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Study information

Communications: Dissertation

Module titleCommunications: Dissertation
Module codeCMM3002
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Neil Ewen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The dissertation is an independent research project, which enables you to operate autonomously and responsibly, and take a positive and active role in your learning. You will plan and produce a sustained piece of critical work that highlights the skills you have learnt over the course of your Communications degree programme, incorporating a range of research methods and methodologies.

You will receive guidance from a supervisor and receive support through a series of workshops and lectures. The dissertation module teaches you time management skills and gives you the flexibility to devise and follow your own research questions, extending your knowledge in a specialism which you have particularly enjoyed.

Please note: You must have taken CMM2008 Communications Research Methods in order to take this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

To enable you to operate independently and responsibly, and take a positive and active role in your learning, in the service of the production of a sustained piece of critical work. This module allows you to devise your own research questions and to pursue these lines of inquiry. You will work under the guidance of an academic supervisor, with extra support provided by occasional workshops and lectures to develop key skills for researching a chosen subject and preparing a finished manuscript.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject in the field of Communications, building appropriately on the work completed during the earlier years of the programme
  • 2. Demonstrate a capacity for independent study and self-directed inquiry and research
  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to identify and pursue appropriate, subject specific questions
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to reflect upon research methodologies, and to draft, revise and edit written work accordingly

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate advanced skills in critical analysis whether of texts, fields of knowledge, concepts or cultural or production practices including the ability to contextualise the analysis
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to reflect critically on issues of practice, new knowledge and understanding in the field of Communications
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to deploy and evaluate theory and evidence and to express the outcomes of such reflection clearly and fluently

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 9. Through research for the dissertation, demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content of the module may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will include some or all of the following elements:

Information about deadlines for submission and tips on structuring, researching and revising the dissertation will be provided through a series of workshops. Responsibility for the selection and development of a topic of research is left to you, though you are invited to discuss it with one or more members of staff.

The completed Dissertation Proposal Form must be submitted by the specified deadline in Term 1 of your final year of study. Allocation of an individual supervisor will be organised and confirmed in the first week of Term 2. Early in the term the supervisor will arrange a  group meeting (30 mins). Thereafter, it is your responsibility to arrange and attend further one-to-one supervisions (up to a total of 1.5 hours) during the term. Supervisors will read and comment on up to 2000 words of written drafts, to be submitted as a formative assessment.

Dissertations are regarded as examinable components and as such, feedback will not be available until after the exam board has met.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching8Workshops
Scheduled learning and teaching4Supervisions
Guided independent study288Reading, research and dissertation preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Extract from dissertation or detailed dissertation plan and chapter breakdown2000 words1-6, 8 (others may vary)Verbal and written feedback.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation1008000 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation1-9Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

A bibliography of primary and secondary texts is to be developed, under direction from an academic supervisor, by you. Since the module comprises mostly independent study, it is up to you to seek out secondary or archival material in the course of your research. Supervisors will guide, and strongly encourage the research process, which may include online journals, audio-visual material, artefacts from Special Collections etc.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The Exeter Learning Environment is an online resource which will accompany the module, offering students a forum to discuss their work and to access links to external sites that might help in their research. Electronic versions of all course materials will also be hosted at this location. The ELE site will include links to useful online resources, including support for academic writing and lists of key journals and websites compiled by the different research groups.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

You will be encouraged to draw upon the archival resources offered by the University’s Special Collections and by The Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture.

Key words search

Dissertation, independent research, extended project

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

CMM2008 Communications Research Methods

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date