The aim of this module is that of allowing you to conduct a piece of research including the identification of the research enquiry, data collection
and analysis and the presentation of the results. The dissertation module, through the supervision of an academic member, develops you as an
independent learner and brings together the knowledge and skills gained in the programme for the analysis of a specific business problem.
The module provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other
attributes in the following areas: (A) Knowledge and Understanding 1. To critically evaluate relevant research and scholarship within the field of
study (B) Cognitive (thinking) Skills 2. To choose and apply within a chosen business context appropriate techniques and enquiry, given the
research problem (or question) addressed. 3. To propose, present, and critically evaluate a set of recommendations as possible solution to the
research problem addressed (or an answer to the research question) (C) Other Skills and Attributes (Practical/Professional/Transferable) 4. To
communicate complex ideas and concepts in a clear, concise and articulate manner.
Coursework Brief for 2020/21
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Description of the assessment
The Dissertation consists of 12,000 words (this word limit does not include references or appendices but everything else) and, the ethical
approval needs to be included in the Appendix.
• Dissertations must contain no more than 12,000 words, as measured by the standard word count available on Microsoft Word. This
includes all the text starting from Chapter 1 (anything before the first word of chapter 1 does not count) but excluding the list of References
list and the Appendices (if any).
• Dissertations should have appropriate spacing (either single-line spaced or 1.5 line spaced), with a 3.5cm left-hand margin (to allow for
binding) and 2.5cm top and bottom margins.
• The recommended fonts are: Arial (or any other standard, modern font) or Times New Roman (should you prefer a more ‘traditional’
font). Text should be in 11 or 12 point. Chapter headings should be larger, that is, in either 12, 14 or 16 point.
• Insert a page number at the bottom of the Dissertation in Word, click ‘insert page number’.
• Chapters, sections and sub-sections should be numbered using standard report formats (for example, ‘Chapter 1: Introduction’; ‘1.1 The
• The title page should include: Dissertation title, your student ID number. All title page text should be centred and presented in 18 point
• The Abstract should be no more than 250 words, summarising the whole Dissertation and highlighting your key findings.
• It is essential to provide references for ALL source material that you use in your Dissertation using the Harvard format (for example, books,
articles, reports, newspapers, webpages). This includes citing sources in the text and providing full references in the list of References.
Additional guidance on how to cite/reference can be obtained from the Library.
The precise structure and presentation of your Dissertation will depend in part on the research and the approach that you have adopted. The
following structure is typical (‘typical’ does not mean ‘required’):
• Cover sheet. However, if you forget to do this, you will not lose any marks, so there is no need to ‘take back’ any version and upload a
new one if you forget. As long as we have your student ID number on the front, this is sufficient in order for us to identify your work (this
is the point of the coversheet).
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• Title page
• Abstract (the equivalent term in business reports is ‘Executive Summary’).
• Table of contents page
• List of figures page
• List of tables page
• Chapter 1: Introduction. This chapter is likely to include: background to the research area, problem definition/research gap, and
• Chapter 2: Literature review (you may insert a more meaningful title, based on the research area). It is unlikely that you will need two
chapters for this, but if you do, then you are free to do so. This guidance, in this document, assumes that you will not (because, normally,
you do not).
• Chapter 3: Research methods. Here you present and justify your research approach, method used, and the rest, that is, what data was
gathered, and when, how).
• Chapter 4: Results/Findings. Here you present your analysis and the results/findings from the data that you gathered).
• Chapter 5: Discussion (or, ‘discussion and conclusion’, or ‘conclusion’ or some other wording which tells the reader ‘this is the final
chapter’). Here you summarise the whole piece of research, highlight what you have found/what contribution your study has made, state
the limitations, set out the future work and, if there are any, state the practical or other implications to research and/or practice.
• References (Harvard referencing style).
• Appendices (this may include, say, the questionnaire or other instrument used, the letter from the Research Ethics Committee).
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There is no fixed allocation of words for particular sections/chapters; it is a matter of judgement (your judgement, not ours), within the overall
word limit. When initially allocating a word length to your chapters (and also when editing chapters at a later stage), you should take into account
the kind of research you have undertaken (for example, some research questions may justify slightly longer literature reviews; largely quantitative
research studies may require fewer words in the Results/Findings chapter, as findings can be summarised using graphs).
Appendices should be used for relevant material that cannot be inserted in the main text without disturbing the logical flow that are crossreferenced in the Dissertation.
• Data Set: students do not have to submit their data set with the Dissertation. However, they must be able to produce data set (eg.
statistical spreadsheets for quantitative studies and transcripts or other materials for qualitative studies) on demand.
We recommend that you read several research methods textbooks, focusing on relevant chapters, and use these sources to support your
arguments in the Dissertation You can also learn a lot about research – including theory, concepts, evidence, methods, and presentation – by
reading examples of published academic research (for example, journal articles, dissertations, theses and reports). Just one warning: remember
that other researchers may follow different sets of guidelines (for example, for report structure and referencing), to those specified for this
If you have a question, in the first instance try to resolve it yourself by looking at these guidelines, the marking scheme and the study guide and
by discussing them with colleagues in your seminar group. If you are still unsure, speak to your seminar leader.
Coursework must be submitted electronically via the University’s WiseFlow system. The required file format for this report is pdf. Your student
ID number must be used as the file name (e.g. 0123456.docx). You must ensure that you upload your file in the correct format and use the
College’s electronic coursework coversheet.
• An electronic copy of your Project is to be uploaded by the deadline, 12:00 noon UK time on the day/date stated above.
• The file MUST be saved in Word format (and then in pdf) and should not contain any large graphics files (or similar), which could affect
the overall file size.