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LN400 Dissertation (Modern Languages and Cultures)

The LN400 Dissertation Module (30 CATS) is for final-year students who wish to undertake an extended piece of guided research. The written dissertation you produce will be 10,000-11,000 words (excluding bibliography and footnotes) and constitutes 100% of the assessment for this module.

Doing a dissertation involves developing a research project, with support from a supervisor and the LN400 convenor. It enables you to pursue an interest in a particular area, to expand this through guided individual research, and to write a substantive piece of work discussing the results of that research.

Students are permitted to undertake a dissertation at the discretion of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. This page offers further information about the conditions you need to meet and how to apply.

For more information about the module content and assessment, see the LN400 Moodle page.

2020-21 Module Convenor: Dr Emma Campbell

Who is the SMLC Dissertation for?

All final-year students in the School with a good record of academic achievement on non-language modules in intermediate year are eligible to apply. The Dissertation is especially suitable for students who intend to undertake further academic study beyond the BA, or who are considering careers that include a research element.

If you wish to complete a shorter research project, you might consider the Independent Research Project (15 CATS) instead of the Dissertation.

If you're planning on applying for the 30-CAT Dissertation, you should consider the following:

  • The module is only available to final-year students.
  • The Dissertation can only be taken in an area for which appropriate supervision can be provided in the relevant teaching year.
  • Students must normally have obtained an average of more than 65% in their intermediate-level non-language modules before they will be permitted to pursue the Dissertation.
  • Students must have relevant linguistic knowledge of at least an intermediate level enabling them to read and analyse sources and secondary material in the target language(s). Successful completion of a core language module relevant to the subject/linguistic area of the topic will normally be required (e.g. intermediate-year French [FR201] for a topic related to French Studies). Demonstrable multilingual skills will be required for comparative topics.
  • Students enrolled on joint honours degrees will normally be allowed to pursue just one dissertation in their final-year.
  • A capacity for self-motivation, planning, and meeting deadlines will be essential.

If you have any questions about the above requirements, feel free to contact the module convenor to discuss.

What will you learn and how?

The Dissertation offers students the opportunity to explore research areas represented within the SMLC, which go beyond the taught curriculum. You will develop your own research project with the support of a supervisor or supervisors and the LN400 coordinator, and write a substantive piece of work discussing the results of this research.

The Dissertation thus aims:

  • to enhance research skills, critical analysis, argumentation, creative thinking, and written communication skills
  • to foster the intellectual interests and aptitudes of individual students

You will be guided in identifying a suitable research topic; mastering a relevant bibliography; handling primary sources; and constructing a coherent and logical argument. You will do this through six 30-minute supervisions with your academic advisor/s in terms one and two, and through a programme of academic advice and skills training offered by the module convenor and the Library.

The module thus enables you to:

  • develop in-depth knowledge of your chosen topic;
  • enhance your capacity for independent study and self-directed inquiry and research;
  • identify and pursue appropriate, subject-specific questions;
  • reflect on appropriate research methodologies;
  • write a substantive piece of work which develops original research and ideas;
  • acquire transferable skills in research, critical analysis, argumentation, creative thinking, and written communication

How to apply

Students planning on undertaking the LN400 Dissertation should make preliminary contact with a relevant supervisor and the LN400 module coordinator in the summer term of their third year. You should complete the online form by Friday the 19th March 2021 and email a completed research proposal to the module convenor by Friday 9th April 2021.

For the online form, you will need:

  1. to check your module results for your intermediate year have a 65%+ average
  2. to have drafted a proposal/indication of topic
  3. to have made contact with the module convenor
  4. to have made contact with your preferred supervisor/s to confirm they are able to act in this capacity and to solicit their advice on your draft proposal

For the proposal, you will need:

  1. to have discussed your preliminary ideas with the module convenor and your preferred supervisor/s
  2. a completed proposal (title + 200-300 word summary) that takes into account any suggestions from your designated supervisor/s and the module convenor