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 tourism, through research projects that focus on supply and demand side issues. Given the resource intensive nature of tourism, students are encouraged to consider the implications of tourism development, planning, management and marketing within a broad framework of sustainable futures.

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 and writing to specific aims and objectives as well as in a range of research tools such as interviewing, statistical analysis, qualitative analysis and other skills that increase employability in research and planning functions.

Full module specification

Module title:Tourism Dissertation
Module code:BEMM349
Module level:M
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Joanne Connell - Convenor
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 writing 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
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities20Class Contact and Supervision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation of draft proposal150 min. presentation5,6,7,8,9Verbal

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 proposal102000 words1-9Written feedback from supervisor
Dissertation9015000 words1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Dissertation Proposal (2000 words)Dissertation Proposal (2000 words) - 10%1-9August reassessment period
Dissertation (15000 words)Dissertation (15000 words) -90%1-9December reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

Resubmission deadlines to be agreed with the module convenor.

Syllabus plan

While the majority of study on this module is independent, there are a programme of lectures and tutorials in Term 2 that students must attend:

Term 2:

  • The requirements and scope of the dissertation, aims and objectives, preliminary literature review, reviewing methods, ethics approval compiling a proposal and dissertation structure;
  • Investigate and decide upon a research topic;
  • Tutorial to discuss outline proposal, and to offer specific advice on research topic;
  • Student presentations on draft proposal

Term 3 and summer vacation period:

  • Development and submission of a dissertation proposal;
  • Further tutorials giving further specific advice on research topic and checking progress;

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Barbour, R. (2013) Introducing Qualitative Research: a Student Guide to the Craft of Doing Qualitative Research. 2nd edition. London: Sage.

Bricker, K. and Donohoe, H. (2015) Demystifying Theories in Tourism Research, Wallingford: CAB International.

Brotherton, B. (2015) Researching Hospitality and Tourism. London: Sage

Coles, T.E., Duval, D.T. and Shaw, G.  (2013)  Student's Guide to Writing Dissertations and Theses in Tourism Studies and Related Disciplines.  Abingdon:  Routledge

Creswell, J.W. (2018) Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 5th edition. London:  Sage.

Durbarry, R (ed) (2018) Research Methods for Tourism Students, Abingdon: Routledge


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



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