Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Eleanor Fisher

Email: e.fisher@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is for BSc International Development students only.

This module develops students’ research skills (including identifying a suitable topic, aims and hypotheses, planning and conducting research, gathering, critically reviewing and synthesising information, analysing and discussing results) and provides detailed understanding of a specific subject area of their choice. Additionally, students should be able to use IT and statistical skills developed earlier in the course in the delivery and presentation of the dissertation.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to * Review relevant literature * Develop research aims and objectives * Identify, appraise and select appropriate research methods * Collect and analyse information * Develop sound conclusions * Produce a dissertation which communicates a research project and its findings * Follow editorial rules and conventions laid down in departmental documentation * Apply statistical skills where appropriate * Use IT in the delivery, typography and presentation of the dissertation.

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop skills of independent study and research as well as of problem solving and written communication.

Outline content:
Some of the teaching of the skills needed for this module is carried out within other modules and through projects and exercises earlier in the course. Further preparatory information directly related to the dissertation will be given in a series of lectures in the summer term prior to the final year. At the same time, individual staff members are placed as supervisors of dissertations. Through a series of one to one conversations over the summer, autumn and spring terms it is suggested that:
• A topic is agreed upon, a title chosen and a plan is drawn up
• A literature review is carried out
• Research is carried out
• Further chapters are constructed, with a discussion and conclusions added
• A draft version is produced, which is read once by the supervisor, with detailed alterations suggested in writing
• The student on his/her own then completes the dissertation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
It is expected that a dissertation will take 300 hours of student effort. In the summer term of Part 2 (term 6) students will be expected to start work on the dissertation. As part of this there will an introductory seminar programme including one timetabled session in the library on literature searching. At the end of the summer term students are expected to submit a 1,500 word (guideline) justification of research to include a brief review of the literature and the research questions of the proposed study. This contributes 40 of the final 300 marks allocated to the dissertation. Mid-way through the spring term students are expected to produce a poster on their research topic. The poster should include the aim/objectives of their research and/or research questions, their research hypothesis/hypotheses, the methods used and initial results associated with their study. This will account for 35 of the final 300 marks allocated to the dissertation. Additionally, students are expected to meet with their supervisors on at least two occasions in each of the three terms. Students will otherwise work under their own initiative. The final assessment marks will comprise 225 for the written dissertation.

The contact hours outlined below are indicative only. Commitments in the summer are in the summer at the end of year 2.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 3 10
Project Supervision 3 3 3
Guided independent study 182 179 17
Total hours by term 185.00 185.00 30.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 25
Dissertation 75

Other information on summative assessment:
1. Research justification in Summer term (Part 2). (40 marks)
2. Poster presentation during the Spring term(Part 3). (35 marks)
3. Two unbound copies and an electronic version (that must contain the whole project within one complete file and be uploaded to Blackboard) to be submitted on the first day of the Summer term. The guideline for the length of the dissertation is 10,000 words. The dissertation will be assessed by an Internal Marker and the Supervisor. (225 marks)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By Coursework: Dissertation re-submission by the end of August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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