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L6 Dissertation Studios (2018-19) Introduction Edit Mode is: • ON

Introduction

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Introduction

What is a dissertation?
A dissertation is the independent exploration and extended critical study of a topic which
you choose because it particularly interests you. Its nal form will be a carefully organized
essay based on sustained thought and considerable research. Its length will be between
6,000 and 7,500 words; or between 4,500 to 6,000 words if your dissertation includes a
practice-based element.

Assessment of the module is based on two components which together constitute 100% of
the nal mark: a dissertation plan (15%) and the draft and nal dissertation (85%).

The module involves individual supervision designed to support your ambitions and con dence
in becoming an independent learner, building on techniques and knowledge developed in
previous years, and providing scope for initiative and development.
For the dissertation you will need to demonstrate the ability to thoroughly research a topic, use
appropriate methods of investigation, and work methodically and productively. The dissertation
mode a ords a sophisticated instrument for exploring, testing and presenting ideas at graduate
level: it encourages you to deploy a variety of skills and to show how well you can conduct and
present an investigation, from researching sources to analysing evidence. It requires you to
construct and interpret your chosen material and present it as an integrated and coherent whole.
Depending on the aim and choice of subject and material, this may take the form of an
argument, a discussion, a critical re ection or exposition.

The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical. It can, but
doesn’t have to be closely related to your main eld of study. It may be envisaged as one of
several di erent types: for example, visual, technical or other non-written material may form the
subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole; the dissertation may be
professionally oriented and include eld-work; or it might be academic and theoretical in its
source material and methodology.

Dissertation Studios
You will develop your topic independently, but within a speci c dissertation ‘interest group’
similar to design studios. Dissertation Studios provide a ve-week-long block of taught
programme and incorporate research based specialisms, areas of scholarly interest in history,
theory and criticism, industry related practice, and workshop, digital or media based technical
studies.

All dissertation studios share the same assessment criteria and follow a basic structure. However
they can di er however considerably in the way they approach research and writing. When
choosing which studio you would like to join, you should consider not only the studio’s
specialism, but look closely at the teaching methods and – maybe most importantly – the tutors's
general interests and expertise. You can learn more about this and the voting process in the
Module Milestones section.
CASS Writing
Writing a dissertation requires creative skill and rigour in equal measure. While we encourage
innovative approaches to research and writing, and o er you an opportunity to include a
practice-based element in your submission, there are certain criteria all students must follow.
Some of these are hard to de ne, such as originality or the quality of your writing. Others,
however, have clear outlines. It is very important, for example, that you add footnotes to
quotations and reference your source; and that your work adopts a structure that is clear and
that supports your argument. Your tutors will help you with this, but it is important that you
familiarise yourself with the culture, standards and rules of writing in an academic context.

We have developed a very useful online tool that will answer many of your questions and clearly
sets out what a dissertation should look like, how to do research, how to make a bibliography etc.
Follow the link on the left to 'CASS Writing' and start reading.