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BA Dissertation

Module titleBA Dissertation
Module codeGEO3312
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Laura Smith (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module offers you the opportunity to undertake a piece of research, on a topic of your choice, which enables you to display your skills in tackling specific geographical issues in depth. The dissertation must be your own work in all phases including design, data selection/generation, processing and analysis and data interpretation and project write-up.

GEO3312 is a compulsory module which covers the execution and completion of a 30-credit dissertation in the BA programme. It can be taken as an alternative to the 45-credit version (GEO3311).

The 30 credit dissertation module is examined through an 8000 word dissertation and should take you 300 hours to complete.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The point of the dissertation is to give you an opportunity to display your skills in tackling specific geographical issues in depth. The essence of the work is that you are able to demonstrate your ability to undertake your own independent and original piece of research.

The dissertation must be independent in all its phases including design and write up, and (if applicable) data selection/generation, analysis and interpretation. Certain research restrictions are in place for BA dissertations in 2020-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The aims of the dissertation are for you to develop:

  • Knowledge of a specific geographical topic
  • An understanding of the challenges of doing ethically sound geographical research
  • The ability to deal with practical research problems
  • Skills in designing research and linking its subject-matter to a range of bodies of geographical knowledge
  • Skills in negotiating the complexity of ‘real world’ processes
  • Transferable skills in inter-personal communication, data selection/generation and analysis, report writing, and effective time management.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Identify and work with research questions/problems appropriately, judge critically and evaluate evidence/previous research and provide a critical interpretation of data
  • 2. Explain in depth the nature of your chosen research problem and its relevance to the field(s) of study and to the relevant published literature
  • 3. Abstract and synthesise relevant information, assess the merits of different theories, concepts, explanations and policies
  • 4. Present your results and analyse them in terms of the original aims as you demonstrate an appropriate approach to data collection and analysis
  • 5. Present substantive, relevant and realistic conclusions and indicate directions for future research in the area
  • 6. Discuss critically the shortcomings of your research methods and defend your methodological approach
  • 7. Develop and sustain a reasoned argument and defend your conceptual approach
  • 8. Demonstrate a high level of literacy, graphicacy, numeracy and conceptual sophistication

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 9. Plan, design and execute a piece of rigorous geographical research, including the production of a final 8,000 word dissertation
  • 10. Undertake effective data selection/generation
  • 11. Gather, interpret, evaluate and combine different types of geographical evidence and information
  • 12. Employ the most appropriate methods for the collection and analysis of data
  • 13. Prepare effective visual representations (e.g. maps and diagrams) using a range of appropriate technologies
  • 14. Recognise the ethical issues involved in human geography research

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 15. Plan and execute research project
  • 16. Undertake independent research (e.g. in library, online), effectively, responsibly and with consideration of ethical and health and safety issues
  • 17. Gather, manipulate, analyse geographical data, and communicate findings using the most effective techniques
  • 18. Communicate research problems and ask the most relevant questions
  • 19. Structure a major piece of research work, and present it competently and clearly (e.g. write coherently, create and use diagrams, figures, appendices)
  • 20. Work independently (i.e. personal motivation, decision making, awareness, responsibility, and management skills, including setting and work to deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

You hand in a dissertation proposal at the start of Term 3 of the second year as part of the assessment for module GEO2328. You are assigned an advisor who provides feedback on the proposal in summer term. Data gathering / analysis is carried out from the start of Autumn term in Year 3. Support in Year 3 is provided through bi-weekly dissertation tutorials and on-going one-to-one communication with advisors. The dissertation is handed in on the last Thursday of the Term 2. You have eight group tutorials across Terms 1 and 2 of the final year, in addition to five hours of themed support lectures on dissertation work which will take place in term 1 of the final year. You are asked to seek your advisor as and when necessary and other members of staff where appropriate.

Learning and teaching

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 Teaching6Personal tutorials (held within Term 1 and Term 2)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Group tutorials focusing on student led issues such as data analysis and presenting research
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lectures on key issues in dissertation preparation, analysis and writing
Guided Independent Study281Research, reading and dissertation writing


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Progress reports submitted at the beginning of Term 1 and Term 2 400 wordsAllWritten from dissertation advisor
Recorded or online presentation of dissertation results via Panopto or Zoom/Teams.5 minutesAllOral from tutor and peers

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 wordsAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertationAllAugust Ref/Def

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

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search


Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

GEO2329 Geographies of Consumption: Doing Human Geography Research OR GEO2465 Doing Human Geography Research

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date