Feather, Denis, Anchor, J.R and Cowton, Christopher J. (2011) The Value of the Undergraduate Dissertation: Perceptions of Supervisors. In: Paper presentations of the 2010 University of Huddersfield Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 41-56.

Dissertations are a common feature of final year undergraduate study, but there has been little research into their impact on student performance and satisfaction (Hammick and Acker, 1998; Webster et al., 2000; Pathirage et al., 2004), and even less into the perceptions and attitudes of their academic supervisors. The research reported in this paper is part of the project entitled: ‘Dissertation in the Business and Management Undergraduate Curriculum: Value Adding and Value for Money?’ The second phase of the project complements a quantitative study of student achievement (see Anchor et al., 2009), by investigating perceptions of the undergraduate dissertation by members of staff. The data for this part of the project was collected by means of a questionnaire survey sent to staff within the Departments of Leadership & Management and Strategy and Marketing at the University of Huddersfield Business School; a sample for follow-up interviews was also self-identified in the responses to the questionnaire survey. Issues focused upon in the questionnaire and interviews include whether students have the capacity to undertake a dissertation, their perceptions of its values and impact upon their results, and staff views of the demands that dissertation supervision places upon them. This paper focuses particularly on staff perceptions of value. The main findings are that the dissertation still has currency today, but needs to be evaluated to ensure that it is meeting the needs of different stakeholders. Further, that despite the perceived academic rigor of the dissertation, the lecturers believed that it gave students the ability to reach a level whereby they become autonomous learners.

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