Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Master's Dissertation

Master's Dissertation
8
13772
1
Second semester
TF
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

Introduction

Master’s Dissertation (MD) represents the students’ final effort to integrate the instructional content they receive and the skills they acquire over the course of the master’s programme.

Pre-course requirements

Students must have successfully completed at least 80% of the subjects of the Master’s Degree prior to preparing and defending the Master’s Dissertation. The MD should preferably be linked to the school placement and the activities carried out at the placement school.

Objectives

Master’s Dissertation is a learning activity and integrative exercise that aims to develop the students’ capacity to analyse, summarise and make critical judgements in the professional and research context of teaching English as a foreign language. To do so, the students are required to apply the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competences they acquire during the master’s programme; as a result, the way in which the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competences are integrated must respond to the specific educational and professional objectives of the programme. With the MD, the students must demonstrate their ability to perform and communicate educational research or pedagogical innovation proposal at an advanced level.

Competencies

BASIC AND GENERAL COMPETENCES

CB6 - To possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context.

CB7 - To know how to apply the acquired knowledge and problem-solving abilities in new or little-known environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to one’s area of study.

CB8 - To be able to acquire knowledge and deal with the complexity of formulating judgments based on information that, although incomplete or limited, includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of one’s knowledge and judgments.

CB9 - To know how to communicate one’s conclusions and the latest knowledge and the supporting arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous way.

CB10 - To possess the learning skills that allow one to continue studying in a way that will be largely individual or autonomous.

CG1 - To search for, obtain, process, summarise and communicate information (oral, printed, audiovisual, digital or multimedia-based), transform it into knowledge and apply it to teaching English as a foreign language.

CG2 - To develop critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making or inquiry skills, and apply these to educational reality with the aim of promoting students’ autonomy, creativity, confidence and personal initiative.

CG3 - To manage work time based on learning priorities and objectives, promoting self-learning.

CG4 - To communicate decision-making in the field of teaching English as a foreign language based on solid arguments.

TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCES

CT1 - To apply pedagogically innovative models and educational research on the acquisition, teaching and use of English as a foreign language to specific cases, to a specific school context and/or contexts related to education, so that the theoretical knowledge acquired is suitably connected to the educational practice.

CT2 - To critically analyse one’s own work and use appropriate resources and strategies to achieve professional improvement.

CT3 - To incorporate information and communication technology (ICTs) into teaching and learning activities, teaching management and professional development.

CT4 - To generate innovative and competitive proposals in professional or research activity.

CT5 - To express oneself in public and give presentations with digital support adapted to the different interest groups in the school environment (teachers, families, students, etc.).

SPECIFIC COMPETENCES

CE1 - To know and reflect on processes of the acquisition and learning of English as a foreign language and its literature and culture.

CE2 - To know and reflect on the process of learning languages other than the mother tongue at different educational stages and throughout life.

CE3 - To analyse the diversity of current and innovative methodological approaches and pedagogical practices applied to different educational stages in bilingual and multilingual contexts.

CE7 - To analyse and evaluate the development of students’ linguistic competence in English at different educational stages, based on the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

CE8 - To know and reflect on, look in-depth into and interpret current educational research models and methodologies.

CE9 - To apply the fundamental aspects of current educational research methodologies to improve processes of teaching and learning English as a foreign language.

CE10 - To use the English language for academic and professional purposes related to research in the areas of acquisition, teaching and learning English as a foreign language.

CE11 - To use academic skills in English, both orally and in writing inside and outside the classroom as well as all the communication techniques typical of teachers of this language.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes will be linked to the selected competences in each case. Among others, the following stand out:

Students should be able to:

  • Apply the knowledge acquired and use appropriate instruments in an educational research project.
  • Consistently incorporate different perspectives, sources and theoretical dimensions to analyse an educational reality.
  • Identify a research problem in the field of teaching or acquiring English as a foreign language, formulate the working hypothesis and/or research questions, as well as prepare an appropriate research design.
  • Identify a problem of the educational reality in the area of teaching English as a foreign language and designs the Needs Analysis.
  • Develop an educational intervention proposal appropriate to the educational context in the form of a pedagogical innovation proposal which takes into account the results of the Needs Analysis.
  • Describe the relevance of the designed innovation proposal within the educational community.
  • Apply appropriate ethical procedures and use techniques and instruments to collect quantitative and qualitative information.
  • Analyse the data collected and draw the relevant conclusions for the teaching or learning/acquisition of English as a foreign language.
  • Correctly use tables and charts to present relevant information.
  • Carry out an analysis and summarise information on a chosen topic on the teaching, learning or acquisition of English as a foreign language and incorporate it into the project.
  • Generalise with caution and from a critical viewpoint based on the results of the data collected.
  • Create proposals to improve educational reality based on research results.
  • Write the Master’s Dissertation in accurate and formal English.
  • Present the Master’s Dissertation orally in English, using appropriate and formal language.

Syllabus

Preparation, presentation and public defence of an original theoretical or empirical/practical educational innovation project (an educational research project or an educational intervention / pedagogical innovation proposal) on any topic related to the teaching and/or learning-acquisition of English as a foreign language, under the supervision of one of the lecturers from the master’s programme. The student must:

(1)   Choose a topic in the field of teaching English as a foreign language that is related to the subjects taught in the Master’s Degree and identify a relevant problem;

(2)   Formulate research objectives, research questions and research hypothesis (if applicable);

(3)   Design a research methodology proposal to prove this hypothesis / Design a proposal of the Needs Analysis;

(4)   Carry out the methodology and collect data using the relevant data collection techniques and instruments / Carry out the Needs Analysis,

(5)   Present, analyse and interpret the data collected / Develop an educational innovation proposal based on the results of the Needs Analysis; and

(6)   Prepare a discussion and conclusion based on the findings / design the Assessment and Communication Plan and prepare a final discussion.

The structure of the Master’s Dissertation must be as follows:

Type A: Classroom-based research:

  • Abstract and keywords
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction to and relevance of topic
  • Theoretical framework and literature review
  • Hypothesis, objectives and research question/s
  • Methodology (context, participants, instruments, procedures)
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References

Type B: Educational innovation proposal:

  • Abstract and keywords
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction to and relevance of topic
  • Needs Analysis
  • Action Plan:
    • Theoretical and methodological Rationale
    • Context and end users
    • Innovation Proposal (activities, materials, expected outcomes, contingency plan, implementation calendar)
  • Assessment Plan
  • Communication Plan
  • Conclusions
  • References

The cover of the MD must be in the standard UIC Barcelona format and must include the title of the work, the author, the supervisor, the name of the master’s degree and the date.

Teaching and learning activities

Online



Online teaching methodology

RP       Problem-Solving Tasks

EC       Case Study

ABP     Project-Based Learning

Online teaching and learning activities

TI          Individual Autonomous Work

TL        Online Tutorials

TFM     Master’s Dissertation

Evaluation systems and criteria

Online



50% - Presentation of the MD Written Report

25% - Oral presentation and defence of the MD before an Academic Assessment Committee

25% - MD supervisor report

Anti-plagiarism software will be used to check the integrity of the MD Written Report.

The MD defence will be oral, individual and public. It may be done in person or by videoconference via the secure Google Meet platform.

The evaluation criteria for the MD are as follows:

MD Written Report:

  • To be capable of selecting, collecting and analysing relevant information regarding the topic and the theoretical-practical approach of the Master’s Dissertation, incorporating updated references related to the latest research and publications.
  • To integrate knowledge and formulate well-reasoned critical judgements based on the information available, taking into account the characteristics of the specific context being investigated.
  • To identify and assess the various possibilities for teaching intervention or to design a pedagogical innovation proposal, justifying the decisions made based on the conditions of the educational practice.

Oral presentation and defence of the MD:

  • To demonstrate a capacity to summarize and present an adequate selection of content.
  • To demonstrate adequate oral expression in English.
  • To adequately respond to theoretical-practical questions and/or comments of the members of the MD Committee.

Bibliography and resources

Cohen, L., Manion, L. & K. Morrison. (2017). Research Methods in Education. 8th Edition. Routledge.

Guba, E. & Lincoln, Y. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N.K., Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp.105-117). SAGE Publications.

Hart, C. (2005). Doing your masters dissertation. SAGE Publications.

Hinkel, E. (2011). Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. Routledge.

Ince, A. & Kitto, E. (2019). A Practical Guide to Action Research and Teacher Enquiry: Making a Difference in the Early Years. Routledge.

Murphy, M., Redding, S., & Twyman, J. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook on innovations in learning. Center on Innovations in Learning, Temple University.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2009). Designing Education Projects: a Comprehensive approach to Needs Assessment, Project Planning and Implementation, and Evaluation. 2nd edition. U.S. Department of Commerce.

Wallace, M. J. (1997). Action research for language teachers. Cambridge University Press.