The Dissertation takes the form of an ordered, critical exposition of knowledge in an approved field falling within the subject matter of the designated MSc programme. It should have an appropriately clear focus and provide evidence that the student has met the learning outcomes for the module.
The dissertation must take the form of an investigation based on primary and/or secondary data, justified and supported by detailed reference to relevant theories and concepts from literature.
Note on ‘access’ to your chosen sources for primary research:
• Do you intend to use primary data such as interviews for your research?
• Are you confident you can gain access to the people, organisations, non-public documents (etc.) you need?
• Do you have an ‘indication of support’ from the organisations you hope to investigate (if appropriate to your topic)?
Please consider these questions carefully before choosing to do primary research for your dissertation. Unless you have a good contact at a senior level in an organisation - someone willing to support your access to do interviews or for other data – you are highly unlikely to get agreement to do research in a specific organisation.
In the past, some students have produced a well-written proposal assuming primary research, and then during the process they’ve failed to get access, which means they have had to start again (at a late stage) to think about their dissertation.
You must submit the final dissertation through Turnitin. If your dissertation contains confidential material then, with your supervisor’s agreement, it will be submitted to a non-storage Turnitin drop-box, which will be identified as a ‘Confidential Drop Box’. Further details regarding submission will be communicated by email during the dissertation process.
Documents to be submitted at the same time as you submit your dissertation are as set out below. These should be submitted to the Supporting Documents Drop Box on Moodle. Documents submitted to this drop box are not anonymous. They should have your name and student number on them. Some documents should NOT be signed by your supervisor. Your supervisor will check them following submission and if there are any issues s/he will contact you no later than 6 weeks after the date of submission.
1. Dissertation learning contract [Supervisor’s signature is NOT needed]
2. Supervision record form [Supervisor’s signature is NOT needed]
The role of the dissertation supervisor is to provide guidance and advice to you on your dissertation. However, the supervisor is there only as a facilitator because the dissertation is a self-managed activity. It is your responsibility to:
• select a suitable dissertation topic;
• contact your supervisor and make the necessary appointments;
• achieve the dissertation milestones set out in your proposal;
• design appropriate research methodology;
• collect relevant research data;
• structure and write the dissertation.
Research by Phillips and Pugh (2001) has found that supervisors expect their students to:
• be more independent than the students expect;
• produce regular written work;
• seek help from other people as well as the supervisor (e.g. the sponsor or mentor);
• attend meetings regularly, organised at their own initiative without needing to be chased.
• report their progress honestly;
• follow the advice they are given;
• be enthusiastic about their dissertations;
• surprise them: come up with findings, ideas, etc. that had not occurred to them;
• be part of a mutually enjoyable relationship.
However, students expect their supervisors to:
• actively supervise them, and be available when needed;
• read and understand written dissertation extracts submitted by them;
• be friendly, open and supportive, though constructively critical;
• have a good knowledge of the topic of the dissertation;
• make arrangements so they can give their full attention to the student during supervisory sessions;
• add to the information available to them by recommending appropriate reading;
• exert their influence on the student’s behalf.