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The University of Southampton

ENGL3016 English Dissertation

Module Overview

Undertaking independent research into an aspect of literature which particularly interests you is a cornerstone of your degree. A dissertation gives you the opportunity to study a subject in much greater depth than usual and, with guidance from a supervisor, you will rigorously explore your literary topic, formulate a research question and develop a distinctive argument. A dissertation can also form a good basis if you wish to go on to study at postgraduate level.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• allow you to undertake independent research under individual supervision in an area of English literature chosen in consultation with a member of staff, which will develop skills and knowledge you have acquired over your entire course • formulate a distinctive research question and develop an argument • carry out a scholarly project at length and in depth with proper acknowledgement of a range of sources

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • a specific author, period or field of enquiry
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate a wide range of material and engage critically with that material
  • define, structure, develop and manage a significant project within a set period of time
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • formulate and present an argument
  • write at length
  • research and plan independently
  • manage and complete a major project within a given time-frame
  • manage the transition to a masters programme and further postgraduate work
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • research any given topic and present that research in a scholarly fashion


This module allows you to undertake independent research, with guidance from a supervisor, to produce an in-depth, scholarly study of an aspect of literature which particularly interests you. It can also form a good basis if you wish to go on to study at postgraduate level.

Special Features

Unscheduled research time will enable you to work independently, to manage your own study arrangements, and to develop a project on a topic of particular interest to you, and which you will have selected in the light of having completed most of your undergraduate programme. Supervisions will give you the opportunity to present and discuss your research and work in progress. The required draft of a significant part of your work will enable you not only to receive specific feedback on the content and structuring of your material and argument, but also advice on how to edit and revise your dissertation. The individual nature of supervisions will also prepare you for postgraduate work, and for communicating and working effectively with colleagues.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • three one-to-one supervisions with your supervisor across the semester • on-line support via Blackboard • maintenance of a record of supervision meetings and agreed actions • three lectures in the preceding semester offering guidance and advice on using advanced on- line resources for research, and on creating an annotated bibliography and dissertation proposal. Learning activities include • individual study and research time • accessing research materials and on-line resources • preparation of a proposal, abstract, bibliography and draft material for review by your supervisor • preparation for supervision meetings • editing and presenting the final version of the dissertation in accordance with the approved conventions and by the appointed deadline Innovative or special features of this module • The main innovative feature of this module is the opportunity it gives you to undertake in- depth independent research into a topic of your own choosing. • It also provides you with a form of individual supervision that is unique to this module.

Independent Study295
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Murray, Christopher (1997). Twentieth-century Irish Drama: Mirror up to Nature. 

O’Neill, Michael and Callaghan, Madeleine (eds) (2011). Twentieth-century British and Irish Poetry. 

Cleary, Joe (2007). Outrageous Fortune: Capital and Culture in Modern Ireland. 

Kirkland, Richard (1996). Literature and Culture in Northern Ireland since 1965. 

Kennedy Andrews, Elmer (ed) (2006). Irish Fiction since the 1960s. 

Conolly, Claire (ed) (2003). Theorising Ireland. 

Goodby, John (2000). Irish Poetry since 1950. 

Corcoran, Neil (1997). After Yeats and Joyce: Reading Modern Irish Literature. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • c6000 word draft submitted for comments and feedback


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (8000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments  (8000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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