Skip to main content

MA Dissertation research partnerships with development NGOs

In POLIS we proactively seek out ways in which to embed external partnership into our teaching and research, and one example is the pilot MA Partnership Dissertation Pathway piloted by Dr. Lata Narayanaswamy, which led to the award of a Teaching Enhancement Project Award from the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence (LITE).

This dissertation pathway is designed to achieve two mutually beneficially outcomes:

  • Students gain experience of development policy and practice whilst strengthening their capacity as researchers in ways that respond to real-world problems
  • Non-academic partners are able to draw on a pool of talent as part of a structured and enabling institutional process that can support the generation of rigorous, academic insights to variously fill research gaps, support new directions for their programming or underpin bids for future funding.

Initial findings include increased attainment and greater skills development for students, gained primarily through more sustained, critical engagement with external partners. In 2018 students on this pilot pathway have had their work featured as part of advocacy campaigns and accepted as papers at international conferences as a result of their collaborative endeavours. A blog detailing one student’s experience is available here: 

Links to MA Partnership dissertation students whose research has supported non-academic partner research agendas includes:

  • Bronwen Embleton’s dissertation project is credited in this policy brief, supporting Womankind’s advocacy against violence entitled ‘Breaking the Silence: Ending online violence and abuse against women’s rights activists’,