Module code: GCAM003

Module Overview

This is the final and compulsory module of the MA in Higher and Professional Education. The purpose of this module is to allow the participant to conduct an independent piece of research in higher and/or professional education based on their research proposal developed in the module “Researching in Higher and Professional Education”. In this module, the participant will be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of an area in higher and/or professional education by drawing on the theories, knowledge of methodologies and skills developed in the other MA modules primarily GCAM002: Researching in Higher and Professional Education. The participant will have to write a dissertation detailing the research which includes theory, methodology and analysis. Participants are encouraged to think about the implications of their research within and beyond their own context as well as reflect on their development as researchers.

Module provider

Surrey Institute of Education

Module Leader

HOSEIN Anesa (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 553

Tutorial Hours: 15

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 2

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

GCAM002: Researching in Higher Education GCAM021: Researching in Higher and Professional Education

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  •         Structuring and Writing a Dissertation

  •         Applying for Ethics Approval

  •         Conducting Fieldwork

  •         Analysis: Quantitative and/or Qualitative

Participants will be directed by their supervisors on the extent of engagement with the content depending on their focus of their research as well as their previous experience and training in research methods.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 10,000-12,000 WORD RESEARCH DISSERTATION 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes by writing up their dissertation based on the executed research study within higher and/or professional education settings under academic supervision.

  • Summative Assessment: A written 10000-12000 words research dissertation in either monograph or publication format*.

*If written in a publication format, the dissertation will include a narrative part of about 4000-6000 words and a journal article of 6000-8000 words.

The production of the research dissertation itself meets LO5, which will normally be developed according to the following indicative sections:

  • Introduction: the participant provides a rationale for their identified research question and outline of their executed and designed research project (LO1 & 2);

  • Literature review: the participant builds a detailed argument for the research with reference to theories using appropriate literature and refining the research question (LO2);

  • Methodology: the participant describes the research strategy, design and collection methods with appropriate justifications (LO3);

  • Analysis: the participant presents the interpreted results and evaluates these results based on the theory, methodology, analytical approach, previous literature and the wider education context (LO4).

As part of the research dissertation, participants also need to provide a short reflection on the research process and their development as researchers.

Formative assessment and feedback

Participants will receive written and/or verbal feedback from their supervisor on drafts/ideas in their dissertation. Participants will negotiate with their supervisors on the length and type of draft pieces of work to submit to their supervisor before final submission of their dissertation for some feedback, such as on their writing (i.e. academic argument, referencing style), cohesiveness of the dissertation, and appropriateness of the research theories, methodologies and analytical approaches. Normally, written pieces of up to 2000 words are submitted one week in advance of the supervision meeting.


Module aims

  • Enable participants to plan, design and execute an original piece of research within the higher and/or professional education landscape;
  • Equip participants with sufficient knowledge and experience to conduct their own research either at a higher level of academic study or in their work environments;
  • Allow participants the opportunity to evaluate their decision making within complex and unpredictable situations.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Execute an original research project designed by the participant in a chosen higher and/or professional education area PT
002 Justify the rationale of investigating the research question in a chosen higher and/or professional education area by using the key/ relevant literature CT
003 Justify the theories, methodological (including research instruments) and analytical approaches used for investigating the research question in higher and/or professional education KCT
004 Critically evaluate the robustness, validity and benefits of the interpreted research results with respect to the chosen theoretical framework, previous research literature, methodology, analytical methods and/or wider higher and/or professional education context KCT
005 Produce a dissertation to professional academic standards PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to enable participants who can conduct research independently under academic supervision. In this module, participants are expected to take responsibility for their learning pathway by connecting and transforming their knowledge of higher and/or professional education through a piece of independent research.

GCAM003 learning and teaching strategy is built on the values of integrity, trust, dialogue and challenge. Research dissertation supervisors are expected to challenge the participants in their thoughts about the research by posing critical and counterarguments and imbuing within them a level of research integrity required such as ethical considerations, positionality and presentation of data. The relationship between the supervisor and participant is built on trust and dialogue which encourages participants and supervisors to talk to each other about challenges and issues and to trust participants in conducting their research with a level of integrity required.

The learning and teaching methods include:

•              Independent research under academic supervision 

•              Guided learning as directed by the supervisor

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: GCAM003

Other information

The MA in Higher and Professional Education is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The research dissertation provides participants the opportunity to plan and execute a research project in which they need to discuss the benefits or implications of the research for their chosen context situated in the higher and/or professional education sector. This aids them in developing the skills needed for conducting research and implementing evidence-based practice in their workplace. Further, those who are pursuing an academic career will have the opportunity to write their dissertation in a journal article format which can help them in developing a publication profile.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Participants, under the support of their supervisor, can develop skills of Resourcefulness and Resilience by recognizing research setbacks and changing directions (including approaches, methods, analysis) that fits with the context that they are researching.

Digital Capabilities: Participants are supported by supervisors (and others in the team) in their information, data and media literacies such as how to analyse data with particular software and screening literature for their biasness e.g. policy documents, internet pages etc. Participants are also supported in their digital creation of a dissertation either in a monograph or publication format – a dissertation template is provided for them which enables them to learn about preparing documents with headings and automatic table of contents.

Sustainability: Participants are encouraged to discuss the implications of their findings for their context, enabling them to work towards the sustainable development goal of “quality education”. 

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.