The dissertation module allows you to pursue a programme of independent research on a business management topic that is of interest to you. Every student will be allocated a dissertation supervisor, and under whose guidance you will do the research and complete the dissertation write-up (8,000-10,000 words long). A dissertation demands self-motivation and good organisational skills. You are expected to show initiative in choosing your topic of study and in executing the research. The module will further develop your skills in developing a research agenda, formulating appropriate research questions, conducting a literature review, planning a research programme, analysing data, and communicating the findings by a fixed deadline. This module is specifically for management dissertations and will be supervised by academics working in the field of Management.
By working on a dissertation students develop valuable transferable skills in research, analysis, independent working, academic writing and time management.
Full module specification
|Module title:||Dissertation (Management)|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 2: |
3 scheduled classes; online self -paced learningDuration (weeks) - term 3:
Independent research until the date of submission (September)
The aim of the module is to nurture students’ skills in developing a research agenda, formulating appropriate research questions, planning and conducting a research programme (within a specified time), conducting a literature review, analysing data, and communicating the findings through a comprehensive piece of academic writing. Towards this, the student will pursue a programme of independent research on a topic of his/her choosing and which is approved by the module convenor.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. demonstrate a good comprehension of the complexity, gaps and contradictions associated with a specialised study of management;
- 2. confidently apply in writings the understanding of concepts and theories from the taught part of the programme to a particular research problem;
- 3. draw valid conclusions based on an ability to synthesise and prioritise relevant data from methods and techniques appropriate to the research problem;
- 4. independently conduct an entire programme of research from defining the research question through scholarly investigation to final dissertation write-up
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. present a clearly structured and well-written piece of research within the discipline of Management
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 6. work as an independent researcher to collect, analyse and prioritise data and evidence to answer clearly-defined research questions in an ethical manner;
- 7. develop problem-solving skills in a specialised manner based on the ability to adapt to the often complex, unpredictable and particular demands of the research process
- 8. form constructive dialogues with research partners (peers, mentors and skilled professionals) and the dissertation supervisor
- 9. reflect on the research process and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the approach adopted
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 Activity||3||Taught sessions: welcome and Q&A|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity||36||Engagement with online materials including taught blocks and dissertation guide|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity||5||Supervision meetings to be arranged by the student in consultation with allocated supervisor|
|Guided Independent Study||265||Engagement with online materials including taught blocks and dissertation guide. Reading, research, data analysis (where appropriate) and writing up assessments|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Initial research proposal||800-1000 words||1-2, 5||Written (feedback provided by the allocated dissertation supervisor)|
|Ethical approval form or declaration of non-applicability||Varied. Students must be able to demonstrate ethical approval or demonstrate no data will be collected.||6|
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|
|Final research proposal||10||1,000-1,200 words||1-2, 5||Written and Verbal (feedback provided by the dissertation supervisor)|
|Dissertation||90||8,000-10,000 words||1-9||Confirmation of approval or non-applicability.|
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|
|Proposal (10%)||Proposal (10%)||1-2,5||Referral/Deferral period|
|Dissertation (90%)||Dissertation (90%) (8,000-10,000 words)||1-9||Referral/Deferral period|
Candidates can resubmit improved versions of their research.
The syllabus covers:
Guidance on how to plan, research and write a dissertation
Avoiding academic misconduct and embedding good practice
Timescales and key stages
- writing a research proposal
- finding literature and writing literature reviews
- research methods
- writing up
- managing the supervisory relationship
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Dissertation Series (chapters 1-12), University of Exeter Business School Resource
Thematic reading will vary according to your chosen research topic (please seek advice from your dissertation supervisor)
Suggested reading– Research Methods and Dissertation Skills:
- Bell, E, Bryman, A. and Harley, B. (2018). Business Research Methods, 5th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Berman Brown, R. and Saunders, M. N. K. (2006). Doing Your Dissertation in Business and Management: The Reality of Researching and Writing. London: Sage
- Blumberg, B., Cooper, D. and Schindler, P. (2014). Business Research Methods, 4th edition. Basingstoke: McGraw-Hill.
- Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument, London: Palgrave.
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