Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded: ML3EE Extended Essay
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Nixon

Email: m.nixon@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The Dissertation is a substantial (10,000-word) work of literary-critical argument, based on sustained independent research under the guidance of a supervisor, and written and presented in a scholarly manner. It offers students the opportunity to explore in depth topics of particular interest, and to develop skills accumulated during their first two years of study.

The Dissertation is designed to develop students’ independent skills in the formulation, research and scholarly presentation of an extended and substantial literary-critical argument.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the Dissertation students will be expected to:
•show an ability to plan, organize and carry out a substantial piece of independent research
•identify, select and deploy in cogent argument a wide range of appropriate resources and relevant evidence
•demonstrate a confident awareness of and engagement with critical and theoretical debates surrounding the selected topic
•exercise skills of editing, proof-reading and formal presentation to high standards of scholarly accuracy.

Additional outcomes:
By the end of the module students will also be able to:
•use a variety of IT resources (including word-processing software and on-line information resources)
•organize his or her time effectively.

Outline content:
The Dissertation is a compulsory element in the English Literature degree. It provides students with the challenge of producing an extended piece of independent literary criticism on a topic arising from their own interests. The acceptable range of topics is extremely wide, and may include such projects as the study of a single author, a comparative analysis of two or more authors, an enquiry into aspects of form, style, genre or literary movement, the application of a particular methodology to selected materials, etc. The only restrictions on choice are that the topic must be capable of substantive critical development, and that – while the topic may relate to or grow out of work previously undertaken – it must not overlap unduly with taught materials covered in other modules the student has taken in Part 2 or is taking in Part 3.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
While preparatory workshops on dissertation skills are organized in the Spring and Summer terms of Year 2, the module consists primarily of independent study and writing. After consultation with their personal tutor, students submit their Dissertation Option Form during the Spring Term of Part 2.

The name of the supervisor to which the student is assigned will be posted at the beginning of the Summer Term. Students should meet with their supervisor to receive preliminary guidance and bibliographical advice before the end of the Summer Term. Thereafter, single honours students are entitled to five supervision sessions during the Autumn and Spring of Part 3 (joint students receiving joint supervision are entitled to two supervisions overall from the English Department), and they will also attend group supervision sessions twice during the Autumn Term of Part 3. Supervisors will read and comment on one draft of no more than 3,000 words of the Dissertation, provided that it is submitted by a date specified by the department.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2 1
Seminars 4 2
Tutorials 1 4 0.5
Guided independent study 145 144 96.5
Total hours by term 150.00 150.00 100.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
- work which always contributes towards the overall module mark: 10,000 word dissertation (beginning of the Summer Term, Part 3)

Formative assessment methods:
- work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:
100 word proposal (Spring Term, Part 2)
2 progress reports delivered in the form of a presentation to your dissertation tutorial group, and a hard copy version to your supervisor (Autumn Term, Part 3).
1 draft extract no longer than 3,000 words in total (Spring Term, Part 3)

Students are encouraged to write as much as possible in the Autumn Term.

Penalties for late submission:

Ten marks (out of 100 on the normal University scale) will be deducted from a piece of work submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline or any formally agreed extension of that deadline. Once this period has elapsed, a mark of zero will be recorded.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40%.

Reassessment arrangements:
Dissertation to be submitted by 22 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: 20 April 2018


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