i
A GUIDE
TO
WRITING
YOUR
MASTERS DISSERTATION
School of Management & Languages
ii
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ............................................................................................................ 1
2. The Dissertation in Outline. ................................................................................... 2
2.1. Aims of the Dissertation ................................................................................ 2
2.2. Dissertation Styles ......................................................................................... 2
2.3. Key Milestones .............................................................................................. 2
2.4. Supporting Documents: ................................................................................. 3
3. Dissertation Supervision ........................................................................................ 3
3.1. Supervision .................................................................................................... 3
3.2. Role of Academic Supervisor ........................................................................ 3
3.3. Responsibilities of the Student. ...................................................................... 4
3.4. Dissertation Supervisor Meeting Schedule .................................................... 5
4. The Dissertation. .................................................................................................... 5
4.1. The Research Proposal ................................................................................... 5
4.2. Writing the Dissertation ................................................................................. 7
4.2.1. Title Page: .............................................................................................. 7
4.2.2. Abstract .................................................................................................. 7
4.2.3. Acknowledgement ................................................................................. 8
4.2.4. Contents Page: ....................................................................................... 8
4.2.5. Introduction. ........................................................................................... 8
4.2.6. Literature Review: ................................................................................. 9
4.2.7. Research Methodology. ....................................................................... 10
4.2.8. Findings / Results / Data Analysis. ...................................................... 11
4.2.9. Discussion. ........................................................................................... 12
4.2.10. Conclusions. ......................................................................................... 13
4.2.11. References: ........................................................................................... 13
4.2.12. Appendices:.......................................................................................... 13
5. Layout, Style and Writing Suggestions ............................................................... 14
5.1. Dissertation Formatting. .............................................................................. 14
5.2. Writing Style ................................................................................................ 15
5.3. Using Introductions and Conclusions to chapters ........................................ 15
5.4. Approval of Questionnaires and Surveys .................................................... 15
6. Citations and References ..................................................................................... 15
6.1. Within text citation. ..................................................................................... 17
6.2. End of text referencing ................................................................................. 16
6.3. Text notes. .................................................................................................... 16
7. Attribution and Plagiarism ................................................................................... 16
8. Confidentiality ..................................................................................................... 17
9. Ethics ................................................................................................................... 17
10. Submission Arrangements ............................................................................... 17
10.1. Submission Deadlines .................................................................................. 18
11. Assessment ....................................................................................................... 19
12. Resubmission ................................................................................................... 19
Appendix 1. Undertaking an MSc (LINCS) Dissertation ............................................ 21
A) Preparation and timetable 2011-12 ......................................................... 21
B) Types of dissertation ............................................................................... 21
iii
Appendix 2 Further Notes on the Literature Review .................................................. 27
Appendix 3 Hints on Research Methods ................................................................... 29
iv
Acknowledgements:
I would wish to acknowledge the contribution made by the following in preparing this
guide: Dr. M. Sargeant, Dr. P Collins, Mr. S Wigley, Mr. A. Hanif, Dr. S. Cullinane,
Mr. W. Jackson, Prof. G. Hogg, Dr. P. Gardiner, Prof. J. Fernie, Dr. N. Towers, Dr.
Y. Mclaren-Hankin.
Clive Marchant, November 2008; updates for T and I programmes, M. Sargeant
January 2012
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1. Introduction
The dissertation is the final stage of the Masters degree and provides you with the
opportunity to show that you have gained the necessary skills and knowledge in order
to organise and conduct a research project. It should demonstrate that you are skilled
in identifying an area, or areas, suitable for research: setting research objectives;
locating, organising and critically analysing the relevant secondary data and
authoritative literature; devising an appropriate research methodology; analysing the
primary data selected and drawing on the literature in the field; drawing conclusions;
and if appropriate making relevant recommendations and indications of areas for
further research.
A dissertation is a ‘formal’ document and there are ‘rules’ that govern the way in
which it is presented. It must have chapters that provide an introduction, a literature
review, a justification of the data selected for analysis and research methodology,
analysis of the data and, finally, conclusions and recommendations. Where the subject
is based around a business or an applied situation recommendations for action may
also be required. Advice on the range of suitable topics which relate to the subject
area of your Masters degree will be approved by your Programme Director or course
dissertation co-ordinator.
The Masters level dissertation is distinguished from other forms of writing by its
attempt to analyse situations in terms of the ‘bigger picture’. It seeks answers,
explanations, makes comparisons and arrives at generalisations which can be used to
extend theory. As well as explaining what can be done, it addresses the underlying
why. The most successful dissertations are those which are specific and narrowly
focused.
This document is intended to guide you through the dissertation process. It can only
offer suggestions; there is nothing that can be said which will guarantee the
production of a fine piece of work, but these are suggestions which, through time,
have been found to be both practical and effective.
You should read this guide before starting your dissertation and consult it as
necessary throughout the process. This will help you to make a start to your
dissertation and make more effective use of your meeting sessions with your
supervisor. Other useful references specific to your programme can also be found for
your programme on Vision.
N.B. These notes have been produced for general guidance only and you are
required to read the recommended texts and journal papers on research
techniques appropriate to the research methods of your subject discipline. You
are not to use these notes as justification or reference for any methodological
approaches or techniques in your dissertation.
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2. The Dissertation in Outline.
2.1. Aims of the Dissertation
The aims of the dissertation are to:
• put into practice theories and concepts learned on the programme;
• provide an opportunity to study a particular topic in depth;
• show evidence of independent investigation;
• combine relevant theories and suggest alternatives;
• enable interaction with practitioners (where appropriate to the chosen topic);
• show evidence of ability to plan and manage a project within deadlines
After completion of the dissertation students should be able to:
• define, design and deliver an academically rigorous piece of research;
• understand the relationships between the theoretical concepts taught in class
and their application in specific situations;
• show evidence of a critical and holistic knowledge and have a deeper
understanding of their chosen subject area;
• appreciate practical implications and constraints of the specialist subject;
• Understand the process and decisions to be made in managing a project within
strict deadlines
2.2. Dissertation Styles
Dissertations need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding beyond
undergraduate level and should also reach a level of scope and depth beyond that
taught in class. All dissertations must be presented in an appropriate academic style
and format to ensure that the precise aims of the dissertation are met. It is important
that the aims and objectives of the dissertation are clearly expressed and are
achievable within the scope of the dissertation framework. Academic style does not
just refer to the clarity of expression, grammar, use of citation and referencing but
relates to a clearly structured approach to the justification and validation of facts,
theories and opinions presented to form a precise argument. With the range of
subjects taught across the School the type of research dissertation will vary. Your
Programme Director will give you specific guidance as will Appendix 1 which deals
with your programme.
You will not normally be required to undertake a viva voce examination of your
dissertation. The dissertation is assessed on the basis of the content of your submitted
document alone.
2.3. Key Milestones
Outline of main stages in the dissertation proposal
• Semesters 1 and 2: courses in Translation and Interpreting Studies and the
International Context and Translation and Interpreting Studies: Intercultural
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Communication and the International Context provide the theoretical
foundations for a dissertation proposal
• Semester 2, preparation of a draft project proposal
• Examination Progression Board mid-May confirms permission to undertake
dissertation
• Dissertation Presentation Day (some programmes only: see Appendix 1 for
further details)
• Dissertation Proposal Hand-in and final approval by academic supervisor. See
Appendix 1 for dates which apply to your programme.
• Dissertation hand-in, 4pm School Office MB. 1.62. See Appendix 1 for dates
which apply to your programme.
2.4. Supporting Documents:
The following documents can be downloaded from the School web site at
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm
.. Dissertation proposal form
.. Dissertation Submission Form
.. Dissertation Supervision Form
.. Acknowledgements page template
.. Dissertation Front page template
3. Dissertation Supervision
3.1. Supervision
You will be supported through the dissertation by an academic supervisor. You will
be advised by your Programme Director or dissertation co-ordinator of the process by
which your programme either allocates academic supervisors or students seek a
preferred academic supervisor. The academic supervisor will ideally have background
expertise in your area of study. However, this may not always be possible and you
may be allocated a supervisor with more general subject knowledge. Regardless of the
subject background of the supervisor, the academic supervisor will understand the
research process. Where a ‘non-expert’ academic supervisor is appointed you will
still, under the guidance of your academic supervisor, be able to consult with a subject
expert. The extent of that subject expert’s input will usually be limited to advice about
the literature review.
3.2. Role of Academic Supervisor
The academic supervisor performs many functions and is there to facilitate and not to
lead, hence the responsibility for the quality and content of a dissertation is entirely
that of yourself, the student. The supervisor role includes the following:
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1. To advise the student whether or not the project appears to be feasible and the
possible risks that may be involved, for example problems in trying to access
information, potential poor response rates to surveys concerning commercially
sensitive issues.
2. To assist the student in tailoring the proposal to the time and other resource
constraints.
3. To assist the student at the outset in finding useful and relevant reading
material and appropriate academic framework within which to place the topic.
4. To advise on the choice of suitable methodological approach(es).
5. To monitor progress and to advise on what is required to achieve a satisfactory
dissertation.
6. Where relevant, to liaise periodically with the company supervisor and resolve
any problems the student may have in obtaining access to company information
or personnel (not relevant to LINCS students).
7. To first-mark the dissertation, and to submit a marker’s report;
It should be emphasised that the dissertation is entirely your own work. However, you
may ask your supervisor to read in detail a draft of a portion of your dissertation
normally up to a maximum of two chapters, in order to give feedback on presentation,
content and style. Academic supervisors may of course pass comment on chapter
outlines and may scan quickly through other chapters at their discretion.
The academic supervisor will not read the finished work prior to submission and will
not make any comment at any stage as to the expected grade or mark.
The academic supervisor will not check or correct grammar and expression.
3.3. Responsibilities of the Student.
1. To maintain regular contact with the academic supervisor. It is the student's
responsibility to inform their supervisor of progress and to lead the
development of the dissertation. Difficulties must be communicated at the time
they are encountered. Retrospective information is not acceptable.
2. To write the dissertation in a good standard of clear English using appropriate
academic terms and citation and referencing conventions. It is not the
responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that this condition is met.
3. To write the dissertation with guidance from the supervisor. The dissertation
and research work must be your own. The dissertation is to reflect your subject
understanding and research abilities, not that of your supervisor.
4. Where a company project is undertaken, to attend on a regular basis as
required, and to maintain regular contact with the company sponsor and to
undertake a final presentation to the company management team (not relevant
to LINCS students).
5. To inform the Programme Director and academic supervisor of any absence
(sickness, personal, family visits, holidays, work experience) during the time
nominated for working on the dissertation.
If during the preparation of the dissertation, the focus and direction of the dissertation
changes substantially from that outlined in your Dissertation Proposal Form then you
should immediately discuss this with your academic supervisor.
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3.4. Dissertation Supervisor Meeting Schedule
Students are allocated up to a maximum of five formal meetings with their academic
supervisor across the duration of the dissertation. The purpose of these meetings is to
discuss progress and resolve any difficulties. You will be expected to take a proactive
approach to these meetings and bring material or options to be discussed rather than
expect your supervisor to say what should be done next.
Initial meetings to discuss topics and planning will usually be scheduled by the
academic supervisor. Responsibility for scheduling the remaining three meetings will
be with you. Your academic supervisor will endeavour to meet you as soon as
possible, but you must remember your academic supervisor has other work
commitments, conferences to attend, research to undertake and will also take a
vacation some time through the summer period. If you are based abroad then progress
meetings can take place using e-mail.
A record will be kept of each of these meetings detailing the dates of meetings, what
was discussed and any action points. This may be written by the academic supervisor
or the student. A guide template for student – advisor meetings is given at:
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm for convenience, although an
email record is also satisfactory.
4. The Dissertation.
• You will be advised of the deadline for submitting a dissertation proposal by
your Programme Director (see Appendix 1)
• For some programmes in the School where research methods is a taught course,
then the research proposal may be separately assessed. This will be made clear
in Appendix 1 which is specific to your programme. Regardless if this is the
case or not, you must receive confirmation from your academic supervisor that
your research proposal is approved before you continue with your dissertation.
• The research proposal document can be downloaded from the School web site
at http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.html.
4.1. The Research Proposal
The research proposal is an important working document and which over the next few
months becomes transformed into the dissertation. You will see that the main sections
replicate the structure of the dissertation. A copy of the Research proposal used by
your programme can be downloaded from
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm
Used correctly, the proposal will become your road map through the dissertation
process. Because of a wide variety of circumstances the focus of your research may
change. If this happens then you should change your proposal document and also
agree with your academic supervisor that such a change is appropriate.
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The research proposal shows that you have thought through what the main research
objectives are to be, that you have identified the main sources of primary and
secondary data and that you have given thought as to the research methodology. The
Proposal should provide your academic supervisor with a ‘detailed skeleton’ of the
whole dissertation; the fine details are added when the literature review is completed
and the primary research has been undertaken.
The research proposal should include:
(a) A working title
Your title can and probably will change but using precise wording even at this early
stage will help to keep your dissertation properly focussed.
b) An Introduction to the Topic
This will include a brief description of the topic, the aim, research objectives and
research questions to be addressed
You will find that moving from research aim to research objectives, to research
questions is quite a difficult task. This, however, will provide a clear focus to your
research and help you structure both this research proposal and the final dissertation.
The aim of the research provides a description of what you want to achieve from
carrying out this research.
The objectives of the research outline the particular issues that you need to address in
order to achieve the aim above. They are more specific than the aim, in that they
outline the particular dimensions of your research topic, which are relevant to the
overall aim of your research.
The research questions are more specific than your research objectives and specify
the various insights/information that need to be collected in order to achieve the
objectives. Keep in mind that the research question often starts with a Why, How, or
What.
(c) A Preliminary Literature Review which indicates: (i) that you have studied the
work of the major authors in your research field (ii) that you are familiar with the
major themes relevant to that subject area (iii) what further investigations you intend
to pursue as part of this dissertation. You should bear in mind that you are reviewing
the literature in order to develop sharper, more insightful and focused research
questions about your topic. Therefore, your literature review should lead to and justify
your research objectives and questions.
(d) The Detailed Research Methodology which you intend to employ. The
methodology section should discuss what methods you are going to use in order to
address the research objectives of your dissertation. You need to justify why the
chosen methods were selected as the most appropriate for your research, amongst the
many alternative ones, given its specific objectives, and constraints you may face in
terms of access, time and so on. Reference to general advantages and disadvantages of
various methods and techniques without specifying their relevance to your choice
decision is unacceptable. Remember to relate the methods back to the needs of your
research question.
(e) Timetable detailing how you anticipate completing the dissertation by the
submission date and, if a company-based project, the means of liaising with the
company to ensure the specific objectives are achieved.
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4.2. Writing the Dissertation
• Deadlines: There is no single start date for you to begin your dissertation as
you will be preparing the early ideas and initial reviews in the course of
Semester 2. You will be given a formal notification to proceed following the
Progression Board in mid-May. You will be given a specific date to submit
which cannot be changed. To accommodate the number of dissertations being
submitted each programme will be given a date during August. The
Programme Director will provide you with the deadline date allocated to your
programme and this will be shown in Appendix 1. Dissertations are to be
handed into the School Office in the Mary Burton Building MB 1.62.
• Word count: If you are writing a dissertation by research, 12,000 to 15,000
words (not including appendices and references); if you are writing a
dissertation by translation/commentary your translation should be based on a
Source Text of 6,000 words (+/- 10%) and your commentary should be 6,000
to 7,000 words.
4.2.1. Title Page:
The title page should adopt the format shown in the template that can be downloaded
from the school website:
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm or Vision.
4.2.2. Abstract
The dissertation should contain an abstract of up to 350 words. A good abstract is
difficult to write and can only be completed after the full dissertation has been
written. It represents a brief summary of the results of the dissertation research. By
summarising the results of the research, it allows other people to get an idea of what
was accomplished without having to read through the whole dissertation. Other
scholars can read an abstract to decide if looking at the full work will be worthwhile.
The abstract should provide sufficient information about the results of the research
that reading the full dissertation is not necessary, although your markers will read the
full dissertation. If writing a dissertation by translation/commentary, your abstract
should contextualise the source text, summarise the translation brief, the theoretical
framework and the overall results of your translation strategy.
• Hints as to what to include in your abstract:
• Aim and objectives: What are the main themes, ideas or areas of theory
being investigated?
• Boundaries: What is the context and background to this dissertation? In
what areas of theory or business practice should the reader concentrate
their attention?
• Methodology: What was/were the main method(s) employed to
generate the results?
• Results: What were your main findings?
• Conclusions: What are the main conclusions that you arrive at when
viewing the entire dissertation?
• Recommendations: (if appropriate) What solutions do you offer in
answer to the problems posed in the research objectives?
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4.2.3. Acknowledgements
A brief statement, signed by the student, should be provided which:
1. Acknowledges all help received in writing the dissertation. Try to keep
more personal comments about family and friends to a minimum and
concentrate on those who have given direct assistance.
2. Gives an assurance that the dissertation is your own work.
You may need to supply evidence of how you arrived at your findings.
You should retain copies of all their fieldwork and analysis in a separate
folder (including interviews and transcriptions), should they need to be
consulted by internal examiners. The folder should not be submitted with
the dissertation and will only be required on demand.
3. A declaration that the work is your own and complies with University
regulations on plagiarism.
4. A statement of the word count
Your dissertation should be passed through TURNITIN and a copy of the report
appended in Loss-leaf format to the dissertation copy.
A template of the acknowledgements page can be downloaded from the School web
site at:
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm
4.2.4. Contents Page:
The contents page should list the chapter headings, appendices, references and the
pages on which they can be found. Separate listing should be given for lists of figures,
tables and abbreviations. You will find this easier to create these if you know how to
generate these lists using the indexing and style functions within Microsoft Word.
4.2.5. Introduction.
The dissertation should be divided into chapters and sections appropriate to the topic
and type of dissertation chosen. If writing a dissertation by translation/commentary,
refer to Appendix 1 for appropriate order of parts. The following elements are typical
of the traditional dissertation. You should discuss the overall structure of your
dissertation with your academic supervisor.
The Introduction to the dissertation should set out the background to the research
study and address the following areas:
The context in which the research took place
• What is the background, the context, in which the research took place?
• Why is this subject or issue important
• Who are the key participants and/or ‘actors’ in the area under investigation?
• Are there important trends or pivotal variables of which the reader needs to
be made aware?
• A clear and succinct statement of the aims and objectives that the
dissertation is going to address.
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• Have you presented a clear and unambiguous exposition of your research
aim, the objectives you will address to meet this aim and your research
questions?
The reasons why this study was carried out
• Was this study undertaken for example in order to test some aspect of
professional or business practice or theory or framework of analysis?
• Was the research carried out to fulfil the demands of a business
organisation?
The way the Dissertation is to be organised
You should write your dissertation with the idea in mind that the intended reader and
reviewer has some shared understanding of the area being investigated, however,
underpinning concepts and arguments still need to be included as otherwise the depth
of research will be compromised. In this way, you will not be tempted to make too
many implicit assumptions, i.e. by making the erroneous assumptions that the reader
has your degree of knowledge about the matters in question or can follow, exactly,
your thought processes without your spelling them out. It should be a document which
is ‘self-contained’ and does not need any additional explanation, or interpretation, or
reference to other documents in order that it may be fully understood.
This short final section of the Introduction should tell the reader what topics are going
to be discussed in each of the chapters and how the chapters are related to each other.
In this way, you are, in effect, providing the reader with a ‘road map’ of the work
ahead. Thus, at a glance, they can see (1) where they are starting from, (2) the context
in which the journey is taking place, (3) where they are going to end up, and (4) the
route which they will take to reach their final destination. Such a ‘map’ will enable
the reader to navigate their way through your work much more easily and appreciate
to the maximum what you have done.
This chapter may be between 500 to 750 words although in some subjects or topics
the justification of the subject and scope may change the length of this chapter.
4.2.6. Literature Review:
The main reasons for the inclusion, in a Masters dissertation, of a literature review
section are:
• To present and to analyse, in a critical manner, that part of the published
literature which is relevant to your research topic and which acts as the
basis for a fuller understanding of the context in which you are conducting
your research; thus helping the reader to a more rounded appreciation of
what you have completed. Remember critical does not mean looking at the
negatives but forming an evaluation.
• To act as a backdrop against which what you have done in the remainder of
the dissertation may be analysed and critically evaluated so as to give the
reader the opportunity to assess the worth of your writing, analytical and
research skills.
• To show that not only have you discovered and reported what you have
found to be relevant in the literature search, but that you have understood it
and that you are able to analyse it in a critical manner.
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• To show that your knowledge of the area of interest is detailed enough that
you are able to identify gaps in the coverage of the topic; thus justifying the
reason(s) for your research.
• To show that you know what the key variables, trends and ‘actors’ are in
the environment of your study, i.e. you show that you know what the
important issues are that need to be investigated.
• To enable readers to be able to measure the validity of your choice(s) of
research methodology, the appropriateness of the process by which you
analyse your results, and whether or not your findings are congruent with
the accepted research which has gone before.
The literature review is presented in the form of a précis, a classification, a
comparison and a critical analysis of that material which is germane to a full
understanding of your research study. Such published material may be drawn
from all, or a combination of, textbooks, journal articles, conference papers,
reports, case studies, the Internet, magazine features or newspaper articles. It
should be remembered, however, that the most important source of
academic literature are journal articles and you should ensure that you are
familiar with the most recent publications in journals relevant to your subject
area.
Remember that your literature review should lead and justify the
research objectives and questions of your dissertation. Your literature
review should not just be a catalogue of authors, frameworks and ideas
but should attempt to introduce a critical evaluation of those authors
work.
The literature review will be around 3,000 to 4,000 words. Hints on how to go
about the literature review are contained in the Appendix .
4.2.7. Research Methodology.
You should begin the Research Methodology chapter by stating, again, the
research objectives of the project. This will enable the reader to make an
assessment as to the validity of your chosen research methodology.
This chapter is that part of the dissertation where you have the opportunity to
justify to the reader the process by which the research questions, which were
derived by an analysis of the relevant literature, were answered. It is not
sufficient to say, for example, “suitable respondents were sampled using a
quota sampling technique and then surveyed using a postal questionnaire” and
then leave it at that. It might well be the case that, given the problem(s) to be
investigated, such a choice of research methods is entirely appropriate.
However, if you have not taken the opportunity to justify your research
choices to a reader they could be correct in assuming that you have, by chance,
merely guessed at what would work and, more by luck than judgement,
arrived at the ‘correct’ solution to the problem.
The term ‘methodology’, particularly when employed in the social sciences,
does not just mean method, but also the governing philosophy behind the
methods employed
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The chapter on research methodology must, painstakingly argue for, and
justify each, decision that is taken when arriving at the way in which the
research is to be organised. Every time that you, the researcher, have to make
a choice from a number of options, you must state what each of these are, why
you made the choice you did, and why you rejected those not used.
Further information and hints on the research methods chapter are shown in
the Appendix.
The conclusion of this chapter should provide a summary of the main points
that have been covered. The conclusion should also direct the reader as to how
the contents of this chapter link in with the contents of the next chapter, your
findings. This chapter will be usually be between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
4.2.8. Findings / Results / Data Analysis.
This chapter presents the evidence and/or results of primary research which
you have undertaken. Depending upon your subject area this can be in the form
of detailed quantitative models, hypothesis testing to some basic analysis using
basic descriptive statistics or qualitative techniques dealing with structured
content analysis, textual analysis, to case study descriptions.
The main part of the chapter is the presentation of the data that you obtained.
Even projects of relatively moderate dimensions will generate a large amount
of data which has to be considered. This data must be organised in a logical
and coherently ordered whole so that your thought processes and
interpretation are clear to the reader.
Whatever form of data analysis has been undertaken, it must be accomplished
with care and attention to detail, as should the way in which the results are
presented. Nothing is guaranteed to frustrate a reader more than to have to
plough their way through an arid mass of tables, figures and statistics. Better by
far to describe in an accessible manner (which does not mean that you should
talk down to the reader) what the research has uncovered and to include only
the most pertinent figures as evidence of your findings. Dissertations which
included detailed modelling or quantitative analysis will clearly need to show
all relevant assumptions, relationships and methods. Your academic supervisor
will be able to advise on the level of detail required in the main body as
opposed to that included in the Appendix.
Graphs, diagrams, pie-charts etc. are all useful ways of presenting research
results; they are an imaginative way of ‘breaking up’ solid blocks of text – they
let a little ‘light’ into the body of the text as long as they are relevant and
illustrate your points. Keep your review to those items which are relevant to
your research question and not just everything I found out.
There will be problems in the execution of any research project and their
occurrence should be brought to the attention of the reader. Without stating
them, one of the essential elements of the context in which the research took
place will be missing.
Not all dissertations contain quantitative data. In many situations, students will
have made extensive use of qualitative research techniques such as focus
groups and/or in-depth unstructured interviews. While quantitative data lends
itself to graphs, tables and so on, qualitative data, and the way it is presented,
12
pose particular challenges for students. As ever, your objective should be based
on the belief that the data must be presented in such a manner as to make it
easy for the reader to follow the logic of the analysis.
The analysis of qualitative data should be based on the research questions and
issues that you explored during your fieldwork. For instance, you may have
addressed six or seven critical questions in a series of interviews. Each of these
questions should be examined separately, rather than describing each focus
group in turn. This provides a degree of logical flow and development to the
analysis. In addition, it is advisable to focus on the points of agreement and
disagreement that emerged during the interviews. This should be supported
with relevant quotations from the transcripts of the interviews. You should
avoid lengthy quotations, unless they are of critical importance. However, short
excerpts enrich the reader’s understanding of the issues and provide you with
the opportunity to shed a clearer insight on the topic.
Many students make the mistake of providing a very superficial, descriptive
analysis of qualitative data. This does not allow you to demonstrate that the
research you undertook was of a substantive nature. Tables can also be
included that reflect the respondent’s overall attitudes, perceptions and views
about the themes.
You are not required to include all the transcripts of interviews, surveys or data
sheets. Only include the summarised data in the main body of the dissertation.
Appendixes should be restricted to no more than 25 pages. You can keep
additional information in a folder for use by the markers if requested.
In the case of company projects you may need to include some brief outline
about the company and its activities. Again keep these comments focused on
the topic area and not just a broad and general description of everything you
know about the organisation.
4.2.9. Discussion.
In the introduction to the dissertation you described the context of the
research. In the literature survey you analysed the work of previously
published authors and derived a set of questions that needed to be answered to
fulfil the objectives of this study. In the research methodology section you
showed the reader what techniques were available, what their advantages and
disadvantages were, and what guided you to make the choice you did. In the
results section, you present to the reader the outcome of the research exercise.
The introduction of this chapter reminds the reader what, exactly, were the
research objectives. Your review of the literature and your evaluation of the
various themes, issues and frameworks helped you to develop a more specific
set of research questions. In essence, your analysis of the data that you have
collected from your fieldwork should provide answers to these questions. You
should, as a matter of priority, focus attention on data that is directly relevant to
the research questions. You should avoid the mistake of including analysis that
might be interesting in a general way, but is not linked to the original direction
of the dissertation. Peripheral data can be included as an appendix, however
you are reminded that there is a limit of twenty-five pages for appendices.
The introduction should also explain how the results are to be presented.
13
This is the heart of the dissertation and must be more than descriptive.
This chapter develops analytic and critical thinking on primary results and
analysis with reference to theoretical arguments grounded in the literature
review. You should try to highlight where there are major differences and
similarities from the literature or between different groups. Where a model or
framework of analysis has been used or is being developed you should
highlight the main relationships as well as explaining the reason and
significance behind features or decisions being discussed.
4.2.10. Conclusions.
Here you will bring together the work of the dissertation by showing how the
initial research plan has been addressed in such a way that conclusions may be
formed from the evidence of the dissertation. No new material or references
should be placed here. The conclusions should make a statement on the extent
to which each of the aims and objectives has been met. You should bring back
your research questions and state clearly your understanding of those questions.
Be careful not to make claims that are not substantiated from the evidence you
have presented in earlier chapters.
If you are undertaking a company project based around a business issue do not
confuse recommendations for the company with conclusions. If you want to
include a list of recommendations then do so in a separate short chapter. The
conclusions address the wider understanding of the issue you have been
studying.
You should include a short sub section on any suggestions for further research
for colleagues who might wish to undertake research in this area in the future.
There should also be a short statement of the limitations of the research. Often
as a single case study or limited range of companies you can not really claim
that your research holds for all companies. However, by adopting a rigorous
approach to your literature review and methods which have validity and can be
repeated you can make a reasonable but limited claim that your conclusions
should be taken seriously.
4.2.11. References:
All references used in writing the dissertation (whether direct quotations or
paraphrasing) should be included in a reference list/bibliography, compiled in
alphabetical order by author. The Harvard system for listing references should
be used.
4.2.12. Appendices:
Appendices may be used to provide relevant supporting evidence for reference
but should only be used if necessary. Students may wish to include in
appendices, evidence which confirms the originality of their work or illustrates
points of principle set out in the main text, questionnaires, and interview
guidelines. Only subsidiary material should be included in appendices. Students
should not assume that Appendices will be read by Examiners in detail.
14.


5. Layout, Style and Writing Suggestions
5.1. Dissertation Formatting.
Aspect ‘Word’
Command Line
Recommended Setting
Word count 12,000 to 15,000 words maximum. Excludes
abstract, references i.e. main text only. If you are
writing a dissertation by translation/commentary
the source text for your translation should be 6,000
words (+/- 10%) and your commentary should be
6,000 to 7,000 words (excludes abstract,
references and appendices).
Paper Size File, Page setup
– Paper.
A4
Margin Settings File, Page setup,
margins
Top 2.54cm Bottom 2.54cm
Left 3.17cm Right 3.17cm
Gutter 0cm Gutter Position Left
Line spacing Format,
Paragraph,
Indents &
spacing
One and a half spacing, not single or double.
Page Numbering View, Header &
Footer, Insert
page Numbers
For sections from Acknowledgements to start of
Main Text page number format is i) ii) iii) ..and so
on continuously
For Main Text page format is 1,2, 3 and so on
continuously
With position on page centred aligned
Text Format, Styles &
Formatting
Times New Roman
Font Format, Styles &
Formatting
12 point font
Alignment Format, Styles &
Formatting
Justified
Typical Dissertation Layout
Front cover Required, see separate example
Acknowledgements Required, see example
Abstract Required
Table of Contents Insert, Reference,
Index & Tables
Required
List of Figures Insert, Reference,
Index & Tables
Required (Note all figures in the main text must be
numbered, titled and attributed)
List of Tables Insert, Reference,
Index & Tables
Required, (Note all tables in the main text must be
numbered, titled and attributed)
Abbreviations Optional
Main text
Chapter & Section
Headings
Format, Bullets
& Numbering,
Outline
numbered
Chapter title, bold, outlined numbered e.g. Chapter 1,
start each chapter on new page
Section title , bold, outlined numbered e.g. 1.1,
Sub section title, outlined numbered e.g. 1.1.1
List of references Harvard system preferred
Appendices Appendix title, bold, outlined numbered e.g.
Appendix 1, start each Appendix on new page
Binding Spiral soft bound, (not a A4 Ring Binder)
Number of copies Two hardbound copies plus an electronic version,
Word or pdf format.
15
5.2. Writing Style
As was stated at the start, a dissertation is a ‘formal’ document and, as such, its
contents must be expressed in a certain style. That style is the third person singular
passive i.e.
Marketing sits within the wider knowledge base of the social sciences
and, while it cannot, because of its nature, employ the techniques,
formulae and laws of the pure sciences, it should aspire to a ‘scientific’
level of objectivity.
This is an objective statement, and that is the way in which your dissertation should
be expressed. If you have conducted your research properly i.e. you have designed a
‘correct’ research methodology, you have recorded the results accurately and analysed
the data in an appropriate manner, then you should have arrived at a set of results that
anyone else would arrive at if they had also conducted that research. Although you
cannot ‘take yourself out’ of the project, you can take yourself out of the report. Thus,
while not using the rules of pure science, you can suggest by the style of presentation,
that you have been striving for scientific objectivity.
Ensure that you use gender-inclusive vocabulary.
5.3. Using Introductions and Conclusions to chapters
Each of your chapters will require both an introduction and a conclusion. The former
provides the reader with a contents ‘map’ of what is to come, and the latter provides a
concise summary of what they have just read. Each introduction should look back to
the conclusion of the previous chapter, and forwards to the contents of the chapter
which you are introducing. The conclusion should look back into the chapter just
completed, and forward to the introduction of the following chapter. These
conclusions and introductions act like small links which bind the ‘chain’ of the
chapters together in a more seamless whole than would have occurred if the chapters
had not been introduced or concluded; they ‘smooth out’ the transition from chapter
to chapter and from topic to topic.
5.4. Approval of Questionnaires and Surveys
All questionnaires which are to be used in research must first be approved by the
academic supervisors and in the case of the company projects the company
concerned. This is to ensure that questions are grammatically and logically correct.
The academic supervisor will not necessarily make the necessary corrections but
highlight where improvements are required. See also chapter on ethics.
6. Citations and References
The University has a policy which covers all Honours students and all Masters
students in relation to a reference system. It is important that you get your citations
and references correct. You must always cite the source of your material;
inadequate citation could leave you open to the suspicion of plagiarism
6.1. Within text citation.
This is where any formal mention that you make in your dissertation to something
written by someone else. Every citation must be supported by a reference which
16
supplies the details which will enable the reader to follow up that citation. The
University employs the Harvard System of referencing. If you refer to the work of an
author in your text then it should be cited as, for example,
Smith (1997) states that the shoe size of an individual is a function of three
criteria.
or
Shoe size has been demonstrated to be a function of three criteria (Smith
1997).
Perhaps more than one author has made a broadly similar point and you want to
include them all. In such a case the citation should appear as follows:
'Logistics research is always important in new product development (Freeman
1997; Hardy 1989; Willis 1999).'
If you quote directly from an author's work you should include the page number from
which the quotation is taken, e.g. (Smith 1997, p 4.)
6.2. End of text referencing
The list of references is placed at the end of the dissertation (in alphabetical order of
first author’s surname), as follows:
For a journal: Smith, S. (1997) “The Effects of Shoe Size on Consumer
Behaviour”, Journal of International Shoe Manufacturers, Vol. 34, No. 45, pp
23-45.
For a textbook: Smith, S. (1997) Strategy, Marketing and Consumers, Paisley,
Academic Free Press, 7th edition.
If you are only referring to a small portion of a large text, then you must specify
which parts are relevant by adding either the chapters, “chapters 4 and 6”, to which
you are referring, or the appropriate pages (Smith 1997 pp 126-341).
6.3. Text notes.
Text notes can provide additional information on points made in the text of the
dissertation. They may be presented as footnotes or as endnotes, either of which
should be kept to a minimum. Neither footnotes nor endnotes should be used,
however, if the sole purpose is to give a page or reference, these should be presented
as parenthetical insertions into the main text of the dissertation. Articles and books
mentioned in the text, including text notes, should be identified by the author’s name
and the year of publication. The title of the article or book should then be listed in the
dissertation’s list of references.
7. Attribution and Plagiarism
Plagiarism occurs when students attempt to pass off someone else’s work as their
own. Typically, sections of text are taken verbatim from another person’s work
without proper attribution being given. This is a form of cheating and the University
takes a very serious view regarding any student involved in cheating (University
Ordinance No. 9 http://www.hw.ac.uk/ordinances/ordinances.pdf). Severe penalties
17
will be applied. The University will use reference checking software Turnitin to
ensure that dissertations are correctly and fully referenced.
See http://www.hw.ac.uk/registry/resources/PlagiarismGuide.pdf
When the work of others is used, a direct quotation, a figure or a general idea, it must
be acknowledged in the text and list of references. Quotation marks should always be
used to indicate direct quotations. If students are in any doubt as to what constitutes
plagiarism they are advised to consult their dissertation advisor or Programme
Director.
You must submit your completed dissertation to TURNITIN before submission and
append the report in loose-leaf format to a copy of your dissertation on submission.
8. Confidentiality
If the material in a dissertation is regarded as confidential, the student should mark the
text ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ on the front cover when it is submitted. In this event the
dissertation will be seen only by members of the Board of Examiners and
administrative staff and it will be kept secure, away from those available for
consultation. No one outside the Board of Examiners and administrative staff will be
allowed to see the dissertation unless they are given written permission by the student
and Programme Director. Requests to see such dissertations are almost universally
refused. Such dissertations will be kept secure for a period of 2 years only, unless the
student specifically requests a security classification to be applied for a longer period.
9. Ethics
Every student proceeding with a dissertation is required to fill in an ethics form in
partnership with the nominated supervisor. A copy of the Applications Form for
Departmental Ethics Committee Approval can be downloaded from
[www.sml.hw.ac.uk/forms/ethics/pg.html]. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to
ensure that this form is completed well in advance of the fieldwork.
No dissertation will be allowed to proceed which specifically seeks to conduct
primary research amongst participants under the age of 16 or over the age of 65.
Furthermore, any dissertation which seeks to undertake primary research amongst
‘vulnerable’ participants between the ages of 16 and 65 is highly unlikely to gain
ethical approval
10. Submission Arrangements
Two hard copies of the dissertation, written and bound in the approved manner, a
copy on a CD-Rom (using MS Word format), together with the TURNITIN report
should be submitted to the School Office in room MB 1.62 by the published deadline
(see Appendix 1). In the case of a company-based dissertation, a third copy will need
to be provided to the organisation studied.
18
Where students are submitting from overseas, then they will be required to send an
electronic version by email to arrive by the due date and time with hard copies being
sent to arrive at the School Office a maximum of 5 days later. It is the responsibility
of the student to use a reputable carrier and a guaranteed service.
A correctly completed Dissertation Submission Form (available from the School
Office or School web site http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.html)
must be attached to your submission.
Any dissertation submitted after the deadline will not be marked unless the student
can satisfy the Board of Examiners that there are adequate reasons for the late
submission.
The dissertation deadline will be strictly observed.
Dissertations can be submitted earlier.
It is vitally important that students report any problems that have affected or will
affect their performance on the dissertation as soon as possible to both the Academic
supervisor and the Programme Director. The Examiners can and will take extenuating
circumstances into account, but only if they know about them prior to the
Examination Board meeting. All issues relating to a substantive medical condition
causing prolonged incapacity should be supported by a valid medical certificate.
10.1. Submission Deadlines
One of the learning aims of a Masters programme is to demonstrate the ability to
manage a complex and extended piece of work within the given word count and
available timescales. This requires careful planning and the need to reprioritise and
adjust your work as circumstances change.
The deadline for your programme will be shown in Appendix 1. A standard penalty
of 30% will be applied for late submissions to dissertations. Extenuating
circumstances will be considered by the Award Board where supported by suitable
documentation. It is only under exceptional personal circumstances or extended ill
health that a short extension may be permitted and authorised by the Director of
Postgraduate Programmes (not academic supervisor). Any such request to the
Director of Postgraduate Programmes will again need to be supported by
documentation.
Last-minute delays through printer failure; corrupted files or breakdown to computers;
unforeseen problems with statistical software; staff or interviewees being unavailable;
just run out of time to complete writing or analysis; or even colds are not exceptional
circumstances.
- Remember to keep backups of all electronic working and supporting files.
- Allow time for proof reading and printing as this always takes longer than you
think. (When including colour is it really necessary as it will add to your time
and cost).
- Plan you interviews in advance and check that you know when key people will
be on holiday.
19
- Keep your academic supervisor informed of major delays and interruptions as
they occur.
- Start your dissertation early and have a week by week time plan, modify it but
don’t loose site of the end date or objective.
- Find time to relax and whilst short breaks away can help you to clarify your
thoughts avoid extended visits to or by family and friends as the time will go
very quickly.
11. Assessment
All dissertations will be read by two internal examiners including the academic
supervisor. For company based dissertations the company will not be involved in the
assessment process. In addition, some dissertations may be read by an External
Examiner to ensure a uniform standard is maintained. An agreed mark will be
awarded for the dissertation. The following common standards apply.
• The dissertation must be presented using a coherent and thoughtful level of
English.
• An informed description of events or data is not enough. There must exist an
analysis of the information collected and this must be directed towards
answering the research questions raised by the dissertation.
• The dissertation must show an awareness of the relevant literature.
• The document should be capable of showing that the author has learnt
something new, either from reviewing the literature or from undertaking an
empirical investigation, or both.
In addition, the assessment criteria used in the assessment will reflect the following.
• A depth of knowledge and critical understanding of an interdisciplinary or
specialist area that goes beyond final year undergraduate level and builds upon
the student’s postgraduate studies.
• An ability to bring together in a coherent fashion the perspectives of two or
more theoretical standpoints and apply the results in a practical setting.
• An ability to appreciate critically, to a higher level than that of a final year
undergraduate student, major issues and problems internal to the discipline
and/or with regard to the discipline’s impact on the external world.
The Examination Board has the right to require a viva voce before awarding a mark.
Usually this is only done in exceptional circumstances.
A summary marking sheet and assessment guide will be found in the Appendix to this
guide.
12. Resubmission
All marks will be agreed between two independent markers with a sample also sent to
an External Examiner and finally approved by an Award Board. A mark of >50%
20
(Grade C) or greater is required to pass the dissertation. Where your dissertation
achieves a grade A (>70%) and you have achieved an average of grade A (>70%) in
the taught part of the programme, you will receive an MSc with distinction. When
marks are agreed as achieving grade D (40% to 49%), this is classed as an initial fail
but with the possibility of revision. The extent of improvements that will be allowed
for resubmission are minor corrections to the dissertation. Where a dissertation has
major deficiencies then it will receive a grade of < D (<39%) and no further revisions
will be permitted and you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
Minor editorial corrections or deficiencies: Minor corrections of English, spelling,
statistical errors, incomplete list of references, poorly justified or described
methodology but with adequate data; some reorganising of materials in the literature
review, or results or findings but not all sections fall under this heading.
Major deficiencies: This may reflect a literature review limited by the extent of
materials and ideas the reviewed or limited by the understanding being shown;
inappropriate or inadequate research design; substantially inaccurate or inadequate data
analysis; lack of conclusions and understanding. Dissertations in this category would
require substantive improvements introducing a substantial amount of new materials
within a number of chapters
A student whose dissertation falls into the minor revisions category should expect to
re-write one chapter at the most (or equivalent of a chapter spread over several
chapters), with appropriate adjustments in the introduction and in the conclusion.
Further guidance on assessment criteria are given in the Appendix.
If you are required to resubmit the markers will provide you with an agreed list of
corrections to be made. You will normally be allowed only one further meeting with
your academic supervisor to explain these changes. Your academic supervisor is not
required to re-read the dissertation. Again, you are responsible for all activity and
redrafting to achieving the required standard.
21
Appendix 1. Undertaking an MSc (Translating and Conference
Interpreting/ Translation and Computer-Assisted Translation Tools)
Dissertation
12.1. A) Preparation and timetable 2011-2012
In the second semester, students follow a series of preparation sessions in dissertation
writing. Students will submit a draft proposal by the end of week 2.11. The Programme
Director will allocate a supervisor by the end of week 2.12. When developing their
proposal, students are encouraged to consider the following:
1. General topic
2. Dissertation type
3. Specific question to be addressed
4. Data/ Potential source translation
5. Method of investigation
6. What students aim to demonstrate
Once the draft proposal has been discussed with the supervisor, and by 11 May 2012 at
the latest, students should submit a formal Dissertation Proposal form to the School
Office in the Mary Burton building and send an electronic copy to their supervisor. The
form can be found at:
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm
No change will be allowed to the topic without permission from the supervisor. At the
proposal stage students should also read the School’s Policy on Ethical Aspects of
Research for Postgraduate Dissertations and confirm that they will comply with this
policy by ticking the appropriate box on the Dissertation Proposal form. The Ethics
Policy can be found at (www.sml.hw.ac.uk/forms/ethics/pg.html)
12.2. B) Types of dissertation
LINCS students can choose to write a dissertation by research or a dissertation by
translation and commentary.
Broadly, the proposed topic should (1) be relevant to the practical pursuit of translating
and/or interpreting (2) fall within the scope of Translating and Interpreting Studies.
When choosing their topics, students should bear carefully in mind the availability of
materials and sources, and should establish the scope of the subject in accordance with
the length of the dissertation and the time available.
Word Count
22
Dissertation by Research: 12,000 to 15,000 words maximum. Excludes abstract,
references i.e. main text only.
Dissertation by Translation/Commentary: The source text for your translation should
be 6,000 words (+/- 10%) and your commentary should be 6,000 to 7,000 words
(excludes abstract, references i.e. main text only).
Examples of the kinds of studies which might be carried out are:
• Investigation of the relay of particular kinds of meaning in translated texts;
• Analysis of shifts in translating / interpreting data;
• Investigation of the constraints affecting particular modes of translating (e.g. stage,
screen, cartoon, machine, oral);
• Investigation of documentation for translators (especially European Union), including
discussion of key terms and culture-specific concepts;
• Analysis of issues of relevance to the dialogue interpreter (e.g. politeness, footing,
etc.);
• Examination of strategies adopted by conference interpreters;
• Contrastive analyses of texts belonging to specific text types, genres, etc.
• Translation of a portion of a novel with a commentary demonstrating the strategy
adopted using skopos theory
• Translation of a gaming book with a commentary demonstrating the strategy adopted
using register theory
The following is a selection of titles of MSc dissertations which have been submitted in
recent years and which might give further ideas for possible subject areas:
• Issues of Face in Dialogue Interpreting: An Analysis of Interpreted Medical
Consultations
• A Comparative Analysis of Sociolinguistic Variation in Tintin and the British-
English Translations
• The Translation of Property Contracts of Sale from Spanish into English
• The Simultaneous Interpretation of Humour in Conference Settings
• Ideological overtones and shifts in the translation and interpretation of Albert
Speer’s cross-examination at the Nuremberg Trials
• A Register-Based Analysis of the German Translation of the Role-Play Game
Rulebook Scion – Hero (Translation/Commentary)
• Film Noir: Translating Nicolas Fargues’ Beau Rôle from French into English
(Translation/Commentary)
• Genre and Styles of Persuasion: A Translation/Commentary of Al-Jazeera Online
Newspaper Editorials
Dissertation by Translation/Commentary
Translation
23
You must translate a source text that has not been translated before into your chosen
target language.
Translation brief: you must find a realistic brief for your translation. This should include
a brief description of your target audience.
The ‘invented’ brief appears in the introduction.
Translation Problem/Issue
You must contextualise your translation in terms of a translation problem which can be
addressed and commented upon by applying theory.
This description of the translation issue or problem and the theoretical principles you will
draw on in your translation strategy appear in the introduction.
The description of the translation issue appears in the introduction.
Abstract
If writing a dissertation by translation/commentary, your abstract should contextualise the
source text, summarise the translation brief, the theoretical framework and the overall
results of your translation strategy.
Commentary
Literature Review
This appears in the first part of the Commentary section or chapter. Here you will
contextualise, analyse and evaluate the theoretical principles to be adopted.
Translation Commentary
By use of examples from your translation, show how you have adopted the theoretical
principles in the translation choices you have made.
Select the examples which best fit your theoretical framework or model.
Conclusion
Sum up how your application of a theoretical model has informed your translation
strategy.
24
Order of Parts
Title Page:
The title page should adopt the format shown in the template that can be downloaded
from the school website:
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm
Abstract
Acknowledgement
Contents Page
Introduction
Commentary split into:
Literature Review
Translation Commentary
Conclusion
References
Appendix 1 Source Text (not included in the word count)
Appendix 2 Translated Text (6, 000 words)
Further Appendices deemed necessary (not included in word count, but
should not be excessively long)
25
12.3. C) Supervision
At the outset supervisors will agree a schedule of work with students and will establish
how frequently meetings will be required. Normally the pattern of supervision will be as
follows:
• on-campus students can normally expect a maximum of 5 meetings in total with
their supervisor (2 meetings to identify an appropriate topic area and to discuss
the research proposal and a maximum of 3 supervision meetings over the
summer). The onus is on the student to make the necessary appointments and to
prepare adequately for the meetings such that they derive maximum benefit from
these sessions.
• off-campus students may submit reasonable requests for advice by email.
The supervisor or the student will keep a written record of all meetings, normally using
the “Record of Supervision Meeting” form which can be found at
http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/postgraduate/dissertations.htm Where supervision is carried
out remotely (e.g. by email), evidence of supervision will take the form of email
correspondence between supervisor and supervisee.
Supervisors are asked to aim to reply to any correspondence relating to dissertations
(including email correspondence) and to return comments on submitted work within a
fortnight of receipt. Students should not expect instant responses to e-mails.
Students should note that supervision cannot be guaranteed to be available at all times
during the summer vacation and students should ensure that they make adequate
arrangements with their supervisor to cover this period. At all times it is the
responsibility of the student to maintain adequate contact with their supervisor and to
keep their supervisor informed of their progress.
You may ask your supervisor to read in detail a draft of a portion of your dissertation
normally up to a maximum of two chapters, in order to give feedback on presentation,
content and style. Academic supervisors may of course pass comment on chapter outlines
and may scan quickly through other chapters at their discretion.
The academic supervisor will not read the finished work prior to submission and will not
make any comment at any stage as to the expected grade or mark.
The academic supervisor will not check or correct grammar and expression.
Deadline for Submission is Thursday 23 August 2012.
26
Appendix 2 Further Notes on the Literature Review
1 The introduction might include:
• A definition or description of topic in general terms, or of the issues you
propose to investigate – this will give the reader a context in which the
literature may be viewed.
• The key trends in this sector of the literature, the main theories and areas
of disagreement, and possibly, gaps in the literature.
• An explanation of why you are conducting this literature review and the
standpoint you will be adopting when conducting your critical analysis.
• The manner in which the review will be presented.
• An explanation as to why, if appropriate, some literature has not been
included in the study.
2 The Main Body of the Literature Review
3 This might include:
• Begin with a discussion of the main theories or models, which are
appropriate to your study.
• Group together appropriate themes or trends and discuss them in detail.
• Begin in general terms and then narrow down to specific details, this
applies to the entire literature review and to individual sections.
• Try to explain and, if possible, to resolve conflicts in what you report.
• Cover all the topics which are relevant to the dissertation.
• Be comprehensive enough to act as a suitably firm foundation, such that it
will support the research in the remainder of the dissertation.
• Be up to date – always try to employ the most contemporary journal
articles or sources.
The Conclusion of the Literature Review
At the end of the Literature Review, in this conclusion, you should make explicit
what exactly the research objectives of the research are, so that the reader is in no
doubt as to what you are about to investigate.
In order to do this, you should:
• Summarise the major points that the literature review has uncovered.
• Point out the gap(s) in the literature, if there are any, and use these to
emphasise the justification for carrying out the current research project.
• Remember that your literature review should lead and justify the
research objectives and questions of your dissertation.
4 Hints on conducting a Literature Review
27
a. The University’s subject librarian will help you find relevant material.
b. Use the Library electronic journal catalogue as a way of gaining access to
relevant material. In particular, learn how to input the keywords for individual
search engines – each have their own idiosyncrasies.
c. Make a decision as to those keywords which encompass your subject within
reasonably narrow confines; too ‘wide’ a definitional span and you will be
engulfed with too much that is of only peripheral relevance; too ‘narrow’ a
definition and you will be excluding items which are of use.
d. Always try to gain access to full, original articles or to complete texts; using
quotes or citations from third parties may carry with them a certain ‘colour’
which the original author did not intend and which might bias your review.
5 Questions to be asked when carrying out a Literature Review
• Are the references included relevant to the topic(s) under investigation?
• Do the references support all the topics or themes that must be discussed
to aid a full understanding of the context of the research and of the
research objectives?
• Has the literature review discussed, to the appropriate level of detail, each
of the topics?
• Have all the key authors been cited and discussed?
• Does the space given to each section of the literature review reflect its
individual importance?
Have the most current texts and journals been employed?
28
Appendix 3 Hints on Research Methods
6 Hints on the research methods chapter
Introduction
• How is the chapter to be organised?
• What are the research problems that need to be addressed (these should follow
on from what was presented in the conclusion to the literature review chapter)?
Primary versus Secondary Research
The contribution of both forms to the research.
This section might seem to be somewhat retrospective in that you have already
written a chapter, the Literature Review, using secondary data. This is true, but
the standard convention of dissertations is such that the justification for secondary
data analysis is included in the Research Methodology chapter and not in the
Literature Review.
Quantitative versus Qualitative Research Methods
The reason for deciding on a particular method.
• Why did you choose the one you did?
• Why did you reject the other system?
Please remember that no ‘rule’ says that a choice must be made between two or more
choices, and this is so at any point when you are faced with having to make a decision;
this applies not just for the section currently under discussion. For example, there are
many research projects, which employ both primary and secondary research, and/or
qualitative and quantitative research methods. You make your choice, or choices, in the
light of your unique research situation and context and the questions which need to be
answered. But whatever choice, or choices, you make – you must justify what you have
done.
(a) For a Choice of Qualitative Research Method(s)
Why did you choose the method(s) you did? What are the benefits of this
form of research above others in this instance? If you chose a qualitative
research technique or techniques, please remember that the methodology
chapter must include a discussion as to the manner in which the results are
to be analysed.
(b) For a Choice of Quantitative Research Method(s)
Why did you choose the method(s) you did? Why did you reject the
others? You will need to justify the precise fieldwork method.
Questionnaire Design (if you used a questionnaire)
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Considerations: question content; question phrasing; types of response
format; question sequence; questionnaire layout; pre-test, revision and
final version of the questionnaire, use of on-line surveys.
Interview Guide Design or semi-structured questionnaire (if you used an interview guide)
Considerations : question content; question sequence.
Remember: Whether you use a structured questionnaire or an interview guide with openended
question format, the questions should address the research objectives of your
dissertation