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Organising undergraduate research projects: Student-led and academic-led models

Knight, R.-A. & Botting, N. (2016). Organising undergraduate research projects: Student-led and academic-led models. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 8(4), pp. 455-468. doi: 10.1108/JARHE-07-2015-0054


Purpose: This paper addresses the management of undergraduate final year research dissertations. It intends to explain and clarify our experience of two models of delivery (student-led/academic-led) with reference to interest development theory (Hidi and Renninger, 2006).

Approach: We focus on the advantages and drawbacks of each model within the context of the research literature, and describe a case study of the experiences of lecturers and students in one Division of a metropolitan UK University, running a leading programme in Speech & Language Therapy (Pathology). Recommendations are made which are intended to be of use to colleagues across disciplines and organisations.

Findings: We argue that a delivery where students can choose their research topic from a limited set suggested by supervisors (academic-led model) is best placed to meet motivational challenges in Hidi and Renninger’s framework, and also increase feasibility for staff. We discuss how such a model might best be implemented.

Originality: Describing case study experiences within a conceptual framework is important for the development of improved supervision methods. It is hoped that this case study paper will inform other institutions by providing clear theoretical underpinnings and practical recommendations; and that it will lead to further empirical research into models of organising final year dissertations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. - See more at:
Publisher Keywords: undergraduate research, dissertation, supervision
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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