Module QXE-3099:
The English Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Prof Steven Price

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To allow students to work intensively and under individual supervision on a carefully defined topic, proposed by the student and refined in consultation with the supervisor.

  2. To teach students how to structure an extended programme of independent research.

  3. To encourage critical self-reflection on research and learning.

Course content

This module involves the production of an extended piece of critical writing of a length and quality appropriate to the culmination of the undergraduate degree scheme. Drawing on knowledge and critical methodologies learned earlier in the degree, students will be assisted via lectures and individual supervisions in devising, refining, developing and presenting a substantial piece of critical work on a topic of their choosing. The series of introductory lectures and workshops will focus on how to develop the initial research idea into a workable project presented in appropriate scholarly form. Critical self-reflection will be developed via the proposal and oral presentation in the first semester, and via discussions with the supervisor, which are held at key stages in the development of the project in both semesters.

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:

• Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production

Learning outcomes

  1. understanding of the structure and rationale of literary research

  2. work effectively with at least one research methodology and understand its theoretical implications

  3. research a significant topic of the student’s choice

  4. compile a working bibliography

  5. give an oral presentation and defend it

  6. produce a detailed proposal

  7. produce an extended piece of scholarly writing with appropriate documentation.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Literature Review 12.5
Presentation 12.5
Dissertation 75

Teaching and Learning Strategy

  1. 5 x 1 hour lectures (weeks 1-5)

  2. 5 x 1 hour workshops (weeks 1-5)

  3. 2 x 1 hour lectures in semester 2, to assist students in bringing the dissertation to a conclusion

  4. 6 x 30 minute individual supervisions, three per semester, at key stages of project development and assessment

Private study 388

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: