Aims and Fit of Module
The aim of this dissertation module is to enable students to undertake a significant piece of independent research on a particular topic in business and management field. This module provides students with opportunities to: (i) apply their learning to analyse contemporary and ‘cutting edge’ problems and issues of relevance to scholars or practitioners (or both); (ii) deepen their knowledge and understanding of a particular topic of interest to them; (iii) produce a complete piece of scholarly work or a project of practical value from conception through to a final thesis or report; (iv) further their independent research skills (i.e. data management, project management, writing and presenting findings; (v) enhance their intellectual and employability skills and their career prospects, and (iv) make an original contribution with either theoretical or practical value.
Students should identify, define and explore one or more problems or issues at the forefront of Project Management as an academic discipline. This may lead to a large piece of independent writing in one of the following styles:
• Standard academic research based dissertation
• Business plan including sections of literature review and methodology
• Business evaluation report
• Case Study including case and teaching note. This style is relatively less rigorous on empirical data size and student can add some ‘made up’ information for teaching purposes.
• Capstone Consultancy Project (In company Project)
• Company based project on a particular issue
The dissertation should demonstrate: (i) an analytical and critical approach to problem definition; (ii) the derivation of appropriate research questions and/or hypotheses; (iii) skills in designing and implementing a suitable methodology for gathering, analysing and interpreting data and information that address the research problem, questions and/or hypotheses; (iv) knowledge and understanding of literature and theory relevant to the area of inquiry, and the ability to apply it appropriately, and (v) the ability to write up and present the research as a dissertation in a way that combines academic depth and good scholarship with an appreciation of relevant practical and policy issues (as appropriate) in relevant subject areas.
A. Demonstrate a substantial and systematic understanding of current and recent theory and research focus in Project Management
B. Critically evaluate and apply relevant theories to construct suitable conceptual frameworks to study the research topic.
C. Develop skills of conducting a research project through producing a reasonable research design, paying attention to research ethical considerations, collecting data through appropriate methods and analyzing data using suitable approaches.
D. Present findings in a coherent and logical flow in the dissertation writing.
E. Think, learn and work independently whilst demonstrating initiative, responsibility, self-discipline, self-motivation, self-direction and originality in tackling and solving research problems in Project Management.
Method of teaching and learning
A. Full time programme
As MSc dissertation is an independent research students are required to do, students are expected to independently manage the time and workload with the support of their dissertation supervisor. Support to research methodology and method training is provided through semester 1 and 2.
Typically, the dissertation work starts in semester 2 when students should firstly identify their dissertation focus. Students can select a research focus in one of the following ways:
1. Select a topic proposed by IBSS faculties and seek agreement with the faculty member.
2. Self-select a topic and approach the faculty who has similar research interest and seek agreement.
Students are expected to work on their confirmed dissertation plan once their supervisor approves it.
The role of dissertation supervisor is to support students during their dissertation project time once the supervision is confirmed. Such a support ends with the submission of the final dissertation. Supervisors are expected to meet with their students and support in key aspects of the dissertation project including topic selection, literature review, research methodology and methods, data analysis and findings.
B. Part time Programme
1. Students are required to take MAN901 (Introduction to Research I) in Semester 1 and MAN902 (Introduction to Research II) in Semester 2 as an Additional Learning Activity (ALA). These modules provide generic advice and guidance to students on how to specify a substantial research problem and produce a plan to address it; how to manage time efficiently and effectively to meet targets; how to locate and make use of information relevant to their research project; how to design a solution to a substantial problem; how to analyse data, and how to present a dissertation.
2. In the 3rd taught semester, potential supervisors are asked to submit a proposal form for each dissertation topic with a brief description of the type of dissertation (e.g. desk based, in-organization, empirical), the specific targets and any additional resources required. These are collated and a list is distributed to students. Students are given three choices from the list. The selection process is based on the overall average marks awarded in the first semester and if there are any pre-requisites modules for selecting a particular dissertation topic. Students with higher marks get their first choice. Students are also permitted to identify their own dissertation topic but will have to seek approval from the programme director and find a suitable member of faculty to supervise the project.
It is expected that by the end of the 3rd taught semester, the student is able to draft a research proposal to submit to the supervisor for feedback as well as the necessary completed forms if the proposed project requires approval from the ethics committee.
3. The student is required to submit a complete research proposal no later than Friday of the first week of the 4th taught semester. The proposal is the assessment of MAN902. The proposal should cover in detail, project description, expected outcomes, literature review, methodology, plan and if applicable approval by the ethics committee. The proposal is assessed by the supervisor and an independent marker and feedback is given to the student within one week and copied to the programme director and module leader.
4. Private and independent research is undertaken by the student with the support and advice from the supervisor from IBSS faculty and an organization facilitator where the dissertation is an in-organization project, during regular meetings and consultations that begin in fourth, fifth and sixth semester. The student is expected to report weekly to the supervisor either in person or by email.
In Semesters 4, 5 and 6 students are expected to devote at least 15 hours of unsupervised time to private study in a typical week.
5. Students are expected to meet with the Programme Director or dissertation module leader at the beginning of Semesters 4, 5 and 6 to discuss the status and progress of the dissertation.
6. Students will be required to give an assessed oral presentation representing 15% of the module mark that is at the middle of semester 5 covering the progress of the project against the proposal plan and any results and analysis carried so far. This will be attended by at least the supervisor, a nominated 2nd marker, programme director and/or dissertation module leader.
This presentation provides the student with the opportunity to receive formative feedback to address any issues or reservations the markers might have to the approach adopted by the student before the submission of the final dissertation.
7. The final dissertation is due on the Monday of week 13 in semester 6 and this represents 85% of the overall mark and will be assessed by two markers normally neither are the supervisor. In cases of a highly specialized research topics where two independent markers are not available then the supervisor will act as one of the markers.