Dissertation for BSc Management

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School of Business and Management
BUS314
Dissertation for BSc Management
2020–21 Module Outline
Semesters A and B
www.busman.qmul.ac.uk
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Contents
Module Organiser 3
Module Description 4
Aims and Learning Outcomes 4
Organisation of the Module 5
Assessment 6
Supervision Process and
Role of the Supervisor
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Word Limit and Matters of Style 12
Please refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook for further information on:
• your attendance at University
• a guide to written work, submission of coursework and penalties for late submission
• the criteria used for marking
• appeals, extenuating circumstances and re-sits
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Module Organiser
Name: Dr Georgios Kavetsos
Email: g.kavetsos@qmul.ac.uk
Contact time: by appointment
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Module Description
The dissertation is an important part of the assessment of the BSc Management
Programme, carrying a weighting of 30 credits, the equivalent of 2 modules. The
dissertation requires a demonstration of a student’s ability to carry out an original
investigation into an area of interest. As such, the process should reflect skills of
formulating research questions, collecting and analysing data, drawing insights and
conclusions, and written communication.
Aim of the Dissertation
The aims of the dissertation are to:
• conduct an independent investigation of an issue relevant to the content of the
BSc Programme of which it forms a component, under the supervision of an
academic member of staff;
• put into practice theories and concepts learned on the programme;
• provide an opportunity to study a particular topic in depth;
• combine relevant theories and apply critical thinking;
• enable the student to show evidence of their ability to plan and manage a research
project within deadlines.
Learning Outcomes
The dissertation will normally address the following objectives:
• To review specific literature on issues relating to the selected area of enquiry.
• To adapt, modify or confirm research questions in light of the literature review.
• To select and justify an appropriate research design.
• To select and employ suitable methods/techniques to investigate the research
questions
• Appreciate practical implications and constraints of the specialist subject
• Understand the process and decisions to be made in managing a project with
strict deadlines
• Show evidence of a critical and holistic knowledge and have a deeper
understanding of the chosen subject area
• Understand the relationships between the theoretical concepts taught in class in
other modules and their application in the specific context being researched
• Define, design and deliver an academically rigorous piece of research. The
project should cover an introduction, a review of the relevant literature, the
research questions, an explanation and justification of the research design, a
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description of the conduct and analysis of the research, and a discussion of the
findings in relation to the literature and methodological issues, drawing insights
and/or conclusions.
Organisation of the Module
The main point of information will be through the dedicated module area on QM+, where
there will be a full set of guidelines on different aspects of the dissertation.
Regulatory information
1. the dissertation assessments must each be an individual piece of work in their
entirety in full compliance to the letter and the spirit of Academic Regulations;
2. primary data collection, data processing, interpretation and analysis must be
carriedout individually by each student;
3. students must seek ethical approval from the University for any research which
involves human participants; for details see http://www.arcs.qmul.ac.uk/researchdegrees/research- degree-students/ethics/
The University’s Research Ethics Committee has granted authority to the School of
Business and Management to carry out in-house consideration for ethical approval.
You should submit your application via the QMplus module page.
3. secondary sources could be shared, but the search for secondary sources, and
their interpretation and analysis must reflect the independent work of each
individualstudent;
4. different students could well end up applying the same methodology, but the
rationale for choosing a specific methodology and the explanation of its
implementation and epistemological implications must be original and independent
from the work of other students.
The UG Dissertation module starts in September of each academic year and
progression tothe dissertation stage is dependent on your performance in the taught
elements of the programmein year 2: you must obtain at least a total average mark of
60% and 65%in the Research Methods (BUS007) module. In October you will be given
formal notification to proceed to the dissertation stage under the condition that a suitable
supervisor is available.
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Assessment
Type
Weighting
Details
Submission Date
Research
topic
0%
Ungraded
23:59, 2 September 2020
Ethics
application
0%
Ungraded
23.59, 29 January 2021
Dissertation
100%
10,000 words
17:00, 12 April 2020
Submit ONLY via QMPlus. The
accepted formats are PDF or Word.
Submissions received after the
deadline are subject to a late penalty.
Assessment for Re-sit Students
A student who submits a Dissertation that then receives a mark of less than 40 is required
to resubmit during the summer examination session.
Submission deadline will be displayed on QMplus.
If you are required to re-submit, your supervisor will provide you with an agreed list of
corrections to be made. You will be entitled to one meeting with your supervisor to
explain these changes. Remember, you are responsible for all the necessary work
and redrafting to achieving the required standard.
Additional information/breakdown of information regarding
assessment details
You will write a 10,000 word dissertation to be completed in consultation with an
appointed supervisor.
The Marking Criteria
Your dissertation will be assessed against a set of marking criteria used by all the
markers. These criteria are listed below for each section of the dissertation. Our
suggestion is that you look at these criteria frequently throughout the whole of your
research to ensure that you stay focused. Please do not leave it until you are writing
up because that might be too late.
Introduction
• Explain clearly the rationale/justification for the research.
• State clearly the research question(s) or problem.
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Literature Review
• Select an appropriate literature for review.
• Show sufficient competence in summarising the literature.
• Ensure a sufficiently broad/extensive range in the literature review.
Methods / Data collection
• Provide an adequate explanation of the research strategy/approach.
• Give appropriate methods used to tackle the research question/problem.
• Justify fully the choice of methods.
• Explain fully how the methods are used.
• Provide an adequate explanation of the data collection process and choices made
(e.g. sampling, selection of database, conceptual framework.
• Ensure that the process, as described, is appropriate (i.e. without serious flaws)
• Explain any problems encountered and how they were overcome.
• Provide an awareness of any limitations in the approach taken.

Analysis & Findings
• Analyse the data using appropriate techniques.
• Ensure sufficient analysis to meet the research objectives.
• Use effective summaries/tables/diagrams or other appropriate means to present
data.
• Provide evidence of an ability to draw effective inferences or conclusions from the
analysis.
• Show good level of competence in the written discussion of the analysis and findings.
Conclusion
• Provide adequate discussion of the results/findings implications.
• Establish clear links between the results/findings and the literature reviewed.
• Ensure that the results/findings answer explicitly the original question.
• Discuss adequately the limitations.
• Identify possible areas for further study.
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Explanation of Marks Awarded
Mark 80+
Work of exceptional quality and insight. Well written, with style and fluency, it will
articulate a coherent argument and thesis. It will make excellent use of the literature,
using a wealth of sources and developing a comprehensive literature review. The
dissertation will display a thorough and detailed justification of choice of method(s) and/or
its (their) use. Methods chosen will be suitable for the research questions proposed and
articulated without mistakes.
The dissertation will provide insightful data that will be integrated seamlessly within the
conceptual argument. Dissertations at this level are expected to show excellent critical
ability, demonstrating maturity and self-reflection while engaging with novel and complex
problems which are largely not discussed in the existing literature.
Mark 70-79
Work of excellent quality displaying high level of critical and innovative thought. Well
written and well structured. It will articulate a coherent argument although the cohesion
of different chapters might be less clear. It will make excellent use of the literature, using
critically appropriate sources and developing a thorough literature review which covers the
most important sources. The dissertation will display a comprehensive justification of
choice of method(s) and/or its (their) use. Methods chosen will be suitable for the research
questions proposed and articulated without obvious mistakes.
The dissertation will provide useful and interesting data tackling an areas of interest
which is largely novel. Data is expected to show strong support for the argument
developed. Dissertations at this level are expected to show good critical ability and the
ability to articulate coherent explanations of complex problems.
Mark 60-69
Work of good quality displaying critical thought and the ability to develop a nuanced
argument. Mostly well written and with a clear structure. A good attempt at developing a
cohesive argument. It will develop a comprehensive literature review with only
minor/secondary gaps. The dissertation will display a good justification of choice of
method(s) and/or its (their) use. Methods chosen will be mostly suitable for the research
questions proposed and articulated with only minor mistakes.
The dissertation will provide a good attempt at tackling an area of interest which is mostly
novel. Data is expected to show reasonable support for the argument developed.
Dissertations at this level are expected to show a reasonable critical ability and the ability
to articulate fairly developed explanations of complex problems.
Mark 50-59
Work of reasonable quality displaying at least some critical thought and the ability to
develop a competent argument. Some lack of clarity or immaturity of expression but a clear
structure. An acceptable attempt at developing a cohesive argument. It will develop a
reasonable literature review with only minor/secondary gaps but a reliance on basic
sources/course materials. The dissertation will display some justification of choice of
method(s) and/or its (their) use. Methods chosen will be reasonably suitable for the
research questions proposed and articulated without major mistakes.
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The dissertation will provide a reasonable attempt at tackling an area of interest although
the area/problem might be of limited novelty. Data is expected to show an acceptable level
of support for the argument developed. Dissertations at this level are expected to show at
least some critical ability although details of the articulation might be superficial or lack
clarity.
Mark 49 and lower
Work of poor quality displaying very little critical thought and lacking the ability to
develop a competent argument. Lack of clarity and immaturity of expression. Weak
structure that makes the work hard to follow. Poorly constructed or weak argument. The
literature review will have serious gaps; excluding critical sources for the topic studied.
The dissertation will display a poor justification of choice of method(s) and/or its(their) use
or no justification at all. Methods chosen will be only marginally suitable for the research
questions proposed and not articulated well.
The dissertation will provide a poor attempt at tackling an area of interest and/or the
area/problem might be of very limited novelty or interest. Data will be poorly presented
and only loosely related to the argument. Dissertations at this level are expected to show
poor critical ability.
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Supervision Process and the Role of Your Supervisor
Students are guided through the dissertation by an academic supervisor. Supervision is
an important element in the process of researching and submitting the dissertation.
The Supervisor advises on various aspects of the research project including:
1. The title of the dissertation
2. The topic area and relevant literature
3. The feasibility of your proposed research and the possible risks that may be
involved, for example problems in trying to access information, potential poor
response rates to surveys concerning commercially sensitive issues etc.
4. Ethical implications of the planned research
5. The time scale of the research
6. The specification of the research questions
7. The design and adequacy of methods
8. Sources of data and access to fields of observation
9. Methods of analysis and interpretation of results
10. Structure and style of reporting
Students are advised to keep a record of meetings with supervisors and the work they
have agreed to carry out. Supervisors cannot give an indication of the mark that might be
expected, and supervisors are not expected to help with formatting documents, do proof
reading or to correct English. The supervisor is expected to give feedback on ideas and
to make comments on how the structure and logic of arguments can be improved.
Your supervisor is there to facilitate; the responsibility for the quality and content of a
dissertation lies entirely with you, the student.
Your supervisor will first-mark the dissertation and submit a marker’s report; each
dissertation is second marked by an academic staff member.
Changing supervisors
Once you are allocated to a supervisor, it is not normally possible to change this
arrangement. In the rare case of circumstances requiring a change in supervision, you
should get in touch with the module organiser and submit a detailed rationale explaining
why you think a change in supervisory arrangements should be considered.
Supervision meetings
Supervision usually take place through face-to-face meetings, or alternatively via email,
telephone or Skype conversations as long as both you and your supervisor agree that
this is acceptable.
Supervisors may suggest meeting you in small groups with other students, especially if the
students’ dissertation topics are related, and you will find that such meetings are often
very beneficial because they allow you to talk with other students about your progress.
You can expect to have five supervisory meeting during the period of your research.
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Supervision schedule
The meetings are scheduled during term-time. It is students’ responsibility to contact their
supervisors in order to schedule the first meeting.
Given the teaching schedules and supervisors’ research commitments, students should
expect to attend, on average, one meeting every month:
1st meeting: mid-October – mid-November (introductory meeting)
2nd meeting: mid-November – mid-December
3rd meeting: January (any issue concerning research ethics should be clarified
during this meeting)
4th meeting: February
5th meeting: March
It is your responsibility to take notes at meetings with your supervisor. This will help you
ensure that you keep a record of any advice given and any action you need to take. It
is also often a good idea to make a very short summary (a list of your action points)
after the meeting and email this to your supervisor so you both have a record of what was
agreed.
You should not expect instant responses to e-mails. Supervisors are asked to aim to reply
to any correspondence relating to dissertations (including email correspondence) and to
return comments on submitted work within a fortnight of receipt.
Please note that supervision cannot be guaranteed during the winter vacation and you
should ensure that you make adequate arrangements with your supervisor to cover this
period.
Responsibilities of the student
It is your responsibility to:
1. Maintain regular contact with your supervisor and to keep them informed of your
progress. Difficulties must be communicated at the time they are encountered.
2. Write the dissertation to a good standard of clear English using appropriate academic
terms and citation and referencing conventions.
3. Write the dissertation with guidance from the supervisor. The dissertation and research
work must be your own. The dissertation is to reflect your subject understanding and
research abilities.
4. Inform the supervisor (and Module Organiser where appropriate) of any absence
during the allocated period of time for working on the dissertation.
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Word Limit and Matters of Style
Dissertation structure
For the structure of the dissertation you should follow the proposed structure below:
• Title page
• Abstract
• Contents page
• Dedication and acknowledgements (if required)
• Introduction
• Literature Review
• Methods / Data collection
• Results / Analysis
• Conclusion
• References Appendices
If you are in doubt then you should also consult your supervisor about the most
suitable structure for your work.
Word length
The word limit for the dissertation is 10,000 words, which includes all footnotes or
endnotes but does not include the declaration page, bibliography and appendices. ‘Raw
data’, such as a summary of interview transcripts, surveyor content analysis etc. should
be relegated to an appendix and excluded from the word count. Appendices may be
included but they will not be assessed.
Tables should be used primarily for numerical data but both numerical and nonnumerical tables should use words sparingly (i.e. they should not include passages of
text which would be more appropriately included in the main text).
Please note that the word limit is 10,000 words with an accepted flexibility of +/- 5
per cent (500 words).
In order to calculate word length, highlight all the text after the ‘declaration page’ up to the
start of the references and then do a word count. The word count must be stated on your
‘declaration page’, which you must sign.
Title page/front cover
You can format this in any way you wish but it must include the following (a template
will be provided on the QMplus page):
• Your full name.
• The title of the dissertation, the name of your supervisor and the name of the
programme.
• The name of the department and college: School of Business & Management,
Queen Mary, University of London.
• The month and year of submission.
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Declaration page
The declaration page should follow the front cover of your dissertation. This is a
declaration from you about the originality of the work. You must use the exact wording
that is provided on the template called ‘Dissertation declaration page’ which you will find
on QMplus. You are also expected to state the word count on this page.
You must insert an electronic signature if you have one or simply type your name in the
signature field.
Abstract
This should be no more than a page in length. You should write it at the end, once you
have a final draft of your dissertation, and it should cover the following:
• What you did: outline the specific purpose of your research, including a clear
statementof the central research question/problem.
• How you did it: state the methods used to undertake your research.
• What you found: summarise the main findings of your research.
Contents page
This simply sets out the structure of your dissertation by listing the main sections and the
page numbers.
Dedication and acknowledgments
This is entirely optional, but there might be people you want to acknowledge. If you are
thanking participants in your study then make sure not to state anything that might
identify them. Keep this as brief as possible.
The main body of your dissertation should consist of:
• Introduction
• Literature Review
• Methods / Data collection
• Results / Analysis
• Conclusion
You should think carefully about each of these sections because they require you to
include different types of information. To help you decide what to include please refer to
the marking criteria.
References
We expect you to provide an accurate list of references that you have used for your
dissertation. You must use the Harvard referencing system and you must ensure that
your reference list is complete: every reference cited in the main body of the dissertation
is listed at the end.
You should all be familiar with the Harvard referencing system because you have
been using itat least during Research Method module and during your first 2 BSc
years. We expect you tobe able to use it accurately and failure to do so will incur
penalty marks.
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Appendices
You may include any items in the appendices that provide supplementary
information about your research and which might be useful for the examiner to see.
However, all essential information should be included in the main body of your
dissertation. If you are in doubt, then you should consult your supervisor about what
to include in the appendices.
You should keep appendices to a minimum. Remember it is somewhere to place
supplementary information that you consider useful but not essential for the
examiner to see. Remember also that an examiner may choose not to refer to an
appendix, so if you think the information is vital to your analysis or argument then it
should be provided in the main body of the dissertation.
If you do not include data relating to your research (for example interview
transcripts,syntax and log files of Stata, SPSS, or other software used) as an
appendix; you should retain this for at least three months after submission of your
dissertation so that it can be presented to the markers for reference if needed.
Presentation (How your dissertation looks)
A high standard of presentation is expected. Up to 5 marks can be deducted for
each heading below for any of the following inadequacies of presentation:
1. Referencing (deduct up to 5 marks)
Ø Failure to reference adequately (5 marks deduction)
Ø Inaccurate use of the Harvard referencing system (1 mark deduction)
Ø Incomplete references (1 mark deduction)
2. Formatting (deduct up to 5 marks)
Ø Failure to comply with the specified formatting instructions.
3. General presentation (deduct up to 5 marks for any of the following)
Ø Inadequate abstract
Ø Inclusion of illegible tables and diagrams.
Ø Errors of grammar that impede understanding
Ø Frequent spelling errors/ typos (i.e. more than one per page)
Formatting
1. Primary order of
pages
Append the feedback sheet first, then the title page
and then the declaration page
2. Margins
2.5cm for top, bottom, left and right margins
3. Font and size
Times New Roman OR Ariel 12 point
4. Spacing
Double spacing (NOT 1.5 spacing)
5. Tables
Tables can be formatted in whatever style and spacing you
choose, but ensure they are clearly presented.
6. Referencing
Use the Harvard referencing system
7. Page numbers
Ensure each page is consecutively numbered at the bottom
8. Electronic copies
The accepted formats are Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat
Remember to keep an electronic copy of your dissertation until you receive your mark
and feedback.

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