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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Research (EDU)

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation (MSc Educational Research) (REDU11072)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryIn the dissertation, students should undertake an empirical piece of research that draws on the research skills learnt during the programme of study. The required length of the dissertation is 15,000 words.
Course description Dissertation options
There are 2 dissertation formats available for students on the Educational Research programme. The total word-count for both is equivalent to ~15,000 words, but they are different in terms of layout. The students should agree the intended format of submission with their supervisor before beginning the project.
1) The traditional 15,000-word dissertation. Students identify a research topic of interest, extensively review the related literature, choose and justify a research design, undertake primary data collection and analysis or gather and analyse secondary data and report the main findings and conclusions from the study. Full guidance is provided in the PG dissertation handbook.
The structure of this type of dissertation is usually as follows:
¿ Introduction (including a description of the topic and its relevance and presentation of the research questions)
¿ Literature review (e.g. theoretical background and previous empirical evidence)
¿ Research design and methods (including a justification of the approach adopted and the methods used)
¿ Results and discussion (e.g. using graphs and tables for quantitative data and quotations for qualitative data accompanied by related commentary)
¿ Conclusions (including contribution to knowledge, policy and/or practice)
¿ References and Appendices.

2) A7,000- to 8,000-word long article of publishable value, accompanied by an appendix (7,000 to 8,000 words, according to the length of the article, summing up to a total of 15,000 words) which will detail the rationale for choosing certain methods and provide more information on the analyses conducted and present additional results (if suitable).

The journal article should contain:

¿ Title
¿ Abstract & Keywords
¿ Introduction (stating the relevance of the issue analysed and reviewing key readings in the field)
¿ Methods (research design, methods of data collection and analysis)
¿ Results (tables, graphs, quotations, etc. with commentary)
¿ Conclusions (summary of main conclusions, contribution to knowledge, policy and practice)
¿ References

Appendix: Critical reflection of research design and methods and presentation of further results (if suitable).

Full list of references

In consultation with the programme director, there will be the possibility for students who are interested in particular questions in the areas of philosophy of education to conduct an in-depth piece of philosophical research for their dissertation. For philosophical dissertations, the appendix to the article will focus on the different sources for the arguments proposed, a more extended literature review and more detailed discussion of connected ideas.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Blocks 4-5 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 588 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment

Assessment procedures for the dissertation are laid out on the PGT programme page in LEARN, and details may be found in the University Postgraduate Assessment Regulations.

The Generic MSc Handbook contains full details of the University marking criteria. The University¿s Postgraduate Common Marking Scheme can also be found at:

The dissertation assessment criteria will be the same as those currently adopted in the MSc Educational Research degree. These criteria were slightly changed from the standard University assessment criteria to adapt them to the particular nature of the programme. Two criteria ¿Framing and analysing practice¿ and ¿Development of professional practice¿, were removed from the list because they were considered less relevant to the programme and two new criteria were added: ¿Competence in at least one research technique (either quantitative or qualitative)¿ and ¿Critical reflection on the research conducted¿. For a philosophical dissertation only the second of this two additional criteria will be considered.
Thus, the assessment criteria for dissertations in the MSc Educational Research programme will be:

- Knowledge and understanding of concepts
- Knowledge and use of the literature
- Planning and implementation of research/investigation
- Competence in at least one research technique (either quantitative or qualitative)
- Critical reflection on the research conducted
- Constructing academic discourse

For the ¿article plus methodological appendix¿ dissertation, the article will be worth 60% and the appendix 40% of the overall mark for the dissertation.

As currently, the dissertation will be independently double-marked. Then markers will compare their marks and, if there is any difference, they will discuss the reasons for the marks they gave, and agree on a final mark. If they cannot agree, the dissertation will be marked by a third marker and consensus will be reached. A sample of dissertations, including all fails, will be sent to the external examiner for the programme before the exam board. All marks will be provisional until the meeting of the Board of Examiners.
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No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Specify a topic of enquiry suitable for a dissertation and explain the contribution to knowledge of the planned research
  2. Identify and reflect critically on relevant literature, research reports and other scholarly evidence with specific reference to the research process used
  3. Select and justify the chosen research design, collect and analyse evidence, justifying the approaches and techniques used, and identify the implications of these decisions for the research carried out
  4. Evaluate critically the contribution and limitations of the study
  5. Present work using appropriate academic discourse and language.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ellen Boeren
Tel: (0131 6)51 6233
Course secretaryMr Giorgi Amirkhanashvili
Tel: (0131 6)51 4241
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