EN3DIP-Dissertation English and Politics

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites: English and Politics Part 1
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Chloe Houston

Email: c.houston@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The 40 credit compulsory Dissertation is a 9,000 to 10,000 word study produced by students independently. Though tutors meet and advise single honours students twice per term, students research, write and finalise the Dissertation themselves. The Dissertation is the culmination of the degree course and it offers students the opportunity to utilise the writing and critical skills accumulated during the first two years of study. The Dissertation can discuss any topic that brings together politics and literary studies, though each topic must gain the approval of the Dissertation Committee which checks for originality, viability, and scope. Students produce a fully researched, developed piece of work that frequently proves invaluable for many career and postgraduate applications.

Aims:
The Dissertation is designed to develop students’ independent skills in the formulation, research and scholarly presentation of an extended and substantial literary-critical argument that draws on expertise acquired in both disciplines. It aims to encourage independent thinking and to stretch them fully in producing a sustained, coherent argument over up to 10,000 words. It aims also to enhance students’ writing skills and confidence in their critical acumen. In locating research sources and original arguments, students aim to produce a piece of work that is the culminating achievement of their degree.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•exercise skills of close textual analysis and integrate this analysis with a developing and sustained argument
•demonstrate an awareness of theoretical issues raised by the texts or field selected for research
•engage critically with ideas generated by the research from within both disciplines and across them
•construct and express coherent critical arguments over a 9,000-10,000 word study
•organize their time effectively, combining work for the dissertation with Part 3 formative and summative essays and seminar attendance
•present the final piece of work to professional standards of writing, formatting, and referencing

Additional outcomes:
Written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner. Undergraduates applying for postgraduate study will also acquire research experience and expertise.

Outline content:
In the Summer Term of Part 2, students are asked to propose a dissertation topic. Students reading English and Politics can choose to prepare a joint dissertation with supervision shared between the two departments (covered by this module specification); they may also choose to lodge their dissertation with either department exclusively. The English and Politics Dissertation provides students with the challenge of producing an extended piece of independent literary criticism on a topic arising from their own interests and related to knowledge and skills acquired in both departments. 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, that it must reflect, and relate to, competencies acquired through one, or more, of the units studied in the Department of Politics and International Relations, 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.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The 40 credit compulsory dissertation begins in the Spring Term of Part 2 when Dissertation Workshops are held. These workshops introduce Part 2 students to the principles of the dissertation exercise. Following formal approval of their proposed topic, students meet their allocated supervisors from each department at the end of the summer term of Part 2 in order to prepare for initial research over the summer vacation. (These contact hours are recorded under the Autumn term below, though they take place at an earlier stage.) From the beginning of Part 3, students will meet their supervisors twice per term, producing drafts and plans upon request. During Part 3, students will act on advice given by their supervisor in terms of available research materials, and will form this research into a sustained argument. The dissertation is submitted at the beginning of the summer term of Part 3. Electronic and hard copy submission are both required by the given deadline.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2
Tutorials 3 2
Guided independent study: 175 158 60
       
Total hours by term 180 160 60
       
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark: 100%

Formative assessment methods:
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:

Feedback will be given on draft plans and bibliographies throughout the process of writing the dissertation. A draft chapter of up to 3000 words will be read, marked and discussed with the student in person.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

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

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Dissertation to be resubmitted by 22nd 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: 8 April 2019

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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