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How does completing a dissertation transform undergraduate students’ understandings of disciplinary knowledge?

Ashwin, Paul; Abbas, Andrea; McLean, Monica

Authors

Paul Ashwin

Andrea Abbas

Monica McLean



Abstract

Dissertations are positioned as the capstone of an undergraduate degree, bringing together what students have previously learned from their programmes through a piece of independent research. However, there is limited research into the ways in which engaging in a dissertation has an impact on students’ understandings of disciplinary knowledge. In this article, we explore the relations between students’ accounts of sociological knowledge in their second and third years and how they engage with sociological knowledge in their dissertations. We argue that for the work of the dissertation to have an impact on students’ understanding of sociological knowledge, students need to see their discipline as providing a way of answering their research questions. We explore the implications of this argument for both our understanding of the role of dissertations and research-based learning in universities more generally.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Electronic ISSN 0260-2938
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 4
APA6 Citation Ashwin, P., Abbas, A., & McLean, M. (in press). How does completing a dissertation transform undergraduate students’ understandings of disciplinary knowledge?. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(4), https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2016.1154501
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2016.1154501
Keywords Dissertations, academic knowledge, students, sociology
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02602938.2016.1154501
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education http://www.tandfonline....0/02602938.2016.1154501 c2016 http://www.tandfonline....0/02602938.2016.1154501

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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