"Dissertation Research and Writing for Construction Students Second Edition"
School of Physical and Geographical Sciences Keele University GEOGRAPHY DISSERTATION HANDBOOK 2010-11 GEG-30006 Double Module GEG-30008 Single Module Please read this Handbook carefully and refer to it throughout the period of your dissertation study. It contains important information about what is expected from you. Please also refer to the additional documents: “Advice about writing your dissertation” and “Risk Assessment for Dissertations”. All of these documents are available through the Dissertations web page at: http://www.esci.keele.ac.uk/people/pgk/dissertation This handbook was updated January 21st, 2010. The Geography Dissertation tutor is: Dr P. G. Knight. Room F30, William Smith Building. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................... 2 SUMMARY TIMETABLE .......................................................................................................... 2 SUMMARY OF FORMAL REQUIREMENTS ................................................................................. 3 2ND-YEAR: DISSERTATION WORK IN GEG-20009 .................................................................... 4 3RD-YEAR: DISSERTATION MODULE GEG-30006 OR GEG-30008 ............................................ 5 FORMAT AND PRESENTATION REQUIREMENTS ....................................................................... 7 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN “SINGLE” AND “DOUBLE” DISSERTATIONS .......................................... 8 THE ROLE OF YOUR ADVISOR ............................................................................................... 9 ASSESSMENT .....................................................................................................................10 LEARNING OUTCOMES ........................................................................................................12 IF YOU NEED FURTHER HELP ................................................................................................12 APPENDICES AND ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS ..........................................................................12 GEOGRAPHY DISSERTATION GENERAL MARKING CRITERIA ...................................................13 Introduction There are two Geography Dissertation modules available. Students choose one of them. GEG-30008 is a single-module dissertation (150 hours of work, max 6,000 words). GEG-30006 is a double-module dissertation (300 hours of work, max 11,000 words). These are level-3 (3rd-year) modules, but students start work on them in the spring semester of 2nd-year so that work such as data collection can be carried out during the summer rd vacation before 3 year if necessary. Students on the Dual Honours Geography, Human Geography or Physical Geography rd courses may choose either the single or the double module and at level-3 (3 year) take: EITHER the single-module dissertation + three taught modules OR the double-module dissertation + two taught modules The differences between the single and double dissertation are discussed later in this handbook. Students should make their choice carefully in discussion with their advisor. Students on the Single Honours Geography or Major Geography or Physical Geography courses must take the double dissertation module + 6 additional Geography modules. Students on the MGeoscience course will not take a Geography Dissertation as part of their 3rd-year studies but will complete a 4th-year MGeoscience project, which will benefit from the skills that students learn as part of the Geography dissertation training in GEG- 20009. Summary Timetable Activity Date Introductory lecture January 2010, in your first GEG-20009 practical class Submit Form 1 Fri 12th February 2010 (3rd week of Spring semester). Dissertation Topic Proposal This allows an advisor to be assigned to your project Submit Form 2 Thu 25th March 2010 (9th week of Spring semester). This is Formal Research Proposal & assessed as part of GEG-20009. You need to state whether Risk Assessment (2 copies) you plan a single or double dissertation. Submit Form 3 Fri 22nd October 2010 (4th week after summer vac). Module Report on Progress registration form. Last chance for single/double change. Submit Dissertation Fri 18th March 2011 (8th week of Spring semester) NB: All work should be submitted to the Earth Sciences and Geography Office. For details of each item see later in this handbook. The dissertation must also be submitted electronically. 2 Summary of Formal Requirements Each student registered for a Geography degree is required to carry out and report a piece of independent research on a geographical topic: this is then presented as either a single or a double dissertation. Students will declare whether they intend to do a single or a double dissertation in their Formal Research Proposal (Form 2, submitted in March of 2nd year) and on the Option Choice Form that they submit in May of 2nd year. Work on the dissertation starts during the second year1, as a part of the Spring semester practical class, when you will be asked to identify a topic, to complete a preliminary project design, and to submit a formal research proposal for assessment. The overall aim of the dissertation is: To give students the opportunity to carry out an original and independent research project using appropriate literature, data sources and methodologies The students’ specific objectives involve: Designing and conducting original research into a topic of the student‟s own choice Undertaking focused literature review Collecting and/or collating appropriate data; synthesising and analysing that data Presenting a developed and consistent set of arguments Producing a well written, well illustrated dissertation Training to undertake research responsibly and safely. Students are required to: choose a research topic; compile a literature review; devise a research strategy; collect and analyse original data or conduct original analysis on data drawn from existing sources; and present a written report of the work including a discussion of the significance, implications and limitations of the project‟s findings. Assessment: the dissertation work is assessed in two parts. A Formal Research Proposal is submitted in the second year as a required element of GEG-20009. It counts for approximately 20% of that module‟s mark. Students must score 40% or more in the Research proposal to pass GEG-20009 and proceed to the Dissertation. The final dissertation is submitted in March of third year – the single dissertation is 15 Keele Credits (7.5ECTS) and the Double Dissertation is 30 Keele credits (15 ECTS). Two signed copies of the Formal Research Proposal, each including a copy the risk assessment form, must be handed in to the School office on or before: Thursday, 25th March, 2010 One bound copy of the dissertation, must be handed in to the Geo- office on or before: Friday, 18th March 2011 You must also submit an electronic version of your text, identical to the printed version, via the geg-30006 or geg-30008 section on the VLE. 1 Study abroad students: Any students spending the Spring semester of their second year studying abroad should see the Dissertation Tutor as soon as possible before leaving Keele. 3 2 nd -year: Dissertation work in GEG-20009 General Reading for Dissertation Planning Parsons, T. & Knight, P.G. 2005. How to do your dissertation in Geography and related nd disciplines. Routledge, London. 2 Edition Flowerdew, R. & Martin, D. 2005. Methods in Human Geography - a guide for students doing a research project. Pearson, London ,2nd edition. Introductory Talk by the Dissertation Tutor (week 1) All students must attend one of these talks in the timetabled practical session in the first week of teaching in January. Form 1, the Dissertation Topic Proposal, will be issued at this meeting. There will also be practical classes on research design: a key element of dissertation work. Form 1 Dissertation Topic Proposal (weeks 1-3) Following the introductory talk you should think carefully about the topic you wish to address and begin to collect background material to enable you to complete Form 1 (Dissertation Topic Proposal). The information required on this form includes: A provisional title for your dissertation A brief description of your research topic including key publications A broad indication of the proposed aims and objectives of the research An indication of the linkages between this research topic and current debates and/or research in academic Geography An indication of the research methods you propose to use e.g. interviews, archival research, aerial photograph analysis, geomorphological mapping, etc. This information will be used to allocate you to a suitable dissertation advisor. Form 1 must be handed in to the School office by the deadline given on p.3 of this handbook. Allocation of Dissertation Advisors (week 4) Your advisor will be allocated using the information that you give in Form 1 (Dissertation Topic Proposal) and will usually be the member of staff with interests closest to the field in which you have elected to work. If you later decide to change your topic it may be appropriate to change advisor - if this seems necessary then you should discuss it with your advisor and the dissertation tutor. The role of the advisor is described later in this handbook. Form 2: Formal Research Proposal (weeks 5-9) The first assessed piece of work for your dissertation is the Formal Research Proposal. This is a short proposal (no more than 6 sides of A4 - word processed, plus reference list or risk assessment) that details your plan for the dissertation. Form 2 is a cover sheet to which you must attach your proposal and the risk assessment. The information required includes: background to the project and a short review of relevant literature specific aims and objectives of your research project proposed methodology and data sources a realistic research timetable details of field area (if appropriate) references 4 You must also attach a completed risk assessment form (proposals that do not include a risk assessment form will not be accepted for submission). You should discuss your proposal in detail with your advisor before you submit it. Your advisor will need to sign the form before you hand it in. You should submit two copies of your Formal Research Proposal to the Geography office on or before the given on p.3 of this handbook. The proposal is exempt from anonymous marking (Nat. Sci. Course Development Sub-Committee 15 Nov 2004), so you must put your name on it. Please make sure that all the pages (including the risk assessment) are stapled together. You must obtain a receipt when you hand in the Proposal. The Research Proposal will be commented upon and marked by your advisor. One copy will be returned to you with comments, and your advisor will retain the other. NB: If you receive less than 40% for this proposal you will not pass GEG-20009 and will not be allowed to proceed to the dissertation. The mark for the dissertation proposal counts as one of the assessed elements of GEG-20009. Risk Assessment You must submit a completed Risk Assessment Form with your Formal Research Proposal. This must be filled in and signed by you and counter-signed by your advisor before submission. You should keep a copy with you as you carry out your research. Copies of the risk assessment form are available on the Dissertation module web page, along with a supplementary document explaining the risk-assessment process. You must attach a completed and signed risk assessment form to both copies of the Formal Research Proposal. This must include evidence that you have discussed the risks associated with carrying out your dissertation project with your dissertation advisor. Proposals will not be accepted without a Risk Assessment. 3 rd -year: Dissertation module GEG-30006 or GEG-30008 The dissertation is a 3rd-year project, although it may involve field research and data gathering in the summer vacation between years 2 and 3. The final mark is based entirely upon the dissertation as finally presented, but you are required to submit a short intermediate report (Form 3) at the beginning of the autumn semester. Form 3: Formal registration and Progress Report Form 3 is a formal registration of your Dissertation title, and must be completed immediately after the summer at the start of year 3, along with a short progress report. You must have your advisor sign your form to show that your title and progress report are satisfactory before you submit the form to the School Office. The deadline is given on p.3 of this handbook. What goes into the report? The Form 3 report acts as a „bridge‟ between your Research Proposal and the final Dissertation. It provides your advisor with information about your progress so far and may be used as evidence of your progress if medical or other problems hamper your progress during the final part of the dissertation period. You must provide one or two sides of A4, word processed, outlining any changes made to the project since the completion of the Research Proposal, the reasons for any changes, and the progress made in data collection, data analysis and writing up. Your report should include a clear timetable for the completion of the dissertation. You must also attach a copy of your original Research Proposal (if your project 5 is unchanged) or a whole new Research Proposal (if your project is substantially different from what was approved with the original Form 2). What if I have changed my topic? If your project changes significantly from the research proposal (Form 2) that was previously approved, then your Form 3 progress report must include a whole new research proposal including a new Risk Assessment for approval by your advisor. Final Dissertation One copy of your final dissertation, in the format indicated later in this handbook, should be handed in to the Geography office by the date given on p.3 of this handbook. You must also submit an electronic copy of your text via Turnitin on the Virtual Learning Environment. Your dissertation will be marked anonymously, so you must complete an anonymous marking form (supplied by the Earth Sciences and Geography Office) and obtain a receipt when you hand the work in. You will also be asked to complete a form declaring that the work is your own. You should produce two complete copies of your dissertation - one to keep for yourself and one to hand in to the examiners as, once submitted, dissertations are kept by the University for three years. Dissertations are not available to students after they have been submitted. You may need a copy of your dissertation, for example for job interviews. Late submission: Dissertations submitted before the deadline will be marked out of 100%. Dissertations submitted late but within one week after the deadline, without good cause, will be limited to a maximum mark of 40%. Dissertations not submitted by one week after the deadline will receive 0%. As you have over a year to prepare your dissertation, it is very unlikely that any extensions will be given except in cases of real emergency. If you have a good reason for making a late submission, or if anything interferes with your work on the dissertation at any time, it is essential that you tell your advisor and the 3rd-year tutor, and complete an extenuating circumstances form following University guidelines. Acceptable topics Students on the Physical Geography course must choose a physical geography topic. Students on the Human Geography course must choose a human geography topic. Students on the Geography course may choose either a human or a physical geography topic, or one that integrates different parts of the discipline. It is up to each student to devise their own topic. Advice and assistance will be provided by advisors. The topic must be appropriate to a Geography-related degree. The study may be based on primary data collection (eg field measurements) or on the analysis of secondary data (eg satellite imagery or census data), but must involve original research. Please refer to the supplementary advice document for further guidance on choosing a suitable topic. Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty Plagiarism, the presenting of other people‟s work as one‟s own, will be heavily penalised. The university has strict penalties where plagiarism has taken place. To avoid this, give full acknowledgement to all source material, whether published or unpublished (including text, tables and figures). Please refer to the additional guidance on plagiarism and academic conduct in your course documentation. Additional advice for carrying out the dissertation An additional document is available on the Dissertation website providing advice about issues such as choosing a suitable topic, planning the project and writing up the dissertation. You should also refer to standard dissertation textbooks. Your Dissertation advisor is always the best source of specific advice relevant to your particular project. You may also consult past dissertations to get an idea of what has previously impressed the examiners. Your advisor should be able to show you examples of „good‟ dissertations from previous years in your subject area. 6 Format and Presentation Requirements The dissertation must be in A4 format, word-processed at one and a half or double line spacing and a minimum 11-point font size with a ~30mm left-hand margin and ~20mm other margins. Dissertations must be securely bound (loose-leaf bindings are not acceptable). The layout of your dissertation should be as follows: Cover: the Cover must show: “Geography Double Dissertation” or “Geography Single Dissertation”, Module number, Year of Submission, Title of Dissertation, Student ID Number, Word count (main body of text): Title page: the Title Page must repeat the information above. Declaration: you must submit unbound a declaration form (available online), which asserts the originality of your work and confirms the title and word length. Abstract: This is concise summary of the whole dissertation: what you have done, why you did it and what you concluded. Acknowledgements: an indication and recognition of any help you have received, sources of data or images, assistance in the field, permission to access sites, etc. Table of Contents: chapter headings should be listed in the table of contents. List of Tables, List of Figures: including maps, graphs, diagrams and photographs. The body of the dissertation: arranged in appropriate chapters with pages numbered. Appendices: if required: containing supplementary material. References: in the Harvard style. Length The length limit for the single dissertation is 6,000 words, and for the double dissertation 11,000. You must not exceed that limit. If you do exceed the word limit you will be penalised by a deduction of marks. You must provide a statement of the word count in the declaration and on the opening page of the dissertation. The word length is applied to the main body text of the dissertation, and excludes: appendices, reference list, footnotes, figure captions, text-based data such as interview transcripts. Text not included in the word count should be clearly demarcated as different from the main body text, for example by the use of italics, indented text, (for long, direct quotations from source materials) or text boxes. Style Your dissertation should be written in the style of an academic research publication. Your object is the precise use of plain words to convey meaning with clarity and economy. The text of your dissertation should be structured into chapters, sections and paragraphs. There are different conventions about presenting results and interpretation in different areas of the discipline: seek advice from your advisor about what is best for your material. References Other than in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of your supervisor, you should always use The “Harvard” referencing system. This system is explained clearly elsewhere in your course documentation. Seek advice from your advisor if you are unsure. Appendices Most dissertations will not require any appendices, but they may be used as repositories for reference material such as bulky data tables or sample questionnaires. Appendices must not be used as a device for extending the main text to avoid the word limit: you will be penalised if you put core material into the appendix that should be in the main text. 7 Differences between “single” and “double” Dissertations The differences between the single and double dissertations are largely quantitative: the double module involves twice as much student time and allows a longer write-up. In simple terms, the single module allows for a relatively small project, the double allows for a bigger project. The table below quantifies this more specifically. GEG-30008 (Single) GEG-30006 (Double) Credits 15 30 Hours of student work 150 300 Maximum total length (words) 6,000 11,000 Expected total length (words) 4,000 - 6,000 8,000 – 11,000 The reduced time and length available for the single module does not mean that the examiners will forgive a weak project. The single dissertation may address a less complex topic, or may involve a project based on a smaller data set, but it must still demonstrate effective research practice. The differences between the two dissertations can be illustrated with reference to two key sections: the literature review and the discussion. These sections are major parts of the dissertation because they set the project and its findings into a broader context within the discipline, and demonstrate the student‟s knowledge and understanding of the subject area. The single dissertation will necessarily have shorter literature review and discussion, and so may not be able to provide so comprehensive or detailed a review as the double dissertation. The single dissertation must review the essential literature in detail, and demonstrate an awareness of the broader literature. The double dissertation literature review should be more comprehensive and provide more detail on a wider range of literature beyond the immediate confines of the project. Likewise, the discussion in the single dissertation may be shorter than in the double, and while the single dissertation discussion must address the significance, implications and limitations of the project‟s findings, the double dissertation discussion will do so in more depth and with reference to a broader context of material across the discipline. In each case, the breadth and depth of the discussion should match that of the literature review. The table below indicates approximately what the examiners will anticipate for key sections of the single and double dissertation. These indications should help you plan your dissertation, and they help to ensure consistency in the marking, but they are flexible and you should discuss them with your advisor in the context of your particular project. GEG-30008 (Single) GEG-30006 (Double) Literature Review The Literature Review should be The Literature Review should be detailed on core material, comprehensive on core material, should make reference to the should be detailed on the broader broader context of the topic and context of the topic and should should be approx 1500 words or be approx 3000 words or more. more. Discussion The Discussion should address The Discussion should address major issues comprehensively, major issues comprehensively, should recognise subtle issues should address subtle issues and address them briefly, and comprehensively, and should be should be approx 1500 words or approx 3000 words or more. more. 8 The role of your Advisor The role of the advisor is: to monitor your progress via meetings and your submission of required forms to act as a discussant for your ideas on the development of the topic to discuss and assist in the solution of any problems encountered during the dissertation to provide feedback and advice on the writing up of the dissertation nd Initial meetings take place in the 2 -year Practical Classes and advisors also make individual arrangements to see students, publicised by email or on the Dissertation Notice Board near the Cope Lab. You may arrange meetings with your advisor as necessary. When should you see your advisor? It is strongly recommended that you see your advisor regularly during the course of the dissertation. Key times are as follows: 1. In February or March of second year after you are first allocated to an advisor. 2. In sessions of GEG-20009 to discuss the research topic and preparation of Form 2. 3. During the later timetabled sessions of GEG-20009 to discuss your plans for summer. You should have done extensive reading and substantially developed your ideas between the initial meeting and the meetings at the start of the summer term. 4. During October of third year to discuss your progress and production of Form 3. 5. During the autumn and/or spring of your third year to discuss the final report N.B. It is not the job of the advisor to chase up students who do not make, or fail to keep, appointments. The responsibility for initiating meetings lies with the student. Dissertation Supervision: code of conduct Your dissertation advisor is there to guide you through the research process, but the responsibility for the research is your own. Dissertation advisors will be allocated early in the spring semester, and thereafter a series of individual and/or group meetings will be arranged. Outside of these meetings, it is your responsibility to contact your dissertation tutor when you require help. Students can expect their dissertation advisor to: Discuss and advise on project design when you are formulating your research proposal Discuss plans for research prior to fieldwork, including feedback on research methods Discuss plans for research analysis. Discuss in detail a structure for writing up the dissertation Conduct a detailed read-through of a maximum of a single chapter, commenting on academic content, writing style and noting typographical and other errors. Give general feedback on a finished draft of the entire dissertation Dissertation advisors can expect students to: Take responsibility for managing and executing their dissertation research Respond to emails and/or notices requesting them to visit their dissertation tutor Inform them in writing of any changes in fieldwork that may affect their submitted risk assessment. [NB This is essential – even if these are occurring over the long vacation] Alert them to any significant changes in research direction Keep them informed of progress with research planning, data collection, analysis, and write-up Give them significant time to review draft chapters and other materials students may submit for review 9 Assessment How the assessment is managed Each dissertation is marked anonymously by two or more members of staff, one normally being your advisor. First, two assessors submit independent written reports and marks. Markers use a standard form to report their comments, a copy of which is given in the appendix to this handbook. If there is a minor divergence between the two assessors, e.g. both awarding upper seconds but with different % scores, they discuss the dissertation and attempt to agree a mark. If they cannot agree then the dissertation will be marked by a third internal assessor and/or the external examiner(s) who will consider the dissertation in light of both previous sets of marks and reach a final decision. If there is a major difference in the initial marks the dissertation is referred directly to a third internal assessor and to the external examiner. The External Examiner and the Geography Board of Examiners review the marks of the entire cohort. Anonymous double-marking, and scrutiny by the external assessors, are the main guarantees of fairness and consistency in assessment, but standardisation is helped by staff using an agreed framework of assessment criteria. General Assessment Criteria The “Geography Dissertation General Marking Criteria” are given in the appendix to this handbook. The criteria include: clarity of writing; quality of organisation and presentation; range of source material and contextualisation within Geographical literature; understanding of conceptual and methodological issues; effective research practice; original, independent thinking; use of detailed evidence. In addition, markers are invited to report specifically on the following points in grading dissertations, as well as giving their overall opinion of the student‟s initiative and competence: Selection of Topic - Is this well-defined, feasible, original, was it realistic to attempt? Aims and Objectives – Is there a clearly expressed rationale? Are objectives clearly defined and do they run as a thread connecting all stages of the work? Incorporation of existing knowledge - Is there evidence that the student has critically reviewed the literature and used it to structure his/her own research? Implementation of techniques – Are appropriate techniques used and justified? Is there evidence of acquisition of either primary or secondary data from appropriate sources? Is data clearly presented? Is there adequate data for answering the research question(s)? Has data been analysed appropriately? Has proper use been made of statistical, graphic and cartographic techniques? Results /Discussion – Are the results consistent with what has been undertaken? Are they clearly presented and knowledgeably discussed / interpreted? Conclusion – Is the outcome of the research handled perceptively, critically and with sound judgement? Do the conclusions correspond with the objectives and do they summarise the work and maintain its focus? Presentation and construction – Does the dissertation include all the required elements such as abstract, references, etc.? Is it correctly formatted and set out according to the instructions in the handbook? Please refer to the “Geography Dissertation General Marking Criteria” given in the appendix 10 Specific mark thresholds In addition to the use of the general criteria to establish a mark, the examiners also adopt “threshold criteria” that add an additional level of clarity and uniformity to marking standards. Threshold criteria indicate specific requirements that must be fulfilled in order to achieve a mark above a set level. For example, it is not possible for a dissertation that cites no literature to score a pass mark, so even if everything else about the project is excellent, the lack of references will limit the final score to less than 40%. There are several of these threshold criteria relating to key components of the module and they are incorporated into the examiner‟s report forms. Some of the threshold criteria are different for the single and double modules, and help to explain the differences between the modules. Criterion Threshold GEG-30006 (double) GEG-30008 (single) mark Literature To achieve There must be a There must be a short review 40% substantial Literature Literature Review that Review that describes the describes the project‟s project‟s context within the context within the discipline. discipline. To achieve The Literature Review The Literature Review 70% should be comprehensive should be detailed on core on core material, should be material, should make detailed on the broader reference to the broader context of the topic and context of the topic and should be approx 3000 should be approx 1500 words or more. words or more. Discussion To achieve There must be a There must be a short 40% substantial Discussion that Discussion that addresses addresses the significance, the significance, implications and limitations implications and limitations of the project‟s findings. of the project‟s findings. To achieve The Discussion should The Discussion should 70% address major issues address major issues comprehensively, should comprehensively, should address subtle issues recognise subtle issues and comprehensively, and address them briefly, and should be approx 3000 should be approx 1500 words or more. words or more. Presentation To achieve The presentation and style should be sufficiently clear to and Style 40% allow the reader to engage easily with the content, and should be largely in the format prescribed in this handbook, including the Harvard style for referencing. To achieve The presentation and style should be polished and highly 70% lucid, allowing the reader to engage effortlessly with the content, and should be entirely in the format prescribed in this handbook, including the Harvard style for referencing. NB: These indications help to ensure consistency in the marking, but they are flexible and you should discuss them with your advisor in the context of your particular project. 11 Learning Outcomes By the end of the module, successful students will be able to: choose and refine a specific research topic/problem; synthesise and evaluate a selection of key concepts, conflicting and complementary debates and research publications in geography; demonstrate critical thinking develop and present in written form a sustained and reasoned argument to assess contrasting Geographical theories or explanations; devise a research strategy to tackle a research problem; safely collect and analyse original data or conduct original analysis of data drawn from diverse existing sources; demonstrate the ability to write a substantial report using sustained argument and effective presentation. If you need further help For questions specific to your research project, you should first see your dissertation advisor. For general queries, and questions that arise before you have been allocated an advisor, please see the Dissertation Tutor. Your advisors and the dissertation tutor will initially contact you via the Dissertation notice board (outside the Cope Lab) or by e-mail. You should check your Keele e-mail account, and look at the notice board, frequently. Appendices and additional documents See below for Geography Dissertation General Marking Criteria Additional documents are also available for download on the Dissertations web page, including Forms 2 and 3, the examiners‟ marking report form, the Risk Assessment form, and supplementary advice documents. You are strongly advised to study these documents carefully as you carry out your dissertation work. 12 Geography Dissertation General Marking Criteria These are modified for the purposes of the Geography Dissertation but based on the principles of the Keele University marking criteria published by the Academic Registrar: http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/aa/newacadregpages/marking%20criteria.htm Class % Typical characteristics (expectation) range FIRST 90- An outstanding project. Comprehensively contextualised within the CLASS 100% Geographical literature. Demonstrates an outstanding understanding of conceptual and methodological issues. Shows abundant evidence of effective research practice. Original, independent thinking informs a report based upon rigorous argument accurately supported by detailed evidence derived from a wide range of source material. Superbly organised and presented. Lucidly written. Could not be bettered at undergraduate level. 80- An excellent project. Very clearly contextualised within the 89% Geographical literature. Demonstrates an excellent understanding of conceptual and methodological issues. Shows abundant evidence of effective research practice. Original, independent thinking informs a report based upon rigorous argument accurately supported by detailed evidence derived from a wide range of source material. Very well organised and presented. Lucidly written. Few aspects that could be improved at undergraduate level in the time available. 70- A very good project. Demonstrates most, but not all of the qualities 79% described above. Contains no significant errors or omissions, although there will be aspects that could be improved. UPPER 65- A good project. Clearly contextualised within the Geographical SECOND 69% literature. Demonstrates a good understanding of conceptual and CLASS methodological issues. Shows clear evidence of effective research practice. Clear thinking with elements of originality informs a report based upon sound argument accurately supported by relevant evidence derived from a wide range of source material. Well organised and presented. Lucidly written. 60- A sound and effective dissertation, somewhat better than would be 64% expected of the “average” piece of work. May have some shortcomings or minor errors relative to the descriptions above, but no fundamental errors or major omissions. LOWER 55- An adequate project, typical of what would be expected of an SECOND 59% “average” piece of work. Contextualised within the Geographical CLASS literature. Demonstrates an understanding of major conceptual and methodological issues. Shows some evidence of effective research practice. Largely clear thinking informs a report based upon sound argument supported by relevant evidence. Organisation, presentation and clarity of writing will be sufficient for the reader to engage easily with the dissertation. May lack detailed appreciation of subtle points. 50- A slightly flawed project. May lack some of the expected clarity or 54% detail in one or more aspects of the work, but will nevertheless be contextualised within the Geographical literature, will demonstrate some understanding of major conceptual and methodological issues and will show some evidence of effective research practice. The report will be based largely upon sound argument supported by relevant evidence. Organisation, presentation and clarity of writing will be sufficient for the reader to engage with the dissertation. 13 THIRD 45- A flawed project. May lack quality in several aspects, but still provides CLASS 49% some contextualisation within the Geographical literature, demonstrates at least limited understanding of some conceptual and methodological issues, and shows at least limited evidence of effective research practice. The report will contain elements of sound argument supported by at least some relevant evidence. Organisation, presentation and clarity of writing will be sufficient for the reader to engage with most aspects of the dissertation. There may be some failure to address important aspects of the topic or to appreciate some important conceptual or methodological issues. There may be signs of limited knowledge or understanding, and there may be confusion about more complex material. Content may lack important detail. Arguments and conclusions may be superficial. 40- A seriously flawed project. Barely adequate. May lack quality in many 44% aspects, but still provides at least some limited contextualisation within the Geographical literature, demonstrates at least limited understanding of some conceptual or methodological issues, and shows at least limited evidence of effective research practice. The report will contain elements of sound argument supported by at least some relevant evidence. Organisation, presentation and clarity of writing may be weak, but will be sufficient for the reader to engage with most aspects of the dissertation. There may be serious failures in addressing important aspects of the topic or appreciating important conceptual or methodological issues. There may be signs of severely limited knowledge or understanding, and there may be confusion about more complex material. Content may lack important detail. Arguments and conclusions may be superficial. PASS 35- An unsatisfactory project, but showing at least a skeletal grasp of 40% some relevant issues and necessary material and/or skills. There are some signs of understanding and some demonstration of skills, but below honours degree standard (i.e. work which shows an inadequate grasp of the requirements of the dissertation, fails to address the issues, and/or contains serious errors or omissions) May be inadequate in a key area such as contextualisation or the demonstration of effective research practice. FAIL 30- A very unsatisfactory project. Shows some evidence of a basic grasp 34% of material and/or skills, but an inability to apply it appropriately; there may be gross misconceptions or fundamental failings. Does show some work towards the project objectives, but may be seriously inadequate in key areas such as contextualisation or the demonstration of effective research practice. 20- Extremely Unsatisfactory. Shows very little evidence of a basic grasp 29% of material and/or skills, The project may contain some correct and relevant material, but many issues are neglected or are covered incorrectly. Does not demonstrate much progress or evidence of effective research practice. 10- Outstandingly Unsatisfactory. Shows some evidence of the student 19% attempting the project and having benefitted from the degree programme, but is inadequate in most respects. 0-9% Wholly inadequate. Shows little or no evidence that the student has engaged with or benefitted from the programme. Significantly lacking in all the basic elements. 14