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Dissertation Component - Pre2012

In the dissertation, the assessors are looking for evidence of the following: 

  • Thoroughness and penetration of review of past work and use of relevant literature.
  • Care of presentation including that of diagrams.
  • Clarity of prose.
  • Organisation of dissertation into a logical sequence of facts and opinions.
  • Choice of variable and manner of presentation as shown by clarity of trends of displayed results.
  • Intellectual quality of analysis, discussion of results, conclusions, and suggestions for further work.

Mark Level

Dissertation Component Descriptor

80% + (Outstanding) The dissertation illustrates both the intellectual/analytical and (where appropriate) industrial worth of the research carried out and the candidate’s total mastery of the subject matter. A complete conceptual understanding and an extremely high level of technical competence is demonstrated by fully appropriate selection and correct application of tools/ techniques/ methodologies.  The work demonstrates creativity and originality of thought and is of publishable quality with no more than minor revisions. Shows a sophisticated and critical manipulation and analysis of concepts and theoretical perspectives and capacity for independent thought. .  Wide ranging, appropriate and well cited literature, which has been carefully analysed in relation to the research.  The work is extremely well argued; all the main issues have been explored and evaluated and the conclusions are fully justified, supported by the evidence presented, and meet the project objectives. Recommendations for further work (where applicable) are practical and convincing.Professionally produced showing exceptional written communication skills with faultless grammar and spelling.  Well structured with excellent use of headings and sub-sections that show the development of a logical argument.  Diagrams where used are appropriately titled and referenced in the text.The contents sheet includes all the sub-sections and relevant page numbers.  All pages are correctly and clearly numbered. All references are properly cited and listed and references and bibliography are distinct.
70% + (Distinction) Dissertation shows a high degree of mastery of the subject matter, near complete conceptual understanding and a high level of technical competence with only insignificant errors.  Clearly demonstrates understanding and appropriate application of relevant tools/ techniques/ methodologies.  Shows very highly developed ability to analyse, synthesise and apply knowledge and concepts.  There is evidence of highly developed critical abilities and some use of original ideas.  The work is very well argued; all the main issues are explored and evaluated and the reasons for the conclusions are clearly indicated; project objectives are met.  Depth of analysis and outcomes exceed what would normally be achieved by a masters level candidate.  Recommendations for further work (where applicable) are practical and convincing.Well produced, showing a high level of written communication skills with few or no grammatical and spelling errors.  Well structured with good use of headings and sub-sections that show the development of a logical argument.  Diagrams, contents sheet, page numbering, references and bibliography are presented correctly with few or no errors.
60 – 69%(Good Pass) Shows a sound and thorough grasp of the subject matter though possibly lacking in the breadth and depth required for a distinction: good conceptual understanding and a good level of technical competence although there may be a few gaps leading to some minor errors.  A good attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of knowledge and concepts.  There is evidence of critical abilities and some attempt at original thought.  There is appreciation of the main issues and the ability to make critical points and substantiate them.  The main analysis and outcomes were beyond question, but may be more limited in scope than that required for a distinction. Recommendations for improvement (where applicable) are practical although they may not consider the wider issues and implications but with some additional work could be convincing and acted upon.Effective presentation, showing generally good written communication skills with good spelling and grammar.  A well thought through overall structure and the length is appropriate.  Diagrams, contents sheet, page numbering, references and bibliography are generally well presented with only minor errors of indexing, proofreading or photocopying.
50 – 59% (Pass) Shows a grasp of the subject matter with possibly some confusion or gaps but none that is major, and a fair understanding of the concepts. The work may contain some significant errors but it is technically competent at a routine level.  The attempt at analysis, synthesis and application of knowledge and concepts is competent but lacks depth, and may not have been integrated with the research.  The evidence of critical abilities is weak.  There is a heavy reliance on course materials and text books and little evidence of original thought.  There is sensible comment on the evidence and materials used although some of the conclusions drawn may be unsubstantiated.  The general outcomes were sound, but there may be some incorrect deductions from the data. Recommendations for further work (where applicable) are generally correct but are stated at too high a level to be convincing.A competent presentation within a satisfactory overall structure that may lack balance in certain areas or fails to fully integrate all of the material.  Possible inclusion of irrelevant information.  It is generally well written with adequate spelling and grammar.Diagrams, contents sheet, page numbering, references and bibliography may contain errors or show inconsistency
40 - 49% (Diploma Pass) Shows some familiarity with the subject matter, but with major gaps and serious misconceptions.A low level of technical competence with many errors. There is a tendency towards uncritical description and no evidence of original ideas.  There is some evidence that concepts and theory is understood and there is a modest attempt to analyse them.  Literature poorly analysed and/or unrelated to the work carried out.  There is little discussion on the application of research, few, if any, conclusions drawn and recommendations for further work (where appropriate) are either missing or unsubstantiated.Less than optimal presentation, lacking in logical structure, making it difficult to read. Ideas are poorly expressed, often with mistakes. There are errors in grammar and/or spelling.  Diagrams, contents sheet, page numbering, references and bibliography may be poorly presented or some missing.
< 40% (Fail) Showing serious gaps in knowledge of the subject matter and many areas of confusion.  Technical competence is poor with many serious errors and there is an inability to apply knowledge.  Does not demonstrate understanding of the issues and information/data used may be irrelevant.  Little or no evidence that concepts and theory have been understood and little or no attempt at sustained analysis.  There is a lack of critical appreciation and often the project objectives, where articulated, have been ignored or badly misunderstood.  Does not demonstrate the ability to appropriately apply tools/techniques/ methodologies.Poor or muddled presentation and structuring of arguments. The level of expression is inadequate, often being unclear or confused. Poor grammar and/or spelling. Diagrams, contents sheet, page numbering, references and bibliography poorly presented or missing. Overall not a document that the company/university would wish to have its name on.