Dissertation marking scheme

First order criterion


Distinction 80+%
The practical work is of such a high professional standard that it could be distributed without significant extra effort.
The research makes a significant contribution to the chosen field and is worthy of publication.

Merit (first): 70-79%
Extremely strong internal consistency making the project a convincing whole which addresses the original research question. Evidence of originality. Impressive use of information gathered to support argument. Critical awareness of strengths and limitations

Good (2.1): 60-69%
Evidence of internal consistency which relates to original question. Very good use of information gathered to support argument. Awareness of strengths and limitations

Fair (2.2 ): 50-59%
Evidence of internal consistency which relates to original question but with some weaknesses in the integration of different sections. Use of information gathered but with some weaknesses in the integration of evidence. Some awareness of strengths and weaknesses

Pass (third): 40-49%
Limited evidence of internal consistency which relates to the original with significant weaknesses in the integration of different sections. Limited use of information gathered to sustain the argument with significant weaknesses in the integration of evidence. Limited discussion of strengths and weaknesses.

Fail: 0-39%
Lack of internal consistency. Very limited use of information gathered to sustain the argument with serious weaknesses in the integration of evidence. No awareness of limitation of the dissertation.

Second order criterion

Composition, organisation and expression; Use of language; Referencing (10%)

  • [1-2] Poorly organised, very unclear language with serious errors and poorly referenced.
  • [3-4] Adequately organised and expressed. Clear use of language but with significant errors/typos. Fair referencing but with some inconsistency.
  • [5-6] Generally well organised and expressed with clear use of language but with minor errors/typos. Competent referencing but with some inconsistency.
  • [7-8] Well organised and expressed, easy to follow (eg. through visual aids) and clear use of language. Very good referencing.
  • [9-10] Optimally organised and expressed. Excellent use of language with no errors at all. Fully and appropriately referenced. The dissertation can be easily turned into a publication.

Introduction and rationale; Formulation of research question/problem; Focus (10%)

  • [1-2] Incoherently formulated research question/problem. Inadequate rationale and no focus.
  • [3-4] Poorly formulated research question/problem. Lacks subject focus. Rationale poorly articulated and justified.
  • [5-6] Sufficiently formulated research question/problem with some evidence of subject focus. Sufficient rationale is provided.
  • [7-8] Competently formulated research question/problem, evidence of subject based focus and clear and well thought through rationale.
  • [9-10] Optimally formulated research question/problem with clear subject based focus and excellent, convincing rationale.

Literature review; Range of reading; Relation to research question; Independent research (20%)

  • [1-4] Over reliance on very restricted range of sources. Not related directly to research question/problem. Very little evidence of independent research for sources.
  • [5-8] Reliance on limited sources, lack of evaluation. Poorly related to research question/problem. Little evidence of independent research for sources.
  • [9-12] Appropriate reading with some limited evaluation. Not consistently clearly related to the research question. Some evidence of independent research for sources.
  • [13-16] Wide reading with critical evaluation and identification of gaps/issues in the literature. Clearly related to the research question/problem. Good evidence of independent research for sources.
  • [17-20] Extensive reading which has been thoroughly critically evaluated. Optimal understanding of the literature with excellent identification of gaps/issues and explicitly related to the research question. Very good evidence of independent research for sources. The literature review is worthy of a publication.

Design of solution; Critical awareness, analysis, use and evaluation of relevant theory; Rationale for research solution/approach; Information gathering and analysis; Awareness of strengths and limitations. (15%)

  • [1-3] Poorly designed solution with little awareness of theory. Ability to analyse, evaluate and apply relevant theory is not existent. Inappropriate or non-existent rationale presented for the research approach and the data collection methods used. Poor and inappropriate information gathering and analysis, not capable of being reworked. No awareness of strengths and limitations of proposed solution/approach.
  • [4-6] Weakly designed solution with some limited awareness of theory. Little evidence of ability to analyse, evaluate and apply relevant theory. Defensible rationale presented for research approach adopted and the data collection method used. Weak information gathering and analysis but sufficient information gathered to allow for a possible reworking of data. Little awareness of strengths and limitations of solution/approach taken.
  • [7-9] Generally clear awareness of theory. Good evidence of ability to analyse, evaluate and apply relevant theory. Fair rationale for research approach adopted and the data collection methods used. Competent information gathering and analysis. Some awareness of the strengths and limitations of the solution/approach taken.
  • [10-12] Clear and critical awareness of theory. Very good evidence of ability to analyse, evaluate and apply relevant theory. Clearly presented rationale for research approach adopted and the data collection methods used. Very competent and appropriate information gathering and analysis. Clear awareness of strengths and limitations of solution/approach taken.
  • [13-15] Extensive and critical awareness of theory. Convincing evidence of ability to analyse, evaluate and apply theory. Excellent rationale for research approach adopted and the data collection methods used. Extremely systematic and appropriate information gathering and analysis. Critical awareness of the strengths and limitations of the solution/approach taken. The design of the solution is innovative and worthy of publication.

Analysis & evaluation of deliverables; Awareness of strengths and limitation of findings (20%)

  • [1-4] Results are very limited with no discussion or critical analysis. Evaluation of deliverables is absent or unclear and incoherent. No awareness of strengths and limitations of findings.
  • [5-8] Results are provided but with a poor structure. Deliverables have been poorly and superficially evaluated with no awareness of strengths and limitations of findings;
  • [9-12] Results are presented and structured with an appropriate analysis. Deliverables are clear and sufficient. Strengths and limitations of findings are defined and sufficiently discussed.
  • [13-16] Results are clearly presented and structured, followed by an excellent analysis. Strengths and limitations of findings are defined and critically discussed.
  • [17-20] Results are optimally structured and articulated. Deliverable are very clearly and critically evaluated. Strengths and limitations of findings are also discussed and convincing, making the analysis and evaluation worthy of a publication.

Conclusion; Contribution and Impact; Future work and recommendations (10%)

  • [1-2] Conclusion is merely a summary of thesis. Little or no commentary on the impact or limitations of the findings. Future work and recommendations are absent.
  • [3-4] Conclusion has a sufficient summary of the dissertation. There is some appreciation of impact, significance and/or limitations but weak and difficult to grasp. Future work is poorly defined with little or no recommendations.
  • [5-6] Conclusion is fair with a good overview and summary of the thesis. Some synthesis and impact of findings but not fully convincing. Future work and recommendations have been identified but not fully convincing.
  • [7-8] Conclusion is very good, with a good synthesis of the work and with a clear discussion of impact. Future work and recommendations have been identified and are fair.
  • [9-10] Conclusion is excellent and optimal, providing a clear synthesis of the work and a fully convincing discussion of impact. Future work and recommendations are also extremely convincing, well structured and defined, clearly highlighting how the project can be extended and enhanced.

Complexity, Originality, significance, applicability, dissemination (5%)

  • [0-1] – not complex, little or no originality or significance, and no demonstrated application.
  • [2-3] – some complexity, originality and/or significance, some demonstrated application, if applicable.
  • [4-5] – very complex or significant originality and/or significance, and good appropriate demonstrated application, if applicable.

Verbal presentation and defense (10%)

  • [0-2] Poor verbal presentation with no discourse and no critical thinking. Not able to defend any raised point.
  • [3-4] Weak verbal presentation with some discourse and no critical thinking. Not always able to defend raised points.
  • [5-6] Sufficient verbal presentation with some discourse and some critical thinking. Sufficiently able to defend raised points.
  • [7-8] Good verbal presentation with fair discourse and fair critical thinking. Almost always able to defend any raised point.
  • [9-10] Excellent verbal presentation with deep discourse and deep critical thinking. Well able to defend any raised point.