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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Nursing Studies

Postgraduate Course: Dissertation: Portfolio [Online] (NUST11112)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits60 ECTS Credits30
SummaryThis course is set to enable MSc students who progress to the final stage of their taught course to creatively demonstrate a higher order of problem solving underpinned by pedagogical foundations such as reflective practice, critical inquiry and self-authorship for problems identified within their context of practice. Using a collection of authentic artefacts and a diverse range of evidence including but not limited to audio / video files, the students will demonstrate attainment of intended learning outcomes. The students will adopt a cohesive and integrated approach that is linked to themes in Advanced Nursing Practice /Advanced Clinical skills using critical inquiry and reflection.
Course description This dissertation course provides the opportunity to undertake an original enquiry and develop a portfolio of evidence in a chosen area of clinical / work-based practice. Students will have a choice of conducting an audit or undertaking a service evaluation. Evidence of research and development is one of the four pillars of practice for advanced nursing / professional practice. The project and dissertation will offer a timely opportunity to integrate theory into practice alongside students developing transferrable skills such as time management, organisational, presentation, team working and networking skills which will strengthen the scope for advanced nursing / professional practice in their other domains of practice.

The Course will integrate relevant facets of 'Masterness' Taught Postgraduate Students Experience (] accessed on 21 Oct 2022
and support students to achieve these facets through the development of a portfolio as outlined below:


Apply critical analysis, evaluation, and synthesis to the problem identified for investigation.
Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking within their context of practice.


Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking evidenced with a portfolio of relevant artefacts linked cohesively.


Demonstrate extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding on the phenomenon under investigation.


Plan and execute a significant project of research / audit / service development evidenced with a portfolio individually as part of a team.


Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements
Take responsibility for conceptualizing the project and self-directed learning to achieve the intended Learning Outcomes.


Use a range of specialized skills (critical inquiry, reflection, critical analysis etc) develop original and creative responses to the problem identified either individually as part of a group / team.

Students will follow a Road Map with five stages to develop their portfolio as described by [Barrett, 2000] with an emphasis on critical reflection, analysis and integration throughout to avoid the portfolio from becoming a collection of unconnected artefacts.


Students will be supported to adopt the Portfolio Development Process [Barrett, 2000] adopting the following stages:

Defining the Portfolio Context and Goals; the Working Portfolio [collection of a range of artefacts]
The Reflective Portfolio [selection and reflection on the artefacts collected to address the goal of the project]
The Connected Portfolio integrating the artefacts identified with a cohesive theme] and
The Presentation Portfolio [a distinctive piece of academic work that presents solution/s to the problem/s identified through critical engagement with relevant evidence from the literature].

The Course will use a blended learning and a work-based learning approach. Blended learning will involve online learning, lectures, tutorials and other materials accessible via the virtual learning environment (VLE).

Students will be assigned a named supervisor for the duration of this course who will support students through student initiated supervisory meetings at regular intervals [ 8 hours in total] and providing feedback during these sessions on any discussion / written work as appropriate.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This dissertation option requires students to have access to a practice context or work-based situation that they can engage with throughout the dissertation.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 600 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 14, Dissertation/Project Supervision Hours 8, Online Activities 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 12, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 546 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Individual assignment.
Feedback Formative feedback on project design, planning and execution will be provided via feedback and regular meetings with supervisor. The deadline for submission of a full draft of the dissertation will be at least 4 - 6 weeks for supervisors to be able to feedback and the students to be able to incorporate changes required ahead of the summative assessment submission. One set of written comments will be provided on a draft copy of the dissertation and feedback will be provided subject to timely submission of the full draft.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate skills in higher order problem solving including the use of critical analysis and sound rationale for the problem identified.
  2. Demonstrate ability to ground their academic work within the context of a relevant evidence base.
  3. Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in carrying out and completing a complex academic task, i.e. development of a portfolio
  4. Engage in reflection, analysis and synthesis of relevant artefacts identified throughout all the stages of their portfolio.
  5. Develop a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates engagement with the facets of ¿Masterness¿ and charts their own personal and professional development using critical reflection.
Reading List
Barrett, H., 2000. Electronic teaching portfolios: Multimedia skills+ portfolio development= powerful professional development. In¿Society for information technology & teacher education international conference¿(pp. 1111-1116). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Köpeczi-Bócz, T., 2020. Learning Portfolio and Proactive Learning in Higher Education Pedagogy.¿Int. J. Eng. Pedagog.,¿10(5), pp.34-48.

Shanley, J. and Dalley-Hewer, J., 2017. The ¿Light Bulb Moment¿¿Transition to Mastersness.¿Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education,¿12(1), pp.2-21.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills At the end of this course, students will demonstrate their:
Ability to critically review, reflect and analyse issues and concepts relevant to advanced practice.
Communicate complex information in an accessible manner to a wide range of audience.
Ability to use a range of IT tools and applications to collect and present data and information.
Ability to exercise autonomy, initiative and creativity as well as managing a complex piece of academic work.

Develop transferrable skills such as time management, organisational, presentation and team working skills.
KeywordsDissertation,Research,Qualitative,Quantitative,Portfolio,Artefacts,Critical Inquiry,Reflection
Course organiserMs Leah MacAden
Course secretaryMr David Morris
Tel: (0131 6)51 3969
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