Research Design and Dissertation in International Development

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Arjan Gjonca, Dr Elliott Green and Dr Rajesh Venugopal


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Health and International Development and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

DV410 is taken together with MY410 to provide students a coordinated introduction to the design, research and writing of the 10,000 word dissertation (see also separate entry for MY410). The objective is to enable students to conduct independent research, to consider the methods used to generate evidence, and to critically assess the quality and validity of research analysis and findings in development research and policy.  Students will learn about: the challenges of conducting research; research design, including how to generate a research question and how to select a research method; the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative research methods; some of the practical and ethical issues of doing fieldwork; and, preparing for the dissertation.


DV410:  Up to 6 hours of lectures in the MT. Up to 8 hour workshop in the ST


Students are provided with guidance and training on their dissertation over the course of three terms from their academic mentor, lecturers in DV410, and from the dissertation workshop.  Additional support and feedback is also available from other ID faculty via the Department’s open-door policy, and from individual and group sessions provided through LSE Life throughout the academic year.

Formative coursework

Formative verbal feedback is provided on an ongoing basis from the academic mentor. In ST, formative feedback in a more structured format is provided in the dissertation workshop.


Dissertation (70%, 10000 words) in the ST.
Coursework (30%) in the MT and LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20.4
Merit 64.4
Pass 14
Fail 1.2

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2020/21: 320

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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