MGT 4131 Dissertation Module Handbook

January Start 2010/2011 Academic Year Hendon

Module Leader: Hong Woo Workshops tutor: Soroosh Saghiri Business and Management Department

Contents
MGT4131 KEY INFORMATION ..........................................................................................................................III 1 THE DISSERTATION MODULE ................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2. MODULE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES ....................................................................................................................... 1 MODULE REQUIREMENTS ................................................................................................................................ 1 MODULE TIMESCALES: KEY DATES ..................................................................................................................... 3 KEY CONTACTS............................................................................................................................................... 3

WHAT IS A POSTGRADUATE DISSERTATION? ........................................................................................... 5 2.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................................. 5 2.2 TYPES OF PROJECT .............................................................................................................................................. 6 2.3 RESEARCH ETHICS ........................................................................................................................................... 7

3. THE PROJECT PROPOSAL ............................................................................................................................ 8 3.1 3.2 3.3 4. INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................................. 8 THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROPOSAL .................................................................................................................... 8 THE NEXT STAGE .......................................................................................................................................... 10

DEVELOPING THE PROJECT .................................................................................................................... 11 4.1 4.2 4.3 SUPERVISION ............................................................................................................................................... 11 STRUCTURE OF THE PROJECT........................................................................................................................... 13 PHYSICAL PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT......................................................................................................... 17

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ASSESSMENT ......................................................................................................................................... 25 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 THE MARKING CRITERIA ................................................................................................................................ 25 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA GUIDELINES.................................................................................................................. 25 UNIVERSITY ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR LEVEL 4 MODULES .................................................................................. 25 FINAL REMARKS ........................................................................................................................................... 26

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VIVA VOCE EXAMINATIONS ................................................................................................................... 27 6.1 6.2 BASIC OUTLINE OF THE VIVA ........................................................................................................................... 27 WHY YOU MIGHT BE CALLED FOR A VIVA .......................................................................................................... 27

7.

RECOMMENDED READING .................................................................................................................... 28 7.1 7.2 7.3 HOW TO CONDUCT RESEARCH ........................................................................................................................ 28 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................................ 29 LIBRARY RESOURCES ..................................................................................................................................... 29

APPENDICES ................................................................................................................................................... 31 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 APPENDIX I: STAFF INTERESTS IN THE BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT ................................................... 32 APPENDIX II: DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY ...................................................................................................... 33 APPENDIX III: TECHNICAL PRODUCTION OF THE DISSERTATION .............................................................................. 34 APPENDIX IV: PROJECT MODULE SUPERVISOR CONTACT SHEET............................................................................. 35 APPENDIX V: OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION .................................................................................................. 36 APPENDIX VI: DISSERTATION MARKING TEMPLATE ............................................................................................. 37 APPENDIX VII RESEARCH ETHICS INFORMATION ................................................................................................. 45

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MGT4131 Key Information
Module Team
Module Leader Hong Woo Office Hours - Term time – Wednesdays 2.30 to 4.30pm (Making an appointment is advised. Please check times on office door and OasisPlus for any changes.) - Out of term time – by appointment only Office Location: Room W101

Contact details: Email: h.woo@mdx.ac.uk Telephone: 020 8411 5846 Oasis pages: http://oasisplus.mdx.ac.uk Workshop tutor

Soroosh Saghiri Office Hours - Please email (s.saghiri@mdx.ac.uk) for appointment

Key Dates Attend Workshops (compulsory) Submission of your research proposal (compulsory) Allocation of supervisor First meeting/consultation with supervisor Meetings/ consultations with your supervisor (around 3 is recommended) Two copies of final report, together with a CD Rom electronic copy Start: w/c 31st January 2011 16th May 2011 Beginning July 2011 From July 2011 To be agreed with supervisor 20th January 2012 Workshop venue Student Office By email and / or during workshop See Section 1.4 below Contact Sheet to be signed off Student Office

Core textbook Wilson, J. (2010) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project, SAGE Publications Ltd ISBN: 9781848601338

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Workshop Topics Please check your MISIS timetable for the workshop session you are allocated to. Workshops take place every other week and are compulsory.
Workshop number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Workshop topic Introduction to Business Research & Developing a Research Topic Conducting a literature Review & Addressing Ethical Issues Establishing a Research Design Primary Data Collection Using Secondary Data & The Proposal Proposal Discussion Sampling Analyzing Quantitative Data Analysing Qualitative Data Writing up and Presenting your research part 1 Writing up and Presenting your research part 2

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and the limitations and obstacles evident in management research and the availability of approaches enabling these to be overcome You will also be expected to demonstrate your ability to: • • • critically evaluate other people’s research methods and findings.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1 THE DISSERTATION MODULE This handbook sets out the requirements of the postgraduate dissertation modules MGT4131. The purpose of this handbook is to: • • • • Build on the dissertation workshop sessions. and which demonstrates articulate and independent arguments. This piece of work is therefore the most significant assessment in your Masters. deploy the appropriate qualitative or quantitative data collection and analysis techniques for problem solving. The dissertation you submit is your final examination for MGT4131 and is worth 60 credits. and thus maybe your career and job prospects. Identify a timescale for your research. 1 . Two internal examiners will mark your dissertation. you will be expected to demonstrate your understanding of: • • the design and implementation of applied research. Guide you in producing your final report. and use research findings to frame recommendations for change We expect you to produce an acceptable dissertation that fulfils the requirements of your MA which follows the required structure detailed in this handbook. It is also made available to an external examiner. to help you develop your research proposal and your research methodology.2 Module Requirements The requirements of this module are for you to do the following: (1) Attend your dissertation workshops. in your own words as much as possible. and within the conventions and rigour of the wider tradition of social science research.1 Module Aims and Objectives The postgraduate dissertation module allows you to demonstrate your ability to produce academic research which is both systematic and methodical. 1. We also expect your dissertation to address a reallife business and management problem and help improve organisational performance. To this end. This includes a review of the existing literature about your chosen topic area. It can also enhance your CV. 1. Set out the basis of your relationship with your workshop leader and project supervisor.

During May/June the module leader and workshop tutors will assess your proposal. The submission requirements for your dissertation are that: • two typed and bound copies of your completed dissertation must be submitted to the Student Office by the deadline of 20th January 2012 Each copy of the dissertation submitted must be accompanied by an electronic version of the submission as a CD Rom.000 words in length. Your dissertation project proposal is developed by you during the workshops phase of the module. and no less than 12. Students who have extenuating circumstances for not submitting by the deadline may be given a deferral. and (4) Produce a dissertation report of an acceptable academic standard (see Sections 4 – 7 below). and is to be submitted to the Student Office no later than 16th May 2011 (see Section 3 below about the content and structure of your proposal document). (3) Attend your supervision sessions (see Section 4 below).000 words. and you are expected to prepare for them beforehand and take an active part in them. since you are on a Masters in Business and Management (see Appendix I for an indicative list of suitable topic areas). and NOT to the individual supervisors. Please see Section 6 below. excluding appendices. Students may. be required to undertake a Viva Voce examination. In the event of illness. 2 . The proposal is about 2000 words in length. tutors or module leader.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook (2) Produce an acceptable proposal (see Section 3 below). late submission will only be accepted if medical evidence is presented along with a deferral form. and the proposal. is the equivalent of an examination date. It should not be more than 18. you will then be allocated to an appropriate supervisor for your project by July. This must be submitted to Maria Gordon (the Assessment Officer) in the Student Office. You are required to attend these workshops during January – July 2011. These requirements will be discussed extensively in your workshops. and failure to meet this deadline will be reported to the Assessment Board. in exceptional circumstances. The dissertation itself should be approximately 15. Examiners may refuse to assess anything in excess of 18.000 words. • The due date of the project.000 words in length. Appendices must be limited to essential material that supports the main text of the report. This is assessed both as an academic piece of work and as a project management document. One of the main things we will look at in your proposal is whether you have selected an appropriate business and/or management related topic. If it is of an acceptable standard. Failure to attend your workshops without good reason will lead to an X grade (fail incomplete without good reason) as you will not have prepared yourself to complete effectively a dissertation project. The meetings with your supervisor (around 3 is recommended) will be key milestones in your project plan.

Please note that it is important to plan for the last meeting with your supervisor to take place no later than 3 . together with a CD Rom electronic copy Start: w/c 31st January 2011 16th May 2011 Beginning July 2011 From July 2011 To be agreed with supervisor. revision and production of the final version of the project. Here is a table with the key dates: Attend Workshops (compulsory) Submission of your research proposal (compulsory) Allocation of supervisor First meeting/consultation with supervisor Meetings/ consultations with your supervisor (around 3 is recommended) Two copies of final report. and you will need to leave about a week at the end of the period to get your work bound.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1. It is your responsibility to check your University student email accounts and Oasisplus on a regular basis. In particular. it may take over a month for replies to a questionnaire to be returned. please contact Maria. or wait for an interlibrary loan to arrive? In addition. If you are seeking a deferral. Last meeting 6th December 2011 Workshop venue Student Office By email and / or during workshop See Section 1. depending on your other commitments. if you have chosen a survey based approach. Furthermore.uk). With the Assessment Officer The Assessment Officer is Maria Gordon (m. Please remember that TWO copies must be submitted to the Hendon Student Office.4 below Contact Sheet to be signed off Student Office 20th January 2012 The project involves a great deal of work. Contacting your Supervisor You are advised to attend a minimum of 3 meetings with your supervisor. how long will it take to arrange an interview. 1.ac. Please ensure that all your information and contact details are kept current by using MISIS self-service.3 Module Timescales: Key Dates You need to think very carefully about how long things will take: for example. so it is important that you plan this work carefully.4 Key Contacts General Communications during the module Communications about the module and with you will be made to your University student email accounts only. All of these issues should be considered when you are drawing up your timetable. or need to notify us about extenuating circumstances regarding attendance and/or completion of your dissertation. you should not underestimate the length of time necessary to prepare the final version of the dissertation. and as early as possible. do not underestimate the time needed for the writing up.gordon@mdx. This can take at least four to six weeks from the first full draft.

September to November 2011 – later meetings Having confirmed your schedule of supervision meetings. These meetings need to be arranged in consultation with your supervisor. Staff contact details and office hours can usually be found on their office door (see also Section 4). to confirm when your supervision sessions will be. July 2011 – Your first meeting Once you have been notified of your supervisor. If there is no adequate record of attendance your dissertation report may not be accepted for marking. Each meeting must be recorded and signed off at each meeting by your supervisor. contact Amanda Guzinska to confirm the most appropriate means of contacting your supervisor. No later than 6th December 2011. research design Third (and if final meeting): to discuss review of your draft report. it is recommended that you contact them by email to make an appointment to meet or visit them during their Office Hours. and will only be changed with his/her agreement. literature outline.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 6th December 2011. we expect you to keep to your appointments – and on time. A typical programme of your supervision meetings is: First meeting: to confirm the project proposal and its details for study and implementation Second meeting: a check on your aims and objectives. 4 . Alternatively.

MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 2.1 Introduction The first stage of the dissertation process is to identify the type of project you want to undertake and in what subject area. to locate the relevant sources of published information for the topic chosen. it is necessary to briefly summarise the key expectations associated with a postgraduate dissertation. Make the most appropriate use of supervisory resources. Therefore the different types of projects are explained in Section 2. A student must demonstrate: An in-depth knowledge of the chosen research topic. the postgraduate dissertation is a major piece of academic work. and The ability to report the findings in the form of a final substantial dissertation. a rewarding experience which can also be highly enjoyable. Specifically. and requires a student’s full commitment and dedication. Negotiate access to data with a ‘client’ organization or other appropriate stakeholders experiencing or engaged with the real business/management or related policy problem. It must reflect a student’s success in undertaking more advanced and intensive study than would a project prepared for a first degree course. A postgraduate dissertation is required to be a piece of advanced independent work. however. Carry out secondary research. In short. To achieve these outcomes. It is also. and Be able to evaluate their own performance in the achievement of these objectives. WHAT IS A POSTGRADUATE DISSERTATION? Most of the following points are included here to provide a checklist against which your progress can be assessed. Sometimes a particular subject area is most suitably explored using a particular research style. in terms of knowledge and skills. Before considering these points. academic or other business/employment opportunities. 5 .2. the student must: Apply research skills to a real management problem. Manage the project and their own time effectively. The postgraduate dissertation has a number of learning outcomes. 2. displaying evident critical analysis of both the existing literature and of diverse research techniques. personally fulfilling and may lead to further research. however. Practical ability to manage a higher level academic research project. and which seeks as an outcome the resolution of a real life management problem. It should be original work. a student must show ability to: Define a topic which is focused and manageable given the time and resource constraints. building upon and extending prior knowledge and skills.

Outlined below are perhaps the main types of projects you can look at to do. Action Research This is based on critical examination of organizational procedures. Such an 6 . modelling. skills. Part of the evaluation process of a postgraduate dissertation involves a clear understanding of the possible deficiencies of your work. linking them to both the research questions established at the beginning. which are presented in the reading list of this document (Section 7).2 Types of Project Dissertation projects can vary enormously in their purpose. 2. Synthesize and conceptualize the primary data in a clear and logical way. case studies.e. in some sense. and within the context described by the literature review. a hybrid or mix of types. interviews. Collect relevant primary data or secondary data (from survey questionnaires. that has not been previously published. to provide recommendations. focus groups or archival research. In other words. Traditional Empirical Research Collection of statistics and/or data you generate via questionnaires. your work needs to be based upon thorough research and investigation. indepth interviews. Justify all decisions with respect to the chosen research methodology. but you are advised that almost all projects are.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Analyze and critique the secondary data and present them in a logical manner – a formal literature review. archival research et cetera) within the appropriate research methodology. Primary Data Based This is a dissertation that is mainly based upon original data: i. The dissertation process requires the student to demonstrate original thoughts and ideas. and Evaluate the project and state its limitations. In your workshops we will be helping you to explore appropriate topics and subjects for your dissertation. including a demonstration of the rationale for NOT selecting an alternate approach. This is NOT a placement report. but requires that the student fully justifies these thoughts and ideas rather than basing them upon opinion or personal experience. fieldwork. It must involve significant critical analysis rather than just description. and also whether the project is realistically “doable”. Research of this type is best undertaken by individuals working within a company or organization. Please refer to this list for guidance. and it is important that you both highlight these deficiencies and address the solutions you have put in place to overcome these possible deficiencies. focus and in their methods. given your knowledge. Primary data might be collected via a variety of means and may range from the collection and analysis of quantitative survey data to qualitative data such as ethnographic observations. Analyze and interpret your own data. and the relation of objectives and conclusions to the management literature. experience and contacts. and presented in an acceptable and recognised academic style or tradition. There are many extremely useful books identifying alternate research methods.

then descriptive analysis alone is not sufficient. Case Studies Based upon the data you collect on a particular case. Without a completed and signed REA Form. Please read this policy and complete and sign the online REA Form and hand this to your supervisor before you begin the main research for your dissertation. Many of the same concerns mentioned above in relation to case studies are also relevant here. it could be more widely focused. so please check with your supervisor at the time of your dissertation project work. rather than merely a reporting of existing published material. A case study approach can be used to generate a management model with which you can test. The case must be used to test or explore a significant body of theoretical work. meet the ethical requirements of the University. newspaper cuttings and textbooks is insufficient without simultaneous reference to current research in relevant peer reviewed journals. Appendix VII contains the research ethics policy of the Business School and details of the online Research Ethics Approval form. and hence secondary. you will not be allowed to proceed with your dissertation. relating directly to the research questions you is seeking to address. in-depth. please note that a literature review must include a comprehensive overview of the theoretical discipline that you are researching within. Alternatively.. models. 2. upon a small area of study. or set of cases. 7 . Use of cases must be grounded within the existing methodological literature on the use of case studies. However.3 Research Ethics Middlesex University requires that all research undertaken by members of the university. and reference to magazine articles. surveys. but to a lesser depth. Work of this nature may take the form of a review of theoretical works. Students may choose to base their analysis on previously published case study material: i. and is an essential element in any higher research project. The review could be tightly focused. Literature Review This is a review of current theoretical works on a designated topic or title. Secondary Based Case Study Analysis. It must include a significant element of critical analysis. hypothesize about or explore current management theory. including students conducting their dissertations. and should not be overly descriptive. surveys and observations. The review must be focused. Literature Based This approach is based upon previously published. and in some depth. critical and not merely descriptive.e.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook approach may also involve the generation of primary data via interviews. cases et cetera. data. These requirements are subject to change. material. If a single case is proposed.

The recommended title length is about 8 to 10 words. in conjunction with the Management research training sessions that are a part of the MGT4131 module. as well as a checklist of fundamental elements of the proposal that you need to consider and include in your finished project.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 3. so you have clear focus about what you are and are not doing in your dissertation. You may have a short title. You will explore this in the workshops.2 below. and must conform to the structure as set out in Section 3. The section clarifies where your proposal fits into a wider business and management debate. you now need to prepare a project proposal. The project proposal has to outline how you see your dissertation will make a contribution to existing knowledge. 3. This section outlines guidelines for what needs to be in your proposal. All of the parts of your proposal. Your proposal must be about 2000 words in length (plus or minus 20%). 3. will have provided you with an opportunity to identify a) a suitable topic or theme for your dissertation and b) the appropriate methodological approach to undertake this project. your participation in your core and elective modules. environment and hence the starting point for you of your project or the topic you are dealing with. but essentially decisions taken at this stage will shape the success of your project. as set out below. A Draft Title The title must seek to convey the specific nature of your project and should be fully explanatory. or by extending an existing debate. Aspects of the proposal may change over the duration of the project. 8 .2 The Structure of the Proposal The purpose of this section is to indicate to you both the information your supervisor will be looking for in a project proposal.1 Introduction Aside from developing learning outcomes in terms of Knowledge and Skills. including in the literature. THE PROJECT PROPOSAL Successful completion of an acceptable Project Proposal is necessary for effective progress onto Module MGT4131. with a sub-title that sets out more precisely what the dissertation is about. This is where you comment on the setting. so please give them your fullest consideration. Background This brief section sets the scene and the context of your project. You will work on these details in your workshops. testing an existing managerial concept or theory. Avoid excessively long titles. need to be shown to your assessors – your workshop tutor and the module leader. by solving an outstanding problem. Having established a theme and chosen a methodology. and for you. This is really important for your readers.

that then provides a base from which you write a set of research objectives. Detailed Proposed Methodology You need to indicate the nature of your research design. Ensure that you cite these sources correctly and list them in the references at the end of your proposal. key persons who may provide you with access for the purposes of interviews or surveys et cetera. It helps set out the purpose of your proposed work.) Moreover. or AIM. Only include references that you have cited. The appropriate sources of data and/or information. You should include a short review of the literature featuring at least ten key references (you may have already referred to more than one of these in the Background section). it is where you will (start to) demonstrate your grasp of the existing knowledge in the particular field of interest. Research Questions The section should provide a clear indication of what your research seeks to achieve. Your arguments against selecting alternate methodological approaches. Begin with a general focus research question. In essence the section should explain and substantiate that the research project would improve understanding of a particular business or management problem and why/how the findings would be of practical relevance and value to the associated stakeholders.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Initial Review of the Literature and Key References All of the above require knowledge of the wider academic literature. and the merits of this particular approach given the nature of the chosen research problem. emphasizing: Your chosen methodological approach. whether primary or secondary – this should include the data sets you are seeking to access. in addition to indicating the literature sources that will need to be examined in greater detail during the main course of the study. It will build on what you have written in the background section by showing a clear link between the previous work that has been done in the field of research and the content of your proposal. Overall AIM Specific Research OBJECTIVES Contribution (and Expected Outcomes) This section should provide justification for the selection of the topic and hence the research question(s) that the project is addressing. Your strategy and methods for collecting data. It should explain: Your reason for selecting the topic Why the topic is of particular interest to you Whether the topic addresses a real management problem existing within your organization or of which you have previous experience or knowledge The (broad) expected outcomes of the project Why you feel the research that you are planning is worth the effort – why is it important? (The importance of “doing the study now” may be emphasised. 9 .

It is therefore extremely important at this Project Proposal development stage that you are realistic in your project development plans and give due consideration to its likely feasibility and its potential vulnerabilities. equipment and any other logistical consideration e. please indicate this suggestion within your proposal. Submission of an acceptable project proposal is required for you to progress to undertake your dissertation research project. Alternatively. This is also much easier to construct within a word processed document. running a survey to collect primary data. This is especially relevant if you wish to follow a research topic already taught to you on your current Master’s Programme by that member of staff. it may be necessary to alter the research design and nature of the research so that the project can be completed on the basis of secondary (literature based) research that does not rely on potentially vulnerable primary data collection exercise(s) in terms of the timescales involved. 3.3 The Next Stage Your project proposal will be used to identify a suitable supervisor for you from within the Middlesex University Business School. You may wish to suggest a member of faculty. a simple clear list of the start and finish dates for each of the key activities is acceptable.g. indicating the timing of key milestones. As such it provides an indication of the viability of your proposal in terms of finance. then you may be required to choose another topic that would be feasible within the timescale or be much more focused within the current proposal. CAUTION . Your proposal will be reviewed by the module leader and appointed supervisor soon after its submission.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Timetable of Key Activities Management of time is a crucial task for the successful completion of your project. will be taken by the module leader in consultation with academic colleagues. However. data access. see Draft Title section previously. The ultimate decision. In the event that the nature of the proposition is such that there is doubt that it would be feasible to complete the research and submit the dissertation by the stipulated hand-in date. your Project Proposal should present the details of a research investigation proposition that can be completed and submitted by the stipulated submission deadline. It is recommended that you plot the key activities using a Gantt chart. and developing a plan of when you expect key activities to occur by is important. however.IMPORTANT NOTE: Overall. Resources This section will provide a clear indication of the resource implications of the proposed project and associated methodology. 10 .

and provide a focus to their research without some consultation with a supervisor.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 4. up until the project is completed. Most importantly. it is your responsibility to identify other viable methods of communication. She/he will provide you with guidance during the whole process from choosing a topic to finalizing your project. Suggestions for establishing an initial contact with your supervisor were given in Section 1. To maximize the potential of your project. Students will almost certainly find it difficult to structure their thoughts and ideas.1 DEVELOPING THE PROJECT Supervision You cannot undertake a project without supervision. especially in terms of data collection from either primary or secondary sources and data analysis. A successful dissertation may be subject to substantial revisions. a supervisor who has had no contact with a student may choose not to mark their dissertation or request a viva voce examination. in order that you are available to meet face-to-face with your supervisor and other people. In addition. or even redrafts. 11 . Your Role It is your responsibility to attend meetings with your supervisor either during office hours or at other prior arranged meetings in order to obtain relevant information and comments to ensure the good conduct of your dissertation. Work on your dissertation steadily and regularly to ensure that you retain a focus on and understanding of your work. Remaining in the UK during your project Please note that you are expected to remain in the UK and on campus. Please take this into consideration when planning the progress of your proposed research. If face-to-face meetings are difficult to arrange. you must make the most of your specially allocated dissertation supervisor.4 of this document. in the appropriate format as delineated in the next section. 4. Towards the end. students who do not work with their supervisor on their dissertation have greater difficulty in passing the module. begin the research (and the writing) early. Do not underestimate the amount of time that research can take. The Role of the workshop tutors and module leader Your workshop tutor is a facilitator. You are not expected to be absent from the University or leave the UK. before it is suitable for submission. unless you obtain specific written permission from your supervisor and/or the module leader for a specified period for your research. You should set realistic objectives for your research and a feasible time frame. For example. students often have access to or have collected the relevant information but they do not know how to package or present that information without reference to the experience of a supervisor. it will take a substantial amount of time to edit the dissertation and make sure it is properly presented. Historically.

which can also act as deadlines and milestones to motivate you to complete particular stages of your work. or methods. not to do the work for you. IP telephony or postal communications is strongly recommended if arranging mutually convenient meeting times proves difficult. Secure ‘chat’ facilities are available within Oasis. If you are likely to miss an appointment ensure that you inform your supervisor as soon as possible. 12 . it is required for students to email a brief summary of their discussion. of communication. The supervisory relationship provides a unique opportunity for a detailed exchange of ideas and plans. Plan ahead.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Managing Your Relationship with Your Supervisor It is essential for you to keep in regular contact with your supervisor. Indeed. the quality of the student supervisor relationship is extremely important. and Keep written notes of the comments of your discussions with your supervisor. specifically. and Miss appointments unless it is absolutely unavoidable. if arranging face-to-face meetings proves difficult. who will guide your work throughout the development of your dissertation. You SHOULD NOT: Expect your supervisor to be a proof reader. Please discuss with your supervisor the most convenient. You are advised to agree with your supervisor what is best for you. for advice and instruction particularly over empirical investigation. Consider alternate methods of communication with your supervisor. It is your responsibility to remember what is discussed and to remind your supervisor if necessary. You SHOULD: Arrange to meet your supervisor face to face at least three times. web. He/she is there to give you guidance. after meeting with your supervisor. Students are advised that the use of email. Here are some key points you should consider. Please note that your supervisor is under no obligation to chase you. for the confirmation of good practice. you must ensure that your email inbox is not too full!). using email for instance can speed up the reviewing process. Ensure that the Project Module Supervisor Contact Sheet is duly completed [see Appendix IV] and included in the Appendix of your dissertation. (if you email. These are the absolute minimum requirements and more meetings are encouraged. effective and appropriate method. telephone. In addition. In short. Supervisors usually have a very heavy workload and therefore you are advised to make advance appointments and not just show up and expect to be seen. and for personal support and evaluative feedback. It is important that you comply with this directive. Make appointments for specific dates and times with agreed agendas. reiterating the tasks and stated objectives. Give your supervisor sufficient time to read your material in order for you to receive good feedback. Two of the meetings should be in the early stages of your work. with one towards the end when the final touches are being added.

Findings/Data analysis 5. The following structure is common to all types of projects in all areas of study. Literature Review 3. The elements detailed should be present in EVERY project. Your creativity and initiative should be better put to use in your choice of methodology.2 Structure of the Project It is strongly advisable to follow closely the guidelines mentioned in this report in terms of your project’s structure. Title Page This should show: The title Your name Your student number The programme you are on and the year. Main Outline i. which represent common practice in the academic field. 1. 1.g.List of tables . The only difference between projects is the relative importance of each section.2. 1. analysis and interpretation of data. Methodology 4.1.2. Table of illustrations .MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 4. Summary iv. Title page iii. 1. 1. Discussion and conclusion List of references (actual references used) The project is arranged in CHAPTERS and use the numbering structure used in this document e. Introduction 2. The student must sign it. if applicable The date 13 . Table of Contents vi.2 Appendices Detailed Outline Declaration This declaration should be at the front of your project and reproduced exactly as in Appendix II. Acknowledgements v. Declaration of Originality (see appendix I) ii.List of Figures Main body 1.1. determined by the type of project undertaken. Your tutor will judge your project according to these criteria.2.

not opinion. the list of all the figures presented in the body of the report. It should be in the third person and present tense. Table of Contents This should show: The full list of sections within the report (including any appendices and reference lists). What is the focus of the study? You should have the answers to these questions in your mind as you undertake the project. and The page number on which each section begins List of Illustrations This includes the Table of Figures.4. Who is likely to be interested in it? 4. and should include brief details of any information necessary for the reader to understand it. What is the possible use of research? 6. i. Please see Section 4. Why are you doing it? 3. e. What exactly is the hypothesis or problem? 5.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Executive Summary A one-page summary which outlines what the report says (this is also referred to in some cases as an abstract). Chapter 1 Introduction This should give a succinct explanation of the aims/context of the report.1. You must back up what you write with evidence and/or argument. However projects evolve over time and therefore writing the final text for this section is often best left until the end of the project 14 . It can be thought of as a promotional introduction for the rest of the report. Please see Section 4. avoid writing "I feel ". It should explain the purpose of the study and the problems you are trying to solve.2 for referencing and numbering of figures. Acknowledgements Acknowledgements are part of standard dissertation etiquette. An introduction should answer the following questions: 1.e. and Table of Tables: This is the list of all the tables presented in the body of your reports.3 for referencing and numbering of tables. This should concentrate on key points that you might wish a casual reader browsing through the report to notice. Chapters This is where you present your main account of the problem you are writing about.4. and written in the third person. This means you must substantiate each assertion you make with references to concepts and models in the literature or by building a logical argument based on previously cited examples/evidence. What is going to be done? 2. and allow you the opportunity to thank any organization or person (including your supervisor) who has provided information or given substantial help during the development of your project. It should be based on analysis.g.1. You should write this last.

The methodology section is normally detailed in a separate chapter but may sometimes be placed in the introduction. as well as briefly identifying their strengths and weaknesses compared to the selected one.e. No matter what type of project your work is IT MUST HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL METHODOLOGY SECTION. Do they prove or refute a hypothesis? 15 . What is your interpretation of them? 3. What data have been found? 2. Your approach to the investigation should be fully justified i. Chapter 2 Literature Review The literature review informs the reader of the relevant works already published in your field of research. E. you should report how you investigated the problem at hand. 6. What are the limitations of your chosen method? 5. you should show awareness of other approaches and methods. How did you approach the empirical work? 2. written or research about your topic? 2. What techniques (or methods) have been chosen? Why? 3. This may also be an appropriate point to introduce your conceptual framework. using the appropriate technique. That means every statement you make about the theory surrounding this topic must state the author and date of the publication from which you found it. and can break up the monotony of long passages of text. wherever appropriate. observations and measurements will be needed? 4. charts et cetera. theory or hypothesis to be tested.g. tests. What have others said. Chapter 4 Data analysis & Discussion In this section. The literature review should answer the following questions: 1. The scope and limitations of the chosen method should also be discussed. The methodology section should answer the following questions: 1.mdx. Chapter 3 Methodology In the methodology section. Consider presenting material in the form of diagrams. rather than merely descriptive.pdf 5. you should analyse your data. Holt (1998) in a study of firms who had gained an environmental management standard notes that the main benefits appear to be… (see http://www.ac.uk/Helpsheets/Study%20Skills/HSS. What sample.lr. A literature review is a critical review. How does the literature relate to your research questions? 4. You should report the main streams of ideas and concepts other authors have developed and that help understanding and justifying you own study. The following questions should be answered: 1.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Sometimes the methodology is detailed here (but only if it is a brief methodology). The literature review must conclude with a concise summary of the relevant themes and the main concepts you will use in your study. The introduction must state the ‘AIMS & OBJECTIVES of STUDY’. These are easier to grasp. What theories support your topic? 3. This section should be fully referenced.

Conclusions. Strict standards should be followed when quoting other authors’ works in the body of your report and compiling the list of references. Any material in an appendix does not count towards the word length. are necessary or would benefit the organisations studied. It may not always be appropriate to make recommendations. nor will it attract any marks. The following questions should be answered in the concluding section: How can you summarise the work? Are there any limitations to this project. Don't confuse conclusions (where you draw together the threads of the preceding discussion to make some overall points) with recommendations (where you say what should be done about the conclusions you have reached). are always required. Your conclusion should include a summary of your results but must also relate them to the aims and objectives identified in the introductory chapter. load your appendices with material 16 . They should not be unsubstantiated assertion of opinion. which your conclusions lead you to believe. Your findings should be discussed with reference to the literature presented in the literature review and the stated aims and objectives outlined in the introductory chapter. and you need to indicate what form this extra research will take. however. if it were included in the main body of the report. would interrupt the flow of the argument you are developing. Because of these limitations. Its main purpose is to allow you to include important information that. You should not. the methods employed? Because of these limitations. Recommendations may be included in the conclusion or as a separate chapter. argumentation. however. and the area in which it is to be located? Are there any actions or recommendations to be taken? Was it all successful? List of References This is the list of sources referred to directly in your report. Chapter 5 Conclusion and Recommendations This is where you sum up the general conclusions you have reached. and conclusions. If you have mentioned a writer or a book (even a course book) you must give full details here. amplifies or puts in context the arguments and evidence you have presented there. Any limitations of your methodology or results should be discussed. This is explained in detail later.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 4. you should also mention future avenues for investigations. Appendices This is where you place any information whose inclusion is not central to the main body of the report but which explains. The recommendations must be based on the analysis. further research and investigation is needed. Recommendations are actions.

Your tutor will ignore this material and the flow of your argument will suffer as a result. If you are using a word processor then run the spell checker regularly. A clear reference to the appendix must be made in the main text. or failing that. and then find the simplest. Present one 'theme' per paragraph.although you will eventually have to stop. Use an impersonal style: . Re-write and re-write: you may have to rewrite a sentence or paragraph several times before you are satisfied that it conveys the idea that you are trying to communicate . a copy of your questionnaire. present. clearest and most concise way of saying it. ."We" means "you and me together" and should be avoided as well. If you do not know the correct usage or spelling of a word then look it up in a dictionary.do not use long words that only you understand. and define them if your readers are not familiar with them."I" is usually to be avoided. or long lists of numbers. read it out loud to yourself. Keep sentences short and construct them carefully. Decide what you want to say. Read out your work to a friend. 4. Be careful about tenses (past.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook central to your argument in order to subvert the word count. Check for spelling and proper usage of words. but the main body must include a summary of the information you place in the appendix. You do not put any material (e. Ensure that the Project Module Supervisor Contact Sheet is duly completed and included. but remember that this will not pick up incorrect usage. future).3 Physical Presentation of the Project Guidelines for Writing Writing Style Remember your audience: in academic work. Use sub-headings to structure your thoughts. diagrams) that you have to refer to in order to understand the project. Try to avoid jargon.g. for instance. or which other authors have used but that you do not understand. but use them sparingly. Aim for clarity and simplicity in the wording . You will need some technical terms. you can aim at someone who has the same knowledge as you had before you began the work you are reporting on. 17 . The appendix is an ideal place for. Draw together key points and implications.

Do not use abbreviations. follow the guidelines.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Abbreviations Avoid them where possible. is short for ‘videlicet’. Do not use very small font sizes. Write Figure 2-1 and not Fig. or ‘in contrast with’. i. Tables . can often be replaced by ‘and so on’. try replacing it with ‘against’. in the main text. and 20-30 can be used in tables). 18 . Leave two spaces after the full stop at the end of a sentence.600.e.294. write number not no. 1. Figure titles should be written in title case and centred underneath the figure. Never use underlining. Figure numbering: Figures should be numbered chronologically within each chapter (Figure 3-4: Fourth figure in Chapter 3). using Arabic rather than Roman numerals..don't insert extra hard returns. 2-1. and vs. so many people prefer to omit the full stops) can be replaced by ‘for example’ or ‘for instance’.’ or ‘The results of the survey show a high concentration of relevant cases in the high income groups category (Figure 3-2)’. Figures Reference in text: Figures should be referred to in the text as ‘Figure 3-2 illustrates. ensure you observe proper conventions on labelling and annotation. The word versus (shortened to v. Even standard abbreviations are best spelt out: e.keep simple. is best replaced by ‘that is’.. (which is usually followed by a comma or colon. in American) should probably be reserved for legal cases and sport. viz.g. which means ‘namely’. Graphs . or v in British English.don't use unnecessarily. Use a proportionally spaced roman font. Number all pages. etc. But even better is: Annual turnover was £75 million. Never use the space-bar for laying out text or tables. with a capital ‘F’.. For example: write Figure 1 not Fig. ‘as opposed to’. They must be directly relevant and referred to. It is better to say: Annual turnover was £75. Word Processing Here are some basic rules: The text will 'word-wrap' . and write 20 to 30 not 20 > 30 or 20-30 (although the financial year 1995-96 is acceptable. If you do. preferably 12 point Data Analysis and Presentation Numbers Don't say: Annual turnover was £75294600.

Calibri or Arial) of 12 point. Simplify the layout if possible: Consider transposing the rows and columns . over the full range 0 to 9). or 'right-aligned' if no decimal places are given. Numerals in a column should normally be 'decimal-aligned' (decimal points vertically above each other). and so on) . Diagrams. tables etc. 19 . fancy colouring.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Tables Explain what data are included in the table: Always give a clear title. use a comma (or possibly a space) as a 'thousands separator'. Details of the specifications for the technical production of the dissertation are given in Appendix III. If there is no natural ordering (for instance by year. Minimise the use of space. and horizontal lines used sparingly. Pages should be numbered throughout. Include column or row totals (or summary statistics such as averages) where these are meaningful. Table titles should be written in sentence case above the table. and aligned with the left edge of the table. and clear row and column headings. As with numerals in text. in large tables. blank space can be used to separate the rows into groups of about 5. or the values in the most important row or column. in the kind of data displayed. lines and other 'junk' (shading. unless all or most of them are less than 10%. should be numbered. State the units of measurement.g. Times Roman. The project should be case bound and appropriately titled on the front and spine. Guidelines for Presentation The report should be typed using one and a half spacing and proportionally spaced fonts (e. Simplify the data values if possible. thus percentages should usually be given to the nearest whole number. but it is easier to compare figures down a column than across a row. Use the same numbering method and referencing in the text as you would for figures. then consider ordering the rows and columns numerically.a table with more rows than columns will be easier to fit on the page. and give the source of the data. or on a scale from 'very bad' to ‘very good'). in which case one decimal place should be used. except that Roman numerals should be used instead of Arabic.using totals.vertical lines should be avoided except where absolutely necessary. though you will probably prefer to use small Roman numerals for the 'front matter’ (items I to V) and start the main body of the report with page 1. Give all values to 2 effective digits (where an effective digit is defined to be one which can vary.

conference reports. lost or stolen discs. photocopying and binding. Where do you put your list of references in the finished work? The list of references should come at the very end of the work after the appendices. etc. A list of references is the list of all the publications quoted from or referred to in the text. Loss of material due to accidental deletion. If you do not acknowledge the source of your material it is in fact theft of someone’s material and therefore may be treated as such. corrupt disks etc. make sure you are using the appropriate style for the discipline. make sure you have an adequate back-up system. journal articles. video etc. Your completed written work must acknowledge the sources from which you have obtained your information. thesis. The details vary according to the type of material used: book. You are strongly advised to make three copies and keep one for yourself. A bibliography is the list of all the work consulted to carry out a research project.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook You must submit TWO copies of the report. Referencing General Considerations When preparing a dissertation you will need to consult the published literature. What is required for the dissertation is a list of references and NOT a bibliography. Use Oasis as a backup. How do you compile your list of references? Keep a list of the full bibliographic details of every work consulted during your research. Bibliographic style can vary from one discipline to another. It is your responsibility to arrange and pay for typing. It is your responsibility to make sure that the project is finished within a reasonable timescale to allow for problems of this nature. What are full bibliographic details? These are the publication details of the works themselves. 20 . (2) To demonstrate the body of knowledge upon which your research is based. or damaged. article. The University will keep the copies you submit. (3) To enable all those who read your work to identify and locate your sources easily. First. This section provides guidelines on how to cite (refer to) those sources in your final text and how to compile a list of reference. If you do this. Many students prefer to type their own reports using appropriate word-processing software. Where more than one author has the same surname. Why is it important? (1) To acknowledge debts to other writers. There will be NO allowances made for late submission due to IT and computer failures. books. will not be considered an acceptable reason for late submission. You need to use the Harvard referencing system. some clarification about the terms ‘bibliography’ and ‘list of references’ should be made. It should take the form of one alphabetical list of the cited works. Index cards or computer files are useful for that as new items can be added into an alphabetical sequence without any trouble.

Where more than one work by the same author are given these should be arranged in chronological order. 1990. give only the first author's surname followed by et al. etc. For a work with six or more authors. Citations in Text Citations within the text direct readers to the list of references at the end of the text. put name. The author's surname. Include only Smith and Jones in the bibliography. 21 . Example: There is evidence (Smith 1990) that the statistical analysis is unsound. ‘b’. You should acknowledge that you did not consult the original source. separating the names of the authors with commas. Jones and Jones (1990) have provided evidence that the statistical analysis is unsound. date and page number in brackets. the surnames of both separated by ‘and’ should be given before the date: Example: Smith and Jones (1990) have provided evidence that the statistical analysis is unsound. Example: Smith. p. 64). Works published in the same year by the same author: If an author has more than one publication in the same year. Articles in edited works: Cite under the name of the author(s) of the paper not under the name of the editor. If the author's name forms part of the statement put the date and page number in brackets: Example: Smith (1990) has provided evidence that the statistical analysis is unsound. Special Cases Secondary sources are referred to as citing the work of one author found in the work of another. the surname of the first author followed by et al. the last comma followed by ‘and’. In the first citation of a work with three to six authors. Both date and letter are used in citing the source.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook initials determine the alphabetical sequence. Works by more than one author are entered under the name which first appears on the title page and are listed after works written or edited independently by this author. If the author's name does not form part of the statement in the text. give the surnames of all authors (order in which authors are given is that of the title page). year of publication and page number(s) (only when quoting) should appear in the text. If there are two authors. are added to the year. (1990) have provided evidence that the statistical analysis is unsound. Example: Supporting evidence appears in a study by Black (cited in Smith and Jones. Example: Smith et al. ‘cited in’ indicates that the references to Black’s study were found in Smith and Jones. suffixes ‘a’. Subsequent references should be in abbreviated form.

with a full stop. List of References . pp. letter-by-letter (ignoring word spaces). pp. London: Bell and Howell. (1990). Freedom to learn. single-spaced and indented. miss this out).Order of details: Author (surname first) Date of publication (in round brackets). Vol. for single page or pp. Books .) Access and Alternative Futures for Higher Education.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Example: Smith (1990a. (1983). London: Hodder and Stoughton. Title of article. The Guardian. 97. author. London: Cassell. Example: 'Mr Pattern's question paper put to the test'. title etc.. Chapters in Books . (1). Page number(s) (abbreviated to p. (1993). Place of publication: publisher. Title of article (in single inverted commas). for multiple pages) Examples: Hyland. p. use small letters for all other words. NOTE: You may need to combine examples to provide the necessary information on a source. ed. Page number(s) Column number (in brackets). Name of newspaper (in italic). C. Examples: Claxton. 23) concluded "there was a fundamental discrepancy in the original data". 2nd. use initials. T. 'Professional development and competence . Journal of Education for Teaching. (1985). Volume number Issue number. Editor (Initials first). Wake (Eds. the first letter of the subtitle and proper names. The title of books and journals should be italicised and written in title case (use of capitals for the first letters of key words)..e. 19 Iss. Title of journal (in italic). Examples: Higginson. Direct quotations: Quotation marks are used to enclose direct quotations from speech and writing. 145-164. Quotes of less than three lines can be included in the text. Teaching to learn. Vol. Do NOT underline the title of articles. Newspaper Articles . Tuesday 8 June 1993.Order of details: Author of chapter Date of publication. Guardian Education.General Principles Lists of references are arranged alphabetically by author's surnames.Order of details: Author of article (surname first) Date of publication (in round brackets). 'A levels and the future'. NOT Christian name. p. in G. Quotes of more than three lines should be separated from the text. Example: Smith (1990. G. G. use "and" to separate surnames. 22 . Title of chapter (in single inverted commas). Do NOT use quotation marks for longer quotations. Putnam. 1. 11. For articles use capitals for the first letter of the first word of the title.Order of details: Name of author(s) (If no name given. 23) has provided evidence that the statistical analysis is unsound.based education'. Place of publication: publisher. Title of book (in italic). Parry and C. (1990). Separate surnames with commas. p. date. J. Separate the parts of the reference i. Rogers. Full date of publication. Page numbers(s). 123-132. Title (in italic). Articles in Journals . p. Educational Studies. Edition (NOTE if not first edition). 2. 'Applications of classroom management research findings'.

Title of report (in italic). 'Transfer from junior to secondary: The child's perspective'.ac.Order of details: Government Department Date (brackets). [Plowden Report].mdx. 23-47. Government Reports . Example: Middlesex University School of Management. you should indicate the full details of where the document can be found. Further information is available on the University’s Library web pages at http://www. http://www. http://www. Place of publication: Publisher.mdx. Title (in italic).mdx. p. as well as the date of the search. Videotape and other non-print materials . click on the hyperlink ‘School of Management’. Circular details.).MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Brown. in M. It is important to mention the date of the search as Internet pages are being up-dated on a regular basis. (1991). Series details. and Armstrong. (Director) and Smith J. Popular title [in square brackets].B. (if any). Windsor: NFER. The Education Reform Act 1988: The School Curriculum and Assessment. you should click on the hyperlink ‘Faculties and Schools’. (1989).pdf 23 . (1986).uk/mdx/schools/mubsm. Youngman (Ed. Electronic References The wide use of the Internet among students led to the development of a system of referencing for this medium.B. It has to be noted that Internet references are not refereed. Supporting students in flexible learning. (Videotape). with the date of the search: Example: Middlesex University Faculties and Schools. (Producer). Title (in italic). but including a site address and a date. London: HMSO. Place of publication: Publisher. 16 June 1997.html#m. 16 June 1997.ac.Order of details: Government Department Date (brackets). Government Circulars .uk. These are referenced as a hard copy would be.ac. the information you found might not be available in the same format at a later date. and therefore are not always reliable. If more information about the School of Management is needed. J. Children and their primary schools. London: National Council for Educational Technology. Example: Wright. Circular 5/89.P.uk/Helpsheets/Study%20Skills/HSS. J. Internet references should be listed in a separate section. Medium (in brackets). The following address will appear on the screen and should be mentioned in full. When downloading documents from the Internet and using them as references for your project. As a consequence. 16 June 1997. When you are in this home page. Example: Department of Education and Science. London: HMSO. Example: Middlesex University Home Page.lr. MidSchooling Transfer.ac.mdx. There are a number of electronic journals and other authored works on the Net.Order of details: Director Producer Date (in brackets). M.uk/mdx/faculties/index.html. after the general references. Place of publication: Publisher. if you want more information on faculties and schools. Example: Central Advisory Council for Education (England) (1967). http://www.

these are available from your module contents page in Oasis. very short extracts from important documents. 24 . if you really feel that your report would not be intelligible without such material then include a short summary. In summary. Relevant material. lecture notes or handouts may be included but must always be acknowledged. chapters repeating standard textbook material are best avoided. you should avoid the use of over-lengthy quotations. properly quoted (enclosed in “…”). There are also guides available at your disposal to help you avoid plagiarism. the penalty can be very severe.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Plagiarism Middlesex University takes a very serious view towards plagiarism. with appropriate references. To quote without acknowledgement is plagiarism. The easiest way of ensuring this is to include in your report only the work that you have done. which is considered equivalent to cheating in an examination. and MUST NEVER QUOTE FROM ANOTHER WORK WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING THE SOURCE. in an appendix. The only exception is clearly acknowledged. your project must be entirely in your own words. In other words. Apart from brief introductory material.

employing advanced skills to conduct research. Each individual investigation requires the design and execution of a relevant and justifiable rigorous research process. 5. that your dissertation addresses each of the following: Research Question(s) – Aims and Objectives Interpretation Literature Review Contribution Content Methodology Data Analysis Conclusions Recommendations Language and presentation These assessment criteria guidelines are reflected in the MGT4131 / MGT4151 Dissertation marking template reproduced in Appendix V.2 Assessment Criteria Guidelines The nature of individual projects will differ. Such a process dictates that there will be a number of common elements. The project process however will be fundamentally the same for all students. analysis and interpretation of data or evidence. a third opinion may be sought from the Module Leader.1 ASSESSMENT The Marking Criteria The final report will be read and marked by two members of staff. These common elements form the basis of the dissertation evaluation criteria that the markers will employ. as will the form of their outcomes.Summary of level descriptor Learning accredited at this level will reflect the ability to: display mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills. one of whom will normally be your supervisor. 25 . and should be viewed in conjunction with the University Assessment Criteria for Level 4 Modules detailed below.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 5. therefore. 5. based on collection. You should ensure. 5.3 University Assessment Criteria for Level 4 Modules MU Level 4 . If the two markers do not agree. they will normally agree on a mark for your project. or advanced technical or professional activity.

Processes Process: Conduct research. The learner is responsible for initiating supervisory and peer support contacts. you will be required to demonstrate: extensive and relevant reading an understanding of the theories that underpin the research meticulous empirical work a knowledge of academic conventions the ability to report effectively. Highly complex tasks and procedures are featured at this level. 5.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook accepting accountability for related decision making including use of supervision. More specifically. Communicate results of research to peers. Skills: Demonstrate expertise in highly specialised and advanced technical. 26 . The most significant characteristic is the exploration of boundaries where preceding levels focused on knowledge and skills within them. Accountability is usually to peers rather than to superiors. Role and function: Design and apply appropriate research methodologies. or advanced technical or professional activity. Although the project involves a great deal of work. Accountability Autonomy: Accept accountability in related decision making. including use of supervision. Level descriptors i. ii. it is something that you should find interesting and enjoyable. professional and/or research skills. iii. Intellectual skills and attributes Knowledge: Display mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills.4 Final Remarks The dissertation gives you an opportunity to demonstrate how you are able to work on your own and tackle a problem in depth.

a justification of the conclusions reached and recommendations made. The viva is an opportunity for the markers to gain a better understanding of the project objectives. which may have a bearing upon the grade awarded. The best way to avoid the need for a Viva is to establish and maintain a good working relationship with your supervisor. 27 . your chosen methodology. If you are requested to sit a Viva examination. 6. more details about. and the knowledge that you have acquired during the research.1. and There may be particular aspects of the dissertation that the supervisor needs to clarify.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 6. With the exception of proven instances of plagiarism. and conclusions. a clarification of your objectives. and be prepared to answer questions such as those outlined in Section 6. A Viva is a verbal defence of the student’s work in front of their supervisor and/or second marker. you should come prepared to answer questions about your project. 6. and a justification of. a Viva examination can not result in the reduction of an awarded grade. The best way to prepare for a Viva is to read through your project. an explanation of the sources and location of primary and secondary data presented during the dissertation. You should bring with you a copy of your dissertation and be able to refer to the appropriate pages. areas where you dissertation could have been improved. It may last up to 45 minutes. Typically. students may be required to face a Viva for one of three reasons: The supervisor is concerned about the possibility of plagiarism. methodology.2 Why you Might be Called for a Viva The decision to request that a student undertakes a Viva is typically taken by their supervisor. A student has not attended sessions with their supervisor. a student may be asked to undertake a Viva Voce examination. if required.1 Viva Voce Examinations Basic Outline of the Viva In exceptional circumstances. which may include the following issues: your reasons for a choice of topic.

and Tight. ISBN 07619 70088 Other Useful Points of Reference include: Bell. J. P. Essential Skills for Management Research: Sage Publications. Thornhill. The module tutor for the research workshops will recommend specific books from this list of useful texts. Doing Your Research Project. Editor (2002). R. RECOMMENDED READING The core text for this module is: Wilson. Palgrave. SAGE Publications We also strongly recommend that you buy or have access to one of the following texts: M. Open University Press. (1999). and Hussey. However. ISBN 0335 194524 28 . J. P. L. Second edition. Lewis. Jackson (2008) Management Research. Second Edition. (1996) How to Research Open University Press. Easterby-Smith.1 How to Conduct Research a) The Research Process There are many useful texts which provide insight into the beginning. Saunders. Open University Press. and 2) Text books of methodology. FT Prentice Hall. A. management and successful completion of management research projects. ISBN 0333 983254 Partington. (2003). C. J. C. Sage. M. The following texts are strongly recommended: Business Research: Collis. 7.. P. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students. Thorpe. M.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 7. A practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students. many of which are available in the Hendon library. Third Edition (with companion website). there are numerous other good texts on research methods. R.R. Hughes. D. ISBN 0335 203884 The Good Research Guide: Martyn Denscombe. 1998. Fisher. ISBN 0335 198058 Baxter. (2010) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project. FT Prentice Hall. Fifth edition (with companion website). The following reading list is divided into two main sections: 1) How to conduct research. (2006) Researching and Writing a Dissertation for Business Students.

(2001). Survey’s in Social Research. ISBN 07619 64266 de Vaus. (1984). ISBN 0631 176896 (A highly comprehensive general methodology text) Cooper. ISBN 0335 206670 Yin.K. Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods Wiley. Among books recommended are the following: Oliver. Doing Qualitative Research Differently.strongly recommended. May.3 Library Resources The above are just a small selection of the large number of methodological texts available. text and interaction. (1995) Managing Information for Research. P.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Orna. T. L. Sage. Social Research Issues. 5th Ed – another highly comprehensive general methodology text. Third Edition. S. N. D. ISBN 0335 193978 b) Elements of the Research Process There are also many guides which provide insights into particular data collection and analysis approaches available to the researcher. Blackwell. (1995). Methods and Process. ISBN 0256 137773. ISBN. Writing Up Your Thesis. 29 . although principally aimed at a US/International audience). Sage. there are a number of resources are made available by the college’s Learning Resource service which can be seen in the Sheppard Library and via Oasis. 2nd Edition. 1993. Emory. (2002) Research Methods for Managers Sage Publications 3rd Ed. (1996). SPSS Survival Manual. Sage. Additionally. P (2003]. (2000) Interviewing: A Practical Guide for Students and Professionals. Sage. D. and students are referred to the library catalogue. ISBN. R.2 Research Methodology Once again there are numerous high quality text books which address methodological approaches to business research. Open University Press. Open University Press. J. W. T. D. (1997). Johnson. Business Research Methods Irwin. 085728 5425 Taylor. (2000). J. (2001). 07619 64401 Silverman. ISBN 07619 40022. The library holds a large quantity of other books dealing with aspects of methodology. (2003) Case Study Research. Gill. UCL Press. Open University Press. D. W. Most methodological texts can be located in the 300. and Bogdan. ISBN 0471 889474 O Dochartaigh. Jefferson. R. 2nd Edition 7. The Internet Research Handbook. – another classic text Real World Research: Colin Robson.72 catalogue mark. Sage Publications . Interpreting Qualitative Data : Methods for analyzing talk. ISBN 0335 208908 Keats. OU Press 7. (2001). Holloway. Among these are: Pallant.

MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Please refer to your MA Programme Handbook for further guidance on LR services available to you. 30 .

2 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.1 1.7 Appendix I: Staff Interests in the Business and Management Group Appendix II: Declaration of Originality Appendix III: Technical Production of the Dissertation Appendix IV: Project Module Supervisor Contact Sheet Appendix V Other Relevant Information Appendix VI: Dissertation Marking Template Appendix VII Research Ethics Information 31 .5 1.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook APPENDICES 1.

please avoid Marketing.1 Appendix I: Staff Interests in the Business and Management Department General interests of the Business and Management department include the following: Business and the Environment Business Strategy Change Management Corporate Culture Corporate and Community Governance Cross-Cultural Management Enterprise and Economic Development Ethics and values in management (CSR) Innovation and Organisational Learning Management Education Management of Change Management of Diversity Management of Equal Opportunities Management of New Technology Management Systems Not-for-Profit / Third / Voluntary sector Management and Service Quality Operations Management Organisational theory Project Management Public Sector Management and Service Quality Quality Management and Systems (incl. Financial and Banking related topics unless these focus on business and/or management issues. HRM.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1. TQM) Regulatory Policy and Compliance / Enforcement Retailing Management Small Business Start-up & Management Social Enterprise Strategic Management Supply Chain Management Tourism Please avoid specialist technical topics unless these focus on business and/or management issues. Also. 32 .

2 Appendix II: Declaration of Originality THIS EXACT STATEMENT SHOULD APPEAR AT THE FRONT OF YOUR PROJECT Declaration of Originality I hereby declare that this project is entirely my own work and that any additional sources of information have been duly cited............ I hereby declare that any internet sources...................................... I acknowledge that is my responsibility to check whether I am required to attend and that I will be available during the viva period..... Signed Date ........ .......... Name of Supervisor………………………………… 33 ... I understand that failure to do this will result in a failure of this project due to Plagiarism......... published or unpublished works from which I have quoted or drawn reference have been reference fully in the text and in the contents list............. I understand I may be called for a viva and if so must attend.............MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1.........

The page numbers should be located centrally at the bottom of the page approximately 10mm above the edge. 1. Tables should be numbered consecutively throughout the dissertation. and lines should be one and half spaced.2 Margin The left hand margin should be not less than 40 mm and the other margin not less than 20 mm. The spine should contain (reading from top to bottom): the course title. The normal binding size is 297mm x 210mm.3 Appendix III: Technical Production of the Dissertation 1. a selected list of companies which have been used in previous years by our students for the binding of projects is given in appendix V below. 1. The opening pages (Abstract. and the year of submission.1 Paper Size and Typing The dissertation should be typed on A4 white paper. including the appendices. 1. For convenience.3. The title of the project and the name of the author should appear on the front cover. with text having Arabic numerals.3.3 Page Numbering All pages should be numbered consecutively throughout the dissertation.) may make use of Roman numerals.3. the initials and surname of the author.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1.4 Binding The project must be produced to a business and professional standard.3. 34 . Usually this has meant the binding is ‘case bound’ in black such that the pages are permanently secured between board that has sufficient rigidity to support the weight of the work when standing upon a shelf. Acknowledgements etc.

......................................................................................... Signature of Supervisor Room Number: Time of Meetings: Date 1 Agreed Actions/ Purpose of Meeting First Meeting to review Proposal – agreed action points Schedule of Meetings: to be confirmed at this meeting March / April 2 Literature Review 2/3 Research methodology 3 Data analysis and discussion 4 Sept........... Name: ............MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1......................................................................................................................................................................................... Email : ..................................... Telephone Number: ......................... ................................................................................................................................... ............................................. Draft Report 35 ... Title of Project: ..4 Appendix IV: Project Module Supervisor Contact Sheet This form MUST be completed by you and your supervisor and submitted at the back of your final project Project Module Supervisor Contact Sheet Student Details: Name: ... Contact Details: Email Address: ..... ..................... Supervisor Details................................................

Bookbinders 90 Culver Road St Albans Herts AL1 4ED Tel: 01727 835369 Ex-Libris 105a Westbourne Grove Bayswater London W2 4UW Tel: 020 7229 4134 Homerton Bookbinders 166a Glyn Road London E5 0JE Tel: 020 8986 4424 Keypoint Bookbinders Ltd Unit 8. Balmoral Grove Islington London N7 9NQ Tel: 020 7609 1050 Fax: 020 7609 1020 36 .30 pm D.J.5 Appendix V: Other Relevant Information Suggested bookbinders for Dissertations you may wish to consider Avalon Associates Tel: 01245 468706 Tel: 01245 462685 Mobile: 07768 955822 Bardel Bookbinding Ltd Unit D2 Alladin Business Centre 426 Long Drive Greenford Middlesex UB6 8UH Collis-Bird & Withey Thesis & Dissertation Binding Specialists 1 Drayton Park London N5 Tel: 020 7607 1116 Brian Hall 20 McKenzie Road Broxborne Herts EN10 7JH Tel: 01992 449344 David Ball “Bookbinder” Tel: 020 8202 7116 after 4.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1.

6 Appendix VI: Dissertation Marking Template 37 .MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1.

General Comments including how mark agreed 38 .MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook MGT4131 Dissertation Grading Form Student Name Student Number Programme Submission Date First Marker / Supervisor Second Marker Provisional Mark (in %) Provisional Mark (in %) Agreed Mark (in % and on the 20-point scale) The assessment criteria for the Dissertation embraces six areas of the work which are differently weighted as follows: Area 1: Research Objectives (10% of Total Marks) Area 2: Literature Review and Conceptual Framework (25% of Total Marks) Area 3: Methodology (20% of Total Marks) Area 4: Findings and Analysis (20% of Total Marks) Area 5: Conclusions and Recommendations (15% of Total Marks) Area 6: Language and Presentation (10% of Total Marks) The minimum requirement to pass the dissertation is to achieve a pass in all six areas.

Marker’s Additional Comments (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 3. • Clear statement of the research aims and objectives. (10%): • Research subject valid and relevant to the programme. relevance and justification (40-59% Pass) (mark between: 4 and 5. but some shortcomings in clarity of purpose • Rationale included.9) • Research subject valid and relevant to the programme.9) • Subject is largely invalid with little or no relevance. but somewhat lacking in clarity. • Statement of the research aims and objectives reasonably clear.9) Mark proposed 39 . or one which is inappropriate/irrelevant. • No rationale. persuasive and justified rationale (70%+ Distinction) (mark between: 7 and 10) • Research subject valid and relevant to the programme. with an appropriate and justified rationale (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 6 and 6.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Research Objectives. • Clear statement of the research aims and objectives. • No identifiable statement of the research problem/question and associated objectives. with a comprehensive.

not enough relevancy.9) • No convincing evidence of an understanding of the literature. (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 15 and 17. • Development of a coherent. • Limited/no link to aims and objectives. • Citation and referencing entirely accurate and consistent. • Development of a clear. with a very limited selection of relevant sources and no critical comment. appropriate and justified conceptual framework to base the research upon. • Up to date. concentrates mainly on text.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Literature Review and Conceptual Framework (25%): • Evidence of a comprehensive knowledge and full critical review of the literature relevant to the study.9) Mark proposed 40 . • Clear links to aims and objectives. • Development of an appropriate conceptual framework. inconsistent citation and referencing Marker’s Additional Comments (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 9. with a strong emphasis towards journal material. • Citation and referencing generally accurate but with omissions and inconsistent. • No development of an appropriate conceptual framework for the research. • Links to aims and objectives. • Clear links to aims and objectives. using the Harvard method. (70%+ Distinction) (mark between: 17. • Limited reading. • Citation and referencing entirely accurate and consistent. using the Harvard method.5 and 25) • Evidence of a sound knowledge and critical review of the literature relevant to the study. and fully justified conceptual framework to underpin the research undertaken. but which is not clearly stated and/or complete and justified. but with obvious gaps and omissions. • Adequate reading. • Poor. with a strong emphasis towards journal material. (40-59% Pass) (mark between: 10 and 14. • Up to date.4) • Evidence of a satisfactory knowledge and limited critical review of the relevant literature.

of methodology adopted indicating a full understanding of its values and recognises the limitations of the methods adopted. with supporting and referenced evidence. • Clear justification. • Appropriate implementation of data collection methods but lacking in clarity (40-59% Pass Second) (mark between: 8 and 11.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Methodology. with supporting and referenced evidence. but some shortcomings in supporting and referenced evidence. Marker’s Additional Comments Mark proposed (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 7. • Implementation of data collection methods highly appropriate and relevant (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 12 and 13. • Implementation of data collection methods highly appropriate and relevant (70%+ Distinction) (mark between: 14 and 20) • Relevant and appropriate methodology with clear links to aims and objectives • Clear justification. (20%): • Highly relevant and appropriate methodology with clear links to aims and objectives. of methodology adopted • An attempt made to show understanding of its values and limitations.9) • Inappropriate and irrelevant methodology presented • No evidence of any real understanding of the methodological foundations of the work. of methodology adopted indicating a full understanding of its values and limitations.9) 41 .9) • Suitable methodology with links to aims and objectives • Justification of methodology present.

and in line with the aims and objectives. (70%+ Distinction) (mark between: 14 and 20) • Clear presentation of fully justified findings with evidence of the validity and reliability of findings present. incomplete. • Analysis of issues present.9) Marker’s Additional Comments Mark proposed 42 .MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Findings and Analysis (20%): • Clear presentation of fully justified findings with extensive evidence of the validity and reliability of findings present. but which are inaccurate. • Exceptional and critical appraisal of issues arising from findings. • Clear and extensive evidence of a high level of analysis using appropriate technique.9) • Little or no evidence and justification of validity and reliability of findings present. • Very good and critical appraisal of issues arising from findings. • Presentation of some findings. • Evidence of a sound and satisfactory level of analysis using appropriate technique. • Clear evidence of a high level of analysis using appropriate technique. (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 12 and 13. (40-59% Pass) (mark between: 8 and 11. • Little or no evidence of appropriate analysis. and/or illogical. (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 7. and in line with the aims and objectives.9)) • Presentation of findings with evidence and justification of the validity and reliability of findings present.

and of contribution of research to knowledge and/or practice (40-59% Pass) (mark between: 6 and 8. based upon the research evidence.9) Mark proposed 43 . incomplete. and of contribution of research to knowledge and/or practice (70%+ First Class) (mark between:10.9) • Presentation of some conclusions. based upon the research evidence. but which are either inaccurate. • Demonstrate linkage to aims and objectives • Critique of accuracy of recommendations.5 and 15) • Clear and logical conclusions.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Conclusions and Recommendations (15%): • Excellent. • Demonstrate clear linkage to aims and objectives • Critique of accuracy of recommendations. which demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the research results.4) • Clear and logical conclusions. which demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the research results. clear and logical conclusions. • Demonstrate clear linkage to aims and objectives • Critique of accuracy of recommendations. and of contribution of research to knowledge and/or practice (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 9 and 10. and/or illogical. • Little or no evidence of the ability to critically evaluate the work undertaken Marker’s Additional Comments (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 5. which demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the research results. based upon the research evidence.

• Presentation inadequate. with no imprecise and/or incorrect statements. Marker’s Additional Comments (Below 40% Fail) (mark between: 0 and 3. (60-69% Merit) (mark between: 6 and 6. • Outstanding presentation. (70%+ Distinction) (mark between: 7 and 10) • Conforms to all the required specifications and has a very good layout in terms of structure and logical argument. with numerous deficiencies.9) • Conforms to all major specifications and has generally good layout in terms of structure and logical argument. incorrect and/or illogical statements. • Clear and correct use of English characterised by a very clear and logical style of expression. • Presentation is tidy.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook Language and Presentation (10%): • Conforms to all the required specifications and has an excellent layout in terms of structure and logical argument. with few imprecise and/or incorrect statements. (40-59% Pass) (mark between: 4 and 5. • Reasonably clear and correct use of English characterised by generally clear expression. • Clear and correct use of English characterised by a clear style of expression. • Good presentation.9) Mark proposed 44 . with relatively few imprecise and/or incorrect statements. • Generally poor use of English characterised by numerous errors.9) • Does not conform to the required specifications and has generally unacceptable layout in terms of structure and logical argument. unclear.

to liaise with the University Ethics Committee and other Business School committees on ethical issues.uk/www/open/ethics/index. In 2002 a University Ethics Committee was established to advise on policies and procedures in relation to ethical issues. In 2005 the Business School created its own ethics committee (SEC) which has the following among its terms of reference: to ensure that suitable procedures are in place for approving both staff research proposals and all student projects. for most students the subject of ethics will be raised as part of the curriculum and in relation to projects. Students who have any concerns about general ethical issues in relation to their studies should normally contact their Programme Leader in the first instance. there will be no major ethical implications in the work being undertaken. for example.7 Appendix VII Research Ethics Information THE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S APPROACH TO ETHICAL ISSUES Introduction The university’s mission and vision statements require both staff and students to take an ethical approach to their work. where necessary. The use of the form ensures that students consider whether any ethical issues may arise and either develop strategies to deal with them or modify their project to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with university policies. It should be emphasised that SEC is concerned both with research and other areas where ethical issues arise. Particularly difficult cases may be referred to the School Research Committee’s Ethics Panel. 45 . This form (as updated in 2010) is at: http://elearn. Research ethics approval (REA) forms All students intending to conduct any form of research as part of their programme must complete an on-line ethical self-assessment form on the web.ac.mdx. the matter should be considered by the Academic Group’s Research Leader. the student must consult with their supervisor /lecturer and.php In most cases. print off a copy and obtain the written approval of their supervisor/lecturer before proceeding. to ensure that ethical issues form part of the curriculum within Business School programmes. Although anyone is entitled to refer matters to the SEC. Where there is doubt about research ethics issues.MGT4131 Dissertation Handbook 1. teaching and assessment.