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Guidance Note 1

For the preparation of a dissertation submitted to the University of Central

Lancashire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor
of Science with Honours in the School of Built and Natural Environment



Module specification:

In this module you will be required to carry out an in-depth study involving
theoretical, experimental or investigative analysis or a combination of these
methods. This work will be undertaken on an individual basis. The nature of the
dissertation is to present you with a challenge whose solution is not readily available,
and it will therefore involve original work.
Your dissertation will differ from research in that your supervisor would be aware of
or could envisage the conclusion or limits of the investigation. This should not,
however, prevent you from exploring alternative investigative methods and solutions
to the proposed study. Your work should be original but based on proven techniques
which should relate to and integrate with your previous and current academic
Learning Outcomes
The aim of the dissertation is to increase your perception of problem identification,
evaluation of solution with particular emphasis upon the development of creative and
innovative skills.

Clarify the objectives;

Acquire the necessary background knowledge;
Plan a programme of work;
Carry out the programme;
Communicate results and conclusions to others

Teaching and Learning Methods
You are expected to personally manage the module which will involve the
undertaking of research and other practical work and the regular seeking of
supervisor guidance at mutually convenient intervals. You are also required to use
available private study time to facilitate reading, research, seminar attendance,
design and data analysis, dissertation project formulation and progression.
You are encouraged to make use of the e-learning materials to gain further
information and guidance in the study. A programme of tutorials will be provided to
guide you through the process of how to design and conduct the dissertation project
and progress will be regularly checked by supervisors.

Key Dates
You will be provided with a list of key dates at the start of the year. It is your
responsibility to manage your time so that you are able to meet the two key dates
The first key date is at the end of the first semester (see module information pack for
actual date details) when you will be expected to give a board presentation to your
supervisor based on the findings of your review and how you intend to move on with
your investigation.
Your supervisor will provide a mark out of 10 based on their satisfaction of you is
your board presentation and your engagement in the module at this stage.
The second key date is near the end of the second semester (see module
information pack for exact date) when you will be expected to submit your
1.5 Word Count
You are required to write in the region of between 8 and 15 thousand words for your
Word count is based on the wording of chapter 1(Introduction), chapter 2 (literature
review), chapter 3 (methodology), chapter 4 (investigation) and chapter 5
(conclusion) and does not include the acknowledgement, abstract, contents pages,
references or appendices.
An indication of the word count for each chapter is;

Literature Review


Total: 12,000 words

Guidance on Structure and Content:
These notes are arranged as a general check list which may be used in the
production and assessment of the dissertation, grouped under six headings, namely:

Literature review
Investigation, analysis and synthesis of the information
Conclusions and recommendations and

The first five headings refer directly to the content of the report. The fifth heading
refers to the whole report in general.
The main purpose of the introduction is to define and differentiate the subject. The
following questions should be asked:

Is the subject of the project clearly explained and delimited?

Are other works relevant to the subject mentioned and appreciated?
Is the purpose of the study clearly defined?
Is the project worthy of investigation?
Is it within you's capabilities?

Literature Review
The objectives of the dissertation need to be established on inception and should
relate to the production of a sizeable academic exercise. You are expected to read
around the topic and build on the work of others. This material should be complied
into the literature review chapters.
The literature review chapters are likely to cover the essential features of the subject
and may amount to two or three chapters each presenting a facet of the dissertation.
This may reflect an industry slant or give an overview from a particular sector or
country. This is likely to precede a theoretical chapter when the main body of theory
and/or hypothesis can be laid out.
You should explain the method chosen, giving reasons for your choice and
demonstrate the ability to use it successfully. The methodology which will be used to
establish the data must be justified, i.e. how does it relate to the theory outlined or
literature review undertaken. The following questions should be asked:
Is the methodology used properly explained?
Is it appropriate?

Are sound reasons given for the adoption?

Have you adhered to the method?
One thrust of the dissertation is to complete a certain amount of original work which
can then be analysed. This should be followed by discussion which will lead to
conclusions which are drawn and the making of recommendations.
The original work needs to be fully explained in terms of its relevance to the
background theory and what the precise aims are of the work. This work will need to
be defined in terms of how data will be obtained or how original thought will be
gained. Thus methodology is a vital part of the dissertation. The method, whether
it is a case study, laboratory procedure, questionnaire, survey or series of interviews,
should be detailed and each level of the method discussed. Thus this section of the
work can be tested for explanation of unexpected data or trends and can also be
used to identify opportunity for further study.
Once data has been obtained a chapter detailing the product of the work should be
included. This section may include explanation of the outline data, provide notes
and comments upon difficulties encountered in gaining the data, it may relate to
further amended procedures, etc. Graphs, tables and summary comments are good
clear means of relating the data to the reader. Detailed results gained from
individual tests or case studies are better included as appendices in the submission,
unless they are of a nature that they relate directly to points of discussion or the
direction of the work.
Analysis and Synthesis of the Information
You should be able to demonstrate your ability to understand facts, opinions and
hypothesis and to manipulate them to valid ends. The following questions should be

Accuracy: Are the data accurate?

Adequacy: Are they adequate for purposes of the project?
Relevancy: Are they relevant to the subject?
Coherence: Has the information been classified in an orderly and meaningful
Impartiality: Have you remained unbiased?
Direction: Does the analytic procedure lead to conclusions?
Logicality: Is the reasoning sound?
Validity: Are comparisons, interpretations and implications valid?

Conclusions and Recommendations
The chapters dealing with the analysis, conclusions and recommendations are
important parts of your dissertation. These parts of the submission are likely to show
your critical ability.
Your conclusion should give an assessment of the previously accumulated and
summed up evidence. It should present conclusions, generalities and evaluations
and offer suggestions for further actions. The following questions should be asked:

Are the conclusions based on the data as presented?

Are judgements made without prejudice?
Are the limitations of the inferences and generalisations given?
Are the recommendations sound?
Are further research and its direction indicated?

Submission of the Dissertation:
The written presentation of the dissertation should demonstrate your ability to convey
your own thoughts to others by textual, tabular and graphical means. The report
should conform to an appropriate standard format. The following questions should be
Title: Is the title apt?
Composition: Are the introduction, the presentation of evidence and the
conclusion properly presented?
Format: Is the format adequate in respect of titles, dates, acknowledgements,
tables of content, chapter and paragraph structure, bibliographies, appendices
and indices?
Expressions: Is textual, tabular and graphical expressions adequate?
Summary: Has a summary been included which describes the subject,
explains the method of working and states the conclusions?
Documentation: Have sources been listed and is a bibliography included?

Mark Allocations
The dissertation submission will be marked in accordance with the following
distribution of marks. The assessor will consider each of the noted aspects of the
work and mark according to the criteria set out below. A second assessor will also
mark on the basis of these criteria. The two marks are compared and agreed at the
meeting of the dissertation tutors.
Assessment Area


Literature Review




You may be subjected to a viva voce examination on completion of the dissertation.



The assessment process takes the form of a number of stages.

The first stage of assessment will occur at the end of the first semester. By this time
your literature review should be largely completed and written up in draft. The
assessment comprises of a board presentation review by your supervisor on your
progress & engagement, on the appropriateness of reviewed material to the title, on
the findings of your review and how you intend to move on with your investigation,on
the quality of presentation, on the evidence of good time management and evidence
of incorporating tutorial support feedback. A mark out of 10 will be given at this
The next stage of assessment takes place after the official submission of
dissertations at the end of the academic year. The first marker (your supervisor)
marks in accordance with the marking scheme broken down and weighted as in the
assessment areas listed above. A second marker (not known to you) provides a
second mark using the same marking scheme. The two marks are passed to the
module tutor and providing there is not more than a ten mark disparity, the average
of these two marks is calculated to determine your final dissertation mark forwarded
to the formal meeting of the assessment board.
However, if there is more than a 10 mark difference between the first and second
mark then the module tutor (or an appropriate staff member with the expertise
needed to assess the work) will decide the final mark after reading the dissertation
and reviewing comments made on the marking sheet of both the first and second
Where necessary and appropriate, an additional phase of assessment may be
required. This involves the viva voce examination when you will be required to give
a verbal defence of the dissertation submitted by you. Members of the supervisory
team will make the final adjudication of the dissertation, usually in consultation with
the dissertation module tutor, on the basis of viva.

Viva Voce
The viva voce is a verbal examination of the dissertation submission in the presence
of three members of staff. The basis of the assessment will be subject to the
following criteria:
The examination will last approximately 30 minutes.
The examination will be used to assess the originality of the work and to
investigate problem areas identified by the examiners.
Normally you will be informed of the general agenda for the viva at the
commencement of the examination.
Where borderline marks are awarded the viva will function so as to confirm
the grading awarded.
First class honours grading may be similarly assessed.
Where submissions have been marked as fail the viva will offer some scope
for the reasons and issues identified to be resolved.
Supervisors and You
You should be paired to supervisors with adequate experience and knowledge of the
project areas and the nature of the dissertation. This allows for the establishment of
definite terms of reference for the relatively short period of time that will be allotted to
the project. You will be expected not only to consider the selected project area but
to be introduced to the philosophy and methodology of research. This process will
come via mentoring rather than instruction or direction. This process can only be
established by meeting regularly with your supervisor. You should prepare for
meetings by producing work programmes, experiential data, graphs or plots, data or
a research synopsis which explains the progress to date and the relevance of the
direction of the work. Where progress is hampered due to any reason the meeting
should still take place. In such situations the meeting should focus on how the
problem can be overcome either by better work planning, alternative forms of
investigation or other.

Apendix 1
Student Name:
Student Number


(10 marks)

Indicative Areas to be
Background introduction;
clarity of aims & objectives;
description of methods.

Literature Review
(30 marks)

Adequacy of review;
identification of relevant
issues; depth of
understanding; determination
of relevant questions for

(10 marks)

Awareness of available
methodologies; reasoned
choice of appropriate
methods; justification,
awareness of limitations.

Investigation /
Analysis &
Synthesis of
(30 marks)

Evidence of planned
approach; lack of bias in
implementation, description of
primary data; analysis of

Conclusion and
(10 marks)

Logicality of findings;
sensible & considered
recommendations for further
work. General quality of
presentation; syntax,
grammar & spelling;
conformity with School
Guidelines on layout,
pagination, referencing, etc;
use of graphics.

Board Presentation
(Marked at end of first
(10 marks)

Adequacy of progress &

engagement; Clear aim &
objectives set,
appropriateness of reviewed
material to title, findings of the
review, proposed
investigation, quality of

Specific Comments