UNIVERSITY OF WALES INSTITUTE, CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE UWIC CARDIFF SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (MBA)

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1 UNIVERSITY OF WALES INSTITUTE, CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE UWIC CARDIFF SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (MBA) MBA 7099 DISSERTATION HANDBOOK (June 2009 Version) ACADEMIC YEAR 2011/2012

2 CONTENTS 1) Dissertation Procedures Page 3 2) Dissertation Presentation Page 5 Structure and contents Format of the Presentation The cover The word count 3) Marking Scheme Page 7 4) Referencing Page 9 5) Plagiarism Page 13 6) Guidelines for the preparation Page 13 7) Process Flowchart and Submission Page 15 2

3 (1) DISSERTATION PROCEDURES Congratulations! you have passed Part 1 of the MBA programme and now embark on the second and final part of your degree. Please keep this handbook as a source of reference, because it contains relevant information for the process and completion of this major piece of work. You may be using this handbook if you are completing: either BAM489 = a dissertation equivalent to 3 modules. or MBA499 = 2 modules following completion of MBA404 Research Methods (these are students who enrolled for the MBA after January 2008). You are embarking on a significant piece of individual study and need to be disciplined and realistic in your use of time. Students are given 3 months for full-time or 6 months for part-time completion and it is very important that you communicate with your supervisor, the Dissertation Coordinator or the Head of MBA if you are unable to meet the deadlines set. Submission date for 2012 is: TBA Staff should be contactable at all times unless on annual leave but as the summer is often the only time staff may take leave then students should be mindful of the necessity of using . in general, using your IUC UWIC account is the best way of keeping in contact and arranging meetings. These are the dates that allow staff time to mark, double-mark and check with the external examiner to be certain that marks are fair and consistent. Once the mark is agreed it is entered at the Examining Board and if the work exceeds 40% it will pass and an MBA awarded. Meetings with supervisors Each student should know that the dissertation forms part of their degree and as such requires thought and preparation. The student should be the driver here and initiate activity around the dissertation and be reading and investigating their topic demonstrating a genuine curiousity. The Research methods teaching should have helped in the preparation of the dissertation and students should be able to work unaided in the main. This is an activity that is yours and for you alone to progress and be responsible for with some advice from a supervisor. It is very important that staff are allowed sufficient time for the reading of drafts and students MUST NOT EXPECT staff to read work instantly when a deadline is imminent. Ideally, a full draft between 2 weeks and a month before the deadline allows time for changes and amendments- subject of course, to the supervisor s schedule. Topic selection There are a number of students that choose topics related to their chosen pathway and optional modules. Other students are influenced by their workplace/ experience or suggestions from their reading or their ideas for future career. Above all, the topic must be interesting to you because your enthusiasm will influence your writing and ability to work. There is a body of knowledge available for checking who has written about the topic chosen. Students should be aware of who has written about their subject and demonstrate how they are informed by this work and its contribution to their study. 3

4 The MBA offers a broad range of opportunities for further investigation and dissertation titles include - The contribution of Business Process Reengineering for improving productivity and quality in Indian organisation: a case study SYNTEL Limited. - Reviewing UWIC (CSM) management of international students using Best Practice analysis. The envisaged system for the dissertation process is: Students are thinking about their topic, reading and investigating this should be encouraged by Research Methods. Student becomes familiar with expectation of a dissertation and timeframe. Student passes Part 1 and is allocated a supervisor. Student works with their supervisor with a clear plan of action formally recording 3 meetings. Draft materials submitted to supervisor for checking and agreement of what is to be done next. Work submitted following the presentation guidelines. Student awaits final result. Examining Board dates should be checked. Results released. TAKE ACTION The dissertation is not supposed to be easy. If you are struggling with your work it is understandable and you must share your problem. Rather than just thinking about it more and more, make an appointment and speak to your supervisor. If your problem is more personal in nature, you may prefer to speak to a different member of staff from a choice of the MBA team/personal tutors/international Welfare Officer. Remember there are also counselling services within UWIC with professionally trained counsellors to help. 4

5 Learn to prioritise, make a list and take each point at a time. If you are struggling with the structure of your work, use the guidelines contained in this handbook. The marking scheme gives clear guidance on how the marks are allocated, use it. (2) DISSERTATION PRESENTATION Structure and contents. There is no best way of writing a dissertation or one model for an appropriate format. However, certain aspects are conventionally found in a dissertation and should only be varied after discussion with the supervisor for good reason. These are: 1) An opening section which should contain the following separate pages: Title page, declaration and statement, supervisors statement, acknowledgements, abstract(a summary of 300 words, which should summarise all sections of the dissertation:this MUST BE INCLUDED), and table of contents. (2) The first chapter should be an introduction to the dissertation which should state very clearly the purpose of the project on which the dissertation reports, the results. A brief outline of the subsequent chapters of the dissertation. (Note: it is usual, somewhat paradoxically, to write the introduction after most of the dissertation is complete in order that a student has a clear idea of what is being introduced). The student should include an aims and objectives section. 3) Chapter two should be a critical review of the relevant academic literature on which the dissertation builds, identifying the relevant theoretical ideas, concepts, debates and issues. 4) A chapter on Research Methods should state what methodologies are considered, what was selected and why. Justification for the final methodology selected and the sampling techniques, sampling framework, the size and type of any appropriate survey, should be included. (If a case study methodology is used then the justification for the organisation used to be included). 5) One, or possibly two chapters that report on the research findings, both secondary and primary, clearly described, using as themes, what you have discovered and proposing reasons why this may be. This section should use any appropriate graphical representation that adds to the clarity of your findings. 6) Clear discussion chapter setting out the main findings of the dissertation linking your literature reviews with the research findings so that a clear theme can be identified through the whole work. On this information you can make your argument and assess. Remember to include what your findings contribute to both the general literature on the subject and the specialist field, and/or practical problems which you have covered empirically. Include those results which surprised you and which may appear, at first sight, counter-intuitive to others. Make sure that you address all the objectives of the study. Do not forget to identify further avenues of development. 7) The conclusion should refer back to aims and objectives. Clear recommendations or procedures should be identified. 8) References: There should be a complete reference list of all works used. This should be done in a standard Harvard format listing works alphabetically by author. It should be noted that one of the routine sources of presentational problems comes in mistakes in the referencing bibliography and therefore students should take considerable care in the compilation of the reference list and ensure that every work referred to in the texts is in fact listed in the references see separate section. 5

6 9) Appendices to the dissertation are legitimate but should be kept to an absolute minimum, eg. Questionairres used. 10) Footnotes should be avoided. It is important that the dissertation should be your own independent work as a formal examination script. A dissertation should not merely consist of a patchwork of other people's thoughts and interpretations stitched together with a few threads of the student's own devising. The OVERALL LENGTH of the dissertation (excluding appendices) must not exceed 20,000 words and in practice the length of a dissertation would normally be expected to be within a range of 15,000 to 20,000 words. State the number of words at the end of your work. Presentation: All copies shall be presented in permanent and legible form in typescript or print and the characters shall be not less than 12 pt. Typing shall be of even quality with clear black characters, and capable of photographic reproduction. 1.5 spacing shall be used in typescript but for the Summary and indented quotations single spacing shall be used. Drawings and Sketches shall be in black ink; unnecessary detail should be omitted and there should be at least 1 mm between lines. Page margins for both left and right side should be set at 3cm. Copies produced by xerographic or comparable permanent processes are acceptable. The Cover: The volume shall bear the surname and initials of the candidate, The full or abbreviated title of the dissertation, The name of the degree for which the dissertation is being submitted The date of submission. Note as a Guide only: The word count for each chapter should normally be:- Introduction Literature Review Methodology Data and Analysis Conclusions Recommendations words words words words words words 6

7 (3) MARKING SCHEME MARKS. Part Two (the Master s dissertation). 70% and over : Distinction level 60%-69% Merit 40-59% : Pass 0-39% : Fail In order to gain a Master s Degree with Distinction, a candidate shall achieve a distinction level performance in each of Part One and Part Two of the MBA. A candidate may be awarded a masters degree with distinction in the dissertation, when the dissertation (Part two of the MBA) is awarded a distinction mark but the candidate has not achieved a distinction grade in the Part One of the MBA. 1. A clear statement of the purpose of the dissertation: - Rational (reasons and motives) for the investigation; setting the research, statement of problems; purpose of the study. 15% 2. Critical review of the literature:- use of relevant literature and evidence of understanding the ideas expressed. A clear indication of the full theory behind the topic area 20% 3. Appropriate use of methods:- reason for using type of methods; description of the methods; appropriateness and extent of application 15% 4. Data presentation:- which company and why, presentation of the results and analysis of findings 20% 5. Interpretation/conclusion and recommendations: - analysis of findings with reference to purpose of study; issues from the literature review; practical application and areas for further research 20% 6. Presentation: - structure, language, grammar, visuals, logic and coherence. 10% 7

8 POSTGRADUATE GENERIC ASSESSMENT CRITERIA The following give some general guidance on how marks are allocated: Overall Marks Mark Description An exceptional and outstanding submission, providing original insights which add to the discipline area or academic area and, with some editing, could be published as a study in its own right. In addition to the next section, a submission in this range would be distinguished by superior organisation and comprehensiveness, given the maximum word limit and time scale A submission that demonstrates an excellent understanding of the question and issues under consideration and of the complexity of the issues involved. Theoretical considerations are used to underpin the overall design and the relevance of factual information. There is some measure of original and creative thinking. There must be evidence of wide reading with a critical focus This range will cover a submission that has a number of original insights and also provides a comprehensive and accurate coverage of the question and issues under consideration with a high level of consistency throughout the dissertation The submission will show evidence of ability to maintain a personal position in original terms and show a command of the accepted critical positions with some attempts at innovation. There is a demonstration of the dissertation question being clearly put and understood in relation to the complexities of the issues involved. There is a sound use of relevant factual knowledge and theoretical issues The submission shows a reasonable ability to defend a position on the basis of use of evidence. It shows evidence of evaluation of the ability to use information and synthesis of generalisations from it. There is clear evidence of selection of appropriate material, research design, logical structure and argument but with lapses of integration. The answer demonstrates an understanding of the major basic issues, both factually and theoretically The submission demonstrates some understanding of the major or basic issues in the question. There is less than average evidence of a level of analysis and judgement, use of criteria and an attempt to use a logical structure and argument. There is evidence of effort and significant data collection There is little or no evidence of understanding the basic issues. There are significant factual errors and contradictions. The submission is poorly planned and integrated with little evidence of a clear train of thought or development of argument. Some evidence of ability to collate information and construct generalisations, but with little discretion The submission does not clearly specify a basic question and shows little logical development or structure. There is no evidence of criticism, synthesis or evaluation Little evidence of getting beyond the proposal. 8

9 (4) REFERENCING CITATION & REFERENCING Introduction The HARVARD method of referencing is recommended within UWIC. The HARVARD system has a number of advantages: there are no footnotes it does not interrupt the flow of the text when read it provides references to sources without the reader having to go to the end of the text it simplifies the citations at the end of the text by doing away with the need for a list of references as well as a bibliography. The main points about referencing are to be consistent and to use the system correctly. Citing within your Text Brief quotes (less than 5 lines) are usually contained within the text but placed between inverted commas, while longer extracts are given a separate single-spaced indented paragraph with a line left blank above and below and no use of inverted commas. In both cases you must acknowledge the author within your text and give a full reference in the Reference List. If you refer to the author directly, place the year of publication in brackets: e.g. Bell (1994) describes a number of different strategies for..... If the author is not referred to directly in the sentence, both the name and year are placed in brackets: e.g. One particular source on methodology (Bell, 1994) has indicated that.... Do not add forenames or initials. The year refers to when the particular edition was published, not the year the text was printed. If a reference relates to a particular page in a book, include the page number prefixed by p. for a single page, or pp. if more than one page. Quotations from articles do not need the page numbers as they should be indicated in the Reference List included at the end of you work (see later in this unit). Some examples of how to reference within your work follow: If you want to use a small direct quotation of a piece of text within your work, then you must give the details of the text between inverted commas followed by name, date and page(s) e.g. "Reading..... may help you to devise a theoretical or analytical framework as a basis for the analysis and interpretation of data." (Bell, 1993, p. 33) When referring to the work in the text as part of a sentence then immediately after the name include the date and page number only: e.g. Bell (1993, p. 33) states that "Reading may help you to devise a theoretical or analytical framework as a basis for the analysis and interpretation of data." 9

10 For a long quote, it is best to use the following format Blank line Reading shows this well. Bell, 1993, pp Blank line If more than one text has been published by the same author in the same year (and is included in the reference list), then label them a, b, etc: e.g. Jones, 1992a Jones, 1992b, p. 51 Multiple references should be listed according to the date of publication: e.g. Kane, 1984; Walker, 1985; and Bell, Where there are more than two authors, the surname of the first followed by 'et al' and the year is used (full details should be provided in the reference list at the end): e.g. Jones et al., 1991 Where the author(s) is (are) the editor(s) of the text the name(s) is (are) followed by 'ed' and then the year: e.g. House, ed., 1986 Bell et al. eds., Where an original source has been found in a secondary work, always quote the original in your text, but acknowledge in the Reference List at the end where the original was seen. There is no need to mention the secondary work in the text. N.B. In postgraduate, masters and PhD work particularly, students will be expected to use primary sources as far as possible. The Reference List You must always fully reference all your sources at the end of your work. Use the heading REFERENCES and place before any appendices Building a Reference The first item in your reference is the author's surname, followed by the author's initials and the date. The title is next followed by the subtitle (if there is one). The final items are the publisher's location and name. 10

11 References in the list are arranged alphabetically according to the author's name. ALL works referred to in the text and secondary sources where the work was found (if relevant) should be listed. If there is more than one text by the same author then order them by date. Referencing different sources Different types of sources require a slightly different method of referencing. N.B. Please note punctuation conventions should he observed exactly as indicated in these guidelines. Books Burgess, R.G. (1984), In the Field: An Introduction to Field Research. London: Unwin Hyman. Burgess, R.G. (1985), Issues in Educational Research: Qualitative Methods. London: Falmer Press. Single named authors are placed before joint authorships regardless of the year of publication, e.g. Bell, J. (1993), Doing Your Research Project. Buckinghamshire: Open University Press. Bell, J., Bush, T., Fox, A., Goodey, J., and Goulding, S. (eds.) (1984), Conducting Small-Scale Investigations in Educational management. London: PCP. Publications without individual authors should be cited with the organisation responsible as the author as well as (usually) the publisher. Government Publications should cite the Department as the author with HMSO as the publisher, e.g. Employment Department (1992), Training Statistics. London: HMSO. Theses and Dissertations are quoted like other references in the text, but are annotated as 'nonpublished' work. British Standards Cite British Standards Institution, date in brackets, title, BS number, e.g. British Standards Institution (1987), Quality Systems, BS Conference Proceedings Include as much information as possible, citing the author's name and initial, the date in brackets, title of paper, title of conference, location, date, organisers/publishers, e.g. Wharfe, L. (1991), Continuity in Education and Training for Further Education. In: The Search for Continuity in FE Teacher-Training, Huddersfield. The Polytechnic of Huddersfield and SCINSCET: Conference Report, Huddersfield. Journal Articles Cite the author's name and initial, the date in brackets, the title of the article, the title of the Journal (underlined/italics), the volume and part number, and the page numbers, e.g. Churcher, J. (1990), Evaluating the effectiveness of in-service education and training. Education Today, 40 (2), pp

12 N.B. Capital letters are used for each major word (not prepositions, conjunctions or definite/indefinite articles) for book titles, but not for article titles. Secondary Sources Articles or chapters that are quoted from anthologies are quoted as normal in the text, but both the article and the original source must be acknowledged in the Reference List in alphabetical order, e.g. Allan, G. and Skinner, C. (eds.) (1991), Handbook for Research in the Social Sciences.London: The Falmer Press. Clavert, P. (1991), Writing Skills, in Allan and Skinner (eds.) (1991) pp Citing electronic references Much of the material you use in your essays and assignments may come from electronic sources such as the internet. This material must also be referenced correctly, and guidance on how to do this can be found by following the links below Simple guidelines with examples can be found at: More comprehensive information is available in Excerpts from International Standard ISO at: E-books For e-books the required elements for a reference are: Author, Year, Title of book. [type of medium] Place of publication: Publisher. Followed by Available at: (then) include e-book source and web site address/url(uniform Resource Locator) and routing details if needed. [Accessed date]. Fishman, R., The rise and fall of suburbia. [e-book] Chester: Castle Press. Available at: University Library/Digital Library/e-books [Accessed 5 June 2005]. Carlsen, J. & Charters, S., eds Global wine tourism. [e-book] Wallingford: CABI Pub. Available at: University Library/Library Catalogue/ https://oscar.lib.anglia.ac.uk/ [Accessed 9 June 2008]. NB Do not list references in separate categories 12

13 (5) PLAGIARISM What is Plagiarism? The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as 'writing borrowed thoughts as original'. Plagiarism is distinguished from the proper use of sources by its failure to discuss, analyse and acknowledge the influence of another's work. Students will, of course, use other people's work and ideas, but there is a difference between this and relying totally on other peoples' efforts. Plagiarism is Unfair Practice. There are strict University regulations regarding Unfair Practice Procedure and Plagiarism. These are in your Student Handbook and you advised to read these carefully. What does it cover? Your sources of material must be acknowledged. All information taken from books, journals, handouts etc., must be clearly referenced. All written work (practical written assignments, essays for tutors, assessment essays, essays in examinations, long essays and dissertations, etc.) must be a reflection of a student's own efforts. All quotations from other sources must be acknowledged. Students who reproduce the words of an author, editor, journalist or critic and attempt to pass them off as their own original work will be heavily penalised. This includes both copying word for word and copying work making slight changes. A subtle form of plagiarism occurs when there is no deliberate intention to deceive, for example making notes from a text and then copying those notes without realising that the words used are the original author's and not the student's. However, this is still plagiarism and must be avoided. Direct copying of any material will always be severely penalised and will be brought to the attention of the exam board. (6) GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF DISSERTATIONS FOR MBA REGULATIONS This handbook is not a definitive statement of UWIC regulations. Full copies of the regulations are available in the academic handbook (available from student portal) and should be referred to together with the link from the UWIC s regulations for Modular Master s degree schemes that covers the MBA state that candidates must successfully complete Part One of the MBA (the taught stage) before being permitted to proceed to Part Two (the dissertation stage). The dissertation shall embody the methods and results of a research project. Its length should not exceed 20,000 words. 13

14 Submit two soft bound, plus one electronic copy (Microsoft Word) of the dissertation to the Hand-In Office. Each copy of the dissertation submitted shall include: (a) (b) (c) (d) an abstract of the dissertation not exceeding 300 words; and a signed statement signed by the candidate indicating to what extent it is a result of his/her independent work or investigation, and shall indicate any portions for which he or she is indebted to other sources. Explicit references must be given and a full bibliography must be appended to the work. a signed statement certifying that it has not already been submitted in candidature for any other degree. a signed statement by the supervisor UWIC forms are not included with this handbook. They will be published in the website. You must collect all the evidence to show exactly what has been done, including your data and notes. Please submit in a file, with your name and student number. This must be submitted along with your dissertation. Mitigating Circumstances UWIC may extend these deadlines in exceptional cases only and in accordance with the procedure and criteria laid down in the Academic Handbook. A reasoned application, supported by appropriate independent evidence, must be submitted by the candidate to the MBA Dissertation Co-ordinator for further consideration by UWIC. The extension shall be subject to approval of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee. These applications are subject to scrutiny by UWIC, which lays down the following limits beyond which candidature will lapse and examination precluded: Within two calendar years from the start of candidature in the case of full time students Within five calendar years of the start of candidature in the case of part time students Extension to Candidature/Special Cases Should you require an extension that takes you beyond your period of candidature mentioned above, then you will be required to complete and submit to the MBA Dissertation Convenor a Special Cases form in accordance with the Guidance on Submission of Special Cases. 14

15 (7) PROCESS FLOWCHART AND SUBMISSION Finish taught part of Research Methodology Module Assessment 1: Presentation (40%) Assessment 2: Hand-in Proposal (60%) Proposal feedback for the student No Proposal Passed? Yes Resubmit the proposal Is the resubmitted proposal passable? Yes Supervisor Allocation (Period = 12 Weeks) No Cannot proceed with the dissertation No Request for Extension Dissertation complete and ready to hand-in? Exit the Programme Yes Hand in the Dissertation Exam Board Dissertation Result Declared 15

16 MBA Dissertation Arrangements for August 2012 Hand in Date: 2 Soft bound Dissertations should be handed into Hand-In Office by TBA to meet the October 2011 or February 2012 Exam boards. An electronic copy should be submitted in 2 versions: PDF format and Microsoft Word Format Bound into the dissertation should be the Declaration statement. (Both Student Declaration and Supervisor Declaration). Additional evidence to be submitted with your dissertation You must collect all the evidence to show exactly what has been done, including your data and notes. Please submit in a file, with your name and student number. This must be submitted along with your dissertation. 16

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