Dissertation (Management)

Module description

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.

Additional Information:

  • The module is for students registered for either the 12 month MSc Management or the MSc Finance and Management programme. Students from MSc Finance and Management should note that this module is specifically for management dissertations and will be supervised by academics in Management Studies and Organisation Studies departments.


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)
Module code:BEMM251
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Emma Jeanes - Convenor
Module credit:30
ECTS value:






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


Duration (weeks) - term 3:

Independent research until the date of submission (September)

Module aims

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
  • 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 ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity24Engagement with online materials and module content
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5Supervision meetings to be arranged by the student in consultation with allocated supervisor
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity6Cohort wide sessions to reinforce key messages and allow for Q&A
Guided Independent Study265Reading, research, data analysis (where appropriate) and writing up assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Initial research proposal800-1000 words1-2, 5Verbal (feedback provided by the allocated dissertation supervisor)

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
Final research proposal101000-1200 words1-2, 5Written and Verbal (feedback provided by the dissertation supervisor)
Dissertation908000-10000 words1-9Written feedback (feedback provided by the dissertation supervisor and second marker).

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Proposal (10%) and Dissertation (90%)Dissertation (100%) (8,000- 10,000 words)1-9Referral/Deferral period

Syllabus plan

The syllabus covers:

Guidance on how to plan, research and write a dissertation

Research ethics

Avoiding academic misconduct and embedding good practice

Timescales and key stages

Advice on:

  • writing a research proposal
  • finding literature and writing literature reviews
  • research methods
  • analysis
  • writing up
  • managing the supervisory relationship

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Compulsory reading:

Dissertation Series (chapters 1-12), University of Exeter Business School Resource

Download link (login using UOE credentials):

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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