Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ECON44560: Dissertation with Research Methods (Economics)

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)

ECON44560: Dissertation with Research Methods (Economics)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap None.
Tied to L1T109
Tied to L1T209
Tied to L1T309
Tied to L1T409


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with the necessary training to undertake advanced-level research in a specialised area of Economics relevant to their degree route;
  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of the relevance and importance of theoretical and empirical approaches to research;
  • To develop students’ understanding at an advanced level of the nature of research in economics, by examining the study skills necessary to manage and undertake a research project;
  • To provide students with opportunities to be familiar with frontier empirical and theoretical research;
  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to the degree for which they are registered. The positioning of the dissertation at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and optional modules.


  • Undertaking research: an overview of the nature of research in economics and in specific areas within economics; the relationships between interests, topics, questions, problems and hypotheses; sources of information; claims and evidence; reviewing the field; theoretical and quantitative research;
  • Making use of and managing library facilities, databases and other learning resources;
  • Planning a research project;
  • Methodological issues in research: issues in designing and undertaking quantitative, theoretical, and experimental research and the relationships between these methods;
  • Ethical issues in research;
  • Reviewing the literature and finding the research questions;
  • The dissertation and the research process;
  • Applications of advanced principles, concepts and methods to select a relevant topic. This will involve presentations of empirical and theoretical research at the ‘frontiers’ of the subject as well as reviews of selected seminal papers. Topics will reflect the research interests of the School.
  • The dissertation topic, which should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation and must be relevant to the student’s degree route, is chosen by the student and formally approved by the Board of Examiners on the recommendation of the supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To have gained an understanding and be aware of the nature and scope of advanced research in an area of Economics relevant to their degree route;
  • To be aware of, and familiar with, the facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtaining relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation;
  • To have a critical understanding of a relevant topic and the most appropriate techniques of analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project at an advanced level, including undertaking critical appraisal of relevant literature, and applying critical judgment and discrimination;
  • To have developed the ability to operate independently on a research topic and exercise appropriate judgment in the selection of material;
  • To have further developed the skills of inquiry, theoretical and quantitative research design, experimental research, data collection and information retrieval, bibliographic search, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation of results;
  • To have developed advanced skills of research, analysis and scholarly expression in a chosen topic relevant to their degree route.
Key Skills:
  • Written Communication;
  • Planning and Organising;
  • Problem Solving and Analysis;
  • Using Initiative;
  • Numeracy;
  • Computer Literacy;
  • Self-discipline, time management and the ability to work autonomously.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures and seminars/workshops together with guided reading will be used to cover the subject-specific knowledge and skills together with general aspects of the dissertation process.
  • The formative assessment is writing a research proposal with a literature review. Students then work independently on their research, analysis and writing up, under the guidance of a supervisor. Normally the student will meet their supervisor on no more than three occasions. This is considered appropriate, given the underpinning lectures and seminars/workshops.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 2 per week 1 hour 20
Seminars/workshops 4 Fortnightly 1 hour 4
Individual Supervision 3 1 hour 3
Research, Preparation, Analysis and Writing 573
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12,000 words maximum 100%

Formative Assessment:

Research proposal, including brief literature review, of 1500 words (maximum). Additional formative feedback will be provided on contributions to seminars/workshops and in supervisory meetings.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University