Tourism Dissertation

Module description


The dissertation, 15,000 (max) words in length, allows you to pursue a programme of independent research on a topic of your choice, approved by the Programme Director. You will further develop your skills in formulating appropriate research questions, developing a research agenda, planning and conducting a research programme, analysing and evaluating materials and data generated, and communicating the findings by a fixed deadline.

Additional Information:

Students incorporate critical enquiry into the nature of sustainable tourism, through research projects that focus on supply and demand side issues.

External Engagement
Depending on the project, there is the opportunity for a high level of external engagement with policy makers, corporate elites (e.g. chief executives) and consumers. Previous examples include research into: CSR at British Airways; a comparison of attitudes towards sustainability and sustainable behaviour amongst hotels in Vienna; social media adoption by SMTEs in the UK; an exploration of policy development for sustainability in Ghana.

Students develop skills in project management, interviewing, statistical analysis and writing to specific aims and objectives.

Full module specification

Module title:Tourism Dissertation
Module code:BEMM349
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
Module credit:60
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

The dissertation invites the student to pursue a programme of independent research of his/her determination but approved by the Programme Director.

The aims of the dissertation are:
• To allow the student to pursue a programme of independent research on a topic of his/her choosing.
• To nurture further his/her skills in formulating appropriate research questions, developing a research agenda, planning and conducting a research programme, analysing and evaluating materials and data generated, and communicating the findings by a fixed deadline.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate a full comprehension of the complexity, lacunae and contradictions associated with a specialised study of tourism, tourists, and tourism environments;
  • 2. confidently apply in writings deep understanding of concepts and theories from the taught part of the programme to a particular research problem;
  • 3. draw valid conclusions based on an ability to synthesise and prioritize relevant data from methods and techniques appropriate to the research problem

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. independently conduct an entire programme of research from definition through investigation to written defence.
  • 5. form constructive dialogues with research partners (peers, mentors and skilled professionals);
  • 6. construct a clearly structured, well-written and appropriately illustrated major document by a fixed deadline;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. work as an independent research worker to collect, analyse and prioritise data and evidence from several sources to solve clearly-defined research questions;
  • 8. develop problem-solving skills in a highly specialized manner based on the ability to adapt to the often complex, unpredictable and particular demands of the research process;
  • 9. reflect on the research process and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the approach adopted.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours16Supervision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Peer review2 x 5 min. presentation5,6,7,8,9Verbal
Proposal2000 words1-6, 7-9Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation 10015,000 words1-9Interim and final feedback from the tutor

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment

Re-assessment notes

Resubmission deadlines to be agreed with the module convenor.

Syllabus plan

Spring Term:
• One seminar introducing the requirements and scope of the dissertation (short reference handbook to be provided).
• Two student led discussion seminars designed to enable students to investigate and decide upon a research topic, aims, objectives, and preliminary literature review.
• Dissertation proposal form to be issued and returned prior to:

Summer Term:
• Tutorial to discuss and ratify/invite revision of the outline proposal, and to offer specific advice on research topic;
• further tutorials giving further specific advice on research topic and checking progress.

N.B: BEMM378 and BEMM379 (semesters 1 and 2) provides instruction on data collection, methodologies, analysis and presentation, and background to help in the determination of the research problem and questions.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Dissertation Process per se:

Barbour, R. (2008) Introducing Qualitative Research: a Student Guide to the Craft of Doing Qualitative Research.  London: Sage.

Brotherton, B. (2008) Researching Hospitality and Tourism: A Student Guide, London: Sage

Clark, M., Riley, M., Wood, R. C. and Wilkie, E. (1998) Researching and Writing Dissertations in Hospitality and Tourism. London: International Thomson Business Press.

Finn, M., Elliott-White, M. & Walton, M. (2000) Tourism & Leisure. Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation. Harlow, Longman.

Phillimore, J. and Goodson, L. (2004) Qualitative Research in Tourism. Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies. London: Routledge.

Ritchie, B.W., Burns, P. and Palmer, C. (2005) Tourism Research Methods. Integrating Theory with Practice. Wallingford: CAB International.

Ryan, C. (1995) Researching Tourist Satisfaction. London, Routledge.

Veal, A.J. (2011) Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism: A Practical Guide, Prentice Hall (4th edition)

Walle, A.H. (1997) 'Quantitative versus qualitative tourism research.' Annals of Tourism Research 21(3): 524-536.

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