Masters Dissertation (HRM)
If you decide to enrol on our full MSc HRM programme, towards the end of your studies you will embark on researching and writing a substantial dissertation of 15,000 – 20,000 words. This is an excellent opportunity for you to develop an area of expertise within the HR field by carrying out and writing up your own research project.The dissertation is unlike a traditional taught module in that much of your contact time with staff will occur in the form of supervision meetings, which may occur one-to-one or within small group formats.
Please be aware that any form of primary data collection requires ethical approval from the University. Mark penalties may be applied in the event that primary research is conducted without appropriate ethical approval.
Full module specification
|Module title:||Masters Dissertation (HRM)|
Allocated Research Methods module as per programme descriptor
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 2: |
Our aims in this module are threefold. Our first aim is to help you to identify research problems which have relevance to HRM practice within organisations. Our second aim, connected with this, is to build your skills and confidence in collecting and analysing relevant data related to your selected research problem. Finally, we seek to develop your ability to derive clear conclusions and recommendations from your data together with your ability to present these to both an academic and practitioner audience.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. collect, analyse and interpret qualitative or quantitative data, using relevant software and analytical techniques;
- 2. relate theory to research findings, draw relevant conclusions and consider the implications and limitations of the research which you have undertaken.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. conduct independent research including use of the library and relevant information databases;
- 4. construct coherent and convincing arguments, using evidence as appropriate to defend positions taken.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 5. take responsibility for the direction and management of an independent and original research project from inception through to completion;
- 6. present written work to a high standard, adhering to conventions for academic writing and referencing.
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 and Teaching Activities||13||Meetings with your supervisor and formal dissertation briefing sessions|
|Guided Independent Study||587||Researching and writing up your dissertation|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Draft Chapters||15,000 - 20,000 words||1-6||Verbal & written feedback|
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||15,000 - 20,000 words||1-6||Written feedback|
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 (100%)||Resubmission of reworked dissertation (100%)||1-6||Following reassessment period|
The dissertation is unlike traditional taught modules. You will attend briefing sessions during your programme where we will explain and discuss the dissertation process, these will occur in addition to the formal Research Methods taught sessions. You will need to meet your supervisor regularly and maintain contact throughout the time that you are working on your dissertation. You will need to respond to feedback and submit your dissertation on or before the deadline date
While dissertations vary in terms of their structure and content, essential features include the following:
- An introduction which sets out and justifies the research questions / hypotheses and introduces a case study company or sector
- A literature review which is critical and analytical, and not simply descriptive in nature
- A methodology section in which you set out and justify your choice of research methods
- Sections which both set out and analyse your findings
- Conclusions and recommendations which are clearly justified, and if appropriate, costed
- A section reflecting on and critically reviewing your learning while completing your dissertation
Please note that all students collecting primary data will be required to obtain ethical clearance from the university in advance of data collection activities. Failing to adhere to ethical guidelines will mean you will not be permitted to collect primary data.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
- Anderson, V. (2019) Research Methods in Human Resource Management: Investigating a Business Issue. Fourth Edition, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: London.
- Bell, J. & Waters (2014) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide For First-Time Researchers, Open University Press
- Bryman, A., Bell, E. & Harley, B. (2018) Business Research Methods. Fifth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Burke, R. (2013) Project Management: Planning and Control Techniques. Fifth Edition, Wiley.
- Creswell, J. W. (2017) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Fourth Edition. Sage.
- Creswell, J.W. (2018) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Fifth Edition. Sage.
- Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., Jackson, P. & Jaspersen, L. J. (2018) Management Research. Sixth Edition, Sage
- Field, A. (2017) Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics. Fifth Edition. Sage.
- Gray, D. (2017) Doing Research in the Business World. Sage
- Horn, R. (2012) Researching and Writing Dissertations: A Complete Guide for Business and Management Students. 2nd Edition. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: London.
- Myers, M. D. (2013) Qualitative Research in Business and Management, Second Edition, Sage
- Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2016) Research Methods for Business Students, Eighth Edition, Pearson.
- Yin, R. (2018) Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods, Sixth Edition, Sage.
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
You will have access to an online searchable and resources database, with links to several eBooks and our own bespoke "Dissertation Support Materials" available through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE). Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities.
Indicative learning resources - Other resources
As an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development you will also have access to the entirety of the Institute's website, including all published research reports, archived articles from 'People Management', fact sheets, discussion papers and briefings.
Last revision date