ARMRPP-Research Project

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 60 [30 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Martin Bell


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module comprises a series of Dissertation workshops, a Masters Conference and a sustained period of independent supervised research in the writing of a Masters Level Dissertation.


The aim of this module is to develop advanced high-level skills in critical evaluation and understanding of current research problems, and method and theory, and in designing, planning and implementing a major independent research project, through writing a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Assessable learning outcomes:

The Dissertation Workshops will enable you to:

  • assess the nature and scope of recent dissertation research problems, methodologies and data, and gain understanding of originality in the application of knowledge and techniques of research and enquiry

  • evaluate critically the depth of knowledge, structure, argument, and writing style in dissertations on a range of environmental archaeological topics

  • develop oral communication skills in structured group discussions, as well as in a formal presentation at the Masters Conference

The Dissertation (proposal, research and writing) will enable you to:

  • identify and appraise critically current research problems in environmental archaeology

  • demonstrate originality and practical ability in research design and implementation

  • organise independently data collection, analysis and interpretation

  • structure written arguments and articulate complex issues clearly

Additional outcomes:

Students are also expected to:

  • develop personal responsibility for the design, planning and implementation of research, including effective reading and use of bibliography management programmes, research and data management, and use of initiative; all necessary for further research and employment

  • appraise the ethics and environment of academic research

  • make decisions during unforeseen and complex situations as the research progresses and develop self-reliance and -direction in addressing and solving problems

  • If incorporating a research article, learn to follow specific journal guidelines and synthesis research

Outline content:

This module will begin with an introduction to critical analysis of the strategies and skills required for writing a Masters level Dissertation.

Part A: Dissertation workshops

The workshops will introduce the students to strategies and skills required for writing a Masters level dissertation. Several sessions will be devoted to structured group critique and discussion of past dissertations, led by different members of staff. Students will write their own dissertation research proposal during this module, which will be assessed. Examination preparation, making oral presentations at conferences and writing papers for publication will also be reviewed and key skills highlighted. Students will make an oral presentation on their Dissertation research at the Department Masters Conference. Part-time students will attend the Workshops and present at the Masters Conference in their first year.

Part B: Dissertation

Dissertation research areas are wide-ranging, and include critical evaluation of primary and/or published sources, and their relation to current problems at the forefront of archaeological method and theory. Research methods and approaches may include original archaeological or environmental fieldwork, in-depth analysis of primary data, and/or application of innovative approaches and theories. The research subject areas and approaches may relate to the Masters Option modules, or to other areas which can be supervised by Department staff, who have a wide range of expertise

Global context:

Students may choose to base their research drawing on archaeological data from any area of the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This subject-specific module will be mainly taught by members of Departmental staff, and emphasises the importance of acquiring high quality research skills and applying these to archaeological questions, as well as other areas of professional employment. Dissertation critiques will be run by different members of staff, drawing on experience of a range of research areas and approaches. Each student receives individual supervision on dissertation research design, implementation and writing, from one or two members of staff with relevant expertise. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Seminars 6
Project Supervision 10 32
Demonstration 4
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study: 60 468
Total hours by term 100 500
Total hours for module 600

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 5
Dissertation 90
Oral assessment and presentation 5

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Dissertation of 15,000 words: 90%

Dissertation proposal: 5%

Oral presentation at MA/MSc conference: 5%

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Written and oral feedback on the dissertation proposal and oral presentation during the spring term, and detailed feedback on the dissertation report following the examiners meeting in the autumn.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

A failed dissertation may be resubmitted in the following academic year, but it cannot carry forward more than a pass mark.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 16 July 2019


Things to do now