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Module titleDissertation
Module codeSHSM029
Academic year2019/0
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module gives you the opportunity to pursue a research topic that is of personal interest to you. It will enable you to develop an in-depth understanding of the theoretical background, methodological techniques and skills that are related to your topic of interest. The dissertation can be conducted within a single discipline or be interdisciplinary in nature. You will be supervised by a member of staff and be expected to demonstrate independence in the conception, development, implementation, and reporting of the research project. It is hoped that the project will lead to a scientific conference presentation and/or publication in an academic journal.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The dissertation is an opportunity for you to pursue systematically, and in depth, a personal interest in a particular topic, utilising the concepts, techniques, and skills developed within module SHSM030 on quantitative research methods. The dissertation may be based within a particular area of the programme or may be interdisciplinary in nature, and will encourage the synthesis of appropriate knowledge from different fields. It will cultivate independence of thought and develop your ability to find, and present material, according to selected approaches to understanding and prescribed methods of investigation.

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Strategic thinking and problem solving in designing your data collection
  • Application of knowledge in interpreting findings of your research
  • Building confidence as a communicator in discussing your research with peers and your supervisor
  • Enquiring mind in pursuing further reading on topics covered in the module.
  • Data management skills in collecting and recording data and analysing findings
  • Ethical awareness when planning your research
  • Writing a scientific paper for publication

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an increased depth of knowledge regarding the specific topic of research interest
  • 2. Select an appropriate form of investigation
  • 3. Use appropriate techniques of data collection and analysis
  • 4. Present work using specified journal guidelines

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. Identify a research problem or issue within sport and health sciences
  • 6. Review relevant literature or documentation
  • 7. Interpret data and draw meaningful conclusions
  • 8. Organise and present material in a clear, well-structured form
  • 9. Critically assess and evaluate evidence

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Manage time effectively and prioritise tasks by working to strict deadlines
  • 11. Take responsibility for your learning by planning tasks with limited guidance, identifying your resources and seeking and making use of feedback
  • 12. Evaluate and assess your abilities, performance and understanding and reflect on your learning

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

September to April: Ethics application, literature review, data collection and write-up
May: Journal article submission
May: Viva voce oral defense

NOTE: You are required to obtain ethical approval by the Sport and Health Sciences Ethics Committee. Any dissertation submitted without ethical approval will receive a mark of zero. Please ensure that you are aware of the ethics committee deadlines. Failure to submit an ethics application before the final ethics deadline will result in a mark of zero for the written form of assessment.

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 Teaching5Dissertation supervision meetings
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Dissertation conference
Guided independent study150Complete ethics application, research and produce review of the literature and methodologies
Guided independent study340Carry-out research project and analyse data
Guided independent study101Write up final version of dissertation and prepare oral presentation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Commenting on one draft of the dissertation (not to include the discussion section of the dissertation)To include the abstract, introduction, methods and results sections of the dissertation. Word count will vary according to the specific requirements of the target journal but is likely to be in the region of 2500-4000 words. AllWritten and oral
Preparation for the viva voce oral defence15 minute tutorialAllOral

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
Written journal article, formatted in accordance with the target journal60Between 3500 and 8000 words depending on the target journalAllWritten
Viva voce oral defence4030 minutesAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written journal articleWritten journal articleAllAugust/September assessment period
Oral presentationOral presentationAllAugust/September assessment period

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 50%) you will be required to retake the assessments you have failed. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: APA.
  • Barrass, R. (2002). Scientists must write: A guide to better writing for scientists, engineers, and students (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.
  • Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics (4th ed.). London, UK: Sage.
  • Huck, S. W. (2008). Reading statistics and research (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
  • Nevill, A. M., Atkinson, G., &a Scott, M. A. (2009) Statistical methods in kinanthropometry and exercise physiology. In Eston, R.G. and Reilly, T. (Eds.) Kinanthropometry and exercise physiology laboratory manual: Tests, procedures and data (3rd ed., Vol 1, pp. 250-299).
  • Vincent, W. J. (2005). Statistics in kinesiology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Winter, E. M., Eston, R. G., & Lamb, K. L. (2001). Statistical analyses in the physiology of exercise and kinanthropometry. Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 761-775.
  • Sternberg, R. J., & Sternberg, K. (2010). The psychologist’s companion: A guide to scientific writing for students and researchers (5th ed.) New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (2000). The elements of style (4th ed.). New York, NY: Longman.
  • Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013).Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
  • Thomas, J. R., Nelson, J. K., & Silverman, S. J. (2011). Research methods in physical activity (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Williams, C., & Wragg, C. (2004). Data analysis and research for sport and exercise science: A student guide. London, UK: Routledge.

You should also take the opportunity to read exercise and sport science journals. The special issue of Journal of Sports Sciences (Volume 19, Number 10, October 2001) on research methods will be of particular interest.

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Taught postgraduate dissertation guidelines. This is a detailed document available to all taught postgraduate students via ELE at the commencement of the programme.

Key words search

Research, literature review, data collection, data analysis, statistics, research methodologies, critical evaluation

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

SHSM030 and SHSM031

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date