MSc Dissertation structure.
While dissertations may differ in structure, the following example of structure may be of guidance in organising your written work.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Chapter 1: Introduction, including rationale, aims and objectives, and summaries of subsequent chapters the (about 2000 words)
Chapter 2: Literature review (about 4000 words )
Chapter 3: Methodology (about 3000 words AND NEED SPSS TOOL)
Chapter 4: Results/ analysis, Findings (about 3500words)
Chapter 5: Discussion and Recommendations, (2000 words)
Chapter 6: Conclusions, Critique, and Lessons Learned ( 1500 -2000words)
List of references
Students should take more detailed guidance about structure from their supervisor.
Please note that there are very strict specifications that you must follow when preparing your dissertation.
The title page of the dissertation should be set out in accordance with the specimen sheet and should include the following:
The dissertation may be typewritten or word processed
Photographs should be on single white paper. The paper should preferably be the full size of the page allowing for standard margins around the photographs, but if this is impossible and it is necessary to mount small photographs on the page, a guard 25mm wide, of the same thickness as the photograph should be mounted on the left hand edge of the page. Mounting should always be done by using photographic mountants as some glues can stain prints whilst others lose their adhesive qualities with time.
The attention of all candidates is drawn to the importance of careful revision of the typescript of a dissertation before it is sent for binding. Reading numerous typographical and linguistic errors only annoys your examiners.
The Objectives of the Dissertation
The dissertation has a number of objectives. It enables students to:
Assessment is based on the academic merit of the dissertation in terms of its originality, breadth of background reading, application of knowledge, research design, analysis of data, conclusions and also the quality of presentation. The dissertation will therefore be assessed in relation to the following criteria:
In terms of the quality of presentation the following areas are particularly important:
Ethics is about the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and values that ought to govern it.
In all aspects of business today ethical considerations are receiving increasing attention. The Hull University Business School (HUBS) believes that ethical considerations are critically important in planning research. A guiding principle is that research should be carried out with the best interests of the individuals who are the subject of the research being the primary consideration.
When research is undertaken by anyone connected to HUBS, ethical issues should be considered. We believe this has implications for:
Students must complete the Ethics Proforma available on eBridge. It must also be signed by both the student and their supervisor before the data collection begins.
An MSc Dissertation cannot be submitted for assessment without the signed Ethics Proforma (as per above).
It is essential to appreciate that when students, at any level, submit work and sign off its authenticity that they appreciate they are also signing off that they are aware of ethical research principles and have abided by them.
HUBS has developed a booklet Ethical Procedures for Research and Teaching designed to help you in dealing with ethical considerations in research projects, which you are encouraged to consult. The booklet can be found on the Postgraduate Office eBridge site.
This booklet is not intended to hamper the progress of any research, but to ensure its quality and ethical acceptability.
All researchers in HUBS are required to state that they have read, understood and incorporated the values represented in the booklet. When you submit any piece of work for assessment you are required to attach an Assessment Submission Receipt which contains an Ethics declaration which you must sign.
However it should be noted that making and signing up to an ethical statement does not absolve the researcher(s) from observing general and broader ethical guidelines, for example, abiding by the law, observing copyright, complying with plagiarism conventions, acknowledging authorship etc. The ultimate responsibility for the ethics in a project and how it evolves remains with the researcher(s).
The University of Hull also has a Code of Practice on Research Misconduct which is followed if any breaches of good practice occur.
All work which is submitted for assessment must be your own work and appropriately referenced. Academic dishonesty is a very serious offence and will be penalised accordingly. Being found guilty of academic dishonesty may have a serious effect upon your academic progression, it may also result in a University Warning or it may result in your expulsion from the University.
It is important that you have read and thoroughly understood the section on ‘Plagiarism’ in your Business School Programme handbook and that you have read and understood the University Code of Practice on the Use of Unfair Means which is published on the University website.
If you are unsure about referencing or plagiarism please refer to the Business School Study Skills handbook or seek advice from your dissertation supervisor or module or programme leader the University Study Advice Centre. Students should do this before commencing work on assignments etc. Students undertaking dissertations and independent study work should bear in mind that their supervisors are not responsible for checking their work for plagiarism at this stage.
Please be aware that plagiarism is not permitted in any form of assessed work. In their dissertation, students should take care to acknowledge the work and opinions of others and avoid any appearance of representing them as their own.
The plagiarism declaration on the dissertation submission receipt is your personal statement that the work which you are submitting for assessment is your own.
You should think carefully before deciding on your topic. During the Research Methods module you are made aware of different types of research and different research methods. The assessment for this module is a Research Proposal for your dissertation. Whilst the aim of the Research Proposal is to be the starting point of your dissertation, you may decide to carry out a different topic depending on the feedback on your Research Proposal and changed circumstances (access, etc.).
Attention must be paid to a number of issues when selecting a topic, such as feasibility, the degree of access to primary data, and the amount of literature available. In addition, you may wish to think about how the dissertation might feed into your career objectives. We advise you to avoid very general topics and studies spanning a long period or requiring a long period of data collection.
In selecting your topic you should bear in mind that the dissertation is not simply a management report or feasibility study, it is an academic piece of work grounded in, and potentially adding to, an existing body of academic knowledge. Thus there must be a significant amount of academic material to support the more practical elements of the work.
Members of staff may suggest project titles, ideas might be offered by outside organisations but, more usually, arise out of your own ideas and requirements. Whatever the origin, ensure that you have a dissertation that meets the School’s academic criteria.
The key factor is that there must be a business or management problem or issue worthy of research.
You will be allocated a supervisor by the Business School. Only members of the Board of Examiners may act as supervisors.
Initial supervision may take place via a seminar format in groups of approximately 10 students. These group sessions will cover generic issues. They may also involve the supervisor asking you to present the background to your work (i.e. aims and objectives, relevant literature, likely methodologies…) for group discussion. Thereafter, you will have an opportunity to meet with your supervisor individually. It is expected that these ‘meetings’ constitute at least four face-to-face meetings (or technological equivalents, e.g., Skype) during the dissertation period. Any further meetings may be provided but these are subject to negotiation. It is an acceptable and normal practice to conduct further supervision meetings via e-mail and these details should be agreed with your supervisor in the early stages of the dissertation period.
The role of the supervisor is as follows:
In deciding what makes sense in carrying out the dissertation, be guided by your supervisor but, at the same time, remember that you will be expected to take the lead. It is not the role of the supervisor to manage the dissertation, your time, to motivate you or to provide you with access to organisations. Staff supervising an MSc dissertation or project are supervising the process rather than the precise content.
All taught postgraduate students are required to report into the School’s Nidd reception on a weekly basis during semester time and the summer vacation period. Any student who is unable to comply with this requirement and wishes to be away from the University for a period of 7 days or more should obtain permission to be away. A form to request permission is available in the resources section of the MSc Programme site on eBridge. The maximum period of absence that may be authorised is 42 days.
If you intend working away from Hull and especially if you wish to return to your home country to undertake your research you need to plan your work schedule very carefully.
You must ensure that you agree a well defined work plan with your supervisor and that adequate arrangements are made between you for the supervision.
Forward planning is vitally important to complete your dissertation successfully. Difficulties are inherent in any such work and must be allowed for in the planning process.
It is therefore vital that your Dissertation Project Proposal identifies all resources (including your own time) that you will need to complete your dissertation and that you prepare a suggested timetable specifying the various stages you will need to undertake and how long you see each stage taking. The following is a suggested timetable for guidance:
Mid-June Supervisors allocated. Work/meeting schedule agreed with Supervisor.
Submit Leave of Absence Form if appropriate (see Section 14).
Submit completed Health & Safety Checklist if appropriate (See Section 26).
End June/mid-July Literature search and preparation of literature review.
Research design and sample selection.
Ethics proforma (Appendix B) to be signed off by supervisor before collecting data
End July Submit a draft chapter to supervisor
August Data collection and writing up data analysis.
End Aug/mid-Sept Final editing, binding and submission.
We strongly advise you to develop a detailed project plan at an early stage in your research and to ruthlessly stick to it. As part of this plan you should agree a schedule of contact between yourself and your supervisor over the course of the dissertation period, this is important for two reasons:
The dissertation should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length, excluding appendices and reference list. Dissertations that are substantially under or over this length may be penalised by having marks deducted.
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