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Independent Research Project: Proposal and Planning - TFT00080H

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  • Department: Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Ollie Jones
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module is designed to develop your research skills further and to support you as you prepare to write a substantial extended essay in the final semester of your studies. Through taught sessions, group and independent work, you will build your skills and produce a thorough research proposal and plan that can form the basis of your extended essay. The module is driven by your own research interests in theatre and performance, and is the opportunity for you to pursue a new or past topic from the course that you would like to explore in greater detail.

Related modules

This module prepares students for Independent Research Project: Extended Essay

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • to develop your research skills and to prepare to write an extended essay in their final term
  • to introduce you to (and ask them to practically experiment with) key theoretical frameworks - to help you to develop research strategies to find, summarise, and take a position on existing scholarship in their writing
  • to allow you to demonstrate that they have a grounding in a particular area of study, and that they are prepared to articulate and defend their standpoint within it
  • to provide time for you to work practically to hone their research skills and to apply this to their own writing

Module learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you are expected to be able to:

  • identify a field of research and narrow this down to a specific research question
  • use appropriate research skills and a wide range of resources to draft a list of useful and relevant sources for their chosen research topic
  • identify and critically engage with key concepts and arguments in existing research
  • write a research proposal which demonstrates their ability to research a field of scholarship
  • employ, and where appropriate, adapt and develop, theoretical frameworks in their planning
  • give, receive, and act upon feedback on their early draft work

Module content

This module consists of five weeks of group seminars, supported by lectures and other materials which you will be able to work through in your own time and keep to refer back to. Each taught session will involve practical work on your own choice of research topic, and will require preparation in advance as well as active engagement during the sessions. There will also be opportunities for one-to-one feedback on a draft plan (formative feedback).

Sessions will involve short research tasks working towards your own project (such as planning a literature review or summarising key arguments from an article), as well as discussions and debates around your and your colleagues’ developing research. The lectures will provide guidance and suggestions on key areas such as surveying and scoping research areas, finding and annotating relevant literature, developing a possible structure for an analytical piece of writing, building an argument, assessing theoretical frameworks, and establishing your own research methodology.

Your work on the module will be assessed by a 3000-word document, in the form of a research proposal for an investigation into an area of your choice. Your research proposal will demonstrate your capacity to conceptualise and plan a formal piece of research which can then form the basis of your extended essay. Research proposals are written by academics at all stages of their careers, and so the assessment is a ‘real world’ challenge for academic writers, as well as work that will contribute towards developing your own research interests and skills. Your proposal may look into any topic which is grounded in any of the disciplines you have studied on the course, including one that involves a dialogue between disciplines, e.g. acting techniques. This project thus affords you the opportunity to devise and plan your own project from scratch.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay plan : Research Proposal
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will receive formative oral feedback in one-to-one supervision sessions, with the last of these provisionally to be held in Weeks 9 or 10.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay plan : Research Proposal
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive written feedback in line with standard University turnaround times.

Indicative reading

Chia, R. (2002). Writing an Academic Thesis, Dissertation or Essay. Exeter: University of Exeter.

Cottrell, S. (2011). Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottrell, S. (2019). The Study Skills Handbook, 5th ed. London: Red Globe Press.

Feak, C. and Swales, J. (2009). Telling a Research Story: Writing a Literature Review. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Fortier, M. (2016). Theory/Theatre: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

Greetham, B. (2014). How to Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kershaw, B. and Nicholson, H. (2011). Research Methods in Theatre and Performance. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Murray, N. and David B. (2009). Inside Track: Writing Dissertations and Theses. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Richer, S. (2013). Writing a Dissertation: The Essential Guide. Peterborough: Need2Know.

Silvia, P. (2019). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Taylor, G. (1989). The Student’s Writing Guide for the Arts and Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wisker, G. (2018). The Undergraduate Research Handbook. London: Macmillan Education.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.