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Research project

This research module builds on your existing postgraduate diploma to enable you to complete your MSc. You’ll design a research proposal by identifying and developing a research problem relevant to your MSc. Your research will involve a literature review, original data collection, data analysis and the drawing of conclusions. You will then communicate the outcome of your research by writing up and submitting your dissertation. Support is available to you at every stage from the study materials, your supervisor and online forums. You will need to complete preparatory work before the module start, therefore early registration is strongly recommended.


Start End England fee Register
01 Feb 2015 Apr 2016 £2140.00

Registration closed. There may still be a few places available. Please contact us on +44 (0)300 303 5303.

01 Oct 2015 Oct 2016 Not yet available

Registration closes 31/07/15 (places subject to availability)

Click to register
01 Feb 2016 Apr 2017 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/15

This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2020.

What you will study

The module provides an opportunity to pursue research in a topic of your choice based within the broad area of your MSc study. Undertaking the research will enable you to:

  • investigate in depth an issue or problem of professional relevance to yourself and which may also be of relevance to an organisation such as an employer, institution or public body
  • develop your knowledge of recent research in your chosen topic
  • become competent in research methods appropriate to your research topic
  • develop the capacity to plan, organise and carry out an extended independent study at masters level
  • develop skills in the written communication of research work at masters level.

During your study of this module you will learn how to:

  • develop a research proposal
  • carry out a literature search and write a critical state-of-art review
  • select suitable research methods and integrate them within a research methodology
  • carry out research processes
  • analyse results to form conclusions
  • write-up your research in the form of reports (assignments) and a dissertation.

Your research topic will depend very much on your own knowledge and experience and on the modules you took in your diploma, and must be in an appropriate area relating to the subject of your MSc. A supervisor will be appointed to help you develop a formal proposal appropriate for MSc-level work and advise you throughout the research phase.


You must already hold a postgraduate diploma in the relevant programme. Some of these qualifications have time limits for completion, please see the individual qualification descriptions for details.

You also need to have declared your intention to study one of the qualifications listed below.

You can register for a place while you are completing the final module of your diploma or at any time after successful completion, taking account of any time limits for these qualifications. Your module fee is fully refundable if you withdraw before the module start date.

Before module start you will need to decide whether you wish to propose your own topic or select a topic from a list of suggested topics put forward by OU academic staff. Please note that the OU staff topics may not be available in every subject area.

It is important to note that in the case of the MSc in Environmental Decision Making, MSc in Environmental Management, MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice and the MSc in Technology Management there are two routes to your MSc. If you prefer a more business-oriented MSc, you should consider taking The MSc professional project (T847), a 30-credit module lasting six months, instead of this module. Both project modules offer a rigorous approach to solving complex real world problems and enable you to gain essential skills for undertaking research in your own organisation or wider contexts. T847’s study is of reduced scope in comparison with this module, with the necessary constraints this implies, but does offer the flexibility to complete your qualification with a further 30-credit module. This module's longer study allows more depth and develops your academic research skills further.

If you are studying towards more than one masters degree, you will need to complete a separate project for each qualification.

Contact the Postgraduate Technology & Computing (PTC) Office (telephone +44 (0)115 971 5566, or email us) if you want to know more about study on this module before you register.

Preparatory work

You will need to be prepared well before the module begins; you will be asked to provide a synopsis of your research topic so that we can allocate you to an appropriate supervisor. Early registration is strongly advised due to the preparatory work required prior to the start of the module.

To help you in your preparation we have developed the Preparing for T802 website; this is an important resource because of the specific requirements before module start. This site can be accessed via the T802 Future Studies forum on the Postgraduate Technology and Computing (PTC) Office website. Current students have a link to this from their StudentHome page. The T802 preparatory website is available to any student who is currently undertaking, or has undertaken, a postgraduate taught module. You may also get informal advice as to the general suitability of your chosen topic area from the Postgraduate Technology and Computing (PTC) Office (telephone +(44) 0115 971 5566 or email.


T802 is a compulsory module in our:

 T802 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards F05, F13, F26, F37, F42 and F43, which are no longer available to new students.

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before registering.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

You need to consider if there are any constraints in obtaining the type of information you need for your research. Otherwise, there are no further constraints beyond those encountered in obtaining your diploma.

The core teaching material for this module will be delivered online via the module website, so you will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. If either your sight or manual dexterity is seriously impaired, you may find using the web challenging. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support that can be given to meet your needs.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

Learning material is provided. This is entirely web-based although it is possible for you to print out material should you so wish. Online databases for literature searching will be accessible via the OU Library website. You will need to use online forums for the research proposal development stage.

You will need

Use of the internet for: access to the dedicated website, submission of your tutor-marked assignments (eTMAs) and your final dissertation (EMA), access to our online library services including bibliographical databases to help you identify academic sources in your chosen topic area and access to the online forums.

There are no set books but you may need books relevant to the research methodology you use. Note that useful material can be obtained without cost from semi-permanent online sources.

You may find that some of the topics/subject areas require you to have access to and run additional software packages. If you choose such a topic you may need a machine with a higher specification than indicated in the standard computer specification.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2008 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.7 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a supervisor with broad knowledge and skills relevant to your research topic. Your supervisor will advise you during the initial stage of developing a research proposal. You will submit an initial proposal three weeks after module start and then begin the process of refining this over the ensuing two months. You will be required to produce at least three iterations of the proposal prior to the deadline for final submission of proposals. This deadline is approximately three months after module start. Your supervisor will then continue to support you throughout the rest of your research.

You will also have access to our online forums. Communication with your supervisor will be mainly through email and telephone. You are encouraged to plan your communication with your supervisor to suit your research plan.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper. The final dissertation (EMA) must also be submitted online.

Your research proposal has to be approved before you can continue to the research phase. In the research phase you will submit three assignments (TMAs) at intervals of approximately three months.

We expect you to submit your assignments online through the eTMA system. The submission date for the dissertation will be during the final month of the 12-month period of the module.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module starting in October 2014 and February 2015. We expect it to be available twice a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code T802
Credits 60
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Student Reviews

“A very worthwhile research course which provided inspiration to develop some of the research findings following achievement of the MSc....”
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