School of Business and Law University Of East London
HR6004 COURSE WORK GUIDE
THE BUSINESS PROJECT OR DISSERTATION
Submission date: 7 July 2016.
Welcome to the HR6004 Business Project/Dissertation assessment handbook. Please read this assessment guide carefully and familiarise yourself with all the information below as it will beessential for your success in the project/dissertation assessment.
Please see the briefings from your project leader for full details of your project/dissertation on the HR6004 MOODLE page. Details of your supervisor are located in a spreadsheet at the top of the MOODLE page.
This assessment handbook is the most important document for success this term, and you should familiarise yourself with it, reading it carefully. You should contact your supervisor as soon as possible thereafter and arrange to meet with him or her to seek their guidance, and arrange subsequent meetings to assess your progress over the term.
Dissertations and Projects
The module specifications are detailed in the Module guide. The learning outcomes of relevance to this assessment and your project/dissertation are:
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of the academic theory relevant to the project or other exercise
- Appreciate the complexity and relevance of ethical issues in researching and managing a project or dissertation
- Critically evaluate findings, draw appropriate conclusions from analysis of the data and make recommendations for further research and/or develop solutions for any problems identified
Subject-based practical skills
- Identify, evaluate and overcome the methodological and other barriers to completion of a satisfactory project, dissertation or other exercise
Skills for life and work (general skills)
- Demonstrate the capacity to collect, synthesise and analyse a range of data
- Communicate at length in a clear and logical manner
In Term 1 you prepared a project plan or a research proposal for a project or dissertation to be undertaken this term. You should now be ready to undertake your dissertation or project in Term 2.
The Dissertation is an individual submission and a 4800 word assessment. It is based onprimary (qualitative or quantitative) or secondaryresearch on a business, financial or economics topic chosen by you (and accepted by the School of Business and Law).If you are undertaking primary research please ensure that you complete your ethical research application. Failure to do this will lead to a mark of zero when you submit your dissertation.
The Project is also an individual submission. It is a 4800 word inquiry into a business, financial or economicissue. It may be based on a business problem, a case study, a simulation or a live project. It is different from an academic dissertation in that the means of inquiry, rather than an orthodox research methodology, will either be the application of a business tool to a problem (such as in market research or a consultancy project), or the use of IT to simulate a real business scenario, a feasibility study or a yardstick report.Secondary research may also be involved.
Whilst it is essential that every student submits an individual assessment, some projects (such as live cases, computer simulations and large case studies) may involve group work as a means of generating data for analysis. If you are not involved in a large project, group work should NOT be used for data collection.
Dissertation and Project structure
The following is considered to be an acceptable and logical way of structuring your project or dissertation, but an alternative may be more appropriate for your project. To determine this you should discuss the structure with your supervisor and look at the separate assignment brief for your project.
The Title of the project: This should reflect the specific focus of the project.
Student number(s): your NAME(S) must NOT appear in the project;
Course name and year of submission.
Executive summary: maximum 300 words (not included in the words count) – a summary of the project aim, approach, and results.
Table of Content Page
This page lists the main parts of the project together with their page numbers.
Introduction(Chapter 1 – 450 words) – Here, you will set out the main reasons why your chosen topic is worth researching and what you hope to achieve. A project will focus on making a contribution to the business context (e.g. a company’s goals, the economy, investment portfolio). In an academic dissertation you will go further, in explaining how your research contributes both to the business context and to debates and controversies in the existing literature. This should be followed by the main research question/project aim. An academic dissertation would include 2-3 SMART objectives to narrow the focus. A project may similarly include 2-3 SMART objectives or a more general explanation and justification of the project focus (for more specific guidance see the assignment brief for your project). This should be followed by a brief description of what the upcoming chapters will be about, and your approach.
Literature review (Chapter 2 -1000 words) – In an academic dissertation you will critically review the literature relevant to the dissertation aim (problem or opportunity) and objectives. There should be a concern for both seminal and contemporary literature, with alternative perspectives outlined and controversies discussed. If you are undertaking a consultancy project, business report, market research, live project, business or economic simulation you should see your project briefing, where specific guidance on critical thinking in the use of literature will be provided (See your project briefing for guidance).
Research Methods or Method of inquiry(Chapter 3 – 900 words) – Here, you will discuss the research methods used. If you are undertaking a dissertation you might discuss qualitative or quantitative research, size of sample used, reliability and validity, analysis of data and limitations of the research methods. You may alternatively discuss and outline secondary research collection methods used such as company reports, company web sites, and newspaper and journal articles. It is important that you comment on the validity and reliability of such data.If you are undertaking a consultancy project, business report, market research, live project, business or economic simulation you should see your project briefing, where specific guidance on collecting and analysing data will be provided.It is also important that ethical issues in researching and managing your project or dissertation are also considered.
Synthesis of the Findings / Discussion (Chapter 4 -2000 words). Here, you will present your key findings. If you are doing quantitative analysis, you will present and analyse your statistics. You may also include graphs, charts and tables to support your arguments. Each graph, chart and table must be numbered and clearly titled. Each should be about half a page and be clear for the reader to see. If you are doing qualitative analysis, extracts from the interviews you conducted should be presented (these should be in italics and in “speech marks”) to highlight the themes that will be evident from the interviews.
When writing up you must ‘synthesize’ the above findings. This requires you to critically analyse them with reference to the existing literature and in relation to your project aim and objectives. The key to achieving success is to ensure that you contextualise your discussion with reference to the literature that supports your arguments.
Conclusion (Chapter 5 – 450 words). In a project this chapter will include recommendations in terms of managerial implications based on your research findings.
Bibliography / Reference list: Referenced publications are listed in the bibliography alphabetically by author’s surname using the Harvard System.
Diagrams, figures and graphs which are too large for the text should be provided in this section.
All projects and dissertations will be assessed in terms of:
- Problem identification and critical thinking
- Research design or method of inquiry
- Analysis of data and conclusions/recommendations
- Writing skills and referencing
In the table below is the assessment criteria and a weighting of each. Whilst this weighting is appropriate for an academic dissertation it is recognised that the balance between problem identification, research design/method of inquiryand analysis of data/ conclusions may be different according to the nature of the project. Please see your specific project briefing which will inform you of the appropriate weighting of problem identification, research design and analysis of data and conclusions/recommendations.
|Dissertation and Project|
|Problem Identification and critical thinking – 40%
· Specific, meaningful, and original business oriented report aim and objectives.
· There should be a clear justification for the dissertation/project in terms of its contribution to the company, economy, or investor, and to the existing literature (for a dissertation).
· Critical thinking should be evident in the use of literature within the project or dissertation (See your project briefing for guidance).
|Research design or method of inquiry – 15%
· Appropriate data collection methods, sampling if applicable, and time management through a Gantt chart.
· For an academic dissertation this would involve a consideration of the design of primary or secondary research.
· In a project it may involve secondary research or the design and justification of a business tool used to address a specific business, financial or economic issue.
· Both projects and dissertations should consider the complexity of ethical issues in researching and managing a project or dissertation. (See your project briefing for guidance).
|Analysis of data and conclusions/recommendations– 35%
· Analysis and interpretation of data, presented in a clear and logical manner.
· Findings should be meaningful and contribute to the literature and/or business problem, address the research question and objectives, leading to relevant conclusions/recommendation (See your project briefing for guidance).
|· Writing Skills and referencing 10%
Structure and presentation, and referencing must be in the Harvard style – see cite them Right
General Grading Criteria Used To Assess Work
(70% or above)
|Critical work evidencing excellent synthesis and application of ideas. Work is exceptionally well constructed and presented.|
|Ideas are critically applied and coherently presented. Evidence of wide reading and some originality. Well referenced|
|Clear grasp of concepts and some critical application. Appropriately referenced and relevant argument. Reasonable structure and syntax. Well presented|
|Evidence of good understanding of issues, but crudely applied. Work indicates some critical thinking, but tends towards description. Argument may be unbalanced. Poor structure and presentation|
|Poorly referenced and suggests inadequate exploration of relevant literature. Chaotic structure and generally badly written.|
The project must be word processed or typed on A4 paper, double spaced with 25mm margins. The font and font size must be such that the project is easily readable e.g. a font size of 12 (excluding headings). Use widely-used fonts such as Ariel, not those that might be considered informal or unusual. Pages must be sequentially numbered.Chapters, sections and sub-sections must be clearly identified and sequentially numbered or lettered with separate chapters beginning on a new page.Diagrams, graphs, figures, tables, pictures and charts must be incorporated into the project, NOT photocopies stuck in and they should be clearly labelled and referenced.
References must be accurately provided in the text using the Harvard System (see Saunders et al.,2009). All quotations must be acknowledged and correctly presented within the text i.e. other than very short ones, quotations should be indented and in single spacing. (See Saunders et al for further details).
Number of words should be mentioned at the end of the dissertation and before the bibliography.
You have made a commitment to work towards achieving academic success by enrolling on your programme and registering on your modules. We know, as you do, that in order to achieve ultimate success in your studies it is important that you participate in, and engage fully with, all your scheduled activities such as the Supervision Sessions you organise with your supervisor. We therefore regard attendance as essential, as we are sure you will.
You should let your supervisor know if you are unable to attend any supervision session, preferably prior to the day of the session. If you fail to attend for three consecutive times and do not follow the supervisor plan and show him/her drafts of your work as agreed, you may be withdrawn from the module.
A member of staff from the field of your study and appropriate to the subject will supervise the project/dissertation. The supervisor’s role is to provide advice, support and encouragement to you and to monitor your progress. It is your responsibility to make the initial contact with your supervisor and to keep in contact. You are advised to agree expectations with your tutor from the outset, with regard to such matters as:
– timing, content and frequency of contact;
– submission of work and/or drafts of the project;
– the proposed timetable for completion of the various phases of the project.
Once you have a project plan that your supervisor agrees is satisfactory you should be able to work with minimum supervision. Being able to work independently is something employers look for in recruiting graduates and this piece of work is something you can use to provide evidence of being able to do this. Nevertheless, contact with your supervisor is essential in ensuring your continued progress and ensuring that the markers’ expectations are met. For the first meeting with your supervisor you need to have completed your project proposal form.
Your final submission should be uploaded to Turnitin no later than 7 July2016, 3 pm.
Submission to Turnitin of Work Submitted for Assessment
Our policy on the use of Turnitin recognises the educational desirability that all of our students should enjoy the opportunity to self-submit their work to Turnitin (before submitting for assessment). We also recognise that Turnitin Originality Reports will sometimes assist in the identification of plagiarised work submitted for assessment.
Work that is submitted to Turnitin generates a Turnitin originality report, showing which parts of it have been reproduced from which sources. The system compares submissions to material that is to be found: on the world-wide web; in its database of previous submissions; and in its growing number of databases of published articles. You should not assume that a Turnitin originality report with a low similarity index is evidence that the piece of work concerned is free from plagiarism.
The material that you submit to Turnitin will be marked. The deadline applies so you are advised not to submit after 2 p.m, because it could take some time for your submission to upload, and the delay could cause the work to be received after 3 pm. A late submission will have 5 marks deducted if submitted 24 hours late, and thereafter will receive a mark of 0.
Please be aware that the Turnitin site will advise you that late submissions are accepted. This is only for the purposes of allowing students who are claiming extenuation to submit their work.
Please read the material in the submission folder and make sure that you attach the feedback sheet as requested and save the document using the format for the name of the document as specified.
Extenuating Circumstances are circumstances which:
- impair your examination performance in assessment or reassessment, or
- prevent you from attending for assessment or reassessment, or
- prevent you from submitting assessed or reassessed work by the scheduled date
If you need to apply for extenuating circumstances please find the relevant information at:
Students who wish to appeal against Field and Award Boards decisions can find the relevant information at:
The policy on Cheating and Plagiarism is:
Cheating is action taken to secure unfair advantage by misrepresenting personal, unaided work and is defined in UEL’s Examination and Assessment Regulations as any use of unfair means in an attempt to enhance performance. It is viewed as an extremely serious offence which cannot be excused by examination nerves, personal or external circumstances, or claims that the culprit was unaware of the significance of their actions. As a breach of the Regulations it is normally penalised by failure in the relevant year.
Plagiarism is defined as submission for assessment of work written or copied from another person, or ideas taken from another source without acknowledgement. It is a breach of UEL’s Regulation and can be defined as cheating.
Appendix: UEL Code of Practice in Research
University of East London
Code of Good Practice in Research
We seek to encourage and foster an environment where good research practice can be demonstrated to be the norm. All our researchers have a duty to their profession, to their employer, and to those funding their research to conduct research in the most conscientious, responsible, ethical and accountable way possible.
This code applies to all employees, research students and visiting researchers of UEL, conducting research within, or on behalf of, the institution.
We expect the highest standards of integrity to be observed in the pursuit of the research we support. The Nolan Committee identified seven principles of public life which should be reflected in the professional conduct of research. The seven principles are:
Researchers should be honest in respect to their behaviour in research and in their responses to the actions of other researchers. This applies to the whole breadth of research from experimental design, producing and evaluating data to publishing results and recognising the direct and indirect contribution of others.
We recognise the necessity for researchers to protect their own research interests in the process of planning research and the acquisition of results. However we encourage researchers to be as open as possible in discussing their work with other researchers and the public.
The UEL community, where appropriate, expects researchers to make accessible, on request, relevant data and materials following the publication of results.
Researchers in leadership or supervisory positions have a duty to foster personal integrity in the research activities of staff and students under their direction.
Research and Knowledge Exchange Leaders are responsible for creating and developing an environment within their Schools and relevant areas where good research practice is encouraged and where there is adequate supervision/ mentoring and training at all levels.
New and young researchers may face specific difficulties. It is the responsibility of the school Research and Knowledge Exchange Leader, a relevant Director of Study, supervisors, senior researchers and members of the research community within the School to encourage new researchers to adopt best practice early on in their academic careers.
Guidance from Professional Bodies
Where available, we expect researchers to observe the standards of research practice set out in guidelines published by scientific and learned societies, and other relevant professional bodies.
- Ethical Practice
The Research Ethics Committee must approve all research involving human participants before any such work commences. The principal role of the Committee is to represent the interests of participants involved in research projects and it regards the acquisition of informed consent from participants prior to the commencement of research as extremely important. Researchers should ensure the confidentiality of personal information relating to the participants in research, and that the research complies with any legal requirements such as those of the Data Protection Act.
Many professional associations have ethical codes and guidelines for their conduct of research and UEL personnel are expected to act in accordance with such standards.
All staff and students involved in research projects that involve groups of children and vulnerable adults as subjects or that take place on premises where children and vulnerable adults are present will require Criminal Records Bureau clearance.
This includes staff involved with the supervision of student projects, who will, in order to carry out their duties effectively, need to have contact with students and supervises in the presence of the children and vulnerable adults, or on premises where children and vulnerable adults are present.
Submitting Research Proposals and Managing Research projects
Principal Investigators and other named investigators should take all reasonable measures to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information, which is contained in applications for funding.
Principal Investigators should take all reasonable measures to ensure the observance of all sponsor, institutional, legal, ethical and moral obligations in managing research projects.
Documenting Results and storing Primary Data
It should be clear at the commencement of the research project who owns the data, samples used or created during the course of the research project, and the results of the research.
Researchers are required to keep clear and accurate records throughout their work providing details of research procedures and results obtained.
Data produced in the course of the research must be kept securely in paper or electronic form. We expect this data to be kept securely for ten years following the completion of the research project.
- Publication Practice
Results should be published in a suitable form, usually as papers in refereed journals.
We expect anyone listed as an author on a paper to accept personal responsibility for ensuring that they are familiar with the contents of the paper and that they can identify their contributions to it. The practice of honorary authorship is unacceptable.
The contributions of formal collaborators and all others that directly assist or indirectly support the research must be properly acknowledged.
- Conflict of Interest
Anyone involved in any way in the conduct, management or administration of research must identify and make known any conflicts of interest, whether legal, ethical, financial, personal or of any other nature.
- Research Misconduct
We take seriously any allegation of research misconduct. A Research Misconduct policy has been established which should be read in conjunction with the UEL Policy on Public Interest Disclosure