SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MML321393
Module Leader Lindsey Carey
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Economics
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Undergraduate Degree or equivalent.

Summary of Content

Students undertaking a programme of research training may have particular learning requirements and interests that cannot reasonably be accommodated within a structured programme designed to meet the core needs of a typical student. These learning needs may be specialist research training or, in the context of particular substantive degree pathways, may be specialist programmes of advanced study (theoretical, conceptual or substantive). Therefore, Independent Negotiated Study is offered as a means of enabling students to achieve their particular needs/learning objectives, whilst exploring areas of interest by identification and progression through an appropriate real world problem. Negotiated study topics will normally address issues of research design and/or approach, and may focus on areas of specific interest to the student's wider studies. The module content will be negotiated between the student and Module Leader in the form of a negotiated learning contract - the Module Learning Plan. The student will prepare a Module Learning Plan which specifically identifies their personal learning outcomes. This will normally then allow identification of an action plan comprising: title; aims; learning outcomes; nature and scope of work to be undertaken; learning resources required (including the gathering and critiquing of quantitative and qualitative data); support required; detailed operational timetable, and agreed assessment format.


Not applicable - programme of learning to be determined by the student, and agreed with the Module Leader. Formative Assessment: 250 word individual progress report for submission to Module Leader during week 6. This will normally identify key steps taken to address the agreed Module Learning Objectives and any obstacles encountered to date. This should facilitate the process of meeting individual learning outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

The specific individual learning outcomes will be identified within the Module Learning Plan, as detailed above. To these can be added the generic learning outcomes of completing a unit by independent and negotiated study at postgraduate level. Specifically, on successful completion of the unit students should have the ability to:o Develop a meaningful learning programme;o Identify and agree a research methods and/or design issue to be investigated; o Identify appropriate methods of investigation;o Identify and utilise a range of learning resources;o Take explicit responsibility for one's own learning; o Evidence that the investigation leads to an appropriate outcome for an agreed problem.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Although the unit is student-led, all students presenting for Independent Negotiated Study, will participate in the 'support' programme: Each student will be introduced to the module and the Module Learning Plan, normally within a group meeting to encourage peer-to-peer support and formative feedback at an early stage. There may also be discussions on a possible Module Learning Plan with the Programme Leader (as part of academic advisor/advisee meeting as appropriate). There will normally be an iterative process of communication between the individual students and Module Leader to develop and finalise the Module Learning Plans which identify the specific Individual Learning Outcomes. Students will normally work with a Project Advisor who will be appointed to offer formative feedback to individual students as they undertake their Module Learning Plan. The Project Advisor can offer specific advice on the subject of the Module Learning Plan. The Module Leader (and Programme Leader) will normally assist in finding a Project Advisor. Formative feedback will be offered throughout, and especially in the initial stages, in order to support the identification of appropriate learning outcomes and assessment methods. This communication will normally be through face-to-face meetings, regular e-mail progress updates and, where appropriate to the individual learning needs, through tools on GCU Learn. Given the individual nature of the learning outcomes, the use of GCU Learn will normally be agreed between each student, the Module Leader and the Project Advisor to ensure appropriate support can be identified. There will be an expectation of regular progress meetings/communication between the student and the Module Leader and a written formative assessment report mid-way to ensure progress is being made with specific regard to meet the agreed learning outcomes.

Indicative Reading

Indicative Readings: Subject Specific Sources to be determined by the student, identified and approved by the Unit Leader, in the Unit Learning Plan. Understanding Independent Study and Learning Contracts -360 Anderson, G, D. Boud and J. Sampson (1996) Learning Contracts: A Practical Guide. Kogan Page: London. -360 Bone, Z. (2014) The Learning Contract: A Research Project with Training Wheels. ECRM2014 Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Research Methodology, Edited by Dr Martin Rich, Dr Anne Brown. Cass Business School, City University London. 16-17 th June 2014. -360 Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical Thinking Skills. Palgrave MacMillan: UK -360 Knight, P. (2002). Learning Contracts. In Assessment for Learning in Higher Education . Birmingham: SEDA series. Knowles, M.S. (1986) Using Learning Contracts. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. Knowles, M S (1993) Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers. The Granary Press Ltd. -357 Schwarzer, D.; Kahn, R.E. & Smart, K. (2000) Learning Contracts and Team Teaching in a University ESL Writing Class. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 10, October 2000. Available from: <> . -360 O'Neill, G. & McMahon, T. (2005) Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers? In: Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Learning and Teaching available from: <> . White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions. Palgrave MacMillan: London.

Transferrable Skills

Specifically, Independent Negotiated Study provides an opportunity for individual students to exercise initiative, assume personal responsibility and exercise independent decision-making. Students will have gained competence in the following skills: Intellectual abilities and skills acquired through use of learning resources and immersion in research/study contexts; Assessment of the merits of contrasting explanations, critical interpretation of resources and also involve the development of reasoned argument. Key skills acquired through HE level study: Learning skills including numeracy; written and oral communication skills; information management; planning, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating own learning and development; information retrieval skills; critical thinking; creative thinking; decision making. Social skills including personal attributes that are fostered via advanced study in HE. Working independently; working with a project advisor; time management; self-motivation; personal change management; intellectual integrity, and adaptability.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Tutorials (FT) 5.00
Independent Learning (FT) 115.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 50% Negotiated Output: 3000 word equivalentAssessment is negotiated but must address agreed Module Leraning Outcomes, meet SCQF level descriptor and adhere to GCU assessment loading guidelines