UU-MBA-711-ZM - Dissertation
Week 10 – Dissertation – Brief & Guidelines
Week 10 – Assessment Point: 100% of the overall module marks
Assessment Point – Dissertation
Writing your project report
Use your work throughout this module, and the provided structure below for your research project. As you draft each part of your project report, continue to review your work to ensure that the content is clear and accessible, and your writing style is appropriate. Be prepared to read your draft material very carefully and repeatedly in order to seek to improve its clarity and style. Where possible, re-read and amend drafts of a section or chapter when your mind is fresh. The structure you devise, related to your research approach and research strategy, will have implications for the way in which you discuss the role of literature, theory, methods, findings, and conclusions in your project report. As you produce your draft, continue to evaluate how well these elements fit together without overlapping in your report. Where the story of your research is not clear, you will need to continue to re-draft the report.
As the draft of your report develops, ensure that you distinguish between describing events, outlining methods, reporting findings, and interpreting and theorizing about what you found. This will be important irrespective of the structure you use so that your readers may distinguish between these elements in your work. Give your report the ‘reader-friendly’ test to ensure that your style is easy to read, and the content is clear and free from avoidable errors.
Content and Structure
• Abstract (300 words, ± 10%)
• Introduction (Identification of a business problem - discuss issues concerning a company or industry -, research purpose (i.e., aim) and objectives) (750 words, ± 10%)
• Literature review (2500 words, ± 10%)
• Research Design (Discussion of the research philosophy, design, and ethical issues) (1000 words, ± 10%)
• Critical evaluation of secondary data (Comparable analysis of previous research findings) (1200 words, ± 10%)
• Conclusion & Recommendations (750 words, ± 10%)
• Reference List (APA Referencing style)
Consider what to include in the body of your project and demonstrate a sound level of text synthesis. Essential information must be included in the body of the project and will be counted in the word count.
Extra illustrative information may be included in the appendices. Along with the recommended readings included in this week's section, support your paper with a minimum of twenty (15) resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles of your choice, may be included.
Your assignment will be assessed using the Writing Rubric located below of the Marking Criteria shell.
Element & Weight Marking (%)
Introduction, Content, and Research Objectives (15%)
• 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; i.e., do they involve explanation, comparison, criticism or evaluation?
90% to 100% • Significant contribution to knowledge.
• Theoretically or practically significant topic.
• Aim and research questions are original, clearly defined and perfectly aligned.
80% to 89% • Useful contribution to knowledge.
• Interesting topic, relevant to management research.
• Aim and research questions are clearly defined and aligned.
70% to 79% • Adds input to knowledge without necessarily making a significant contribution.
• Interesting topic, relevant to management research.
• Aim and research questions defined with sufficient clarity.
60% to 69% • Marginal contribution to knowledge.
• Generally valid and relevant topic.
• Reasonably clearly stated aim and research questions, but with some shortcomings in clarity of purpose and associated objectives.
0% to 59% • Does not make a contribution to knowledge.
• Poor selection and/or presentation of topic.
• Major weaknesses in the framing and presentation of aims and research questions; major inconsistencies about purpose and associated objectives.
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 referenced fairly and properly? Is the bibliography at the end of the dissertation complete and in the APA style?
90% to 100% • Detailed and thorough literature review.
• Superlative analysis, synthesis and evaluation of material.
• Development of a coherent theoretical framework, potentially to the standard of publishable work.
80% to 89% • Detailed and thorough literature review.
• Excellent analysis, synthesis and evaluation of material.
• Sound theoretical framework developed.
70% to 79% • Suitable literature review demonstrating some level of synthesis of secondary sources.
• Generally sound theoretical framework.
60% to 69% • Generally satisfactory literature review but with some flaws and omissions.
• Adequate analysis and evaluation of material, limited evidence of synthesis.
• Generally appropriate theoretical framework but is not complete and/or justified.
0% to 59% • Unsatisfactory literature review.
• Rudimentary analysis and evaluation of material.
• Poor or inadequate theoretical basis for the research based upon incomplete and fragmented literature review.
Research Design and Methodology (15%)
• Is there a clear rationale for the research design and methodology?
• Are the research methods fully described and the advantages and disadvantages of chosen methods discussed?
• Are any constraints or limitations identified?
• 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?
90% to 100% • Original approach to study.
• Exceptional design and execution, of high professional standard.
• Appropriate methodology clearly and logically justified.
80% to 89% • Original approach to study.
• Careful design and execution.
• Appropriate methodology.
70% to 79% • Appropriate approach to study.
• Adequately designed and executed study.
• Generally appropriate selection of methodological approach and research design; provides justification for the selected methodology and demonstrates understanding of limitations of research design.
60% to 69% • Generally appropriate approach to study.
• Generally adequate design and execution but may contain minor weaknesses in approach.
• Generally appropriate selection of methodological approach and research design with potential minor inconsistencies; provides justification for the selected methodology, although potentially incomplete and demonstrates some understanding of limitations of research design.
0% to 59% • Unsatisfactory study design and execution.
• Inappropriate methodology and research design; fails to justify adoption of selected methodology. No evidence of understanding of limitations of research design. Does not align research question with methodological approach.
Critical Evaluation of Secondary Data (20%)
• Is all data presented relevant to aims and objectives?
• Is the analysis thorough and appropriate to the data collected, depending on the research methods used? For example: o Do the appendices contain a data matrix, and details of analysis undertaken? Is analysis correctly performed and interpreted?
o Has the validity and reliability of the sources been addressed?
• 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 findings of the research been compared and contrasted with findings, theories, models, and concepts derived from the literature review?
90% to 100% • Appropriate data analysed using well-defined and clearly justified techniques.
• High quality analysis, demonstrating coherent and compelling interpretation of the data.
• Well-organised and strongly communicative presentation of results and analysis.
80% to 89% • Appropriate data analysed using appropriate analytical techniques
• High quality analysis, demonstrating clear interpretation of the data.
• Well-organised and clear presentation of results and analysis.
70% to 79% • Good effort to collect appropriate data.
• Relevant analysis and interpretation of data.
• Complete presentation of results and analysis.
60% to 69% • Mainly appropriate data collection but potentially with some of the requisite data missing.
• Evidence of satisfactory data analysis but may contain some weaknesses.
• Useful presentation of results and analysis but may lack detail or clarity.
0% to 59% • Inappropriate data or failure to collect the required data; little evidence of independent research.
• Insufficient or no analysis; inconsistencies in the analysis; inadequate or no presentation of results.
Conclusions and Recommendations (15%)
• 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?
90% to 100% • High quality, thorough discussion; fully justified and logical conclusions and recommendations.
• Thorough understanding of the importance of the results in the context of the theoretical framework.
• Complete understanding of all material dealt with.
• Clear signs of independent critical ability and original thought in dealing with the critical issues.
80% to 89% • Reflective discussion, defensible conclusions and recommendations.
• Thorough understanding of all material dealt with.
• Evidence of independent critical ability.
70% to 79% • Logical discussion, clear conclusions and recommendations.
• Good understanding of most material dealt with.
• Ability to reflect upon weaknesses in approach.
60% to 69% • Discussion generally logical but mainly superficial; conclusions flawed and recommendations weak or omitted.
• Generally good understanding of most material dealt with.
• Limited reflection upon weaknesses in approach.
0% to 59% • Weak discussion; findings and conclusions inaccurate, inconsistent or incomplete; recommendations indefensible, unrelated to findings and conclusions or omitted.
• Superficial understanding of most material dealt with.
• Does not demonstrate evidence of independent critical ability.
Does not reflect upon weaknesses in approach.
Structure, and Writing (10%)
• Is the overall style and presentation of the dissertation in accordance with that
specified in the descriptions; i.e., cover pages, title page, word count, spacing, chapter and section headings, pagination, appropriate font, bolding, italics
• Are all citations and references properly formatted in the appropriate referencing style?
• Is the title concise and appropriate?
• Is the abstract a concise (1 page) summary of the main aims, methodology, findings, and conclusions?
• 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?
90% to 100% • Outstanding presentation.
• Exemplary use of academic English, sound and consistent writing style.
• As good a piece of work as could be expected at this stage of development; of a near publishable quality.
80% to 89% • Excellent presentation.
• Very good use of academic English, sound and consistent writing style.
• Would require refocusing before reaching publishable state.
70% to 79% • Good presentation.
• Good use of academic English; clear and consistent writing style, though not of a publishable standard.
60% to 69% • Satisfactory presentation.
• Reasonably good use of English; generally clear writing style with few weaknesses, though not of a publishable standard.
0% to 69% • Unsatisfactory presentation.
• Generally poor use of English with significant errors and weaknesses that inhibit readability.
• Significantly below publishable standard.
Students should follow the provided structure above. Generally, we expect to see the following elements:
1. Introduction: A good and appropriate introduction to the corporate strategies as well as the external and internal environment of the chosen company relevant to the description of the assignment. Set the scene for the assignment. Make sure to define the primary aim of your project in the introduction.
2. Main body: Present and discuss the issues of the topic. Demonstrate in-depth critical examination and discuss evidence of independent research on the topic. Search the related literature using a variety of sources such as textbooks, academic, and scientific journals. Organize and structure your work so that the reader can follow the line of the argument. Link the paragraphs by using linking words.
3. Conclusions: The conclusion section is an integral part of every project. Writing a good concluding paragraph can be challenging. Restate your thesis and summarize your main points of evidence for the reader. Similarly to the introduction section, the conclusion should be interesting! The conclusion should summarise the main points of your assignment. Implications: Demonstrate what you have learned from your assignment, by addressing the central question and adequately summarise the findings of your research.
The following points should be noted for this part of the assessment:
? This is an individual assessment, not a group task.
? Your project should be submitted on the due date (i.e., Sunday of Week 10) by 11.59 p.m. (23.59 hours) VLE (UTC) time at the latest. To submit your assignment, please use the submission link titled “Assessment Point - Dissertation” that is located in Week 10 on the VLE page of your module.
? Literature should be sourced from a range of journal articles and textbooks. A limited range of readings will be made available.
? The word count is 6500 words +/- 10%. This does not include the reference list and any appendices the assignment may include.
? Accurate referencing of sources is crucial in this coursework. The referencing system used in this module is the APA Reference system. Please make sure you are familiar with this. Marks will be deducted for inaccurate referencing.
? Academic Integrity: Students are expected to demonstrate academic integrity by completing their own work, assignments, and other assessment exercises. Submission of work from another person, whether it is from printed sources or someone other than the student; previously graded papers; papers submitted without proper citations; or submitting the same paper to multiple courses without the knowledge of all instructors involved can result in a failing grade. Incidents involving academic dishonesty will be reported to university officials for appropriate sanctions. Furthermore, students must always submit work that represents their original words or ideas. If any words or ideas used in an assignment or assessment submission do not represent the student’s original words or ideas, all relevant sources must be cited along with the extent to which such sources were used. Words or ideas that require citation include, but are not limited to, all hard copy or electronic publications, whether copyrighted or not and all verbal or visual communication when the content of such communication clearly originates from an identifiable source.
? The assessment must be submitted electronically via “Turnitin.”