Research Design and Dissertation in Development Studies, Development Management and International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Tim Allen


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in International Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Development Studies (Research) and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Students will initially submit a 50-100 word topic summary on the last day of Week 4 of Lent Term. They then go on to write a more detailed research proposal towards the dissertation on a topic within Development Studies/Management/IDHE. This will be conducted under the supervision of a member of the International Development staff, through individual tutorials. The student research proposals will form the basis for discussion in dissertation workshops held during the second week of Summer Term. The research proposal will identify a key question for investigation, the theoretical and methodological framework to be employed in the work and a justification for why the topic is theoretically and empirically important, with reference to the literature. A tentative outline and preliminary bibliography will be included. Students will present their proposals for debate and discussion in dissertation workshops.


20 hours of lectures in the MT.

Students will attend individual tutorial sessions with either Academic Advisers or other members of staff, as relevant to the topic during Michaelmas Term and Lent Term to identify a research topic and to design research proposals. The proposal must be approved by the assigned Academic Adviser. Dissertation preparation will also be addressed in the context of the DV410.1 lectures. Proposals will be evaluated, commented upon and approved by staff. Students will present their research proposals during dissertation workshops to be held in Week 2 of Summer Term. Attendance at the workshops is compulsory.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in the ST.

Students will submit a research proposal of not more than 2,000 words at the start of ST. This will be evaluated, commented upon and must be approved before proceeding to write the dissertation. Students will submit a dissertation of not more than 10,000 words by midday on Thursday 28 August.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 15.9
Merit 60
Pass 22.8
Fail 1.3

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2012/13: 191

Average class size 2012/13: 10

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills