MA Educational Leadership & Management

MA Educational Leadership & Management
The Dissertation

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What do I have to do?
To complete your MA degree, you are required to submit a written Dissertation which must not exceed 20,000 words, excluding references and appendices.

A dissertation tutor will be appointed to each of you.

Your first task will be to submit a dissertation proposal form to your tutor (available on line).

Please read carefully:

Handbook for Graduate Students:
Taught Masters Courses

Section on Dissertations

(available on website)

Any questions? – consult your tutor
To satisfy the requirements of the MA degree, in your Dissertation you will need to demonstrate your ability to:
Identify a problem or topic of suitable scale, scope and content (often the most difficult stage)
Review the academic literature relating to your topic, i.e. critique, analyse and synthesise the academic literature and link it to your study
Systematically carry out a research project
Analyse your research findings in relation to the academic and research literature
(‘comparative analysis’).
Present your work in an academically acceptable form
Scope and scale:
A ‘typical’ dissertation study might involve something like:

– a ‘mixed methods’ approach comprising:
one questionnaire survey of 30 – 50 respondents
plus 8 – 10 interviews OR

– 3 – 4 case studies, each comprising, e.g.:
4 – 6 interviews maybe plus Observations and/or Documentary analysis

* Remember the need to triangulate, i.e. it is normally necessary to use at least two different research methods

Scope and scale (cont’d):
. This is intended to give you a very rough idea. It is important to discuss the scope and scale of your research with your tutor via the proposal form BUT-

. Do not collect too much data to analyse properly

. Try to work within ONE main area of theory
(e.g. if you want to study ‘the effect of distributed leadership on school improvement”, you will need to decide whether your main focus is on distributed leadership or on school improvement)
Research Access
It is essential to consider gaining access for your research at the earliest possible time.

You will need to arrange and ensure access to:

– your research samples (people)
– any documentary evidence you will need
– any meetings, classes or other activities you want to observe
Group work:

Choosing a suitable topic



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