ILMAECDN-Dissertation Writing for Economics (Postgraduate)

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 0 [0 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Mr Daniel Devane

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on the academic language and writing skills needed to write a postgraduate Dissertation in Economics.

It is primarily designed for Economics students whose first language is not English and who are studying Data and Decision Analysis (in Nanjing) [MSc], both at a distance in the Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (NUIST) and at the University of Reading.

The module is non-credit-bearing and designed to support students’ disciplinary study, the expectation being that students will apply the skills they have learnt on ILMAECDN in their credit-bearing Dissertation work. Therefore, for the module itself there is no assessment or expectation of extended independent study hours.


This module aims to support PGT Economics students with their transition to the UK HE context and academic culture. It has a specific focus on the key academic language and skills needed to successfully complete a Master’s level (Level 7) Dissertation in Economics.

By the end of the module, students will be better able to:

  1. Distinguish between what is expected, structurally and linguistically, in the different elements of a Dissertation, i.e., Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, Discussion & Conclusion.

  2. Recognise and respond to expectations concerning the Dissertation research process, with a specific focus on originality.

  3. Use appropriate techniques to incorporate, synthesise, and comment on the views of others in a Dissertation text.

  4. Write a clear, focused, and effective postgraduate Economics Dissertation text.

Assessable learning outcomes:


Additional outcomes:


Outline content:

Classes will have the following foci when examining the organisational patterns and key language for the following aspects of Dissertation writing:

  1. Writing the Introduction: establishing the relevance of your research focus, identifying your research niche, and outlining the purpose and structure of your thesis.

  2. Reviewing the literature: comparing/contrasting and synthesising the ideas of other scholars; establishing your own stance within an ongoing academic debate; integral and non-integral citation – conventions and use; verb tense and sentence grammar for reporting sources.

  3. Writing about methods: explaining and justifying methodological choices and describing research tools and processes; the passive voice and sequencing devices for describing procedures.

  4. Writing about results: describing and analysing research findings.

  5. Discussion in a Dissertation: interpreting and evaluating results and engaging with the wider scholarly debates related to your research project; modality and ‘boosting’ and ‘hedging’ language for strengthening or weakening claims.

  6. Writing your conclusion: identifying key research outcomes, and talking about implications, limitations, and potential future research.

  7. Writing the Abstract: succinctly and accurately summarising the key points of your dissertation text.

Global context:

This module supports internationalisation at Reading by facilitating successful and equal inclusion of students whose first language is not English in UK degree programme study.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will adopt an overall ‘genre’ approach, taking the social purpose of the elements of a Dissertation as the starting point to explicate organisation/structure and key discourse and language features.

It takes a discipline-specific approach to language and literacy development using example student texts and published Economics-specific sources in classroom tasks.

Teaching will be learner-centred, taking a task-based approach to:

  1. analysis of example texts from the target genres.

  2. guided ‘noticing’ of key organisational and linguistic features in context.

  3. exercises practicing use of relevant lexical/grammatical items.

  4. scaffolded reading-to-write exercises.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 8
Guided independent study: 0 0 0
Total hours by term 8 0 0
Total hours for module 8

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:


Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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