EAS355 - East Asian Dissertation (20 credits)

Module Organizer: Dr Marjorie Dryburgh (m.e.dryburgh@sheffield.ac.uk)


The East Asian Dissertation (EAS355, 20 credits) is designed to allow students registered for dual-honours degrees to explore a topic of their own choosing in some depth and to develop and demonstrate understanding of East Asia, and research, personal management, analytical, (CJK) language and writing skills. Dissertation topics must reflect the core content of the degree, with a strong focus on the East Asian region (generally one country within East Asia) and a connection with the other half of the degree. The final dissertation must be 6,000-7,000 words in length, excluding list of references and any necessary appendix.

Skills Development

On successful completion of the dissertation, you will have demonstrated in-depth knowledge and sophisticated understanding of your chosen topic as well as:

  • Independent learning, critical thinking and research skills – The ability to formulate an enquiry into an aspect of East Asian politics, society, economy or culture; to express this as a focused research question; and to explore that question through well-chosen evidence and research methods;
  • Communication skills – the ability to articulate complex arguments clearly and persuasively through the proposal and final dissertation;
  • Planning, time management and self-motivation – The ability to plan and manage the phases of dissertation project, with some input from your supervisor, and to identify where support is necessary and available for your work.

Format/delivery of module

  • Scheduled whole-group meetings: (5 meetings ca 10 hours max)
  • Semester 1 – 4 meetings, covering preparatory and Library matters
  • Semester 2 – 1 meeting, for catch-up and troubleshooting
  • Supervision meetings: (6 meetings between late Oct & April, ca 3 hours in total)
  • Independent study: EAS355 – 185-90 hrs
  • Note – while some work will be needed to complete the Lit Search and Proposal elements of the work, we expect that the bulk of the focused reading and writing will fall during Spring semester; you should take this into account when making your other module choices.

Module Assessment

  • Lit Search (5%) – November
  • Proposal (15%) – January (during exam period)
  • Dissertation (80%; mandatory) – May
  • Specific deadlines are set out in the module outline.

Before you start…

We don’t require any formal work on the dissertation before the beginning of the academic year, but it is never too early to start thinking about topics and exploring what sources are available for your work – with the 20-credit dissertation you have relatively few words to work with, but you will also normally need to concentrate research and writing in Spring semester, which leaves relatively little time to rethink if you don’t find the sources you need. So, look for sources, consider what can reasonably be packaged into that word limit, and feel free to run ideas and questions past academic staff informally.