Clarity and lucidity of argument and expression in the presentation of your findings. This aspect is very important, but it can present special difficulties for students whose first language is not English.

Undergraduate Major Project

The chosen topic will require you to:

• Identify/formulate problems and issues
• Conduct literature reviews
• Evaluate secondary information
• Investigate and adopt suitable methodologies
• Determine solutions
• Process secondary data
• Critically appraise and present findings using appropriate media.

What is required in a dissertation or project?

The learning outcomes indicate that you will be expected to demonstrate some or all of the following:

• Evidence of scholarly research. Examples are using search facilities in the library (CD ROMS, book and journal indices etc.), and showing evidence that sources have been located and sensibly used. Material obtained from sources such as news reports, online discussion forums etc is another possibility.

• Evidence of independent thought. This can be provided by comments on the theories and opinions of scholars, commenting on secondary data etc.

• Interpretation of evidence. Pure description of an event, situation, opinion etc. without explanation or analysis is not sufficient. Similarly; quotations in your dissertation should not be used simply for their own sake. One way of using them is to support a particular viewpoint or argument. You are not rewarded simply for reproducing the words of other writers. If tables are included make sure that you give the source of the data and that you use them (to support an argument, comment on a theory etc.). It cannot be emphasised too strongly that mere description alone is not sufficient – you must analyse, evaluate, or interpret your data and information.

• A conceptual understanding of the topic chosen, using an appropriate theoretical framework. Thus, when choosing a topic, students should remember that a central purpose is to allow the application of appropriate theory.

• Clarity and lucidity of argument and expression in the presentation of your findings. This aspect is very important, but it can present special difficulties for students whose first language is not English. Here we are not looking for perfection in either grammar or sentence construction, but examiners must be able to understand what you are trying to say.

• Competence in the use of bibliographies, footnotes or other referencing, and other appropriate skills. Some guidance on this is presented later.

What is the word limit?

The maximum length of the undergraduate dissertation is typically 10,000 words, or equivalent. There is no minimum length, but you should write enough to demonstrate that you have achieved the aims of your dissertation or project; however, it is unlikely that this can be done in less than 9,000 words.

Note: The maximum number of words does not include footnotes, the abstract, the bibliography, indented quotations, appendices and tables.

What is the required format?

• Your dissertation must be written in English in typescript form on A4 paper. Your name must not appear on the dissertation. You must submit one hard copy of the dissertation to the iCentre and one digital copy through Grademark. Both the hard copy and the digital copy are required (to enable double blind marking by two markers) – if you submit only one of them, it will be considered a non-submission. It is also advisable to retain a copy for your own records. Please note submitted dissertations will only be returned in cases of failure.

• When you submit the copies of your dissertation you may be asked to submit, either on disk, using Word, or in manuscript, your working papers which have formed the basis of your dissertation; for example, copies of articles, working notes and summaries, completed questionnaires and tapes or notes of interviews. These may provide the basis for a viva voce should that be necessary. These will be returned to you after the assessment process is complete.

• The cover sheet of the dissertation must include the following declaration: ‘I declare that the above work is my own and that the material contained herein has not been substantially used in any other submission for an academic award’.

• The dissertation must be prefaced by an abstract. This is not an introduction but a summary which outlines the plan and argument of the dissertation. It should include brief details of the methodology employed. The abstract should not be longer than 300 words. It should be included immediately after the title page and it will be examined as part of the dissertation.

• A list of contents, such as the glossary, chapters, and appendices – with page references – should be included at the front of the dissertation.

• Pages should be numbered and double-line spacing used.

• Your dissertation must be held together in a suitable spine binder with a disclaimer page which will be available in Appendix 7 and on your VLE.

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