This should be centred on the page with the main title in upper case. Any longer sub-title should be in lower case. Put your student number to the bottom right. [The reports should be anonymous].
These are not essential but can be useful for recording organisational help.
This is a brief statement of what the dissertation contains. It should have a statement of what you set out to do, what you did, what you concluded and what you recommended. Busy managers often only read the title and abstract of a report so it is a key part of your work. You cannot write the abstract until all the work is finished.
This should be your table of contents showing the section titles and the subsections (indented) against page numbers. As in the text, the former can be underlined and in bold.
Briefly give a background to your dissertation, why the topic is of importance to others and why it is of interest to you. Make a clear statement of your headline research question or hypothesis or argument and the type of research methodology you propose to carry out.
Write a review of the main body of published work. This acts to set out your project in the context of existing knowledge. It is therefore your main evidence of secondary research effort. It should show how much theory you go into and from where your research questions or hypotheses were developed.
Look for gaps in the knowledge which your research may fill, or you may wish to replicate or amend someone else’s research for the purposes of comparison. The Literature review provides a critical insight, especially to a new reader, into current thinking around your topic of interest. You need to demonstrate a broad range of references majoring on academic articles (journals). These sources may also be supported by textbooks, web references, newspapers and professional magazines.
This section should provide sufficient detail about the methodology or methodologies you employed for an outsider to replicate the study exactly. You need to justify the methodology you use by demonstrating the particular benefits of qualitative or quantitative approaches in the context of your research objectives or hypotheses. If you used triangulation, report it and state the rationale for using it. You should also report on the characteristics of the research respondents in the case of qualitative research e.g. job position, years in service for example, also stating why these are important to providing information which address your research questions/hypotheses. If you use quantitative research, state the type of sampling you used e.g. convenience, cluster quota for example and again provide your rationale. Remember random sampling means statistically defined sampling which may be beyond your resources. Also provide detail on which data analysis package you used.
Results and Findings
This section should include the results of your analysis. Even when you have used secondary data for your dissertation, you will still need to present and analyse these data and generate new findings.
For qualitative research, you need to report on the content analysis of your transcripts, pulling out the key themes and sometimes including quotations from your interviewees. However, ensure the quotations don’t rule the roost! Your findings will address your research objectives and perhaps also include some emerging areas that developed out of your interviews.
For quantitative research, ensure your findings reflect the objectives/hypotheses also. The data needs to be presented clearly with a title to each table/chart and then a small amount of commentary for non-numerical readers! If you use comparative statistics e.g. chi-square, t-tests or ANOVA, ensure you state the level of significance, normally 0.05.
Analysis/Evaluation of Results/Findings
In this section you will need to make sense of the overall findings presented in your previous chapter. Interpret the data critically. You can do this by: drawing together specific themes; making comparisons with similar research, as well linking and integrating with the literature that you have referred to earlier in your Dissertation. Other aspects to consider are: to what extent have you provided some answers to your questions, how generalisable are the answers to other organisations/populations and what are the implications for business practice? Be self-critical about any shortcomings you may have about your chosen methodology e.g. sampling, breadth and depth of findings, validity and reliability issues.
The section summarizes the relationships between your findings and the existing body of knowledge. You need to summarise the key points of your research and demonstrate how they addressed the research objectives/hypotheses. If appropriate, suggest further research in the area but avoid introducing new material as this would be a new finding.
Whilst the conclusions are driven by your findings, your recommendations for practice may reflect your own opinions on for instance what the organisation should do next or how the findings should be embedded in organisational practice.
References (not included in the word count)
References provide details of the reading materials you used and noted in the text of your dissertation. A quick guide to tutors for the potential quality of a dissertation is to look first at the references to see how extensive the list is. The list needs to be in alphabetical order and follow the Harvard system of referencing.
Appendices should contain any material too detailed to go into the main text, for instance a copy of the questionnaire (for survey studies, keep all the completed questionnaires as evidence in case you are asked to substantiate claims of conducting the survey). Also use an appendix for your interview guide, sample of transcripts, visual material used in interviews as well as copies of any correspondence to the organisation where your research investigation took place.
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