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Posted: December 7th, 2022


Centre for Postgraduate Studies
All students pursuing Master of Public Health will have to work on a Master’s Dissertation. As a partial fulfilment for the award of the Master’s degree, a learner must submit a research report in the form of a Thesis. The research report/Thesis is an academic write-up that details the whole research process undertaken by a graduate student, right from the conceptualisation of a problem to the discussion of his/her findings or outputs. Villa College recognises a good Master’s Dissertation as one which:
• demonstrates the learner’s understanding of his/her problem, strategies to seek solutions to the problem through appropriate use of data collection methods and analytical techniques, and ability to interpret and relate the results to the objectives of his/her study.
• attempts to search for explanations to the problems and meanings of concepts through a comprehensive and critical review of the relevant literature from scholarly books and journals.
•• constitutes a clean piece of work, well -edited and thoroughly checked for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, sentence construction, report formats and others. Proper citations of authors in the texts and proper writing of references should be observed according to the writing style suggested by American Psychological Association (APA).
• demonstrates the learner’s ability to present ideas, explanations and results in a smooth and logical flow from the beginning to the end of each chapter. Overall coherence of the report should be maintained through appropriate explanatory linkages between chapters.
The Master’s Thesis report as required by Villa College is a three-part document: Preliminary Section, the Body and Supporting Materials.
Figure 1 presents the overall layout of the project report. The subsequent write-up will explain in detail these three important parts of the thesis. In addition, it will also touch on the format of the final write-up as a hardbound document for submission to Villa College. However, to be noted is that there may be variations depending the types of projects.
Module Title Dissertation
Module Code PUBH9008
Module Replaces (if appropriate)
Level 9
Credits 40
Total Learning Hours 400 L = Lecture
T = Tutorial
P = Practical
O = Others
I = Independent Learning
Total Contact Hours 10 390
Pre-requisites PUBH9006 &PUBH9007 Co-requisites Excluded Combinations
Teaching and Learning Methods / Modes of Delivery In this module we use an active and participative learning approach. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop independence in their approaches to studying.
Consultation: Individual support would be provided through allocated supervisors during the process of completing the dissertation.
Seminars and Research Workshop: This is the platform where active and participative learning approaches are used in tutorials seminars to explore concepts in detail, to demonstrate theory in action and to provide structured opportunities for skills development.
Learning Management System (Moodle): Parts of the module materials are available at the Learning Management System (Moodle) at Villa College. This is also used as a platform to engage in discussions and shared learning.
Minimum Qualification and Experience Required by Lecturers Master’s Degree in a relevant field with 5 year experience in teaching
Version 1.0 Valid From April 2020 Date of Approval April 2020
Module Description
The dissertation module aims to showcase the student’s critical abilities, as they plan and deliver an extended, independent research project. Each student will work under the guidance of an academic supervisor, with extra support provided by a series of workshops and seminars. This will help them to develop the key skills for researching their chosen project. The dissertation encourages the student to manage their time effectively, organise their ideas, and extend and compliment their previous studies.
Expected Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module students will be able to gain:
• Explore a range of ontological and epistemological issues in relation to research
• Investigate various approaches to research design with suitable data collection methods and analysis technique.
• Understand ethical standards of conduct in the collection and evaluation of data in a health-related research
• Critically review health-research impact on professional policies and practices
• Engage in an independent and sustained critical investigation and evaluation of a chosen research topic relevant to environment and society
• Analyse an appropriate body of literature and theoretical framework to their own research interests
• Competently design and execute a public health-related research with appropriate attention to methodological rigour and ethical standards
• Interpret, organize and present research data and concepts using various modes of presentation
• Critically informed understanding of the use of specific research instruments for collecting data for action research with suitable analysis technique.
• Self-evaluation and reflection on the work of others to develop and revise various educational practices in bringing a positive change to Public Health
• Develop a research based argument and/or practices, including a self-critique of the limitations of their study
• Acquire advanced research skills encompassing construction of research tools and conducting data collection
• Develop their knowledge and skills as practitioners, drawing together theory and practice that clearly articulates professional practice
• Confidently engage in academic and professional presentation and communication with others about the new ideas from the research findings
Curricular content in terms of topics and summary of content planned
Learning Hours
Each student will be allocated a dissertation supervisor to support their studies. Support will comprise: Individual tutorial support (usually 10 hours per student) with larger research support workshops, seminars and documentation. The student will design the research in an area of interest and approve the proposal prior to commencing the research. The content of the module will reflect individual needs of students, but will focus on the
execution of students’ empirical research and the writing of their dissertations. The dissertations are likely to include: Introduction; Contextualisation; Methodology; Data Collection and Analysis; Implications; Recommendations and Conclusions.
Reading List
Essential Reading(s):
Guest, G. (2015) and Namey, E.E. (2015) Public Health Research Methods, Sage Publications
Haire-Joshu, D and McBride, T.D (2013) Transdisciplinary Public Health: Research, Education, and Practice, John Wiley & Sons,Inc.
Black, T. R. (1999) Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences: An Integrated Approach to Research Design, Measurement and Statistics, Sage Publications
Berg, B. and Lune, H. (2012) Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, Pearson
Argyrous, G. (2005) Statistics for Research: With a Guide to SPSS, Sage Publications
Creswell, J. W. (2014) Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. (4th ed). London: Sage
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4e), Oxford: Oxford University Press
Further Reading(s):
Blaxter, L. (2006) How to research. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Hart, C. (2009) Doing a Literature Review (2e) London: Sage Publications
Jackson, A. and Mazzei, L. (2012) Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research London: Routledge
James, D. and Biesta, G. (2007) Improving learning cultures in further education. London: Routledge.
Gray, D. (2009) Doing Research in the Real World (2e) London: Sage Publications
Assessment Strategy and Grading Criteria
Assessment components for the module are as follows:
Coursework 100% (Dissertation of 15,000 – 20,000 words)
Assessment Hurdles (if any)
The preliminary section consists of the title page, the abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents, list of tables and figures. All pages in the preliminary section are to be numbered at the centre of the bottom margin using lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.). The title page should not be numbered.
(a) Title Page:
Although title pages may differ from one institution to another, they usually include:
( i) the title of the project,
(ii) the name of the author,
(iii) the relationship of the project to a degree requirement, ( iv) the name of the institution where it is to be submitted, and (v) the year of presentation (see Appendix B).
The title should be concise and should indicate clearly the purpose of the study. Keep in mind its possible usefulness to another researcher who may search a database where your Master’s Dissertation may be listed. The title should not claim more than the project actually delivers. It should not to be stated broadly and make it difficult for the reader to determine what the project is about. For example, the title “Mathematics Achievement Of Urban Poor Children” is too general and a more precise title would be “Mathematics Achievement Of Poor Children In An Urban School In Maldives”. These items should be written in Times Roman font/16pt. The title should be in capital letters, single-spaced and centred between the right and left margins of the page. If the title goes beyond one line, the words in the title should be divided into lines so that each successive line is shorter than the one above it and is centred below it in an inverted pyramid style (see Appendix B)
(b) Abstract
The abstract is a short, one paragraph summary of the most important components of the project report. It normally includes a brief statement of the problem, the objectives of the project, the main questions to be answered, the sample involved, the major findings and their implications. The abstract should not exceed 250 words written in single spacing.
(c) Acknowledgements
An acknowledgment page is included if you have received unusual assistance in the conduct of the project. The acknowledgements should be simple and restrained. Do not indulge in flattery and excessive recognition for routine participation of family members, lecturers, supervisors, librarians and clerical helpers.
(d) Declaration
The declaration is meant for you to declare that the Master’s Dissertation is the result of your own work. You should use the format provided by Villa College. Refer to Appendix C.
(e) Table of Contents
The Table of contents serves an important purpose in providing an outline of the contents of the project report. Differentiate between headings and subheadings using capitalisation and small letters. Page references for each topic should be indicated.
(f) List of Tables and Figures
If tables and figures are included in the Thesis, a separate section should be included to list each table or figure. The full titles of figures and tables, worded exactly as they appear in the text, should be presented with corresponding numbers and page locations. The Acknowledgements, Table of Contents and List of tables and figures sections should be presented using Times Roman font/12pt.
Preliminary Section
Body of Thesis
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Problem Statement

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