affect your ability to submit for the final deadline, you must fill in a Mitigating Circumstances form. This is available from, and should be submitted to the administrative staff at IACT College (please keep a copy for your own security).
Under these circumstances, it is also advisable to keep your Programme Leader informed of your situation.
Although all requests for extensions for genuine reasons will be treated sympathetically, you should remember that requests for extensions/mitigation are not automatically granted, and should, wherever possible, be supported by relevant documentary evidence. Requests for mitigation will be considered by a Mitigation Panel in advance of the Assessment Boards.
Note on marking of final dissertation
Although you will receive considerable amounts of feedback in the course of the year, provided you have met the conditions outlined above, the award of the final mark for your dissertation is based entirely on the formal submission of the completed work. The criteria that will be used in assessing your work are:
• Identification of relevant research question and approaches
• Research effort
• Topic development and synthesis
• Development of a clear, coherent and structured argument
• Independent critical judgement
• Understanding and use of critical sources
• Relevance and appropriate critical use of primary sources
• Referencing and bibliography
• Presentation skills (including quality of writing)
It is a good idea to keep these criteria in mind at various stages in preparing your work. Remember that you need especially to demonstrate your capabilities in each of these. The grade-related criteria that will apply in marking your dissertation are available on Sunspace.
If you have been working consistently throughout the year, and receiving regular feedback, you may have an idea what mark you expect to achieve, but you should not ask supervisors to intimate their expectations about your final mark in advance, or second-guess your grade category based on their comments on your written work. Supervisors cannot predict the mark you will finally achieve for the following reasons:
? supervisors cannot prejudge a piece of work that has not yet been submitted in its final form
? all final marks are awarded following independent marking of your dissertation by two markers (one of whom is your supervisor). A sample of dissertations will also be seen by external examiners, who oversee general standards.
How supervision works
You can expect your supervisor to
? help you to refine a suitable research topic and identify an appropriate research method
? offer you initial advice about reading and other sources (you should, however, carry out your own literature searches)
? read drafts of your work and offer you constructive criticism on these
? be available at the agreed times for meetings, unless circumstances beyond his/her control prevent this
You should not expect your supervisor to
? come up with all the ideas for your research
? read and comment on your work at the last minute before supervision sessions (see guidelines on submission of draft material and note on email attachments on next page) or before the final submission deadline
? indicate what grade you will receive for your dissertation in advance of its submission and marking
Your supervisor will expect you to
? take the initiative in making initial contact, and keep regularly in touch
? come to meetings showing evidence that you have done relevant work and have some ideas
? start producing drafts for comment as soon as possible (supervision works best on this basis, after initial exploratory meetings)
? respond positively to feedback, and engage in discussion of any points you are unclear about or disagree with
? keep appointments unless circumstances beyond your control prevent you from doing so (if you know in advance that you will be unable to keep an appointment, you must let your supervisor know in good time).
8. PRESENTATION OF DISSERTATION
A timetabled session will be held to cover presentation in more depth and answer any questions, but you may like to familiarize yourself with the following requirements in advance.
Both copies of your dissertation must be bound (cardboard covers with spiral binding are acceptable). Your dissertation must contain the following:
? a title page, with a clear and precisely worded title (remember that your dissertation will be judged partly on what you say it is about!)
? a declaration that the dissertation is entirely your own work, and that you have read and understood the University rules on infringement and plagiarism
? a table of contents indicating the chapter titles and paging
? an abstract (a summary of your argument and findings, of not more than 250 words)
? acknowledgements (where appropriate)
? the body of your dissertation (divided into approximately 3 chapters, together with an Introduction and Conclusion)
? a full Bibliography
? Appendices (where appropriate).
The title-page of your dissertation should contain the following, in the order indicated:
? precise title (and subtitle where appropriate)
? your name
? the words ‘Dissertation presented for the degree of BA (Hons) in ….. at the University of Sunderland in 2019’.
The declaration of your own work (on an inside page) should read ‘I confirm that this is an original piece of work, written entirely in my own words, with the exception of those quotations fully acknowledged within the text. I am aware of and understand the University regulations on Infringement and Plagiarism’ (see section 7). You should sign and date this declaration.
The cover of your dissertation must include your name, degree programme and module code (so that the LRC can file it easily). For layout, your dissertation must be double-spaced, typed on single sides of A4 paper, with a margin of at least 3cm on left hand side of the page. All your pages must be clearly numbered in sequence, and any appendices must be clearly labelled. Use spell-checker systems to remove as many spelling or typing mistakes as possible, and then you need to proof-read your work very carefully (or swap dissertations with a friend – it’s easier to spot other people’s mistakes than your own). Your Bibliography and referencing should be complete, consistent and accurate. This requires attention to detail, and careful checking. If you are in doubt about any aspect, consult your supervisor.
Each chapter must begin on a new page, with its title and number clearly indicated. Writing a Conclusion often proves the most challenging part of writing your dissertation. You should make sure that you leave sufficient time to enable your supervisor to comment on at least one draft before submitting (remember that the Conclusion will be the last part of your dissertation that your markers read!).
Your Conclusion should both effectively summarise the essence of your argument and also put your findings in a broader context (what contribution to knowledge have you made; how do your findings compare with earlier research in your area; what further work or ideas for investigation might be stimulated by your research?). It should not simply reiterate what you have done, it must say something about it.
You should aim to produce a piece of work of professional standard in terms of presentation. Potential employers may wish to see your dissertation and while they are unlikely to read it from cover to cover, they will form an impression of it (and you!) from its appearance. If you are writing about a visual medium, images from your key texts will be beneficial (you may also wish to submit an accompanying tape of edited material, but remember to take account of copyright restrictions).
9. RESEARCH FILE
You must submit one copy of your research file along with your two copies of your completed dissertation and your feedback form on the module. This research file may be used in reaching a final judgement about your work, especially if your grade is hovering between two classifications. It is intended to provide evidence of the development of your work throughout the year, and should include a short reflection on the process of conducting your research.
What should you put in your research file? There is no hard and fast rule, but you should use this file to document and demonstrate the process of doing the dissertation. It should also – at the end of the module – include your reflections on doing the dissertation. Types of material to be included are as follows:
• A log of your meetings with your supervisor. You should note any points of particular use to you from these sessions, including reflections on feedback from your supervisor on your written work and on your presentation.
• A full Bibliography of all sources consulted. You should maintain this as you go along, listing full details of everything you read as you proceed which will save an immense amount of time at the end.
• Notes on your literature searches and your reading, especially drawing attention to their relevance to your dissertation, and how they helped develop your ideas/thinking. However, please do NOT include the raw sources themselves unless it is specifically necessary for the examiners to see these. Some students in the past have included hard copies of all website materials looked at – this is neither appropriate nor helpful! It tells us nothing about (a) why you consider these to be helpful sources or (b) what your research has gained from consulting them.
• Details of sources consulted that don’t, for whatever reason, form part of your completed dissertation (e.g. you might have looked at a wider range of textual material or theories initially, before deciding on what you would specifically include). This will enable the reader to evaluate your research effort and your decision-making process.
• Information about any attempts to locate sources that were unsuccessful, despite your best efforts (e.g. attempts to hold interviews, obtain feedback from media producers, or even to get access to rare source material).
• Transcripts of interviews conducted, completed questionnaires from surveys conducted, and any other supporting information/documentation that has informed your dissertation but cannot be easily referenced in or incorporated into the dissertation itself or is inappropriate to include in an appendix.
• A small section of your initial draft, with notes on your plans to edit and change it, as evidence of how your work developed (please note that this needs to be a small section and should not consist of your entire initial draft!)
• When you have completed your dissertation, you should also write and include in your research file a short reflective piece (no more than 1000 words) in which you reflect on the skills that you have acquired or developed in the process of undertaking the dissertation (e.g. have you developed confidence in independent study? or time management? or improved your writing? or improved your skills in interviewing? or in synthesising information from a diversity of sources?) and what you have learnt through the process of undertaking a major piece of research. Be honest here, but also give yourself full credit for what you have achieved (you may well be writing this at the same time as you are applying for jobs or postgraduate qualifications, and it is really helpful to take stock of the range of skills you have acquired in the process of researching).
If you are in any doubt about whether material you have drawn on for your dissertation should be included in the research file or incorporated into the dissertation itself, please consult with your supervisor.
While the research file is a requirement of the assessment for this module, it should also be a useful tool for you since it will help you keep track of your research and the development of your ideas. So there are no hard and fast rules about how to structure/present your research file – the form it takes will be heavily influenced by the nature of your research and your own working methods. You may like to type up your notes as a way of ordering your thoughts or you may prefer to carry around a notepad in which you write everything down as you go along.
The main thing is that it needs to be legible, with the entries clearly labelled, so the examiners can make sense of it. Find a way of documenting your research process that suits you and agree it with your supervisor. But you need to think of it as something you do as part of the research process anyway, it is not an additional piece of work that is separate from the dissertation.
Don’t forget: At the end of the module, write the short reflective piece detailing/discussing what you have learnt through the process of doing the dissertation and include it in your Research File.
In any cases of suspected plagiarism, a properly compiled Research File can also provide clear evidence that the dissertation is your own work.
10. ASSESSMENT METHODS
Assessment Percentage Allocated
Dissertation (10,000 words) 100%
This assesses all learning outcomes. However, all students must also compile and submit a research file. This will act as evidence of progress and contribute towards students’ Progress Files.
11. The overall grading system of IACT College is presented as follows:
Grade Descriptor Grade Marks Credit Value (CV)
Distinction A+ 85 - 100 4.0
A 80 – 84 3.75
High Credit B+ 75 – 79 3.5
B 65 – 74 3.0
Credit C+ 55 – 64 2.5
Pass C 50 – 54 2.0
*Marginal Fail D 40 – 49 1.0
Fail F 39 – 0 0.0
Note: For practical-related/project-based work, the grading of ‘D’ does not apply.
Grade Relevance Knowledge Analysis Argument & Structure Critical Evaluation Presentation Reference to Literature
Pass 86- 100% The work examined is exemplary and provides clear evidence of a complete grasp of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the level of the qualification. There is also ample excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are fully satisfied, and that the work is exemplary in the majority of categories. It will demonstrate an original argument and a particularly compelling evaluation
76- 85% The work examined is outstanding and demonstrates comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are fully satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be outstanding in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse.
70- 75% The work examined is excellent and is evidence of comprehensive knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. There is also excellent evidence showing that all the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that level are satisfied. At this level it is expected that the work will be excellent in the majority of the categories cited above or by demonstrating particularly compelling evaluation and elegance of argument, interpretation or discourse.
60- 69% Directly relevant to the requirements of the assessment A substantial knowledge of relevant material, showing a clear grasp of themes, questions and issues therein Good analysis, clear and orderly Generally coherent and logically structured, using an appropriate mode of argument and/or theoretical mode(s) May contain some distinctive or independent thinking; may begin to formulate an independent position in relation to theory and/or practice. Well written, with standard spelling and grammar, in a readable style with acceptable format Critical appraisal of up-to-date and/or appropriate literature. Recognition of different perspectives. Very good use of source material. Uses a range of sources
50- 59% Some attempt to address the requirements of the assessment: may drift away from this in less focused passages Adequate knowledge of a fair range of relevant material, with intermittent evidence of an appreciation of its significance Some analytical treatment, but may be prone to description, or to narrative, which lacks clear analytical purpose Some attempt to construct a coherent argument, but may suffer loss of focus and consistency, with issues at stake stated only vaguely, or theoretical mode(s) couched in simplistic terms Sound work which expresses a coherent position only in broad terms and in uncritical conformity to one or more standard views of the topic Competently written, with only minor lapses from standard grammar, with acceptable format Uses a variety of literature that includes some recent texts and/or appropriate literature, though not necessarily including a substantive amount beyond library texts. Competent use of source material.
40- 49% Some correlation with the requirements of the assessment but there is a significant degree of irrelevance Basic understanding of the subject but addressing a limited range of material Largely descriptive or narrative, with little evidence of analysis A basic argument is evident, but mainly supported by assertion and there may be a lack of clarity and coherence Some evidence of a view starting to be formed but mainly derivative. A simple basic style but with significant deficiencies in expression or format that may pose obstacles for the reader Some up-to-date and/or appropriate literature used. Goes beyond the material tutor has provided. Limited use of sources to support a point. Weak use of source material.
Fail 35- 39% Relevance to the requirements of the assessment may be very intermittent, and may be reduced to its vaguest and least challenging terms A limited understanding of a narrow range of material Heavy dependence on description, and/or on paraphrase, is common Little evidence of coherent argument: lacks development and may be repetitive or thin Almost wholly derivative: the writer’s contribution rarely goes beyond simplifying paraphrase Numerous deficiencies in expression and presentation; the writer may achieve clarity (if at all) only by using a simplistic or repetitious style Barely adequate use of literature. Over reliance on material provided by the tutor.
The evidence provided shows that the majority of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied – for compensation consideration.
30- 34% The work examined provides insufficient evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence provided shows that some of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in some of the indicators.
15- 29% The work examined is unacceptable and provides little evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence shows that few of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in several of the indicators.
1- 14% The work examined is unacceptable and provides almost no evidence of the knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to the Level of the qualification. The evidence fails to show that any of the learning outcomes and responsibilities appropriate to that Level are satisfied. The work will be weak in the majority or all of the indicators.
0% Material appropriate for assessment was not submitted or evidence of an infringement is suspected
12. IMPORTANT NOTE ON INFRINGEMENT AND PLAGIARISM
As you should by now be aware, collusion with another student, or unacknowledged copying or close paraphrasing from sources (whether books, journal articles, or electronic sources such as websites) is a serious offence, and the University has strict procedures for dealing with suspected cases. All dissertations must be submitted online via Sunspace, where they will be scanned by Turn-It-In to check for plagiarism.
Any quotations that you wish to use must be fully acknowledged as such, and marked out by quote marks if they are included in the flow of your text (or if longer than 40 words they should be indented). All use of source material, even where you have adapted this within your own words, must be clearly accompanied by appropriate references. If you are in any doubt about referencing, check with your supervisor (examples of good practice can also be found in academic books or journal articles in Media and Cultural Studies). The important thing is to always reference fully and accurately, and to be stylistically consistent throughout your dissertation. A quick guide to referencing is also available on Sunspace in the MAC390 module space.
Students sometimes resort to plagiarism because of panic caused by rushed attempts to complete work. The appropriate procedure to adopt if you are finding difficulty in meeting deadlines is to consult as early as possible with your supervisor and module leader and renegotiate timescales (see ‘Problems in meeting deadlines’ in section 3). Plagiarism in any assessment is a serious offence and should NEVER be considered as an option. And for a number of reasons, it is very easy to detect, so in the end it will only involve you in more work.
For further information about plagiarism and how to avoid it, please consult:
13. PLAGIARISM WARNING
All work submitted must be your own; outside sources should be properly acknowledged. Academic dishonesty includes using the work of another writer or student as your own, copying, allowing someone to write part or all of your paper, or allowing someone else to use your work in a similar manner. No marks will be given for plagiarized works. If you are not sure about your work in this regard, please be sure to consult your lecturer before you submit your work.
14. SUGGESTED READING MATERIAL
Books are constantly being published dealing with how to study, how to write a dissertation, how to do research and so on. Below is a selection that have been published over the years which may prove helpful.
Barnes, R. (1995, 2nd edition; 2005, 3rd edition, e-book), Successful Study for Degrees, London: Routledge.
Barrass, R. (2005, 3rd edition), Students Must Write: A Guide To Better Writing in Coursework and Examinations, London: Routledge.
Bell, J. (2014, 6th edition), Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-time Researchers, Buckingham: Open University Press.
Berger, A.A. (1998), Media Research Techniques, London: Sage.
Berry, R. (2004, 5th edition), The Research Project: How to Write It, London: Routledge.
Burdess, N. (1991), The Handbook of Student Skills, Sydney: Prentice Hall.
Clanchy, J. & Ballard, B. (1998, 3rd edition), How To Write Essays: A Practical Guide for Students, Cheshire: Longman.
Greetham, Bryan (2019) How to write your undergraduate dissertation – 3rd edition, London: Red Globe Press
Hornig Priest, S. (2010, second edition), Doing Media Research: An Introduction, London: Sage.
Jones, M. (2014), Researching Organizations, London: Sage.
Kumar, R. (2014, 4th edition), Research Methodology: A Step-by-step Guide For Beginners, London: Sage.
Mewburn, Inger (2019) How to fix your academic writing trouble: a practical guide, London: Open University Press
McCarthy, P. & Hatcher, C. (2002), Presentation Skills: The Essential Guide for Students, London: Sage.
Murray, R. (2011, 3rd edition), How to Write a Thesis, Buckingham: Open University Press.
O’Leary, Z. (2014, 2nd edition), The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project, London: Sage.
O’Sullivan, T., Hartley, J., Saunders, D., Montgomery, M., & Fiske, J., (1994, 2nd edition), Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies (Studies in Culture & Communication), London: Routledge.
O’Sullivan, T., Rice, J., Rogerson, S. and Saunders, C. (1996), Successful Group Work, London: Korgan Page.
Payne, E. & Whittaker, L. (2006, 2nd edition), Developing Essential Study Skills, Halrow: Pearson Education Limited.
Rose, G. (2012, 3rd edition), Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials, London, Sage.
Rugg, G. and M. Petre (2007) A Gentle Guide to Research Methods, London: Open University Press
Silverman, D. (2013), Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook 4th edition, London: Sage.
Stokes, J. (2012), How To Do Media & Cultural Studies 2nd edition, London: Sage.
Williams, N. (2004), How To Get A 2:1 In Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, London: Sage.
Wisker, Gina (2018), The undergraduate research handbook – 2nd edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan