The dissertation must provide a clear link to important and interesting business, strategic, managerial and economic applications. A range of approaches may be adopted, including the original analysis of existing secondary data but it is likely that most students will use a combination of published literature and primary research. The dissertation should be bound using comb binding and a dark blue cover.
Each of the assessment categories is elaborated below in the form of a checklist of questions. Please study the checklist of questions as you prepare relevant sections of your dissertation, and especially when you are editing the penultimate and final drafts of your dissertation.
INTRODUCTION, CONTEXT, RESEARCH OBJECTIVES (10%)
Is the research topic or problem clearly stated and shown to be worth investigating? Has appropriate background information been provided with special terms and concepts defined? Are the research objectives (research questions or hypotheses) clear, relevant, coherent and achievable? Do objectives etc. go beyond mere description ie. Do they involve explanation, comparison, criticism or evaluation?
LITERATURE REVIEW (25%)
Has a comprehensive range of RELEVANT literature been used to discuss relevant concepts, models and theories? Are the sources used up to date, and of sufficient academic weight? Does the dissertation give evidence of a critical attitude towards source material? Are the key themes and issues surrounding the research questions clearly drawn from the literature? Have sources been acknowledged and cited fairly and properly, in accordance with the Harvard format? Is the References listing at the end of the dissertation complete and in the Harvard format?
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY (15%)
Is there a clear rationale for the research design and methodology adopted? Are the research methods fully described and the advantages and disadvantages of chosen methods discussed? Are any constraints or limitations identified? Are the relevant research instruments (e.g. blank questionnaire, interview questions etc) included in the appendices? Are the research instruments well designed with all questions etc. relevant to research objectives?
Are sampling methods described in detail? i.e. who the respondents are, how many there are and how they were selected? Are data analysis methods discussed? Is there evidence of care and accuracy in the data collection process? Are reliability and validity issues addressed? Has the methodology been critically evaluated in retrospect?
RESULTS, ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF FINDINGS (30%) Is all data presented relevant to aims and objectives? Is the analysis thorough and appropriate to the data collected? eg. FOR QUESTIONNAIRES Do the appendices contain a data matrix, and details of statistical analysis undertaken? Is statistical analysis correctly performed and interpreted?
FOR INTERVIEWS, FOCUS GROUPS etc Do the appendices contain data collected and analysed such as interview transcripts? Has qualitative data been systematically analysed? FOR DOCUMENT, ARCHIVE AND OTHER SECONDARY DATA Has the validity and reliability of the sources been addressed? Has quantitative or qualitative data been systematically analysed?
Are the findings presented clearly and interestingly for the reader, with useful tables and charts embedded in the text and with the appendices being used appropriately for bulky and/or less interesting/essential data? Have the findings been discussed and evaluated? Have the finding of the primary research been compared and contrasted with findings, theories, models and concepts derived from the literature review?
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (10%)
Have the research objectives (research questions) been reviewed and addressed? Do the conclusions and recommendations follow on from the findings? Are they well grounded in the evidence and arguments presented? Has the relevance of the conclusions for management been discussed? Are the conclusions and recommendations discussed in context and are they more widely applicable?
Is the overall style and presentation of the dissertation in accordance with that specified in the Module Handbook i.e. Cover pages, title page, word count, spacing, chapter and section headings, pagination, appropriate font, font size and font style (bold, italics, etc) Is the title concise and appropriate? Is the abstract a concise (1 page) summary of the main aims, methodology, findings and conclusions? Are acknowledgements made as appropriate? Is the contents page clear, concise and logically numbered?
Are appendices, tables and figures numbered and listed in the contents page? Are all appendices referred to in the text? Is the writing clear and in an appropriate academic style? Is the standard of written English acceptable? Has the dissertation been spelling and grammar checked? For a Distinction – Superlative analysis, synthesis and evaluation of material. Imaginative and original approach to study. Complete understanding of all material dealt with. As good a piece of work as could be expected at this stage of development of a near publishable quality.
Digitised Text Students will be expected to refer to all available secondary sources, online databases, electronic journals and subject resources available in the Library and Learning services as a source of ideas for exercises and projects Subsequent pages should include the following sections, each of which must start on a new page: (sections in brackets relate to the alternative sections for a secondary source dissertation)
The Abstract This should be a summary of the content of the thesis and should not be longer than 300 words. Contents page This should be a listing of the contents of the thesis, giving page numbers for each section and chapter, and is best presented in tabulated form.
This is where you have the opportunity to thank the people and organisations who have assisted in your work; Chapter 1 Introduction, organisational context and research objectives; Chapter 2 Literature review; Chapter 3 Research Methodology (account of sources, methods of analysis, theory to be applied); Chapter 4 Findings, analysis and evaluation Chapter 5 Conclusion and, if appropriate, recommendations. References Appendices