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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Geography

GEOG41160: VOCATIONAL DISSERTATION

Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22

Prerequisites

  • None.

Corequisites

  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • DISSERTATION BY RESEARCH

Aims

  • To enable students to apply the skills and methods acquired in the core and option modules to a topic of relevance to and defined in consultation with industry, government, NGO or other (approved) sector.
  • To acquire an advanced knowledge and understanding of a specialist sub-field of hazard, risk or resilience analysis and its relationship to the chosen vocational area.
  • To enable students to undertake a vocationally-focused project in collaboration with a private or public sector partner

Content

  • The vocational dissertation enables students to undertake a vocationally-focused project in collaboration with a private or public sector partner and where the project takes the form of a partner-framed question, student-framed project, leading to both a reflective diary and a consultancy-style report. The topic will be approved by the Module Convenor in consultation with the vocational partner. Detailed guidelines on format and procedures will be provided in the degree programme handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have an in-depth understanding of a single topic in risk, in relation to the programme route followed, the problem identified by their vocational partner (private or public) and their own engagement with the literature and their supervisor
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of a specialised area, including, where appropriate, theory and method;
  • Advanced understanding of data analysis in the area of hazard, risk and resilience in which they conduct their project
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to take the framing of a piece of research provided by their vocational partner, to negotiate it to settle on a final framing and then to identify and to develop their necessary capacity to conduct research under that framing
  • Students will be able to demonstrate that they can research and report a piece of focused research that is relevant to a vocational partner, with the report following a format agreed between the partner and the student’s supervisor
  • Through the production of a report on their research, they will demonstrate the research skills necessary to undertake problem-driven research in the private or public sector
Key Skills:
  • Ability to deliberate, to discuss, to negotiate and to decide on research directions, through contact with their vocational partner and/or supervisor
  • Ability to write an advanced level report of a substantial nature
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely, explaining the project brief and aims, activities carried out and a coherent discussion and summary of findings;
  • Independent management of a consultancy-style project (in collaboration with and under guidance from the vocational partner and/or dissertation adviser);
  • Advanced quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis as appropriate.
  • Exercise of initiative and skill in written communication.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students will be responsible for identifying a possible vocational partner, with suggestions provided by the Module Convenor. The Module Convenor may assist with initial contacts with the vocational partner and will identify a supervisor.
  • Students will be responsible for meeting any costs associated with any placement (such as travel costs, accommodation, etc.).
  • An initial electronic (video-conference preferably; possibly teleconference) meeting between the student, the partner and the supervisor will be used to develop the research focus.
  • The student will then be responsible for developing the proposal for their research, to be agreed by both the vocational partner and the supervisor. This will include a statement from the vocational partner of the resources to be made available to the student, including research tools, contact and, in some cases, desk space.
  • Individual supervision will be provided during the academic year as required.
  • Additional guidance, under the agreement, will be provided by the vocational partner.
  • The student will produce a project proposal, and will additionally receive feedback on two draft sections of the consultancy-style report. The timing and content of this work will be specified in the module guide.
  • Assessment is by means of a consultancy-style report of 10,000 words (including footnotes but excluding references), a completed reflective research diary of 5000 words, and a 10 minute oral presentation followed by questions. Students will be advised on the format of their consultancy-style report and research diary, being given specific advice on the format and examples of good practice.
  • Participation in the end of year Risk Masters conference through a 10 minute oral presentation followed by questionings is compulsory.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Meetings with supervisor /industrial partner Varies Varies Varies 10
Lecture 1 Term 1 2 hours 2
Lecture 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
Workshop 1 Term 1 2 hours 2
Workshop 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
End of year Risk Masters Conference 1 Once 2-3 days 24
Self-directed learning 558
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Vocational Dissertation in the style of a consultancy report Component Weighting: 65%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Vocational Dissertation in the style of a consultancy report 10,000 words 100% Yes
Component: Research Diary Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Diary 5000 words 100% Yes
Component: Oral Presentation Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral Presentation 10 minutes 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Project proposal (500 words). The student will produce a project proposal, and will also get written feedback on two draft sections of the consultancy-style report. Formative feedback will be provided in written and verbal formats disseminated during 1:1 supervision meetings.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University