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Completing an undergraduate dissertation: the student perspective

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Abstract

Between 2009 and 2010, ten final year students volunteered to take part in a small pilot study to monitor their dissertation experiences. This is a ‘warts and all’ account of that process. It includes the highs and the lows that students in their final year often face. The aim of the project was to highlight the students’ own expectations of the dissertation and follows their journey through the process. This project emphasizes the fact that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to dissertation supervision and that the dissertation is still greeted with fear by many undergraduates, even those who are very academically minded. It also shows that although universities are attempting to address this anxiety by introducing research modules earlier in the degree program, the students often do not see the relevance of these at the time. The study concludes by giving some alternatives to the traditional dissertation thesis as suggested by the students themselves.