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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:

Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

This module aims to provide students with guidance and support in the writing of their Masters dissertation or PhD thesis. It also envisages this activity as a transferable skill, which can be applied in future professional and academic contexts where writing skills are essential. Undertaking a major research project for the first time presents postgraduate students with a challenge. Difficulties in areas such as developing the proposal and work plan, time management, using the conventions of academic writing to develop their writing style, and others, are common to most students. A module, where the coordinator works in consultation with the course directors, can deal effectively in a classroom situation with the issues which arise for students, thus creating a community of practice and enabling meetings with the supervisor to concentrate on the content and argument of the thesis.


The module will prepare students for the main stages of writing the thesis, focusing in particular on aspects such as the following: Preparing a proposal, chapter-by-chapter outline and work plan; Becoming familiar with the conventions of writing appropriate to the academic context in which they are working. Conventions of three types will be examined: Structural: conventions for aspects of the thesis such as the abstract, general introduction and conclusion, introductions and conclusions to chapters, types of paragraph structure, appendices; Stylistic: argumentative devices such as hedging, boosting, authorial stance, strong and weak referencing; Presentational: applying a style guide, referencing, punctuation, consistency in spelling, proofreading. Mastering the use of these conventions to develop the argument of the thesis and their own writing style; Avoiding plagiarism; Becoming aware of their own writing processes and developing strategies to maximise these; Realising to what extent writing the thesis is a transferable skill which will be applicable to writing activities in their future careers.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to: Develop a research proposal, including a chapter-by-chapter outline and a work plan appropriate for the space and time available; Evaluate the context in which they write and make decisions about the appropriateness of their research, and organisational and stylistic choices; Recognise and master the conventions which are accepted in the academic context in which they are writing, and apply these creatively to develop an analytical and persuasive writing style; Organise ideas logically and justify the logical order chosen in terms of the rhetorical effect desired and the academic conventions of the disciplinary area in which they are writing; Assess the writing process which they follow and the strategies which they use from the time that the assignment is given until the date the dissertation is submitted; Appreciate to what extent the activity of writing the thesis has prepared them for writing activities in their future careers.

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to: Explore their individual responses to academic writing and to a variety of writing situations in an attempt to foster a positive attitude towards academic and professional writing; Explore social support in the form of peer and expert support in order to expand their strategies.

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)


How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

(2009) MLA Handbook for Writers of Research papers, 7th ed. , New York: The Modern Language Association of America.
Murray, R. (2006) How to Write a Thesis, 2nd ed. , Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.

Other Relevant Texts:

() Glucksman Library Information Skills Guide: advanced research ,
() Research tips for graduate students in the Comparative Literature Department at Yale University ,
() Writing at the University of Toronto ,
() Shannon Consortium Regional Writing Centre ,

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Module Leader: