Writing a Portfolio

Writing a Portfolio

The university rules require that modules of the same level set assignments with more or less equivalent intellectual difficulty and time demands. This is a level 7 post graduate module. As this module is designed to help you think through a range of problems and acquire a broad base of skills we have chosen to examine this part by a portfolio of bite sized assessment chunks that are designed to build up as the course progresses. In total they should involve a similar amount of work and time to the traditional assignment.

Your portfolio should be handed in complete at the end of the bloc BUT you advised to complete the parts by the dates suggested. Be organised!
Part 2 Weighting Words Planning dates for parts
Task 1 12.5% 750 words Start week 3
Task 2 12.5% 750 words Start week 5
Task 3 12.5% 750 words Start week 7
Task 3 12.5% 1 page End week 9
Submission date whole portfolio Monday 31 March 2014

Post Graduate Performance Descriptors Level 7

Indicator % Work will often demonstrate some of the following features
Distinction 70-100
A fine standard of work. The work varies from very good (70-79%), excellent (80-89%) to outstanding (in excess of 90%). Aspects of this work are of a standard which could be considered for future publication in a professional journal. The work demonstrates a high level of originality with challenges to current theory and/or practice and specific, and examples of contestability. There is evidence of mature synthesis of theoretical exemplars, underpinning principles and practical interpretation. No obvious errors in referencing or grammar or syntax. The work demonstrates engagement in an academic debate which presents clear evidence of a considered (possibly deep) understanding of the professional issues studied, the approach adopted and the position taken. The work fully considers the complexity of the context in which it is situated and the impinging external factors; it takes cognisance of differing perspectives and interpretations and recognises dilemmas. Ideas are presented in a succinct manner and conclusions and/or reflections are well reasoned.
Merit 60-69
The work demonstrates a capacity to express views based on sound argument and solid evidence in an articulate and concise way, and, where relevant, to put forward and make use of criteria for the judgment of theories and issues. There is evidence of effective engagement in a critical dialogue relating to professional practice, a clearly presented overview of an area of concern, and a comparative review of key authors, rival theories and major debates. The work demonstrates a willingness to question and to explore issues and to synthesize theoretical perspectives and practical application within a given professional context. Some small repeated errors in grammar or syntax. Possibly failure to apply Harvard referencing standard correctly in places.
Pass 50-59
The structure and focus are evident and relevant to the assignment task. There is evidence of engagement with pertinent issues. Key authors and major debates are clearly presented and there is evidence of suitable basic reading. The work explores and analyses issues, but is not strong on presenting synthesis or evaluations. The work is mainly descriptive, but has achieved all the learning outcomes. Some repeated errors in referencing or grammar or syntax as appropriate.
Fail 40-49
Whilst some of the characteristics of a pass have been demonstrated, the work does not address each of the outcomes for the specified assessment task. There may be little evidence of an ability to apply the principles of the module to a wider context. The work may be an overly descriptive account demonstrating only minimal interpretation, and very limited evidence of analysis, synthesis or evaluation. No counterarguments or alternative frames of reference are generated or considered. There is evidence of sufficient grasp of the module’s learning outcomes to suggest that the participant will be able to retrieve the module on resubmission.
Fail 0-39
The work has failed to address the outcomes of the module briefing and there are fundamental misconceptions of the basis of the module. The work is mainly descriptive with too few references to appropriate literature and little evidence of independent thought or criticality. This work is not coherent and shows severe faults in structure and /or presentation. Faulty application of Harvard referencing standard and/or faulty grammar and syntax. Possibly it includes unsubstantiated statements or assertions. It is unstructured and extremely badly presented. Little or no real attempt to address assignment brief or learning outcomes.

Please note that in these exercises you will be penalised if you go over the word limit.

Research Methods Assessment Task 1
Cognitive bias (750 words maximum excluding any references)

You overhear a person confidently making the following statement

‘Boy racers’ (young men who drive too fast) in Britain seem to choose blue cars. Whenever you see a blue car driven badly it is usually a young male driver. And now young girl racers are more often to be seen in blue cars’.

Consider how the problems of ‘cognitive bias’ might have influenced this observation.

Research Methods Assessment Task 2
Social Desirability Bias (750 words maximum excluding any references)

In 2007 a reputable US polling organisation asked a representative sample of those involved in internet dating about their attitudes to it. The results were as follows.

When you first considered online dating, what were your attitudes toward it? (multiple responses permitted).
Nervous 65
Sceptical 55
Embarrassed 27
Neutral 22
Delighted 20
Confident 10
It was the last resort 10
Consider how ‘social desirability bias’ might have affected the answers given.

Research Methods Assessment Block 2
Task 3 Deconstructing What We See (750 words maximum excluding any references)


You see a young executive at work (male of female) and are impressed by the style of their expensive work clothes. You then notice them out one the evening wearing an expensive pair of designer ripped jeans.


We can read visual images like a text. Nowhere is this more obvious than in fashion where people choose clothes (perhaps unconsciously) to tell stories about themselves.

Can you use the basic ideas of semiotics and the deconstruction of signs to explain why wealthy people might choose to buy and wear ripped clothes (‘distressed clothing’) in their leisure hours? Your analysis should pay attention to the ways in which the display of such clothing might be argued to reflect socio-economic relations, wealth and power etc

Research Methods Assessment Block 2
Task 4 Presentation: ‘The President Can Only Read One Page’ (Line from US TV Series The West Wing)

A banker, an employer and a trade union official have been invited to a TV debate on austerity and the economic recovery. You must brief the one that is your boss – you may choose which. BUT each boss only has time to be briefed in the car on the way to the studio. Write and set out a one page document in Times New Roman 12 summarising the points they should expect to make in the debate.