Research Dissertation

Module description

The industries and professions which you may consider joining and leading are becoming more knowledge intensive.  This creates a need for managers who are capable of, amongst many other things, researching different aspects of organisational and market activity and analysing and interpreting data.  You need to be able to unravel complex situations, think critically, diagnose problems and justify choices and actions based on sound evidence.  The MBA dissertation presents a learning vehicle through which you can further develop such skills.

Internationalisation: You have the option to do your dissertation on any country.

Sustainability:  every dissertation is based around the issue of sustainability

External Engagement: As part of the data collection for your project, you will engage with external individuals or companies and often conduct interviews.

Employability: From this module, you will be equipped with research, critical and analytical thinking skills.

Full module specification

Module title:Research Dissertation
Module code:MBAM812
Module level:M
Academic year:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Nicolas Forsans -
Module credit:24
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

1.5 days

Duration (weeks) - term 3:

3 days (+ 10 hours 1:1 supervision)

Module aims

The dissertation allows you to research and analyse a business problem or issue and come to reasoned conclusions and recommendations.  The process will help develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a highly specialised subject, a critical understanding of research methods and the ability to apply research and project management skills in practice. The module aims to provide a context in which to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills that have been developed through the taught modules of the MBA.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of relevant literature and theoretical frameworks.
  • 2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of alternative research methodologies and defence of a particular approach taken.
  • 3. Collect, analyse and interpret qualitative or quantitative data, using relevant software and statistical techniques.
  • 4. Relate theory to research findings, draw relevant conclusions and consider the implications and limitations of the research which has been undertaken.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Use independent research skills including use of the library and relevant information databases.
  • 6. Construct coherent, well-argued and convincing arguments, using evidence as appropriate to defend positions taken.
  • 7. Design and execute an appropriate and ethical research methodology;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Take responsibility for the direction and management of an independent and original research project (on time and within budget) through to completion and submission.
  • 9. Think critically and analytically, challenging viewpoints, ideas and theoretical concepts.
  • 10. Demonstrate a high standard of written presentation, adhering to conventions for academic writing and referencing.
  • 11. Evaluate options and make reasoned judgements and choices, often in the absence of complete data.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours35Lectures and Research Methods Workshop
101:1 Supervision

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion - group and 1:1Throughout the workshops and 1:1 meetings with supervisor1 -11Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Proposal101,000 words 1,2,7Written feedback on proposal.
Dissertation90%12,000 words1-11Written feedback on dissertation

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation 12,000 words1-116 weeks from briefing

Syllabus plan

Research workshops will cover: the academic requirements of a dissertation; systematic and critical literature reviews; secondary research techniques; qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation; quantitative data collection, analysis and interpretation (particularly covering survey questionnaire design and hypothesis testing); effective thesis writing; and referencing conventions.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:
Saunders, M.N.K., Thornhill, A. and Lewis, P. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall.
Bell, E. and Bryman, A (2006) The ethics of management research, British Journal of Management,17, 1.
Coghlan, D, and Brannick, T (2009) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organisation, London:Sage.
Cresswell, J.W. (2008) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Sage, London.
Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review, Sage: London.
Ryan, R., Scapens, R. and M. Theobold (2002) Research Method and Methodology in Finance and Accounting, Thomson.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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