Department of Accounting & Finance Dissertation (FINA1037) 1. Introduction and Aims The dissertation is the final stage of the MSc Finance suite of programmes. Successful completion of a dissertation converts your postgraduate diploma into a masters degree. The Dissertation and Research Methods courses together account for one-third of the Masters-level Finance programmes. This reflects the central nature of the independently-managed research project to the postgraduate degree. The dissertation requires the student to research a chosen topic area with the academic rigour appropriate for work at masters level using the knowledge and skills acquired through the taught courses. It provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate an ability to analyse specific intellectual theories and concepts as presented in the academic literature and to apply them in an empirical study. Dissertation also develops other skills, such as project management, communication, data collection and analyses, and the ability to draw conclusions from a variety of sources. It enables students to demonstrate their individual knowledge, ability and skills by examining an issue in depth. The aim of this course is to apply the practical skills and knowledge of research techniques that have been established in the Research Methods course. In managing a small-scale research project, students are expected to develop their understanding of the relationship between theory and practice and extend their capacity for analysis and logical inference. For many students, the dissertation is one of the most rewarding parts of their degree. It is a chance to choose a topic that really interests you and to develop it to a greater depth than other courses allow. The dissertation is not easy and to achieve a good grade requires a great deal of effort and dedication. Everyone will experience periods of frustration with their research, however, it is evident from past years that when students put in the work, remain focused, and stay in contact with their supervisor then there is the potential to perform well in this element of the programme. The dissertation explores or investigates an accounting, finance, financial information system or banking topic approved by an appropriate supervisor. Students enter the dissertation process with a research proposal on a topic undertaken during the Research Methods course in Semester 2. Over the duration of this course, the student, under the guidance provided by his/her supervisor, prepares and writes a 12,000 word report. A Dissertation at Masters level: ï‚§ Is a focused study that considers all relevant literature ï‚§ Develops a research design employing appropriate research methods and demonstrating an awareness of the respective strengths and weaknesses ï‚§ Provides evidence for the collection and analysis of a sufficient amount of relevant primary or secondary data using appropriate techniques ï‚§ Presents original conclusions that contribute to the existing literature. Such originality may come from either the method (eg. different variables, data sets, countries, time periods) or, less commonly, from the theory (eg. an amendment to a theoretical framework) or methodology (eg. an amendment to a research instrument/variable). Prerequisite course Students enter this course having completed Research Methods (FINA 1007) and therefore have a formal, written presentation of their topic, including its relationship to appropriate literature and the research design to be deployed. 2. Learning outcomes A. Knowledge and understanding of The process of planning and executing a sustained piece of independent research in the programme of study B. Intellectual Skills: B1. Breadth of Outlook: • Define and analyse a complex business problem. • Integrate academic knowledge and practical applications. B2. Wisdom: • Define appropriate research objectives and design a corresponding research strategy. B3. Personal Effectiveness: • Manage a large, sustained task independently. Plan and control a project over an extended period and to meet deadlines. D. Transferable Skills: D1. Critical Thinking: • Critically assess theoretical concepts, research methodologies, research designs, research methods, sources of data, and personal practice. • Synthesise and reflect on a range of sources and the application of theory in practical situations. • Learn from experience. D2. Information Management: • Make effective use of academic journals. • Collect, manage and analyse data appropriately. • Attain high standards in referencing the use of primary and secondary materials. D3. Communication Skills: • Structure and write up large amounts of material. • Present and discuss data appropriately. • Draw effective conclusions. 3. Assessment For students who are permitted to progress to dissertation after the July Exam Board the submission details and dates are as follows: Task Details Weighting and word length Due date Header sheet no. 1 Dissertation checklist: to be submitted with your dissertation See Appendix A See below 2 Record of contacts: a log of key contacts with your supervisor during the dissertation process (see Appendix B) This is a requirement of the course. Students who fail to submit this form on time for any reason will be asked to attend an oral examination before the full dissertation is marked, and may also be subject to a 10% penalty To be signed by your supervisor at any point in the first two weeks of the month in which you are submitting, and to be included in the hard copy dissertation (see Appendix A) n/a 3 Final dissertation 100% 12,000 words (excluding footnotes, diagrams, tables, appendices, bibliography, etc.) See below. One soft copy and two hard copies are required. The hard copies must be submitted to the Business School Office by the deadline. See Moodle 4 Completed and signed ethics compliance form – only if not already submitted as part of FINA 1007, or if you are now collecting primary instead of secondary data As per instructions in FINA 1007 course handbook. You do NOT need to do this if you have already submitted under FINA 1007 AND have no changes. Non-submission will result in a 40 mark penalty 15th August, hard copy delivered to QA246 n/a 5 Additional requirement for students who have failed an earlier submission of dissertation See Appendix D To be included immediately after the front page of resubmitted dissertation See Moodle Failure to include supporting evidence may result in the following penalties applied against the final dissertation: No record of contacts with supervisor – up to 10 penalty marks Missing bibliographic details of all sources used (web browser addresses) – up to 10 penalty marks Missing primary data and evidence of any analyses undertaken – up to 20 penalty marks Missing ethical compliance form – 40 penalty marks What are the submission dates? 15th September 2014 (for ALL students except those with a successful EC claim) Dissertation marks will be approved by the Progression and Award Board in Nov 2014 15th January 2015 (for students who failed in September or had an EC claim approved) Dissertation marks will be approved by the Progression and Award Board in March 2015 15th April 2015 (for students who failed in January or had an EC claim approved) Dissertation marks will be approved by the Progression and Award Board in July 2015 July 2015 (summer resit period) Dissertation marks will be approved by the Progression and Award Board in September 2015 Task 2 (Appendix A) The purpose of this task is to provide evidence of your engagement in the process. It is not necessary for you to have lots of contact with your supervisor (and this might not be required or even desirable), but all students will reach certain points where they require guidance and it is these interactions with your supervisor which you need to record. Task 3 - submission of dissertation: 1. Dissertation is as much concerned with the process you have undertaken as with the actual content. This means that you cannot simply submit a dissertation of 12,000 words and expect it to be marked. You are required to demonstrate evidence of the process that you have undertaken in completing your dissertation, and to submit a checklist with your final submission to indicate that you have complied with the requirements. Some evidence will come from the way you write your dissertation, as well as from the record of contacts with your supervisor. The examiners also retain the right to require you to attend a formal viva after submission of your dissertation should such evidence be insufficient. The purpose of this viva will be to examine your knowledge of the material, and to ascertain that you have completed the work yourself. You should therefore ensure that you keep and update regularly a research diary/log-book of your notes and ideas, and that you retain all files, papers, etc. used during the year until the Exam Board has approved your work. Failure to attend or pass the viva will lead to an automatic failure of the course. 3. The full dissertation must be submitted through Moodle together with a header sheet available via Banner. In addition, two hard copies must also be submitted by the deadline, with one of them to include additional unique information that cannot be easily uploaded, eg. completed questionnaires. See Appendix A for further details. 4. The research project is as much concerned with the process you have undertaken as with the actual content. You are therefore required to demonstrate evidence of the process that you have undertaken in completing your research project, and to submit a checklist with your final submission to indicate that you have complied with the requirements. The checklist is shown in Appendix A. Your research project will not be marked until evidence is received, and penalties may be applied to any subsequent marking process if the evidence remains unforthcoming. The examiners also retain the right to require you to attend a formal viva after submission of your research project should such evidence be insufficient. The purpose of this viva will be to examine your knowledge of the material, and to ascertain that you have completed the work yourself. You should therefore ensure that you update regularly your research diary/log-book, and that you retain all files, papers, etc. used during the year until the Exam Board has approved your work. Failure to attend or pass the viva will lead to an automatic failure of the course. 4. The process of learning and teaching The teaching process consists of a formal one-to-one relationship between the student and the supervisor. The role of the supervisor is to support the student in the development and completion of their research project and dissertation. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to guide the work where appropriate. This does not extend as far as writing (or re-writing) sections of the project, or even suggesting the topic, or the major divisions within it, or reading the final draft. Essentially the supervisor’s responsibility is to react to and comment on alternative approaches you think might allow you to finish the project successfully. Supervisors will read and comment on drafts of research tools (e.g. a questionnaire or interview schedule) and chapters. However, supervisors will not read a draft of the whole dissertation. Supervisors cannot comment on work during the last two weeks before submission. Guidelines on managing this relationship were provided in the course handbook for FINA 1007 Research Methods, and are repeated here. Key tips for managing your relationship with your supervisor: First, and most importantly, your supervisor is also your first examiner, so if your supervisor is happy with your progress and your work you are more likely to pass the course! Other tips: 1. Your supervisor plays a key role in helping you to undertake and complete your dissertation. However, it is YOUR dissertation and therefore it is YOUR responsibility to manage it through to completion. At the beginning you will probably have more questions to ask your supervisor about the process (eg. Have I read all the relevant literature in this area?), and at the end you will require more guidance on the content (eg. Are my conclusions clearly stated?). 2. In particular, you are responsible for managing your supervisor’s time. Do not expect your supervisor to be available at your convenience, particularly at very short notice or during holidays. Plan their time as well as your own. Try to arrange a meeting a week or two in advance, so that you know that they will be available. This will also act as an incentive to undertake some work for the meeting. Do not be tempted to delay or cancel meetings as their purpose is to ensure that your dissertation remains on track. 3. You are advised to meet regularly in the early stages, perhaps once every few weeks, even just for 5 minutes or so. This will help you to progress in small ‘chunks’ and ensure that you have something to discuss. If you have not progressed as far as you had hoped, then your supervisor can discuss this with you. Experience shows that students who rarely meet with their supervisors are more likely to fail both the Research Methods and the Dissertation courses. 4. Never go to your meetings with a supervisor empty handed. The content of the meeting will be driven by you, so make sure that you have something to discuss or to ask. If you wish them to comment on a short piece of writing, you should aim to send it to them four or five days beforehand (but you should check with them first). 5. Your supervisor is more likely to respond quickly and enthusiastically to requests for help if you ask them to focus on just a few issues, eg. Are the aims and objectives clearly stated? Does the literature review address the aims and objectives? 6. According to Potter (Doing Postgraduate Research, Sage, 2006) students who succeed in dissertation exhibit honesty in their relationship with their supervisor, are articulate, keep their supervisors informed of their progress, are respectful, and take responsibility for their own behaviour. Dissertation failures are more often due to lack of purposeful progress rather than lack of specific knowledge or skill. The role of the supervisor is to: 1. Advise the student throughout the process 2. Help the student establish and stick to a timetable 3. Challenge the student on their approach 4. Direct the student to an adequate and appropriate range of literature 5. Provide feedback on the quality of the argument/structure etc. 6. Advise the student of adequate standards of data collection and analysis 7. Check and sign-off any materials being sent to external sources (eg. surveys and covering letters) Your supervisor will: 1. NOT write your dissertation for you. 2. NOT make detailed corrections to your drafts. 3. NOT know the answers to all your questions 4. NOT be available at your convenience 5. NOT prepare a timetable or schedule of work for you 6. NOT chase you for work 7. NOT read or mark your complete dissertation at any time prior to submission 8. NOT comment on your work in the final two weeks prior to submission Textbooks A wide variety of textbooks is available in the library. Students are also advised to consult previous dissertations (available on Moodle) to appreciate the different ways of presenting their work, and to increase their understanding of the essential elements in each chapter. FAQ Students experience problems at different stages of the course. The following information is designed to provide you with information regarding the most common areas of concern. If you are require any further information, you should approach your supervisor. 1. In what order do the sections / chapters appear? Title page Submission checklist (see Appendix A) Acknowledgements (optional) Table of contents List of tables and figures Abstract Introduction Literature Review Research Design Results / Findings / Discussion (may be separate) Conclusions References / bibliography (divided between primary and secondary citations – see Appx C.i) Appendices 2. What should I include in each section of the dissertation? First, you should understand that you will need to write considerably more than 12,000 words during the course of the year, as your first drafts will not be of a sufficiently good standard. The more time you spend re-reading, editing and evaluating your work, the better it will be. You will also benefit from swapping your work with a colleague and giving each other feedback. For the introduction: - What is the study about? Ie. what issue is being investigated? Why is it of interest to academics? - What are your aims and objectives? From where are they derived? - In which specific body of literature is your work situated? What is your contribution? For the literature review: - Don’t just read - you need to write as you are going along. If you find writing difficult, then write in note form first and then try to develop your ideas later on. - Are the aims and objectives clearly set out? - Are all terms defined and explained? - Have you organised your paragraphs/sub-sections into themes/topics, rather than by author? (cf. Foundations of Scholarship exercise) - Is your referencing accurate and correct? - Have you paraphrased properly, or have you ‘copied’ work from a source? - Do you have too many/few sub-sections? (Ask a friend to review, and look at the work of others.) - Is all the information directly relevant to your topic? For example, if your topic is on ABC in China, then you do not need to write everything you can on ABC and everything you can find on China - you should focus on ‘ABC in China’. - What is your research question or hypothesis, and is it clearly stated at the end of this chapter? For the research design/method section: - The research proposal you prepared during your Research Methods course was based on what you were intending to do, but the research design you actually employed might have been very different. In this section you will justify your choices of data collection and analysis: o Why did you select this method? (such as survey, interviews, analytic eg. previous literature has used this) o Why did you select this organisation/industry? (eg. previous studies have or have not been conducted in this area) o Why did you select this population to sample (types of people, data)? o On what did you base your questionnaire (if used)? o Why did you select this size of sample? o How did you collect your data? (ie. When and where) o How did you analyse your data? (ie. What techniques? Eg. statistical) - Have you included in your submission a copy of your covering letter? Questionnaire? Interview questions? Have you explained how these relate to previous studies? Have you explained their relevance to your own work? For findings, analysis, discussion, and conclusions: - Important: These sections are the crucial elements that make your work a dissertation rather than an essay. Students typically pay insufficient attention to these, and consequently this reduces the overall quality and mark of the final dissertation. Remember that these together account for about 40% of the total dissertation in terms of the word count - collate any data you have collected (using Excel or similar) - look at it, summarise it (how many, when, how often etc.) - think about the best way to structure your findings eg. by themes. This may take several attempts of trying out different ways. A good way to start is to base this on your questionnaire if you used one, eg. first paragraph on responses to question 1, then question 2 etc. However, this should be considered as just the first stage in organising your data – presenting it like this in your final submission is unlikely to attain a good mark - make sure that you relate the results to your research questions - are there any surprises or are the results in line with what you expected, given what the literature says? - If there are surprises, then you might question whether the literature you have used is out of date, or whether your data is limited (eg. only 5 responses), or whether you have genuinely found something new - Have you related the findings related back to your literature review? - Conclusions should include: how this study has added to our knowledge or understanding of the topic being researched (ie. what does this study tell us that we didn’t know before?), limitations of the study (eg. method used), possibilities for future research. - IMPORTANT: the focus of your project is a theoretical topic, it is NOT a consultancy report. It should therefore contain theoretical findings, and NOT recommendations. For example, if your project is on activity based costing, and you have collected data from a single bank in China, then one conclusion might be stated as “Banks in China appear to experience similar problems implementing activity based costing as those in the UK.” It should NOT be stated as recommendations for the bank, eg. “The bank managers need to ensure that employees understand activity based costing.” Remind yourself that the audience comprises academic readers rather than company management. For the final submission: - Have you complied with, completed and included the submission checklist at the beginning of your document? - Have you re-read and re-written the previous sections so that they form a cohesive and consistent piece of work when put together? For example, the same research aim(s) and objectives should run through the whole of the dissertation. It is perfectly acceptable to go back to your literature review and add literature that you have found since you first started your project - Do not waste time using fancy graphics/colour – you will not gain extra marks, and they will distract you from the actual process of writing - Abstract: The function of the abstract is to encapsulate very briefly the main aspects of the dissertation, and should address the following points (note: these are not headings): What secondary data and/or primary data sources have been considered and why? How were these data analysed and some brief comments on why these method(s) were chosen. A very brief summary of the key results from the secondary and/or primary data presented, and what the analysis revealed. The limitations of the research design and the implications this might have on the generalisability of the findings. The implications of the work for future researchers and if your work has any impact on the development of the academic and professional literature and understanding of the issue(s). - Have you included your supervisor’s name on the title page of your submission? If not, someone else might mark your work or marking might be delayed. 3. How long should each section be? Chapter Brief outline of contents Abstract (between 200 and 400 words) Introduction (approx. 1000 words) â– Brief scene setting (what the dissertation is about and the reason for the study) â– Aims and objectives â– Brief description of the method used to undertake the study â– Summary of the main findings â– Brief explanation of the structure of the dissertation Literature review (3000-3500 words) â– Reasonably detailed, focused literature review, leading directly to the research question or hypothesis Research design (approx. 1000-1500 words) â– A brief description of the research design and justification in relation to relevant literature â– An adequate elaboration of the design choices â– A clear understanding of the limitations of the design choices Results and discussion (approx. 3000 and 2000 words if done separately) Depending on the best way of presenting the data, there may be two separate chapters. Results section: â– Findings from the collation and/or gathering of primary and/or secondary data) presented in a focused way, i.e., in such a way as to be able to lead easily and effectively to the discussion chapter. Discussion section: â– Presenting the findings from applying quantitative and, where appropriate, qualitative data analysis techniques to data considered â– This must be offered an orderly manner in relation to the central hypothesis(es)/argument. â– Students should also compare their findings and concepts used in relation to those of other relevant studies. Conclusions chapter (1000-1500 words) â– Findings from discussion chapter presented clearly in the light of the main limitations in the research design â– The implications of the study for future academic research, including ways of reducing the study’s limitations â– The implications, if any, in terms of existing literature and theory. Evidence of the research process undertaken â– All ‘raw data’, detailed tabulations and calculations relied on in the dissertation that are not already included. These should be submitted on a CD or submitted as a hard-copy appendix. There should be a clear audit trail from the data to the analysis. â– All completed data-gathering instruments (eg. questionnaires or tapes/notes from interviews) â– Two completed Dissertation Progress Forms signed by the supervisor â– Full end references, indicating sources and dates cited (see Appendix C) The word limit excludes appendices. Appendices should include information that would hamper the readability and flow of the report if presented in the main body. They should not be used as a way of avoiding compliance with the word limit. 4. What are the criteria for my dissertation? Your dissertation will be marked by two examiners, of whom the first is generally your supervisor. All failed dissertations and a sample of passed dissertations are sent to the external examiner. The criteria are shown in Appendix E. 5. How should the dissertation be formatted? Specification for text on the title page: - Brief title of dissertation - Student ID - Year of submission - Programme (e.g., M.Sc. Finance & Financial Information Systems) - Institution (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Greenwich) - Name of supervisor - Towards the bottom of the page the following statement should appear: ‘A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science’ - Below this should appear a word count for the main body of the report, excluding acknowledgements, footnotes, diagrams, tables, bibliographic details, and appendices. 6. What other information should be included? This information to be inserted on the following page after the title page: I hereby declare that this work has not been previously accepted in substance for any degree and is not being concurrently being submitted by another candidate for any degree. I further declare that this dissertation is being submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc in and it is the result of my own independent work except where otherwise stated. Other sources are acknowledged by explicit references. A bibliography is also appended. In presenting this dissertation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree from the University of Greenwich, I authorise the Department library of the University of Greenwich to lend my dissertation to individuals or other institutions for the purposes of private study. I further authorise the University of Greenwich to reproduce my dissertation by copy or by other means, in whole or in part, at the request of individuals or other institutions for the purpose of private study. It is understood that any copy, use or publish of my dissertation in whole or in part thereof for any financial gain should not be allow without my written consent. Finally, I hereby give consent for my dissertation to be available for photocopying and interlibrary loan and for the title and abstract to be made available to outside organisation. 7. I have had problems collecting data, can I get an extension for the September submission? NO! No extensions are given. If you have personal circumstances that have affected your ability to undertake your work, then you should apply for extenuating circumstances via the student portal. 8. What happens if I fail my dissertation in September? Students are expected to submit in September of the year immediately following the end of the taught part of the programme, unless they have applied for extenuating circumstances. Students are normally permitted a maximum of three consecutive attempts to pass the Dissertation course (at the discretion of the Programme Leader), unless there has been a successful application for an extenuating circumstance. For example, a student who fails in September, but does not submit in January will receive 0 marks for the January submission, and has one final chance in April. However, if the student made a successful EC claim for the April submission then that submission point does not count as one of the three attempts. In this example, the second attempt will be the April submission. In line with University regulations, all failed dissertations that subsequently achieve a pass will be capped at a mark of 50%. 9. Can I use material from my research proposal? Yes, but be careful. If your mark was not very good, then you might not wish to include the same material as it might lead to a similar result. APPENDIX A This page to be placed at the front of your hard copy dissertations immediately after the header sheet. ID: Title: Supervisor: (Note: marking is anonymous so you are not required to include your name) Checklist for submission Please indicate in the table below that the information has been included. Note that this does not constitute a formal record of submission. Its purpose is to help you check that your submission is complete. Any missing information will delay the marking of your dissertation, and may lead to a delay in graduation. Tick to indicate that these have been submitted 1. Dissertation to be saved in Word, with the following format for the title: <supervisor’s surname–title of dissertation> Eg. Mateus-capital structure in China.docx 2. Formatting: font size 12, all pages numbered, line spacing of 1 or 1.5, margins of 2cm 3. Statement included at the beginning of your work (see p11) 4. Calculations and analyses used in this dissertation (eg. Excel spreadsheets) (see Appendix C (ii)) submitted via a separate link in Moodle 5. Full web browser addresses or other evidence for all source material cited in your Moodle submission (Appendix C (i)) 6. In addition to the Moodle submission, you are required to submit TWO hard copies to the Business School Office in Queen Mary. These copies must: - be heat-bound (preferable) or ring-bound (for larger documents) - arrive by the submission date - include a completed and signed Record of Contacts with Supervisor (Appx B) - include any data or other information that cannot easily be uploaded to Moodle (eg. handwritten questionnaires) (see Appendix C (ii)) (if you attach such information to one of the copies, make sure that you write MAIN COPY on the headersheet so that your supervisor will get this copy) 7. Ethical compliance form (if required) – deliver to QA246 by August 15th 8. For students who failed an earlier submission and are now resubmitting their dissertation, details of those changes made since the previous submission (see Appendix D) If any of the above is omitted, please provide a brief explanation here: Appendix B Record of contacts with supervisor (to be completed and signed by your supervisor in the first two weeks of the month of submission and included at the front of BOTH hard copies of your dissertation – it does not need to be included in the Moodle version). An electronic signature is acceptable. Student name _______________________________ Student ID_______________ Date of contact Method of contact (eg. email, personal meeting, group meeting) Issue(s) raised by student (note: these should be meaningful, and directly related to your dissertation) Any subsequent action taken by student Signed by student_____________________________________Date___________ Supervisor’s overall evaluation of student’s engagement (please circle): The student had an appropriate level of contact with me, and I am satisfied that the dissertation is his/her own work The student had an appropriate level of contact with me, but I am not able to ascertain at this stage that the dissertation is his/her own work The student had an unsatisfactory level of contact with me, and I am not assured that the dissertation is his/her own work Signed by supervisor__________________________________Date___________ If the supervisor has signed this form later than the required date, then up to 10 penalty marks will be applied to the final dissertation unless he or she states otherwise: This form must be included in BOTH hard copies of your dissertation. Failure to submit this form as required will lead to a penalty of up to 10 marks to be applied to the final dissertation. Appendix C i. Evidence of source material cited In addition to full Harvard-style referencing throughout the document, the following details must be provided in the bibliography for each source in parenthesis as follows: 1. For each journal article or similar reference accessed through an electronic data base: the full Internet address and date(s) accessed, as follows: Barkema, H. G., Gomez-Mejia, L. R., 1998, Managerial Compensation and Firm Performance: A General Research Framework, The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 41, No.2, April 1998, pp. 135-145, Available from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/257098[accessed 15/11/08] 2. For books, monographs, and journal articles read in hard copy: the name of the library from which the material was obtained and, where available, the full Library classification number where it is shelved. Such a number is always available for books and monographs in academic libraries and must be given. 3. For books or other information purchased or obtained by the student: full details of how/when acquired. ii. Raw material and analyses: • All the ‘raw material’ used to obtain the primary and/or secondary data (e.g., tables of stock exchange prices, copies of pages down loaded from web sites with the web address clearly shown, all completed questionnaires; or all tapes of interviews & interview schedules, etc ) presented in and/or relied upon the body of their dissertations; and full details of all calculations, etc. used in any statistical or other analyses presented in the body of their dissertations). • Details of all analyses conducted (eg. Excel spreadsheets) • Where possible this material should be uploaded to Moodle via the link indicated. Evidence that cannot be submitted electronically (e.g., completed questionnaires) should be submitted with one of the hard copies. These are not included in the word count. Where this information has not been provided, examiners will request it before marking. APPENDIX D Dissertation resits FINA 1037 If you have previously failed your dissertation and are resubmitting you are required to insert a page at the beginning of your resubmitted work providing details of the changes you have made to this submission. This should be in tabular form as follows, and each required section should contain no less than 50 words of explanation that enables the marker to see clearly the changes that you have made. Comment from examiner How I have addressed this - examples Example – Research question is not clear p. 3 Research question has been rewritten as follows: Example - Literature review contains insufficient current references Additional references added: Smith (2003) on p.10, Brown (2006) on p.15 Example – method section is weak Method section now contains additional information as follows: p.25 – additional material with regard to… p.27- additional material with regard to… Example – bibliography does not include web browser addresses These have now been included APPENDIX E Department of Accounting & Finance - Dissertation (FINA1037) M.Sc. Accounting & Finance M.Sc. Financial Management M.Sc. International Banking & Finance M.Sc. Finance and Investment Name of student Short title Supervisor’s name:..... ………………..………....................... Mark:..............% Date:........./......./2014 Second examiner: ….……………..……….................................……… Mark:.............% Date:......./......./2014 Agreed mark:...............% Signatures:.......................................................................................................………. Supervisor Second examiner Excellent Good Average Weak Unaccept- able 1 (a) Focus/structure of research project (b) Methodology/research design 2 (a) Findings/presentation of data (b) Results/analysis 3. Conclusions, recommendations, etc 4. Overall assessment Note: Due to the interdependencies between the different sections, these criteria are not quantitatively equivalent; that is, they are not weighted evenly. 1 (a) Focus/structure of research project - Clear aims and objectives leading to a focused literature review based on appropriate academic journal articles and other relevant literature, of suitable length and depth, i.e., one that looks analytically and in adequate detail at what other researchers and investigators in the field have done and in such a manner as to directly contribute to developing the broad aims and detailed objectives of the research project in relation to the work of others. It is not acceptable to present secondary data culled from professional publications, web sites, etc. as a ‘literature review’. - A clear statement of the contribution the student believes s/he is making to the literature. - The argument, research question(s), or hypothesis/es should be derived directly from the literature review and should be clearly stated (b) Methodology/research design - Academic literature used to develop an appropriate research design. Methodological and method choices (eg. population studied, sample size, period investigated) should be fully described, explained and justified drawing on appropriate sources. - Awareness of limitations of methodological and method choices made and their implications for the study. - Awareness of alternative design possibilities and a coherent discussion of their suitability or otherwise. 2 (a) Findings/presentation of data - Where relevant to the study design, appropriate quantity and quality of secondary data suitably referenced. - If required by the research project methodology, suitable quantity and quality of primary data, clearly presented. (b) Results/analysis - Clear, focussed, and logical analysis of data, presented in appropriately analytic themes that, where relevant, integrate data obtained from different sources or methods. - As required by the study design, appropriate and effective use of statistical and/or other forms of analysis - An analysis which adequately integrates data with relevant theory, i.e., drawing on suitable journal-based and other academic frameworks. - Findings that are presented in a descriptive way will be inadequate. 3. Conclusions - Effective, meaningful conclusions drawn in the light of a clear awareness of prior literature and of the limitations of the research method employed in this study - The implications of the findings of this study in relation to existing theoretical or policy frameworks or the literature, including an indication of relevant areas for future research - This section should present a contribution to the academic literature, and NOT provide recommendations 4. Overall assessment - Main strengths and weaknesses of the research project - Clear & logical development of the research project, & appropriate links between chapters - Central hypotheses/argument clearly evident through the whole research project such that an analytic piece of work emerges. Largely descriptive studies are not acceptable - Good standard of spelling, grammar and an adequate literary style - Suitable abstract, including the results from the study, and an appropriate introduction, setting out the main aims and objectives - Appropriate referencing in Harvard style throughout the study - BRIEF COMMENTS ON THE SUPERVISION PROCESS FROM THE SUPERVISOR ONLY: In particular, frequency of supervision, completion of requested work, and the way in which it emerged (ie. in stages through close contact with you, or without you as supervisor having much or any involvement in the production of the work. The evidence of research undertaken in preparing the research project. Please indicate if the following are included to your satisfaction: Please tick All raw data used, presented and relied upon (eg. stock market prices, completed questionnaires, interview data), either on a CD or attached as appendices Full details of all calculations used in any analyses, either on CD or attached as appendices Record of contacts signed by the supervisor Complete and accurate bibliography indicating dates of access If you judge the evidence of research undertaken to be inadequate, please specify in the box below any further requests you have made of the student in order for the marking process to be completed. If the research project has been failed, please note any recommendations or requirements for resubmission Appendix F: Assessment Criteria for Dissertation MARK BAND EVALUATION 80% + A+ Highest academic standards A superior piece of work that reaches the highest possible academic standards 70 - 79% A Excellent • Clear statement of objective(s); strongly focused throughout with an excellent structure, clear logic, well presented, good style and correct referencing • Extensive and appropriate use of relevant literature, concepts, theory and analytical techniques • Clear and appropriate methodology and research design; methods of data collection and analysis applied in an extensive and appropriate way; understanding of limitations of research design, and significant attempts made to counteract • Can withstand critical outside appraisal/probably publishable in some form or other • Makes a useful contribution to the accounting and/or finance disciplines and rests on adequate amount of well gathered data and well integrated with theory • Clear and significant conclusions and/or recommendations that develop out of the argument; identifies areas not covered/future work required. 60 - 69% B Good • Clear statement of objective(s); weak in some of the following: focus, structure, logic, presentation, style and referencing • More limited range of literature, concepts, theory and analytical techniques than `A' above but still satisfactory • Competent handling of methodological/research design issues; methods of data collection and analysis applied in an appropriate way; understanding of limitations of research design, and some attempts made to counteract • May be publishable after a considerable amount of work • Solid piece of work which makes some contribution to the accounting / finance disciplines and rests on appropriate data suitably gathered and adequately integrated with theory • Clear conclusions; some efforts to identify areas not covered/future work required. 55 - 59% C Average • Objective(s) identified; noticeable efforts to focus work with structure, logic, presentation, style and referencing adequate but not to the extent of `B' above • Standard literature used in a routine way; limited development of concepts, theory and analytical techniques • Methodology/research design indicated but not particularly strong; limited choice and use of methods of data collection and analysis; limited understanding of limitations of research design, with little or no attempts made to counteract • Publication not a realistic prospect • Strictly limited contribution to the discipline • Conclusions and/or recommendations stated and some indication of areas not covered. 50 - 54% D Satisfactory • Objective(s) stated only; problems with focus, structure, logic, presentation, style and/or referencing • Standard literature used in a clearly limited way; some problems with concepts or theory • Methodology/research design not adequate; limited choice and use of methods of data collection and analysis; poor understanding of limitations of research design • No substantive contribution to the discipline • Conclusions and/or recommendations not sufficiently developed ï€¼ï€µï€°% F Fail • Little or no evidence of understanding the issues or ways of tackling them; descriptive rather than analytic • Poor and/or incorrect use of literature and/or theory; limited choice of literature • Methodology/ research design; poor choice and use of methods of data collection and analysis • Inadequately stated conclusions
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