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  • 1

    English Literature

    Dissertation Handbook

    2016-17

    Dissertation Convener:

    Professor Francis O’Gorman 50 George Square

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    Contents Part 1: Deadlines and details 1.1 Important deadlines 1.2 Set text 1.3 Supervision and support 1.4 Submitting your dissertation 1.5 Plagiarism

    Part 2: Getting started 2.1 What is a dissertation?

    2.2 General Advice 2.3 Choosing a topic and writing a proposal 2.4 Refining your topic and preparing an outline 2.5 Recommended Reading 2.6 Staff Interests and Contacts

    Part 3: Frequently Asked Questions

    3.1 Range of Material 3.2 Originality 3.3 Use of translated texts and other media 3.4 Relation of Dissertation topic to Core/Option courses and texts.

    Part 4: Some Final Reminders

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    Part 1: Deadlines and details

    1.1 Important deadlines.

    DATE SEMESTER 1 , 2016

    Week 1

    Introduction to the EL Dissertation: Wednesday 21 September, Screening Room, G.04, 50 George Square.

    Students surname A-L: 1-2pm

    Students surname M-Z: 2-3pm

    Students assigned to supervisors by end of week 1

    Week 2-3

    Workshop 1 .

    Small-group meeting with your Supervisor (Sign up for times via LEARN)

    Week 5

    Submit a 500-word outline of topic and texts to Supervisor, via LEARN, by 5pm Friday 21 October Students to settle topic/texts in 500-word submission to supervisor via LEARN; supervisor to return comments to students by same means within a fortnight.

    Week 6-7

    Comments on the above to be returned by 4 November (via LEARN or e- mail)

    Week 9

    Submit an annotated bibliography of up to 15 secondary sources by 5pm, Friday 18 November (via LEARN)

    Weeks 10-11

    Individual Supervisions During this period your Supervisor will be available to meet with each of you individually for half an hour to discuss your annotated bibliography and general progress. NB. It is the student’s responsibility to make an appointment with their supervisor which they must arrange at least one week in advance.

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    DATE SEMESTER 2, 2017

    Week 1 Submit an updated plan/outline of your topic and a draft Introduction to your Supervisor by 5pm on Friday 20 January (via LEARN). Around 500 words for the outline, and 1000 for the Introduction: 1500 maximum overall. If you have good reasons for wishing to submit a sample chapter or section of your Dissertation, instead of an Introduction, you may arrange to do so with your supervisor.

    Weeks 2 -3

    Workshop 2 Small group Peer discussion of draft introductions. You will be able to sign up for a one hour session via LEARN, or will be contacted by your Supervisor (who will be present at discussions)

    Weeks 4-5

    Individual Supervisions During this period your Supervisor will be available to meet with each of you individually for half an hour to discuss your topic, plan/outline and general progress. NB. It is the student’s responsibility to make an appointment with their supervisor which they must arrange at least one week in advance.

    Weeks 9-10

    Supervisors will be available for a 15 minute consultation if required. Members of staff will post available time slots for sign up on their office doors a week in advance, or can be contacted by e-mail.

    Tuesday 11 April before 2pm

    DEADLINE: Submit final dissertation

    As the Dissertation constitutes a Final Honours examination paper, no extensions are possible. Please Note: In order to offer all students as much time to work on their dissertation as possible, we have ‘mainstreamed’ all potential adjustment schedules for this project (in other words, we’ve made any specified ‘extra time’ automatically available to everyone, in the same way we do with lecture handouts, reading lists, etc.) and set the deadline as late as we are able, while still allowing us to properly assess the dissertations in time for graduation. If you have an adjustment that specifies extra time for proofreading or other assistance, this has been included in the current deadline and you should schedule it into your work to make certain you will submit by the published date. Students commonly ask proof-readers to look at their dissertation work as they complete final drafts of individual sections, and those employed by the Disability Service are willing to do this, rather than leaving it all until the very end. Dissertations are marked by two members of the subject area. Your Dissertation may also be read by an external examiner.

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    1.2 Set Text In order to help you to plan ahead and to provide a focus for Workshop discussions, you should regularly consult and ideally own a copy of:

    Nigel Fabb and Alan Durant. How to Write Essays and Dissertations: A Guide for

    English Literature Students . 2nd edition. London: Longman, 2005.

    1.3 Supervision and Support

    The role of Supervisors:

    Though the Dissertation is essentially an independent piece of work, students are supported by a member of staff who acts as supervisor. Supervisors may be able to give advice on practical issues such as: the subject and title of the dissertation, its organisation and structure, and on source material and a bibliography. Supervisors are not expected to be expert in the specific subject area of the dissertation, nor to advise about its content or judgements. For advice of this kind, see 2.6 below

    Supervisors can be expected to comment upon Dissertation outlines and to offer advice about the bibliography and introduction in good time (normally within two weeks of receipt). However, a Dissertation is intended to demonstrate students’ ability to work on their own, and supervisors are not expected to direct your work or to comment on any draft of it except the draft introduction submitted in the first week of semester 2.

    (NB Staff will not normally be available to provide supervision outwith the timetable specified above (1.1)).

    Students’ responsibilities:

    It is up to you to make arrangements to meet your supervisor – within the guidelines provided in 1.1 -- and to submit work no later than the deadlines noted on 1.1. If you do not submit material by the stated deadline, your supervisor will not comment on it.

     You should read the general guidelines on the research and writing process of the Dissertation included in this booklet carefully.

     You should consider further advice about each part of the exercise which will be posted at appropriate times on LEARN

     You may wish to use the LEARN Discussion Thread, through which specific advice may be sought from fellow students, staff, and the Dissertation Convener

     You may also wish briefly to contact a member of staff who is not your supervisor for specific advice. See section 2.6 below

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    Submitting your Dissertation Copies: You must submit one hard copy of your Dissertation to the English Literature

    Fourth Year Course Secretary (Undergraduate Teaching Office, Room 1.08, first floor, 50 George Square). You must also submit an electronic copy on the course’s LEARN page. Your Dissertation will not be marked unless both electronic and hard copies are submitted.

    Paper and Binding: Dissertations must be word-processed and printed on adequate paper.

    Most students choose to present their hardcopies in an inexpensive spiral or comb binding with plastic covers, though this is not a requirement.

    Font: For legibility, we prefer you to use Arial or Times New Roman or a similar font in 12- point.

    Spacing: You should use double-spacing and leave ample margins (similar to those in the layout of this document).

    Page numbers: Pages should be numbered (ideally as in the template, see LEARN).

    Length: The maximum length of the Dissertation is 10,000 words. This total includes the main body of the dissertation (that is, introduction, chapters,

    and conclusion) as well as any footnotes1 and/or the list of abbreviations. It is also worth noting that Dissertations which fall substantially short of the

    maximum length are unlikely to have fulfilled the required criteria and may be penalised accordingly.

    NB. The department does NOT operate a plus or minus 10% rule of any kind, at any

    time. The word limit of 10,000 is precise and definitive. The information provided in the para-textual materials (that is, the title and cover

    pages, abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents/list of illustrations, bibliography/works cited, and any appendices) are not included in this 10,000 words; see ‘Presentation and Contents’ below for details on word count limitations for these areas.

    1 Though it’s best to avoid footnotes if at all possible, as they can be distracting.

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    Presentation and Contents: The Dissertation should be presented as follows:

     Cover Page (separate and detachable) and Title Page. Each should include: Title of dissertation, Examination number, Name of Degree, Name of supervisor, total word count (excluding abstract, bibliography, any appendix). The detachable cover page, only, should also

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