Module: Dissertation or Professional Product in Cultural Heritage

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Dr Geraint Coles
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    600 hours
  • Contact hrs

    25 hours

Module content

This module enables participants to undertake original and innovative work in Cultural Heritage. It may be take in one of two modes:

(a) Dissertation: The dissertation is a piece of original academic research in Cultural Heritage. It is the main opportunity for participants to undertake an extensive research project and to demonstrate their academic skills. It may have an applied element but the focus is on an academic output with eventual publication in mind.

(b) Professional Product: The Professional Product is piece of original applied research in Cultural Heritage but here the focus is on the production of an output that conforms to relevant professional standards. For example a full excavation report, a major conservation management plan for a significant building or landscape, etc. The product may be related to the candidate’s employment. The focus is on production of a professional product – a report, documentary etc. – which is relevant to the candidates chosen career path.

In both cases the direction of studies is discussed with tutors prior to commencement and the format agreed at that point. 

The dissertation or professional product is intended to engage students with the key processes of research namely: (a) The selection and clarification of the precise focus of the research; (b) the development of a detailed proposal; (c) the ongoing refinement of the design of the study; (d) undertaking the research and analysing evidence obtained and (e) the presentation of the research findings in line with academic conventions.

This aims of this module are to enable the student to:

  • Undertake a substantial piece of independent work in a problem area of particular interest to them and which will support their professional and career goals
  • Relate their theoretical and case study learning to the analysis of a relevant and real problem
  • Develop understanding of the design of research projects, including the selection of research methodologies
  • Apply and use selected research methods to generate a qualitative and/or quantitative data set
  • Analyse and explore qualitative and/or quantitative research data using a variety of tools
  • Undertake structured rational discussion and reach conclusions on the basis of the data gathered and their theoretical knowledge
  • Present a professional and academically rigorous account of the research undertaken

Both dissertation and profession product are a major study which demands a high level of individual application and commitment to research. It provides students with an opportunity to identify, reflect on, and explore a topic that has implications for their individual professional development.

Module outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Design an appropriate and feasible research plan
  2. Select and develop appropriate research instruments
  3. Analyse and interpret quantitative and/or qualitative data
  4. Analyse issues raised by the data, use theory to understand the data and reach defensible conclusions


Assessment Description Weighting
Dissertation A Dissertation or Professional Product undertaking a piece of original research in an area of Cultural Heritage (20,000 words excluding figures, tables and appendices) 100%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

Essential resources:

  • Biggam, J. (2011). Succeeding With Your Master's Dissertation: A Step-By-Step Handbook. McGraw-Hill International.
  • Clough, P. & Nutbrown, C. (2007) A Student’s Guide to Methodology, 2nd. Ed, Sage. London.
  • Cottrell, S. (2008) The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd ed, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Creswell, J. (2007) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, Sage, London.
  • Creswell, J.W. (2003) Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches, Sage Publications, London.
  • Dewberry, C. (2004) Statistical Methods for Organizational Research; Theory and Practice, Routledge, London.
  • Easterby Smith M, Thorpe R, (2008) Management Research (3rd Edition).   Sage, London
  • Farrel, P with Sherratt, F. & Richardson, A.  (2016)  Writing Built Environment Dissertations and Projects: Practical Guidance and Examples (2nd edition).  London, Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN-10: 1118921925
  • Fetterman, D.M. (2003) Ethnography: Step by Step (3rd Edition).  Sage Publications, London
  • Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An essential guide for business Students (3rd Edition), Financial Times Press, London.
  • Howard, K., Peters, M. J., & Sharp, M. J. (2012). The management of a student research project. Gower Publishing, Ltd..
  • Murray, R. (2011). How to write a thesis. McGraw-Hill International.
  • Saunders, M. Lewis, P. Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students 5th ed, Pitman, London.