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Module WMP-4106:
Independent Research Project

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Mr Wyn Thomas

Overall aims and purpose

On this module, students identify their own research projects in their chosen field of musicology, ethnomusicology or applied studies. Students are responsible for defining their own topics, but these must be approved by the module co-ordinator by Friday of Week 13 of Semester 1. The module presents an opportunity for students to apply skills, knowledge and methodologies learned during the first semester.

The final project may be presented in the form of an essay, or in some alternative format (e.g. edition, analysis, workshop) with written commentary.

Course content

The content of the course will vary from student to student, depending on their own areas of interest and specialism.

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (50-59) Work which displays a good grasp of factual knowledge, with adequate ability at conceptual thought, and some awareness of methodological issues (albeit limited), and showing sufficient evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression.


Good (60-69) Work which displays a sound grasp of the subject, a good level of conceptual thought, awareness of methodological and other issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and good expression.


Excellent (70+) Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of extended study, profound conceptual thought, originality of approach and excellent presentational skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to design and execute an individual research project effectively.

  2. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic.

  3. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to evaluate, apply and adapt a range of appropriate research methodologies.

  4. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to develop some skills of critical, analytical and independent thinking in their area of research.

  5. On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate satisfactory oral presentational skills.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Project proposal of c. 750 words, to be submitted by Monday Week 1 of Semester 2. This is worth 10% of the overall mark for the module, and tests Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.


An oral presentation of 15 minutes’ duration (excluding illustrations), to be given during a colloquium organised in Week 10 of Semester 2 (week starting 19 April 2021). This is worth 20% of the overall mark for the module, and tests Learning Outcomes 3, 4 and 5.

Written assignment, including essay Main assignment

An essay of c. 7,000 words (or a submission of equivalent scope in an alternative format, with written commentary), to be submitted in Week 12 of Semester 2. This is worth 70% of the overall mark for the module, and tests Learning Outcomes 1–5.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Fortnightly supervision of up to 2 hour’s duration, for 11 weeks


One 4-hour colloquium in Week 11 of the Semester.

Private study 285

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: