SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 60.00
ECTS Credit Points 30.00
Module Code MML321379
Module Leader Margaret-Anne Houston
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Economics
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of 120 credits at Postgraduate Level.

Summary of Content

The Masters Research Project is an extended written assignment based on work conducted independently by the student. Students choose one of four outputs best suited to their learning needs / substantive interests: Either 1) Dissertation (12000 word equivalent) 2) Research Report (10000 word equivalent) 3) Systematic Review (12000 word equivalent) 4) Academic Working Paper (6000 word equivalent) and associated Research Development Proposal (4000 word equivalent) . Each output is equally demanding of the student, tasking them to demonstrate competence in an independently pursued advanced-level study. The Masters Research Project typically requires that the student presents a written account of findings based on the collection and analysis of primary data, or the analysis of secondary data. Furthermore, students are expected to engage with relevant theoretical literature, methodological strategies and substantive knowledge relevant to their field of study. The output can take the form of the traditional academic dissertation (option one), or a formal research report (option two). The formal research report may be better suited to those students who intend to pursue a research career beyond academia after their studies. Two further options are presented, each of which is equivalent to the extended written assignment in the form of dissertation or research report. In the third option, students may elect to complete a systematic literature review, using one of the approved methods (e.g. Cochrane Collaboration). Finally, a fourth option 'research career development mode' is offered, whereby students complete a small-scale independent study, write this up in the form of an academic paper, and draft a research proposal for further research that would build up this small-scale research to generate new knowledge and understanding in this field of study. This option is designed to meet the particular needs of those students who are pursuing a programme of research training to prepare them for doctoral study (1+3 model). The dissertation is underpinned by Diploma level modules. Students are supported in the completion of their dissertation by (i) an introductory programme of practical support; (ii) peer support; and (iii) personal dissertation tutorship. Successful completion of the Dissertation results in the award of the MRes.


Post-registration, a seven-part seminar/workshop series will support students throughout the process. This programme will be led by the Module Leader. Full-time student schedule Week 1 - Introduction to module and modes of assessment. Week 2 - Review meeting to confirm title, supervisor and assessment mode. Week 3 - Working with supervisors Week 4 - Implementing and refining proposals. Week 6 - Progress meeting with Module Leader Week 9 - Progress meeting with Module Leader Week 12 - Progress and review meeting with Module Leader Part-time student schedule Trimester 1, Week 1 - Introduction to module and modes of assessment. Trimester 1, Week 2 - Review meeting to confirm title, supervisor and assessment mode Trimester 1, Week 3 - Working with supervisors. Trimester 1, Week 4 - Implementing and refining proposals Trimester 1, Week 12 - Progress meeting with Module Leader Trimester 2, Week 3 - Progress meeting with Module Leader Trimester 2, Week 9 - Progress and review meeting with Module Leader

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, all students should be able to: - Implement a research proposal in a systematic, organised manner - Engage with academic literature (theoretical, methodological and substantive) when undertaking, and writing up findings from, an independent project- Deduce findings based on the analysis of data (primary and/or secondary) and/or systematic review of literature- Present findings effectively in an accepted research format- Communicate how these research findings, relate to a wide body of academic knowledgeHowever, the respective weight of these generic learning outcomes will vary by mode. For example, relatively greater importance is placed on 'communicate how these research findings, relate to a wide body of academic knowledge' in the research career development mode.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The Masters Research Project should be viewed as an independent piece of work with academic supervision. However, a seven-part seminar/workshop series will support students throughout the process (see syllabus). The Dissertation Co-ordinator will assign individual students to a supervisor who has relevant knowledge to the student's subject area. Students will then receive tutorial support on a one-to-one basis with their designated Supervisor. Students will have access to peer support throughout the module through electronic communication. In the trimester prior to commencing the Masters Research Project, students will be encouraged to commence preparatory work. A prospective supervisor will be assigned at the earliest opportunity. This preparatory work could involve: developing a research proposal/plan; drafting a submission to the ethics approval committee; preparing for the field; and review literature to inform research questions and research design. There is no requirement for the student to undertake a programme of preparatory work in advance of the module; however, experience has shown that those students who are thoroughly prepared for the demands of a Masters Research Project are invariably those who are most successful in executing the task. Thus, the Module Leader will maintain contact with students in the trimester prior to commencing the Masters Research Project to encourage them to commence, and support them with, preparatory work.

Indicative Reading

Subject Specific Sources To be determined by the student (approved by the Module Leader) in the Module Learning Plan. Understanding the Challenge of Postgraduate Masters Research Indicative reading pertains to undertaking 'Masters' level research -1077 o Bell, J. (2010), Doing your Research Project, Open University (second edition) (370.70, BEL) o British Standard Institution (1990) British Standard recommendations for the presentation of theses and dissertations . BSI: Milton Keynes o Collis, J. And Hussey, R. (2009) Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students . Palgrave MacMillan. (658.0072, COL). o Phelps, R., Ellis, A. And Fisher, K. (2007) Organizing and Managing Your research: A Practical Guide for Postgraduates. London: Sage. (001.42, PHE) o Potter, S. (2006) Doing Postgraduate Research . London: Sage.2 nd Edition. (001.42, DOI) o Quinton, S. and Smallbone, T. (2006) Postgraduate Research in Business: A Critical Guide. London: Sage. (650.0011, QUI) o Wisker, G. (2008) The Postgraduate Research Handbook: Succeed with Your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD . 2 nd Edition. Palgrave MacMillan (001.42, WIS) o <> (The Vitae Programme) o

Transferrable Skills

Specifically, the Masters Research Project provides an opportunity for students to manage time and data effectively, assume personal responsibility and exercise independent decision-making. More generally, as a postgraduate module, students will have gained competence in the following: Intellectual abilities and skills , i.e. those which are acquired through use of learning resources and immersion in research/study contexts. In particular this will involve assessment of the merits of contrasting explanations, and critical interpretation of resources, but it will also involve the development of reasoned argument. Key skills , i.e. those acquired through HE level study. In particular this will involve learning skills, but it will also involve numeracy, written skills, oral skills, observational skills, and skills in information management. Social skills , i.e. personal attributes that are fostered via advanced study in HE. In particular this will involve working independently, self-management, motivation, awareness of responsibilities, intellectual integrity, and adaptability

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 522.00
Assessment (FT) 60.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% Either Dissertation (12000 word equivalent maximum) or Research Report (10000 word equivalent maximum) or Systematic Review (12000 word equivalent maximum) or Academic Working Paper (6000 word equivalent maximum) and associated Research Development Proposal (4000 word equivalent maximum)