The UK postgraduate Masters dissertation: an ‘elusive chameleon’?

Nick Pilcher
  • Teaching in Higher Education, February 2011, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2011.530752

What is it about?

This paper argues that the Masters dissertation as it was studied here is in essence individual. It shows how concepts of what it is change over time, and also how it is approached highly individually by supervisors. It argues that although 'core' elements may be argued to exist for dissertations, they are, ultimately, individual.

Why is it important?

The paper is important as the arguments it makes suggest that there may not be a one size fits all approach to supervision. Not only are all dissertations different, but how supervisors approach them is also unique. In that sense this has implications for how to approach advice and training for dissertation supervision.


Dr Nick Pilcher (Author)
Edinburgh Napier University

Personally, I was fascinated by the immense range and variety of dissertations, and of how supervisors approached them. I felt this as a positive aspect of the dissertation. As the dissertation is intended to be an in-depth piece of significant and individual work, it struck me that it was appropriate that the supervision for it should also be individual.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Nick Pilcher