Students across business school can undertake their own in-depth research study into a topic related to their degree subject which interests them. They will benefit from having the opportunity to plan and manage their individual piece of research on a topic which was not covered in their regular taught modules, and to gain research skills from the guidance provided by their module convenor and dissertation supervisor. They will be able to successfully conclude an extended written dissertation. The topic of their dissertation is of their choosing. The module includes taught elements covering research methods and research skills, these will be delivered in term one.
With guidance from supervisors and the module lead, students may choose one of three formats. These are:
1) A Research Dissertation – using a thesis structure and research method(s) associated with academic scholarship.
2) A ‘Business Project’ – in which the student researches and analyses an issue currently experienced by an industry partner or ‘sponsor’. This will be written up as a consultancy-style report including, for example, literature, findings based on organizational data analysis, and recommendations. Where this option is chosen, students should have an established relationship with an industry partner (e.g. from a previously undertaken internship), who is willing to allow data analysis and research on this topic.
3) A Literature Review Dissertation: undertaking a systematic and detailed review of academic (and, where appropriate or necessary, practitioner) literature on a focused topic. Original data collection is not required for this option.
Additional Information: Employability
Dissertations can be linked to internships and business projects, so they provide a strong talking point for future interviews. Students also develop their research and comprehension skills. This module offers the potential of enhanced employability thorough demonstrating a deep understanding of the application of data analysis- using academic literature to analyse and evaluate real-world situations.
Full module specification
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 1: |
*Duration (weeks) - term 2:
*Duration (weeks) - term 3:
The aim of writing a dissertation is to give students the opportunity to research a topic related to their programme of study, which is not covered in depth by any taught module being offered that year. It is also designed to give students the opportunity to plan and manage their own research and to produce an extended written dissertation.
The exact nature of knowledge development in this module will be dependent upon the nature of the research project undertaken, which may be from any area of the Business School (Accounting, Finance, Economics or Management).
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. plan and execute an original research project
- 2. research extensively and critically on a chosen academic or practical topic and demonstrate application of the underlying discipline concepts and/or research processes
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. use appropriate information, research and data resources (via library or Business School data sources) and apply broader discipline knowledge to the specific research project
- 4. present and assess findings in a manner consistent with the norms of the subject area
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 5. work independently, and seek and apply advice from the supervisor
- 6. take responsibility for the direction and management of a research project through to completion and submission
- 7. present research in a clear and academic format
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning & teaching activities||5||Supervision|
|Scheduled learning & teaching activities||10||Lectures|
|Scheduled learning & teaching activities||10||Workshops|
|Guided independent study||150||Reading and research|
|Guided Independent Study||125||Writing up a dissertation|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Project plans and draft chapters||As appropriate to the project and position in the research and writing process||1-7||Verbal and/or written|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Dissertation||100||10,000 words excluding tables, charts and appendices.||1-7||Verbal and Written|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Dissertation||Revision of the dissertation based on the given feedback||1-7||August assessment period|
This is an independent research module. However, it does include a series of taught and workshop sessions on research methods that could allow students to undertake a traditional research dissertation, a business project, and a desk-based systematic literature review.
- Introduction to the module and paradigms of research
- The principles of research in the contexts of academic scholarship and consultancy.
- Literature review and synthesis – How to develop research questions/hypothesis
- Systematic literature review methods
- Designing appropriate research approach
- Research methods (Quantitative and Qualitative) and data collection process
- Data processing, analysis and interpretation
- Presenting findings, contributions to knowledge, and making recommendations for future practice.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Core text for the module:
- Bryman, A & Bell, E. (2018). Business research methods. (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Saunders M., Lewis P. & Thornhill A. (2015). Research methods for business students. (7th ed.). Harlow: Pearson.
Supplementary reading: [HB1]
- Atkinson, P. & Delamont, S. (Eds.). (2011) SAGE qualitative research methods. London: SAGE [This is only available online, and can be accessed via http://lib.exeter.ac.uk/record=b2536116~S6]
- Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of management journal, 50(1), 25-32.
- Gioia, D. A., Corley, K. G., & Hamilton, A. L. (2013). Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology. Organizational research methods, 16(1), 15-31.
- Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R., & Lê, J. K. (2014). Producing persuasive findings: Demystifying ethnographic textwork in strategy and organization research. Strategic Organization, 12(4), 274-287.
- Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence?informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British journal of management, 14(3), 207-222.
- Vogt, W. P. (Ed.). (2011). SAGE quantitative research methods. London: SAGE [This is only available online, and can be accessed via http://lib.exeter.ac.uk/record=b2536117~S6]
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
Various journal articles – contemporary business issues from a variety of relevant publications
Last revision date