Dissertation Unit

Introduction

This Dissertation unit follows on naturally from the previous Academic and Professional Development unit. The rationale for learning how to academically research an unfamiliar topic is the same. By learning and applying academic research skills in your organisation, you should be able to more effectively and efficiently further your own professional learning and enhance your career progression.

Courseware slide

The APD unit gave you an appreciation of academic research and now it is time to apply and further develop the acquired skills in earnest by producing a substantial piece of independent research. This is essentially an independent effort where you decide the topic objectives and approach. This is very similar to many opportunities or situations that arise within companies where senior professionals are (suddenly) expected to set and determine how important organisational or business objectives are met. However, unlike in companies where time and resource constraints often lead to younger professionals getting lost or drowning, the added value of this unit comes from the constant guidance and advice of your supervisor.

It is therefore essential to achieving a successful outcome that you develop a good working relationship with your supervisor whose main concern is to help you develop independent research skills. Your supervisor will invariably have followed a similar path and will be aware of many of the topic issues and limitations in your research methodology. You therefore profit from your supervisor’s experience, knowledge and training (and hopefully others as well) by critically reflecting on and discussing the dissertation throughout the entire process period.

Aims

The primary aim of this unit is to help students develop their academic research skills, which can be applied within their professional environment, by testing their ability to produce a substantial, original and independent piece of scholarly work.

The direction and approach will be determined solely by the student who will be encouraged, guided and where necessary assisted by their dissertation supervisor over the entire period of the process.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the micro and macro organisational context for the dissertation and the objectives of their research.
  2. Critically review and synthesize the relevant literature on the subject area in order to construct a conceptual framework to underpin the research.
  3. Identify the nature of relevant evidence and associated data sources to support their research objectives.
  4. Critically discuss and apply an appropriate methodology for collecting and for analysing primary or secondary data with due regard to ethical considerations.
  5. Interpret and present data clearly, integrating data from different sources where applicable and critically discussing the findings.
  6. Appraise the implications of their research outcomes to managerial professional practice in response to strategic or relevant issues.

Reading list

The recommended text for this unit is:

  • Saunders, M., P. Lewis and A. Thornhill (2009), Research Methods for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall.

This text, along with all other additional reading referenced throughout the learning unit, is available via the Manchester Metropolitan University digital library. Students enrolled on the programme will have access to this digital library and as such, do not need to purchase any text books.