The Dissertation must be between 10,000 and 12,000 words maximum excluding the abstract, acknowledgements, contents page, references and appendices. Emphasis should be placed on developing a clear and concise writing style. Excessive length may indicate a poorly-defined topic, a rambling writing style or over-ambitious objectives. Excessive length will be penalised. Structure The Title Page of the Dissertation should be structured in accordance with the submission guidelines in Moodle. A template is available for you to download and amend. For a small fee, the university will bind your dissertation for you if submitted by the due date. Then include the following sections in order: Declaration Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents List of Tables & Figures First Chapter Introduction (research purpose and objectives) Chapters 2, 3, 4 etc. Final Chapter Conclusions and Recommendations References Appendices There are a few key issues that you need to be aware of in terms of the presentation of your work, and as such you are required to; Use Arial 12pt as your default font Use 1.5 line spacing throughout the whole Dissertation with the exception of long quotations, diagram sources and the Reference list that are single-line spacing Use the third person in writing, therefore do not use words such as I , My , Me , We etc. Use the Harvard Reference system throughout. Do not use footnotes for referencing and only include footnotes extremely sparingly (and preferably not at all) Limit your use of direct quotes from secondary information sources to the absolute minimum (and again if you can avoid using them at all then that is preferred). You may, of course, quote directly from people that have provided you with primary information (such as in an interview situation etc.) The beginning of the Dissertation will be set out as follows; Declaration (signed by you confirming this is your own work) Abstract (150 250 words that describe all of the important elements of the whole Dissertation. This can only be written once you have completed the rest of the document) Acknowledgements (to those people that have assisted you in your study) Table of Contents (a breakdown of chapters and main sections within chapters by page number) List of Tables and Figures (if relevant) Chapter 1 Introduction Your opening chapter is extremely important as it sets the scene on what is about to come in the rest of the Dissertation. You should therefore aim for this to be a clear and concise piece of work that provides all the key information required for the reader to understand the background to the work and how you will conduct the research in the pages that follow. In particular you should have an introductory section that covers; An explanation of what the study is all about. Here, you should include a discussion of the background to the research and also identify a particular problem, opportunity or issue that will benefit from you actually conducting your investigation. A piece of work that is purely descriptive with no practical benefits is likely to be a weak Dissertation overall and unlikely to be awarded a pass mark You also need to explain why you are doing this study (this is not for your benefit but for the benefit of others) You need to describe who will benefit from your research findings You need to explain how they will benefit from these findings You then need to set out your overall aim and research objectives; Your overall aim is closely linked to your title but will be based on answering a question or making some sort of discovery. Basically your aim is what you ultimately want to achieve and should be something that you want to discover and don t yet know Your research objectives will break your overall aim into 3 or 4 smaller pieces. This is where you will be able to focus on what is important in your research rather than getting sidetracked by irrelevant issues You then need a discussion on how you will actually do the study; Explain your overall research approach in terms of primary or secondary data collection and how this information will be analysed Describe the sampling approach i.e. exactly who is it that you need to contact and gather information from and/or what data do you need to gather for analysis purposes You can then have a section on potential limitations of conducting this kind of study if you are familiar with what some of those problems might be. Finally, have a section at the end of this chapter that tells the reader how the rest of the Dissertation is set out. This basically means writing a sentence or two about what will be presented by you in each of the remaining chapters of the Dissertation. Chapter 2 Literature Review The Literature Review chapter is usually the longest in terms of number of words and also the time taken to complete. This is because you must spend a considerable amount of time identifying, searching for, accessing, reading and discussing material from a wide variety of sources. Overall, this chapter will account for 25-35% of the total word count. This may seem daunting at first, but the secret of a good Literature Review chapter is to realise that by reading so much relevant source material, you are actually learning about critical issues that will be of great help to you in the remaining parts of your work. For instance, by reading appropriate academic journal articles you will discover how researchers have conducted similar studies to yours. This means you can identify what research approaches work, what type of information is required, how this information can be collected and analysed etc. Another key benefit is that in the latter stages of your Dissertation you will be expected to compare your main research findings with those of other people. In effect, have you discovered something new that we did not know about? Have you, perhaps, confirmed the findings of others? Either way, if you can discuss your findings as they relate to the findings in previous studies this will greatly enhance your work overall and consequently lead to a higher mark. As regards the amount of source material, it is recommended that for a good quality Dissertation you should aim for at least 40 different sources throughout the whole Dissertation. Although many of your cited sources will appear in the Literature Review chapter, remember to cite relevant material throughout the whole of your Dissertation. Many of your sources should be academic journal articles as these are the most relevant to a student conducting research at Honours level. The remainder of your sources may be a mix of textbooks, company reports, newspaper articles, websites, government publications and statistics etc. The exact mix will of course depend on the nature of your investigation. This chapter should be laid out as follows; A general introductory section that briefly explains the main themes that you will explore in this chapter A background discussion of historical work and any key concepts, theories, models, frameworks etc. that may have been developed and adopted in practice (this may go back many years or even decades) Next, you should identify the key theoretical issues as they apply today and examine these in detail in appropriate subsections Finally, and most importantly, you must discuss all this material that you have read in terms of how this relates to your own study. In particular, after all this hard (and sometimes tedious) work, how does your understanding of the literature fit in with what you are hoping to discover through the research objectives that you set out in the opening chapter? Chapter 3 Research Methods Once you have completed the previous chapter you will have a very good idea about the options open to you regarding how you will conduct your own study. Many of the journal articles that you will have discussed in the previous chapter will have provided you with detailed information on the best way to research your topic and also whether there are likely to be any problems with your planned research approach. In the early stages of this chapter it is important that you identify and set out the key questions and/or hypotheses that you wish to test. This can only really be done after you have a thorough understanding of the types of questions and/or hypotheses that need to be asked based on your review of previous studies in the area. Once these have been discussed, you need to explain how you will go about answering these questions or testing these hypotheses. For some students this will involve the collection of primary data. For some students it may be more appropriate (or indeed the only option open to them) to obtain and then analyse only secondary data. There is no problem with this approach and your choice of approach will largely depend on your research topic and objectives. Once you have been allocated a supervisor, you can discuss with them, the most suitable approach for your research. You should also give consideration as to whether any ethical issues may potentially arise from your proposed research study. A link to the Business School guidelines on ethics is available on the Dissertation Moodle page and you should discuss any potential ethical issues with your supervisor before embarking on your proposed study. Discuss the type of research you are doing and explain how you will collect or obtain the information required in practice. This includes issues such as; Time and place the data is collected Format of questions that will be asked Identification of key variables and measures (if appropriate to your study) Sample size to allow you to have enough information to analyse and provide you with robust results Sampling approach, to ensure that you are collecting the right information from the right sources Or if analysing secondary data: The source of the data and who (individual(s) or an organisation) has published the data Where and when the data or information were collected or made available A description of the data available e.g. key variables or measures appropriate to your study Background to the data collection methods e.g. sampling approach or whether data systematically collected etc. All of this should be done in as much detail as possible. In effect, if the reader could simply read this chapter and then go off and repeat the data collection element of your study because you have provided enough detail here, then you have been successful. If, on the other hand, your study could not be repeated as key details have not been discussed by you in detail, then there are problems with this chapter. This level of detail is also required to enable the reader to assess the validity, reliability and generalisability of your study. You must also include a discussion covering the key concepts of study validity, reliability and generalisability, and describe to the reader any anticipated problems that you consider may impact on the effectiveness of the information collection stage. Finally, describe how you will analyse the collected data. This need not be a comprehensive discussion at this stage, but you should let the reader know that you know how the collected information will be analysed, and, finally, how this analysed information will help you to address each of the research objectives that you identified in the opening chapter. Throughout this chapter, it is very important that you remember to cite references to support your choice of research design and research methods. This is likely to include referencing articles included in your Literature Review to support and justify your choice of research methods, and also referencing research methods textbooks. Chapter 4 Data Description (this chapter is often combined with Chapter 5 depending on the nature of your research) Having completed the collection of data for your Dissertation you should spend some time describing the characteristics of that information before then going on to conduct more detailed analysis. Depending on the type of research you are involved in, this may be relatively short as far as chapter length is concerned, or may be a substantial part of your work if you are investigating more theoretical or complex issues. You may decide to combine Chapters 4 and 5 into one single chapter if the material to be covered is quite short. Either way, it is important that the reader becomes familiar with the characteristics of the data so that they will then be able to understand the analysis and results that you will discuss in the following chapter. Elements that you should discuss here include; Response rate(s) to surveys or other data collection methods (such as the number of people you initially needed to contact before you had enough for a series of 1-1 interviews) A breakdown of demographic information (such as sex, age, experience, buying habits etc.) if, and only if, this is relevant to your investigation and is directly related back to at least one of your research objectives A discussion of whether the above information has allowed you to meet the sample characteristics required (e.g. in a study of a wider population, we may expect that approximately 47% of respondents will be male, and 53% will be female, as this roughly matches the gender split within most populations). If you find that the sampled data does not match with the wider population in any respect then you need to address this issue and consider the implications this will have for issues such as validity of your results. While describing all of the above it is often appropriate to summarise the data either in terms of percentages, through appropriate tables, or through appropriate diagrams or graphs. Be clear and systematic in this chapter, and only describe the information that you will then analyse and report on in the following chapter. If something is described here, that is because it is important and will be analysed in the next chapter. Chapter 5 Data Analysis (alternatively this chapter may be called Discussion and Analysis) This is a critical part of the whole study and is where any new discoveries will be made. You need to set this chapter out in a logical manner and the most appropriate way to do this is to systemically address the research objectives, questions and/or hypotheses that you set out in previous chapters. You may have a purely qualitative study, in which case much of the discussion here will be based on your own interpretation of information that you have gathered (such as through interviews, focus groups, observation studies etc.). It is perfectly acceptable to include direct quotes in this stage to highlight specific issues or get a particular point across. In any event, you should not identify any individual by name or other identifying characteristic. Similarly, in most studies at this level the names of organisations should be omitted from your written work unless you have the express permission of the owner/custodian to use the name of the organisation. In a quantitative study you will be presenting numerical data and this must be analysed using appropriate methods, in most cases using specific statistical tests. Most quantitative data can be analysed using a variety of different tests but you must choose the single test that is appropriate for your objectives and hypotheses and stick to the results you generate. It is unethical to reanalyse data with a variety of statistical tests until you find a result or answer that you had hoped for. All tables, charts etc. should be introduced and not stand alone without any relevant discussion by yourself. This is done by having an introductory discussion explaining what is shown in the table or chart that is coming up in the text. Immediately after the table or chart you then need to describe what it tells you. Do not leave this for the reader to work out. You must demonstrate that you understand what any table or chart actually displays. At the end of this chapter, regardless of whether you have a qualitative or quantitative study (or better still, both), you need to restate the main results and discuss them as they relate to what was known on this topic before you started your investigation. This means going back to the results and findings that you identified in the Literature Review chapter, and discuss whether your results are in some way different, or whether your results simply confirm what was known about this topic before you started your Dissertation. Chapter 6 Conclusions and Recommendations This is the final piece of written work that will be read by the markers before they pick up their pens and Marking Sheets and allocate the marks based on what you have written in your Dissertation. Therefore, you should make this the best piece of work you have written on the whole Programme. This is a list of some of the issues that you should try to cover in the final chapter of your Dissertation. It is by no means exhaustive and this is not an ?official list in terms of marks, only my recommendation based on supervising and marking other Honours Dissertations. However, if you do cover most of these issues then you should be on the right lines. In theory anyone should be able to read just your final chapter and still have a good idea about what your whole Dissertation is all about. Remember that the markers may read your first chapter and then go straight to your final chapter to make sure that you have been consistent in what you set out to discover. Therefore it is important that your final chapter addresses everything you say you are going to look at in your first chapter. The final chapter should be well structured. There are a lot of individual areas to cover so you need to be clear in setting this out. I suggest that you include a discussion on the following points; Re-state your overall Aim and Research Objectives. Let the reader reacquaint themselves with what you have attempted to discover in your research and why the research is important. Discuss how you did this (i.e. your research approach and why you chose this approach) and also describe what theoretical or conceptual ideas underpin your own academic study. Then go over your results and discuss the practical implications of your findings. This means identifying and writing out in detail the main recommendations you are making based on the research you have just conducted. This could be the largest section of your final chapter and so needs quite a bit of detail. You also need to discuss which of your research objectives have been fully met, which only partially met, and which (if any) you could not address in any meaningful way. It is important that you bring in your own interpretation of the findings, so try to argue your case strongly here. Also discuss how your findings relate to those of other studies in the area you previously covered in your Literature Review chapter. Once you have stated your findings and conclusions you need to be honest in reflecting on the potential and apparent limitations of your study. (This is not a criticism of your work but an acknowledgement that every piece of academic research has some weaknesses associated with it.) Here you need to talk about the validity and reliability of your own study. You should also acknowledge any limitations that you discovered when actually conducting the research (e.g. problems with sampling approach or response rate, lack of clarity over question wording or meaning etc.). You also need to discuss the generalisability of your findings. Who else could make use of your study findings? If it is many organisations, individuals, businesses etc. then this adds value to your findings. If you have used a case study approach then can your findings be transferable to other organisations? If so then is this to a small number of very similar organisations, all organisations in the sector, all organisations in a particular country etc.? Finally talk about recommended future research areas. There will be many things that you wanted to discover but were unable to because of lack of time or other resources. It may be that during your investigation you came across something new that would make a good study for someone else. What about any issues covered in the media, new Government legislation, advances in technology, world trade etc. that could impact on your findings? Does this mean that someone else should reinvestigate this issue at some point in the future? One of the best ways to see how your final chapter should be structured is to re-read some of the journal articles you read for the Literature Review chapter. The final two or three pages of any academic journal article will be similar to what I have described above. If you can structure your final chapter in the same way, and cover most of these points in a sensible and honest manner then it will be a very good read, a clear summary of the main points to do with your study, and the basis for a very good mark. References A single list in alphabetical order by author or organisation of all of the works cited in your text. If you have cited a source in your text then there must be an associated reference. Similarly if you have referenced a source then there must be an associated citation in your text. The Reference list must not be in bullet- or numbered-list format and (unlike the rest of the Dissertation) should be formatted at single-line spacing. Appendices Additional supporting material such as a copy of a questionnaire, interview schedule, letter of introduction, tables of statistics etc. This material is seen as essential to the Dissertation but would otherwise interrupt the flow of text and is therefore placed in Appendices. Style A number of presentation (format) style rules should be adopted. Font will be Arial 12pt and all line spacing will be at 1.5 lines (except long quotations, diagram sources and the Reference list that are single-line spacing). Dissertation Title = BOLD, CAPITALS, 18 point Chapter Titles = bold, Initial Capitals, 14 point Sub-headings = bold, as Chapters but 12 point Quotations = quotation marks to be used and quotation to be indented as below. Source and page number(s) to be clearly shown e.g. The next stage is linking, where all the variables considered important can be linked together towards a more holistic theory. This process involves consideration of literature and existing models and relating this to the results. (Adams et al., 2007; p169) Citing Literature You must cite and reference all the literature that you discuss and refer to in the Dissertation. The reason for this is so others can refer to your sources so it must be traceable. The format used for referencing literature is the Harvard Referencing system. There are detailed guidelines available in the University Library and Learning pages online, and these are summarised in: http://staff.napier.ac.uk/services/library/Documents/Helpsheets/Harvard%20referencing.pdf Wikipedia Wikipedia is one of the few resources that are not acceptable for citing and referencing in the Dissertation. There is nothing wrong with using Wikipedia to initially investigate an issue or find a suitable description of an item. However, because anyone can edit Wikipedia articles there is no guarantee that the information held there is accurate and reliable. Diagrams, Charts & Tables These should be included in the main text and referred to by chapter, subsection and number. For example, referring to a histogram that is the third figure in chapter four, section two might be referred to as explanatory text ? as displayed in Figure 4.2.3. After the figure a legend should appear, e.g. Figure 4.2.3 Histogram of Survey Response Rates All illustrations (diagrams, charts, tables) should appear on or close to the text page in which they are discussed. They should not be confined to an appendix. Appendices should only be used for items such as questionnaires, essential extracts, substantial computer output and other data tables which are too detailed for the body of the text. When including diagrams, charts and tables, you must always introduce them in the paragraph immediately before they appear, and then discuss what they show in the paragraph immediately after they appear. Students are not allowed to use a photocopy of an illustration from an original source without copyright permission. If you include an adaptation of a diagram, chart or table published elsewhere, you must include the source of the original diagram, chart or table. Typing Your typescript must be line spaced at 1.5 lines with a left margin throughout of 30mm and all other margins of 25mm. The Dissertation must be printed on one side of the paper only. The typescript must be 12 point Arial font. Page numbers to be consecutive and in Arabic numerals. Initial pages (Abstract, Declaration, Contents etc.) to be in Roman numerals. All page numbers to be at the bottom centre of the page. The Dissertation must be in English and a declaration must be made that the work is the author s own and has not been submitted previously for the award of any other qualification or as a component of any other work undertaken by the author. Each chapter should be sectioned into subsections, and the subsections numbered and given a title, e.g. section eight in Chapter 2 could appear as: 2.8 The Value of the Audit. Binding Two copies of your dissertation are to be submitted by the due date. Note that the front covers should also be printed. The University will organise for your dissertation copies to be bound (for a small fee to cover costs), Please note that you do not have to allow extra time for binding done within the university; you may submit two printed (loose-leaf) copies ready for binding by the due date. A soft copy on a CD or Memory stick (full version including the front page) also needs to be submitted by the due date. Students must also submit the complete dissertation (full version including front page, abstract, reference list, appendices etc.) through Turnitin. Please note that the soft copy will not be returned to students, but students may collect one paper copy of their dissertation from 1/53 after the module results are published. All uncollected dissertations will be sent for confidential waste 3 months after.