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MBA Thesis Guide

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SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MB mba A Thesis Guide 6, Diogenes Str., Engomi, P.O. Box: 22006, 1516 Nicosia-Cyprus Table of Contents PART I:....................................................................................................

 

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
MBA Thesis Guide
6, Diogenes Str., Engomi, P.O. Box: 22006, 1516 Nicosia-Cyprus
Table of Contents
PART I:.................................................................................................................................3
THE MBA MASTER THESIS............................................................................................3
1.1 WHY A GUIDEBOOK?.....................................................................................................3
1.2 WHY AN MBA THESIS?.................................................................................................3
1.3 ATTRIBUTES OF A SUCCESSFUL REPORT........................................................................3
1.4 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA.................................................................................................4
1.5 POSSIBILITY OF PUBLICATION IN ACADEMIC/PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS........................4
1.6 CONFIDENTIALITY.........................................................................................................4
PART II:................................................................................................................................6
GETTING STARTED..........................................................................................................6
2.1 TOPIC SELECTION..........................................................................................................6
2.2 KEY FEATURE OF A GOOD TOPIC....................................................................................6
2.3 HOW DO I GET STARTED ?.............................................................................................7
2.4 HOW DO I PLAN OUT WHAT I INTEND TO DO ?................................................................7
PART III:..............................................................................................................................8
SUPERVISION AND PROJECT PLANNING.................................................................8
3.1 THE STUDENT/SUPERVISOR RELATIONSHIP...................................................................8
3.2 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: THE SUPERVISOR.........................................................8
3.3. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: THE STUDENT..............................................................8
3.4 PREPARING THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL.........................................................................9
3.4.1 CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL......................................................................................9
3.5 PLANNING THE PROJECT.............................................................................................10
PART IV:.............................................................................................................................12
DOING THE WORK.........................................................................................................12
4. 1. LITERATURE REVIEW.................................................................................................12
4.2 METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION...............................................................................13
4.2.1 Documentary Sources.........................................................................................13
4.2.2 Observation.........................................................................................................14
4.2.3 Interviews............................................................................................................14
4.2.4 Surveys................................................................................................................16
4.2.5 Deciding what method to use..............................................................................18
4.2.6 Questionnaires....................................................................................................18
4.2.7 Types of Questions.............................................................................................18
4.2.8 Sampling Plan......................................................................................................21
4.2.9 Analysis of Data and Presentation of Results......................................................21
4.2.10 Referencing.......................................................................................................24
4.2.11 Presentation and Layout...................................................................................26
PART V...............................................................................................................................28
ASSESSMENT GUIDLINES............................................................................................28
5.1 PROBLEM AREA, RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES..........................................................28
5.2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.............................................................................................28
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5.3 RESEARCH OR INVESTIGATIVE METHOD......................................................................28
5.4 RESULTS.....................................................................................................................29
5.5 INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFICATION...........................................................................29
5.6 EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.....................................................................30
5.7 REFERENCING, BIBLIOGRAPHY AND APPENDICES.......................................................30
5.8 PRESENTATION OF REPORT.........................................................................................30
5.9 PROJECT MANAGEMENT.............................................................................................31
APPENDIX I: Project Proforma
APPPENDIX II: MBA Thesis Assessment Form
APPENDIX III: Proposed Structure of the Thesis.
APPENDIX IV: Supervision Meeting Record
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PART I:
THE MBA MASTER THESIS
1.1 Why a guidebook?
The EUC MBA thesis is a new development. It is therefore important that students and lecturing staff who will be acting as supervisors have a clear understanding of what the MBA thesis is, what it is not, and how it should be managed. Additionally, this guidebook recognizes that MBA students will inevitably differ in terms of their previous experience with academic research and in their ability and commitment to the endeavor, while members of the teaching staff can also differ to some degree both in terms of their experience in supervising and in their ideas and expectations. This guidebook of ‘best practice’ is intended:
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to provide the factual information about the MBA thesis needed by both students and supervisors;
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to help to reconcile any above differences in the characteristics of students and supervisors as above and;
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as far as is possible and desirable, to standardize the process of producing the MBA thesis;
?
to provide an overview of research methods but not as a substitute for textbooks on research methods.
1.2 Why an MBA thesis?
The requirement for a thesis has been introduced onto the MBA scheme because of our belief that senior managers must have a knowledge and understanding of the nature and conduct of management research, but their training does not require the same degree of rigor in methodology or experience in conducting research as those pursuing other Masters programmes which have a more explicit aim to train students as researchers. The Project is also based on the principle that more can be achieved by collective effort addressing different aspects of the same problem or similar aspects in different contexts than by isolated and individual pursuit of solutions.
1.3 Attributes of a successful report
The MBA thesis report contains the information that would be expected in a report by a senior manager who has been charged with researching an issue/problem of importance to the organization. It does not contain the sort of material that is expected in an academic work apart from that which will be of direct relevance to the organization. Thus, for example, the report need not explain how it will fit into the context of existing literature nor go into depth on its relevance to theory.
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Imagine that you have been commissioned as a management consultant to undertake this piece of research. Think in terms of what your ‘client’ would expect to see in the report.
This should include:
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a careful selection of a relevant problem or issue
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a clear definition of the problems/issues to be investigated
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a clear statement of aim(s)
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specification of the data required to meet the aim(s)
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an explanation and justification of the research method adopted
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a discussion of the relationship of this project to the related work being undertaken by others in the group of related projects (if relevant)
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a consistent and careful implementation of the adopted method
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a systematic, objective and efficient analysis of the collected data
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the drawing of relevant conclusions which can be supported by the data
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a set of recommendations which follow from the conclusions.
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a restatement of the background to the project, but this time in the context of the relevant academic disciplines
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a review of relevant theories and related past research
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a critical review of the research method used including an awareness of alternative approaches and a defense of the chosen method which demonstrates an understanding of the relevant research methodology issues
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an evaluation of the project’s conclusions in terms of relevant theory(ies)
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a critical reflection of the manager as researcher/consultant
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an assessment of the relational problems between you and the organizations researched on.
1.4 Assessment Criteria
These are essentially the attributes of success discussed above.
1.5 Possibility of publication in academic/professional journals.
It is possible that aspects of your project - or more likely an article pulling together related projects - may be of sufficient importance to warrant submitting to appropriate journals for publication.
As this will normally happen after you have obtained your degree, you may feel by this point that you have 'had enough of it' and may be reluctant to put in additional effort. Alternatively you may feel that you lack the experience and expertise to turn the project, or combination of related projects, into a publishable article. If such a situation arises you may consider a joint effort with your supervisor leading to a paper under joint authorship.
Publication is in your interest but is voluntary and no pressure will be put on you to publish if you do not wish to do so.
1.6 Confidentiality
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As you are likely to be doing your research within an organization, you will need to be aware of the issue of confidentiality in two contexts. The first involves your day-to-day dealings with those who supply you with information; the second concerns the final report.
During the investigative stages of your research, you will need to earn and maintain the trust of your informants within and outside the organization. It is therefore essential that you are seen to be respecting the confidentiality in which some of that information may have been disclosed to you for the purpose of your research.
One of the problems that may be encountered within an organization is that one of your key informants may press you for information about what you have been told by another key informant or department. It is essential not to give way to such requests since doing so would prejudice future enquiries within the organization. Your line of defense would be that information has been provided to you for research purposes only, and therefore cannot be divulged.
The second problem comes at the time of writing up your final report. In general, the report must be viewed as publicly available documents. It is therefore important that nothing should be written which could be potentially damaging to the interests of the organization (e.g. by making information available to a competitor, or by influencing public image) or of individuals within it. A commonly used approach is to attempt to anonymise the documents; however, there are situations in which even the most scrupulous efforts to achieve anonymity leave scope for an informed reader to identify the organization and/or the individuals concerned. As a final resort, if it is clear that the contents of a report could be prejudicial to organizational interests, it is possible to request that your reports be classed as a restricted-access documents, in which case they would be read by your supervisor and other examiners only, and would not be placed on departmental or university library shelves.
Researchers sometimes allow the organization to satisfy itself with the contents of a report before it is made public. This can have the advantage of shifting the onus onto someone else's shoulders, and also provides an opportunity for a representative of the organization to confirm the factual accuracy of the report. However, it must be borne in mind that this could prejudice your own editorial control over the contents and style of the document, and also that such a consultative stage can become time consuming and affect your own ability to meet the deadlines prescribed for the project.
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PART II:
GETTING STARTED
2.1 Topic Selection
Choosing a topic is often one of the most difficult parts of research and it is important that the chosen topic is one that will maintain your interest throughout the research period. The topic should be one that is mutually agreed between you, your supervisor and the organization (if organizationally based) but it is important to remember that it is your MBA and the thesis is first and foremost part of your academic endeavor, rather than part of your job.
2.2 Key feature of a good topic.
Four key features of a good topic are:
1)
that it be concerned with an issue of current major concern and interest;
2)
that it be of sufficient scope and depth to form the basis of an MBA thesis;
3)
that it be manageable, given your time and resource constraints;
4)
that is relevant to the concerns of the MBA programme.
The last two points above are important as the most common fault made by students is probably over ambition.
Gill and Johnson (1991) include the following in their list of the characteristics of a good research topic:
?
Access: will you be able to obtain the data required for the research? Will you have access to key people, documents, etc;
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Achievability: can the work be completed in the time allocated? This may refer more to the timing of required information than to the total amount of work involved;
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Symmetry of potential outcomes: will the research be of value regardless of the outcome? Negative results are often of equal value to positive ones, but testing the hypothesis that green eyed managers perform better that brown eyed managers will only be valuable if a significant relationship is found;
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Student capability: a student with low numeracy skills should avoid choosing a topic requiring complex statistical analysis. A student with poor descriptive writing skills might be unwise to embark on an ethnographic study. This may seem obvious, but we have seen many examples of students choosing topics which do not play to their strengths.
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Value and scope of the research: to quote Gill and Johnson "There are several reasons why the value of the research should be considered when topics are selected. Both students and supervisors are likely to be more highly motivated if the work has obvious value and examiners, too, are likely to be more interested - and award higher marks if the work is clearly making a contribution to the solution of a significant problem"
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2.3 How do I get started ?
The golden rule for a Project is that it must be located in a literature base. This means that if the literature does not exist (as the emergent problem may be extremely topical) then it will be difficult to conduct a Project in this area. So it is important to read quite widely around the area to locate a starting point for the project. Often you will find that a good starting point is the relevant chapter for a comprehensive and up-to-date textbook in one of the Business Studies disciplines. You should also undertake more specialised literature searches using the resources of libraries, particularly CD-ROMS and the entire resources of the Internet. However, you do need to exercise a degree of care when using the Internet as there is no ‘quality control’ mechanism for material published on the Internet as there is for more conventional academic journals and the information you access may be inaccurate or not particularly relevant.
2.4 How do I plan out what I intend to do ?
It is always a good plan before you meet your tutor to come along armed with the following information:
(a) Most important! A title and suggested plan for your project. This could well be in the form of your anticipated chapter headings (say Ch. 1 to Ch. 6 with a sentence or so of explanation for each one)
Some of these chapter headings may suggest themselves naturally e.g.
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Chapter 1 Introduction (Why the subject is of interest)
?
Chapter 2 Literature Review (What we know about the subject from the literature base)
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Chapter 3 Development
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Chapter 4 Further development
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Chapter 5 Case study or small scale research (interviews, questionnaires etc.)
(NB be careful that your research carries forward the themes of your project and is not seen
as a ‘last –minute add on’)
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Chapter 6 Conclusions (The next step, way ahead)
(b) A list of the sources that you have already consulted.
(c) Any particular contacts you have, sources of information to help you explore the topic
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PART III:
SUPERVISION AND PROJECT PLANNING
3.1 The student/supervisor relationship.
At an early stage, the supervisor and student should meet and determine the answers to questions such as the following;
Communications:
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where will meetings take place?
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what arrangement for internal and external communications?
Timing:
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when will meetings take place?
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should a time of the week be arranged when supervisor and student will be available for 'ad hoc' meetings?
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at what times or dates will significant events in the preparation of the project occur?
3.2 Roles and Responsibilities: The Supervisor
Supervisors should ensure:
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that adequate time is available for supervision and encouragement;
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that the student fully comprehends the complexity of the proposed task;
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that the student is focusing the work in the intended direction;
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that the student has access to primary research materials;
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that the student and the university are aware of any ethical, legal or political problems associated with the work;
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that the final product is the student's own work;
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that the supervisor will act as mentor, guide and friend to the student and will take a keen professional interest in the work of the student;
3.3. Roles and Responsibilities: The Student.
These need to be determined and agreed but should be along the following lines;
The student will:
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ensure that an appropriate amount of time and effort is applied to the project;
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be receptive to counsel from the supervisor;
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properly acknowledge text, material and ideas created by others;
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meet all regulations relating to the work;
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communicate any problems likely to prejudice the quality or timeliness of the work to the supervisor as and when such problems arise.
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3.4 Preparing the Research Proposal
Many students see the proposal as unnecessary work. It is, however, important to say that the less experienced the researcher the more important it becomes to have a proposal. The proposal must be seen as a road map, which indicates very clearly the steps that you have to follow in order to arrive at a proper destination, that is the completion of your project. You must also explain what it will be included in each step, how long will it take to complete, as well as what to expect after all steps are completed.
Cooper (1991, p.113) noted that a proposal must be designed to tell us the following:
a.
What will be done;
b.
Why it will be done;
c.
How it will be done;
d.
Where it will be done;
e.
To whom it will be done;
f.
What is the benefit of doing it.
3.4.1 Content of the Proposal
a. Statement of the Problem
The problem statement should provide short and clear identification of the situation under investigation. If the problem is broadly stated, it can not be addressed by a single study. For this reason the problem must be clearly stated without the use of idioms or clichés. After reading this section, your supervisor will be able to understand exactly the problem under investigation, its importance, and why something should be done about it.
b. Research Objectives
The research objectives state the purpose of the investigation. The objectives must flow naturally from the problem statement providing specific and achievable goals. The research objectives are used to structure the rest of the proposal as well as the final report. It is, however, advisable to list the objectives in order of importance and follow the flow of the text, so that they can be found easily by the reader.
c. Literature Review
This particular section should make reference to recent studies, industry data or any other secondary data which are the basis for the proposed study. You might start with brief references to relevant secondary data and then move to more specific studies which are associated with the problem.
d. List of Libraries, Sources, and Materials
You should simply provide a list of the libraries and other sources of information you are planning to utilize or you have access for the purpose of secondary data collection.
Also a list of articles which have been collected and they are relevant to your research study should also be listed.
e. Purpose and Aim of the Study
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This particular section should emphasize the importance of the study, and more specifically you should explain how and who is going to be benefited from the study.
f. Research Methodology
In this section the focus is to describe, in technical terms, the type(s) of research method(s) you are going to follow as well as other tasks such as sample selection, sample size, data collection methods, and instruments which are going to be used for data analysis.
g. Time Table
The time table (in the form of a Gantt chart is a very helpful device which can be used in order to manage your time effectively and complete your project on time. These issues are discussed in detail in the following section.
3.5 Planning the Project.
In such a large individual undertaking as an MBA Project, a lack of systematic planning is likely to be at the heart of many difficulties.
Difficulties can arise for many reasons. A student’s initial enthusiasm may lead to over ambitious projects. The students may experience periods of alienation as the earlier excitement of a project diminishes. Deadlines become increasingly worrying and boredom of concentrating on a particular project for a long period becomes predominant. There are periods of feeling stuck, particularly towards the middle of the research. At other times the work may seem to be proceeding speedily and purposefully, especially when the end of the work is in sight.
The remedy for many of these problems is to manage time carefully by systematic timetabling and planning. A plan will often provide students with just the kind of framework and support they need at the beginning, when projects of this nature appear such a nebulous task. A plan will also reduce the risk of encountering fundamental problems towards the end of the project when there is insufficient time to recover the particular situation.
If the student can organize on paper what may be the largest single task he or she has ever undertaken it should serve both to reduce the level of anxiety and to put the ideas within a more realistic perspective.
The use of a Gantt chart is recommended and if students are lucky enough to have a room or studio in which to work then this could be displayed on a wall for regular reference (out of sight, out of mind?!).
First of all produce a schedule of the major work elements that must be completed for the Project. Attach start and end dates for each activity and leave a column for entering actual completion dates. Theses information can then be translated onto a “Gantt Chart”.
Examples of a “Project Schedule” and a “Gantt Chart” are shown overleaf. They are merely suggestions and you should experiment yourself.
If your timescales slip, try to avoid simply revising and re-issuing these project plans. Instead, make every effort to recover lost time. If it becomes necessary to revise and re-issue the plan, make sure that you include a proper revision control system (e.g. Rev. 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 etc.)
Planned Activity
Begin
End
Actual
1. Formulate & agree dissertation proposal
Oct 03rd
Oct 17th
Nov 07th
2. Literature review
Oct 31st
Jan 18th
3. Questionnaire design
Nov 07th
Dec 05th
Nov 28th
4. Data Collection
Nov 14th
Dec 16th
5. Data analysis
Jan 23rd
Feb 20th
6. Relate results to current theory
Feb 20th
Feb 27th
7. Write first draft
Feb 27th
Mar 27th
8. Proof read and corrections
Mar 7th
Apr 17th
9. Binding and final submission
April 17th
Apr 24th
Project Plan: A. Charis Revision: 1.2 Date: 10/1/2003
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan.
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
3
10
17
24
31
7
14
21
28
5
12
19
26
2
9
16
23
30
6
13
20
27
6
13
20
27
3
10
17
24
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
MBA Project Guide P a g e 1 1
MBA Project Guide P a g e 1 2
PART IV:
DOING THE WORK
4. 1. Literature Review
In order to find out what research other people have done on your chosen topic, you will need to undertake a literature search. Your review of the literature will then act as a background against which you can carry out and report your own research. As Jankowicz points out (1991, p. 116)
"knowledge doesn't exist in a vacuum, and your work only has value in relation to other people's. Your work and your findings will be significant only to the extent that they're the same as, or different from, other people's work and findings".
What is needed is a "critical review which demonstrates some awareness of the current state of knowledge on the subject, its limitations, and how the proposed research aims to add to what is known" (Gill and Johnson, 1991, p. 21).
What follows are some practical suggestions on how to undertake an effective literature review:
1.
Start off by referring to some books and articles on the topic of your research. Your supervisor should be able to advise you. From these, by following up the references, you will be able to trace more specific publications, which will in turn guide you to others, and so on. For this task you will need access to a good academic library. You probably need to use the inter-library loan system because it is unlikely that the average academic library will have all the relevant books and articles.
2.
If you are unable to trace any previous research on your topic, try broadening your search. For example, if you are researching the use of staff appraisal systems in voluntary organizations and you cannot find any previous research on it, look at staff appraisal generally. You will soon find that the literature is vast! It then becomes a case of narrowing down to some aspect of staff appraisal which is relevant to your research question.
3.
When you are writing up your literature review, you will probably need to divide it into sections in order to make the review manageable and reader friendly. What sections you will have will very much depend on what you find in the literature.
4.
As a general rule, when writing up the review, deal with the more general material first and then gradually narrow down towards your particular research question.
5.
Another rule of thumb is to deal with the literature in chronological order so that the reader can see how the research activity of others has developed over the years. Sometimes you will find that these rules of thumb (paragraphs 4 and 5) conflict with each other. If so, you will need to make a judgment about what makes most sense in the context of your particular research.
6.
Remember that you are expected to carry out a critical review of the literature. It is not enough simply to list and describe what has been done by researchers. You need to summarize and compare the pieces of research to see how they differ (in their approaches, research methods, and findings) and to see whether any common themes emerge. Aim for what Gill and Johnson (1991) call an "insightful evaluation" of the literature (p. 21)
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You should then use the results of the review as a backdrop to your own research. The review can help you to plan parts of your own research, and you should use the key ideas from the review in your own discussion of your results; e.g. how your findings fit in with the previous research.
7.
Opinions about how long a literature review should be vary greatly. Literature reviews of 15% - 25% of the total word count of the project are not uncommon.
8.
You need to be fastidious in the way you keep details of the publications consulted. Some people advocate the use of index cards (one for each publication) with a summary of the research and enough detail to enable you to cite the work correctly in the "References" at the end of your project [e.g. title, (and title of journal where relevant), author, date, of publication, publisher, page numbers, and a brief note on the content of the article or book in question]. Alternatively, you can use a suitable computer database for keeping your records of the publications consulted.
9.
You should aim to complete a reasonably comprehensive literature review before carrying out the substantive part of your own research; this is because what you find out in the literature review can help you to refine your research question and your research method.
In one sense you will not be able to achieve a complete review before your own data collection because research will continue to be published during the period of your own research; but you should aim to complete most of the review as early as possible (otherwise you might find, half way through your data collection, that someone else has already done it).
10
The sources which you should search include books, articles, theses and projects, government reports, research papers, conference papers, abstracts and reviews, library catalogues and on-line databases.
11
Librarians and your supervisor should be able to offer useful guidance. Many professional bodies have libraries which might be relevant to your particular research topic.
4.2 Methods of Data Collection.
The best method for collecting the required data will depend on the issue or problem to be investigated.
4.2.1 Documentary Sources
Personal Documents - autobiographies, biographies, diaries and letters.
Problems:
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Distortion by informant - motives for writing will affect the information recorded.
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If we are trying to generalize, how representative is recorded information of the society at that time?
Records - written or recorded at the time of the event, e.g. business and legal papers, official statistics.
Problem: They may have been edited.
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Reports - written after the event and usually more concerned with creating an impression than aiding the memory. The material would therefore be less reliable than records.
Some General Weaknesses of Documents
?
They may not be complete.
?
Officially compiled statistics will only be as reliable as the methods used to establish the statistics.
?
Official documents, e.g. minutes of meetings, tend to be tidier than actual events.
Despite these weaknesses, they are still very quick and can be a reliable method of collecting data.
4.2.2 Observation
All research involves observation of some description. However, observation used as a research technique refers to observation in the field experiment.
a. Direct Observation
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It must be decided in advance what is to be observed and how it should be recorded.
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What - is decided by the problem being studied.
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How - remember that information will have to be summarized into a comprehensive form.
b. Participant Observation
The researcher becomes an accepted part of the situation he/she is studying; gains acceptance of the people being studied as a member of that group e.g.
‘industrial groups’ - takes job in an organization and becomes part of group.
This may be with or without the knowledge of the group.
With the group’s knowledge, it may be more difficult to gain acceptance but may then co-opt the help of the group.
Without the group’s knowledge, ethical problems arise. It also means that one has to rely on one’s own observations but these may be limited by lack of knowledge of the situation for some time.
The nature of the participation will depend on the problem being studied.
4.2.3 Interviews
There are three kinds of interview: structured, semi-structured and unstructured.
a. Structured Interview: The interviewer delivers a set of questions; the respondent chooses the reply from a number of alternatives.
Use: Everyone gets the same set of questions, and as a result standardization and reliability are high.
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Limitations: Unable to probe any unexpected useful areas. Restricts the interviewee.
b. Semi-structured Interview: This involves using a set of questions but the interview may probe further into relevant areas. Use When we know what questions to ask but can’t or don’t want to suggest answers. Either (i) because of possible answers being too long or (ii) the fear of suggesting replies which would not otherwise have been thought of; particularly true of opinions rather than factual information.
Limitations: i) Depends on the interviewer being able to probe for answers and keep the interviewee to the point. ii) Analysis is by content analysis and is time consuming.
c. Unstructured or Depth Interviewing The interviewer formulates questions as the interview progresses and the respondent formulates a reply. The interviewer would simply be told to find out all he could about an issue perhaps with a few headings and then left to do it. The response is content analyzed.
Use: Good for small sample where detail rather than trend is required. Limitations: i. Requires highly skilled interviewers.
ii. Analysis is by content analysis and can be time consuming.
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4.2.4 Surveys
Used when we wish to collect information from a large number of people.
There are three methods of collecting data used in surveys:
1)
The interviewer reads out the questionnaire.
2)
Leaves the questionnaire for completion by the individual (self-completion).
3)
Questionnaire sent through post (postal questionnaire).
Method Advantages Disadvantages
Interviewer Increased number of completed More time taken in
questionnaires. gathering the information.
Trained to understand questions. Information may be out of
date before collected.
Postal and self Reaches more people in a shorter Non response: postal
completion. time. questionnaire may be
returned on average by
30%.
Incomplete questionnaires
returned.
Misunderstanding the questions.
4.2.4.1 Sampling
Unusual to be able to collect information from everyone we are interested in - the ‘total population’. Therefore we select a ‘sample’ from the total population whose replies will be representative of the total population.
Data which is generalized from a sample to a population of which the sample is not representative is invalid.
The larger the sample the more nearly it will represent the total population, but the harder it is to collect data. Therefore compromise and balance are necessary to get the ‘most representative’ information.
4.2.4.2 Designing the questions
In any study the information can only be as good as the tools used, therefore great care needs to be taken in designing a questionnaire. The following points should be remembered:
1.
Always ask what is the purpose of any question. Do not include unnecessary questions.
2.
Questions must be unambiguous.
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3.
No question must contain more than one idea, e.g. have you had any education or training? The answer may be yes to education and no to training.
4.
The respondent has to hold the question in his/her mind, therefore they must be short.
5.
The language used must be of the simplest kind.
6.
The questions must be meaningful to every respondent you may have. This becomes very difficult when you are asking questions of a broad section of the population, e.g. wages/salary - some people will refer to wages, others to salaries.
7.
The choice must be made between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions. (See structured and unstructured/semi-structured interviews). With open questions the design is short, the analysis long. With closed questions the design is long, the analysis short.
4.2.4.3 Piloting Questionnaires.
A pilot survey (i.e. mini-survey) should be carried out to test the questions. The respondents are asked about the questions to ensure:
a. they mean the same to everyone
b. that they mean what the researcher meant them to mean
4.2.4.4 Interviewers
If interviewers are used:
a. they should be trained.
b. they should be ‘briefed’ to understand the purpose of the survey.
c. they should be ‘briefed’ to understand each question so that everyone is asking the same questions.
4.2.4.5 Problems of reported techniques
1. Response set: subject may repeatedly give the answer he/she thinks the researcher wants or thinks the researcher does not want.
2. Social desirability: giving the socially acceptable answer.
3. The ability to report: subjects must have verbal and analytical ability required by the questionnaire or the interview.
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4.2.5 Deciding what method to use.
There is no simple answer to this; you MUST
?
know what data you require
?
know what methods are available
?
know the advantages and disadvantages of each method
?
know how you will analyze the data
Remember to consider
?
the time needed to collect the data
?
the cost of collecting the data
?
your access to the data
4.2.6 Questionnaires
There are some key questions that you should address before using this tool:
1. Is it the correct data collection tool?
2. What are you trying to find out?
what are its objectives? *** extremely important***
3. Do you need all the data you are collecting?
4. Should it be confidential?
5. How are you going to use the information?
6. Who should you ask to fill it in?
7. When?
8. How?
- form filling
- postal?
- with you?
9. How do you get the questionnaire back?
10.
Why should someone complete this form?
11. How many people should you ask?
12. Is it user friendly *** important ***
You should always attempt to pilot the survey. This will assist in identifying potential problems such as, ambiguity and incorrect wording.
4.2.7 Types of Questions
A. CLOSED-END QUESTIONS
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NAME
DESCRIPTION
EXAMPLE
Dichotomous
A question offering two answer choices
In arranging this trip did you phone BR?
Yes or No?
Likert Scale
A statement with which the respondent shows the amount of agreement/disagreement
Small schools are more caring than large ones?
Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly
Disagree Agree
1? 2? 3? 4?
Semantic
Differential
A scale is inscribed between 2 bipolar words & the respondent selects the point that represents the direction & intensity of his/her feelings.
STAFF
Helpful Unhelpful
Caring Uncaring
Importance
Scale
A scale that rates the importance of some attribute from ‘not at all important’ to ‘extremely important’
The marketing of education is to me
Extreme Very Somewhat Not Imp. Imp Imp Very
1---- 2---- 3---- 4---- 5----
Rating Scale
A scale that rates some attribute from ‘poor’ to ‘excellent’
The Comprehensive system is
Excellent Very Good Fair Poor
Good
1---- 2---- 3---- 4---- 5---
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B. OPEN-END QUESTIONS
NAME
DESCRIPTION
EXAMPLE
Completely
Unstructured
A question that respondents can answer in an almost unlimited no. of ways
What is your opinion of the present Governments education policies?
Word Association
Words are presented, one at a time, and respondents mention the first word that comes to mind.
What is the first word that comes to mind when you hear the following?
Delegated Budgets -----------------
Binary Divide ------------------
Staff Development ----------
Sentence
Completion
Incomplete sentences are presented, one at a time, and respondents mention the first word that comes to mind
When I describe option choices to the third form, the most important thing
I have to tell them is ____________
Story Completion
An incomplete story is presented and respondents are asked to complete it.
Case study material
Picture Completion
A picture of 2 characters is presented with one making a statement. Respondents are asked to identify with the other and fill in the empty balloon.
Thematic
Apperception
A picture is presented and respondents are asked to make up a story about what they think is
Test (TAT)
happening or may happen in the picture.
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4.2.8 Sampling Plan
The researcher must design a sampling plan which calls for 3 decisions.
SAMPLING UNIT.
This answers Who is to be surveyed?
The proper sampling unit is not always obvious.
SAMPLE SIZE
This answers How many people should be surveyed?
Large samples often give more reliable results than small samples.
SAMPLING PROCEDURE
This answers How should the respondents be chosen?
To obtain a representative sample a probability sample of the population should be drawn.
CONTACT METHODS
How should the subject be contacted?
Telephone interviewing
Mail questionnaire
Personal Interviewing - either Individual or Group Interviewing.
4.2.9 Analysis of Data and Presentation of Results
The point has already been made that the way in which you propose to analyze your data should be considered as part of the process of deciding what data is to be collected, and the way in which you will collect it. This is because the kind of data you collect, and the particular way in which you gather it, will inevitably place some constraints on the way in which you can conduct your analyses. Unless your analyses provide you with a means of achieving your original research objectives, then much effort will have been in vain. It is therefore essential that your research design should take account of interrelationships within the data collection - analysis - reporting phases.
It is also at the design stage that you should identify any potential need for using computer packages for analysis of data. Software availability, and your own familiarity with it, could be constraints which determine how you proceed with the analysis, and hence how you collect and compile your data.
It is essential to consider at an early stage how you would code your data for any computer analysis. This can have a bearing on how you ask your questions and allow you to take advantage of pre-coding possibilities which can cut down on work later on. For example, instead of asking an open-ended question about a person's qualifications and then having to group and code each of the many types of
MBA Project Guide Page 22
answer that you get, it would be far more efficient to construct a question which contains a small number of pre-coded alternatives (e.g. 01 - First Degree; 02 - Masters; 03 - Doctorate; 04 - Professional; 05-Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma; 06 - Higher National Diploma; 07- Other).
In the case of quantitative data, the need for statistical advice should also be identified at the design stage. If you are anticipating carrying out some of the technical statistical analyses referred to later on in this section, then it is wise to establish the requirements of such procedures in terms of type of data, sample size, etc. before launching into sampling schemes and data collection. When necessary, ask your supervisor to direct you to sources of statistical advice within your department.
4.2.9.1 Dealing with Data Gathered from Texts or From Open-Ended Questions.
A substantial proportion of the data analyzed in research projects consists of documentary texts, reports, notebooks or research logbooks, or is in the form of answers to open-ended questions asked through interview or questionnaire. In such circumstances, analysis consists of a painstaking process of ploughing through what might seem to be an overwhelming quantity of qualitative data. It is important to adopt a systematic approach to the management of this kind of task.
One possible approach is to divide the data into sections, with each section corresponding to a particular dimension of the problem or to an issue which has its own identity. Some psychologists suggest that the maximum number of such divisions which can be held in a researcher's short-term memory lies between 5 and 9; hence if you are systematically scanning a mass of textual evidence and trying to partition it according to more than 9 subdivisions of the problem then you are probably being over-optimistic.
Scanning the whole body of evidence can then be viewed as a process of identifying strips or segments of data which can then be "pasted" within particular subdivisions of the problem as a whole.
The final stage consists of a close study of the set of segments within each subdivision; this involves identifying relationships, linkages, contrasts, connections, etc., which may lead to theories or propositions arising from the data. You may find such an approach particularly well-suited to a situation where you've not begun with a grand theory which you set out to test, but rather perceive your research as exploratory and opportunistic.
When following this kind of approach to the analysis of a large body of documentary material, the task of writing up a balanced final account will be considerably eased if you manage to keep track of the origins of your "pasted" segments of evidence. This would allow you, when compiling your summary results for a particular subdivision or issue, to refer to particular sources of opinion, and to provide brief illustrative quotes.
4.2.9.2 Other Matters Relating to Presentation of Results.
It is probable that only a minority of projects require extensive use of formal statistical analysis. However, a far greater proportion of projects is likely to involve the summary and presentation of some kind of numerical information.
A key point to bear in mind is the nature of the data itself. For example, some data consists of just frequencies for each of a number of categories; other data could be in the form of ranks e.g. your subjects might have been asked to rank each of eight attributes in order of importance. Other data allows you to calculate differences, or even ratios, between quantities. It is important that you should
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recognize that different kinds of data are amenable to different kinds of operations. For example it is not meaningful to calculate the mean of a set of rank data, since it cannot be assumed that the interval between 1st and 2nd rank is of the same width as the interval between , say, 6th and 7th ranks. For this reason, it is more sensible to refer to the median value of a set of ranks.
It is also worth paying some attention to the choice of methods available for summarizing data using diagrams. The aim is always to convey as many clear, unambiguous messages as possible using the smallest possible number of diagrams, but avoiding clutter. You should attempt to select diagram-type using fitness-for-purpose criteria. For example, to illustrate how a total quantity is broken down into its component parts, you might choose a pie-chart, or possibly a compound bar-chart. To illustrate trends over time, you would choose a line graph, taking care to space the time-points appropriately along the horizontal axis. For line graphs and bar-charts, remember that the choice of scale for the vertical axis can influence the reader's perception of the trends; the honest choice is always to start off your vertical scale at zero. Finally, remember that all diagrams and tables must be clearly labeled, with appropriate use of keys, etc.
Whenever you are committed to producing a large number of tables or diagrams as part of your project, you should consider whether or not that material might be more appropriately included in an appendix. As a general rule, anything which diverts the reader from the main text for more than a couple of pages is a good candidate for inclusion in an appendix. You may also be wondering whether the original raw data, or the computer analyses in their primitive form, need to be bound as part of the project report. In general, the answer should be no - although it is always best to keep such material safe and secure in case it is needed later as supportive material or for possible re-drafting of material at a later stage.
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4.2.10 Referencing
When you need to refer to the work of others in your project, you will be expected to adopt one of the conventional formats in referring to the source material.
You will need to refer to other people's work for several reasons (Jankowicz, 1991; p. 120 e.g.)
?
to attribute a quotation;
?
to provide justification for a statement;
?
to tell your reader where an idea comes from;
?
to argue for the reasonableness of your methods, since they are used by other people working in the field;
?
to help interpret your results;
?
to help you build an argument.
There is no one "correct" system of referencing; e.g. there is the Harvard system and the numbered system (for some detail on the latter see, for example, Jankowicz, 1991 p. 119). However the preferred system is the Harvard system because it is easier to handle when you need to modify what you have written, especially if you have to insert a reference into a section of text which you have already written and referenced. The guidance here will therefore concentrate on the Harvard system.
For a Book;
?
the entry in the text of the project would appear as follows: (Heclo and Wildavsky, 1974);
?
the entry in the list of references would then appear in alphabetical order, under "H", as:
Heclo, H. and Wildavsky, A. (1974) The Private Government of Public Money London: Macmillan.
Underline the title of the book. Notice the relative positions of the initials, brackets, date, place of publication, publisher, etc.
If the author edited the book (which is a collection of chapters written by other people), then the abbreviation "ed" should appear after the editor's name, and your reference should cite the name of the author in question. For example, if Smith wrote a chapter in a book edited by Williams, you might say in your text - Smith (1992); and in your "References" at the end you would say
Smith, J. (1992) "The Beggar's Opera" in Williams, A. (ed) The World's Best Musical's Macmillan.
For an Article
?
similar to a book, but in this case, when specifying the full details in the list of references, place the title of the article in quotation marks and underline the title of the journal in which the article was published. The details of the journal edition should also be given - volume, number and date.
The list of references at the end of your project should be given in alphabetical order according to authors.
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Sometimes (e.g. when you are going to use a direct quotation or when you are referring to a particular point in the cited work) you will need to provide the page number of the source material concerned; e.g. Smith, 1992 p. 45.
If you use the author's name in a sentence, you do not need to repeat the name in brackets; e.g. "According to Smith (1992), .....". On other occasions, the name should appear in brackets; e.g. "There is some evidence (Smith, 1992) to suggest that .....".
If you use a lengthy quotation (e.g. several lines), it is common to indent; e.g.:
"The government .........................
........................................
........................................
............. and the will of Parliament"
If the same author has published two works in the same year, then use 1992a and 1992b (etc.) to distinguish between them.
If a work was written by two authors, refer to both names (e.g. Cohen and Henderson, 1991); if there are more than two authors for a particular work, it is usual to cite the work as Smith et al.
Generally try to avoid saying "Smith states...". Try to be more specific about the kind of statement made; e.g. Smith argues, suggests, asserts, finds, concludes, etc., but be careful not to imply a view that the author may (or may not) hold.
Referencing from Internet sources has become more prevalent as the quality of sources has improved. When referencing from such sources please refer to a useful guide at:
http://www.curtin.edu.au/curtin/library/findinfo/handouts/harvard.html
Clearly, the more academic work you read the more familiar you will be with conventional referencing formats.
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4.2.11 Presentation and Layout
Style:
It is difficult to convey a 'feeling' for what an appropriate writing style is for an MBA project. You should get a feel for acceptable style by having a look at several management reports which you may have access to you and/or samples you will be provided with.
The Project should be in the form of a formally presented work which should avoid use of the first person with the possible exception of the conclusions where you are giving your own interpretation. Unless it is important in context, avoid identifying individuals.
The Critical Commentary can be of a slightly more ‘chatty’ style. As it represents your own reflections on your own work, use of the first person is acceptable.
Typing:
Typing is to be double spaced on A4 paper with a left-hand margin of at least 4cms. and a right-hand margin of 2cms. There is no need to change font size/color/etc. in the text, but you may use bold typeface, italics, underlining, etc. as appropriate.
Length:
The length of the Report element will be in the range12,000-14,000 words. This does not include appendices.
The Report
Title Page:
The first typed page should contain the title, your name, University number, the month and year of completion.
Executive Summary:
An executive summary should be included at the beginning of the Management Report. This should normally be no more than a page long (300 words) and should cover all aspects of the report including conclusions and recommendations.
Table of Contents:
You should include a table of contents giving chapter and section headings and page references.
Page Numbering:
Page numbering should begin on Page 1 of Section 1. The executive summary and all other pages such as the table of contents should be numbered separately in lower case Roman numerals e.g. (i), (ii), etc.. The page number is placed centrally in the bottom margin. Appendices should be numbered and lettered separately on each page e.g. A1, A2, B1, B2 and so on
Appendices:
Clearly you will need to be selective as to what to include in an appendix but at the same time ensuring that relevant documents, questionnaires, statistical details, tables, graphs and so on are
MBA Project Guide Page 27
included. You will, of course, include key tables, graphs, etc. in the body of the text as well. Your supervisor will advise you on what should go where.
Binding:
Two professionally bound hard-cover copies of the Project should be submitted. The cover should be dark red (wine color) with gold lettering.
Copies:
You are required to submit two copies to the University. It is advised that you get a third copy to retain and for reference.
MBA Project Guide Page 28
PART V
ASSESSMENT GUIDLINES
5.1 Problem Area, Rationale and Objectives
1.
Problem is meaningful, innovative, sufficiently complex and challenging; original and imaginative; problem explicitly stated and developed; precise description and explanation of all research objectives.
2.
A relevant and original topic which is effectively translated into project aims and objectives; objectives clearly stated.
3.
An appropriate problem area chosen; objectives outlined; main areas of the investigation identified; specific aims, questions or hypotheses explained and developed.
4.
Limited topic choice; problem area inferred or poorly defined; objectives vague or insufficient.
5.
Simple or unoriginal problem; objectives unclear or unstated; relies on title, table of contents and abstract to indicate the problem area; areas of investigation not identified; lacking imagination.
5.2 Review of Literature
1.
A wide range of source material used; literature critically evaluated; original thinking evident; up to date information; significance of sources reviewed indicated; organized in a logical and coherent manner in view of the research aims.
2.
Focuses on areas central to the study; examines work directly related to these; relevant published material utilized; critical perspective adopted and maintained.
3.
Adequate information survey with some evidence of critical evaluation; outlines existing state of knowledge and understanding and locates the research problem in relation to this.
4.
Limited sources of information used; uncritical; lacks scope, the relationship with the rest of the report is not made clear; only provides a summary of other writing.
5.
Review of existing literature not evident; sources used outdated, irrelevant, unfocused, plagiarized.
5.3 Research or Investigative Method
1.
A disciplined, well-planned programme of study and investigation followed showing an awareness of appropriate research or investigative methods, justification and application; validity of methods related to project design, sampling techniques and data handling.
2.
The research design and methods are carefully set out, explained and justified, clear identification and use of data collection methods; all the main tasks, problems and difficulties are explained.
MBA Project Guide Page 29
3.
Adequate but not full utilization of either the research/investigative methods available or data.
4.
Problem not fully researched or investigated; little regard to appropriateness of research or investigative method, sampling techniques or data handling.
5.
No research or investigative method chapter; method inadequate or inappropriate for the topic area.
5.4 Results
1.
Fully developed specification and supporting implementation of application/product; comprehensive predefined test criteria; use of appropriate and complete test data; results supported by complete and apposite documentation.
2.
Specification and supporting application/product developed in accordance with the purpose of the research. Predefined test criteria and carefully planned test data. Full set of documentation.
3.
Partial in-depth development of initial specification and application/product. Evidence of adequate predefined test criteria and test data to demonstrate its importance to the final product. Appropriate but not fully developed documentation.
4.
Limited development of initial specification and application/product. Some evidence of test criteria and test data. Limited supporting documentation.
5.
No specification provided; application/product has limited functionality (cannot be accepted as a working model of the whole or any part of the final product). No attention paid to test criteria and/or test data. Little or no evidence of supporting documentation.
5.5 Interpretation of Specification
1.
Specification effectively interpreted and integrated into existing literature, signs of original thinking; evidence of individual views on interpretation. Considerable evidence of self-determined study with regard to both the external context of the application and the knowledge and skills acquired to develop it.
2.
Specification interpreted with consistent focus on the problem area being addressed. Evidence of self-determined effort to develop a suitable application, requiring knowledge and skills beyond those gained to date.
3.
A fair interpretation of the specification. More consistent focus on the problem area required. Some evidence of self-determined effort to acquire the additional knowledge and skills needed to develop the application.
4.
Limited interpretation of the specification with poor focus on the problem area being addressed. No evidence of returning to existing literature; no evidence of self-directed study to develop the application.
5.
No reference to a specification; no proper focus identifiable; no awareness of the additional knowledge or skills required to develop a fully functional working application.
MBA Project Guide Page 30
5.6 Evaluation and Recommendations
1.
Objectives fully reviewed ; critical evaluation developed from appropriate range of data/sources; appropriate and realistic recommendations consistent with results. Clear understanding of the potential and/or limitations.
2.
Clearly stated evaluation based on the evidence provided; feasible recommendations clearly linked with research objectives; evaluation and recommendations coherent and logical.
3.
Evaluation and recommendations identify some key issues, limited reference to research objectives; broader issues not considered.
4.
Limited evaluation and recommendations provided that do not clearly link to the research objectives. Only part of the research project is included; further clarification and development required.
5.
No evaluation or recommendations stated; conclusions do not link to research findings; no clear idea of how or if the recommendations could be implemented.
5.7 Referencing, Bibliography and Appendices
1.
Wide range of references, citations; bibliography shows evidence of a wide search and comprehensive coverage of problem area; variety of references noted appropriately in the text; appendices effectively support text.
2.
Substantial number of references used; varied bibliography; respect for established conventions; appendices used appropriately.
3.
Appropriate range of references giving coverage of subject; reasonable bibliography for problem area; relevant appendices included/Inadequate range of references, bibliography limited in scope, outdated and/or unnecessary items in appendix.
4.
No or few references provided; no or sketchy bibliography; inadequate or inaccurate information; omissions; inappropriate appendices, bibliography used not annotated in the text.
5.8 Presentation of Report
1.
Excellent standard of appearance; well-structured and displayed; no spelling, grammatical mistakes, smooth and logical flow; text well organized and articulated; writing concise and clear; use of computer skills in the presentation; all visual material pertinent to the project; interesting to read and visually exciting; research carried through to concrete solutions which are well presented.
2.
Good standard of appearance; coherent framework, unbiased and objective; are and time given to writing; logical sequence.
3.
Acceptable appearance; few spelling and grammatical errors; logically structured and presented.
MBA Project Guide Page 31
4.
Structure approach attempted; lifeless writing, lacks flow and continuity; lacks objectivity; numerous spelling and grammatical errors; poor standard of visualization.
5.
Unstructured; dull; lacks logical development; poor integration of material and uneven style; untidy; frequent spelling and grammatical errors; opinionated; jargonize; evidence of bias; emotive terms; obvious signs of plagiarism; no real use of computer skills in visualization; repetitive; no indication of project development.
5.9 Project Management
1.
Project milestones fully achieved; high level of planning and organization skills; wide perspective; full utilization of tutorial support; responsive to changes.
2.
Project milestones largely achieved; regular tutorial support utilized; structured approach; sound planning and organization; flexibility in approach.
3.
Project milestones partially achieved; some tutorial support utilized; structured approach attempted; some flexibility in approach.
4.
Few project milestones achieved; limited utilization of tutorial support; inadequate planning and organization; limited perspective; resistant to change.
5.
Project milestones not achieved; no or limited attendance of tutorials; no planning or organization; unfocussed; narrow perspective, uncommitted; lack of objectivity; showed no sigh of critical appraisal of project pathway, inflexible.
MBA Project Guide
APPENDIX A MBA/MBA695/01
SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
MBA THESIS PROJECT PROFORMA
Part A (to be completed by the student)
Student Name:………………………………………………… Reg. No: ………………………….
Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………………...
Tel. number: …………………………………….. Fax number: …………………………………..
E-Mail address: ………………………………………………………………………………………..
Part B (to be completed by the student)
Project Title:
Rationale for the Project:
Aims and Objectives:
Page 32
MBA Project Guide
Methodology:
(Details of techniques, data collection, data recording, analysis etc)
Plan of Action
Key Activities
Time-scale
Resource Required
(Equipment, Software, Personnel etc.)
Page 33
MBA Project Guide
Part C (For Staff Completion Only)
Accepted:
Rejected:
Amendment(s) required from student:
Supervisor’s Comments:
Supervisor’s name: ………………………………………………………………………………….
Signature: ………………………………………………. Date: ……………………………………
External Advisor’s Name (if applicable): …………………………………………………………………………………
Signature: …………………………………………….... Date: ……………………………………
Address: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….
Tel. Number: …………………………………… Fax Number: …………………………………..
Email: …………………………………………………………………………………………………...
Approved by:
MBA Program Director Date:
Page 34
MBA Project Guide P a g e 3 5
APPENDIX B
MBA/MBA695/02
SCHOOL OF BUSINESSADMINISTRATION
MBA THESIS ASSESSMENT FORM
(To Be Completed By The Student)
Student Name:
Reg. Number:
Date Submitted:
Thesis Reg. Date:
Thesis Supervisor:
Thesis Title:
(For Official Use Only)
Assessment Criteria
Mark
Comments
Introduction (5%)
-Clear, achievable and understandable aims and objectives expressing
these aims
-Clear justification for the research, identifying key issues and concepts
Literature review (30%)
-Identification and critical understanding of relevant quantity and quality of background material and secondary sources including literature relevant to the objectives of the project
Methodology (10%)
-Methodology in terms of selection of methods and the creation of models
to investigate
-Explicit methodological stance likely to produce relevant, usable and valid
data
-Clear description and justification of “who, when, what, where and why” in
application of methodology
Results and analysis (40%)
-Accurate, reliable and valid results
-Critical analysis and evaluation of results satisfying objectives-indicators
include selectivity in data analyzed (not simply listing of results), relevant
references to previous chapters and where appropriate use of cross tabs
Conclusions and Recommendations (10%)
-Evidence of how study contributes to fulfillment of objectives and the
research process recommendations for future research, utility value where
relevant
Presentation and Coherence (5%)
-The final MBA Thesis is to the standard specified in the MBA Thesis
Handbook, is well written, reflects accurate proof reading with no
grammatical, syntactic, spelling or typographical errors, style of writing is
consistent throughout and the MBA Thesis represents a coherent,
integrated and holistic study.
General Comments:
Overall Mark:
Assessor’s Name:
Date:
Signature:
MBA Project Guide Page 36
APPENDIX C
Sequence of a five chapter thesis
Title page
Abstract (with keywords)
Table of contents
List of tables
List of figures
Statement of original authorship
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction
1.1 Background to the research
1.2 Research problem and hypotheses
1.3 Justification for the research
1.4 Methodology
1.5 Outline of the report
1.6 Definitions
1.7 Delimitations of scope and key assumptions
1.8 Conclusion
2 Literature review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 (Parent disciplines/fields and classification models)
2.3 (Immediate discipline, analytical models and research questions or hypotheses)
2.4 Conclusion
3 Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Justification for the paradigm and methodology
3.3 Research procedures
3.4 Ethical considerations
3.5 Conclusion
4 Analysis of data
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Patterns of data/results for each research question or hypothesis
4.3 Conclusion
5 Conclusions and implications
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Conclusions about each research question or hypothesis
5.3 Conclusions about the research problem
5.4 Implications for theory
5.5 Implications for policy and practice
5.6 Limitations
5.7 Further research
Bibliography
MBA Project Guide Page 37
Appendices
APPENDIX IV
MBA PROJECT
SUPERVISION MEETING RECORD
Student Name:
Supervisor:
Date:
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED/PROGRESS MADE:
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:
DELIVERABLES FOR NEXT SESSION:
MBA Project Guide Page 38
MBA Project Guide Page 39

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