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MSc Dissertation Writing

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Presentation on theme: "MSc Dissertation Writing"— Presentation transcript:

1 MSc Dissertation Writing
MSc International Business MSc Money, Banking & Finance 2007/8 Dr Robert Read

2 MSc Dissertation Writing
1. Objectives of a Dissertation 2. The Structure of a Dissertation 3. Dissertation Topics 4. Data 5. Dissertation Writing 6. Dissertation Supervision 7. Dissertation Timetable

3 Dissertation Objectives
An MSc Dissertation has a number of complementary objectives: An extended project on a topic of interest. To undertake original research in a topic based upon material relevant to the MSc in IB. To utilise the analytical and empirical skills acquired during the MSc. To demonstrate students’ capacity to analyse appropriate theory and empirical evidence in a structured manner.

4 Dissertation Structure
There is a standard model for dissertations, although some variation is acceptable (depends upon supervisor). Students should look at previous dissertations. Introduction (5-7 pages). Review of the theoretical literature (15-20). Contextual description of relevant information (5-10). Empirical analysis (20-25). Summary and conclusions (5). The dissertation should be around 15,000 words (60 double-spaced pages), not including appendices etc.

5 The Introduction The objective of the Introduction is to set out the context of the research, including the key issues. Context Objectives of the Research Outline of the Dissertation This should be the first part to be written and is an ideal document to be prepared prior to the first supervision meeting. The Outline is a guide to planning the structure and timing of the research.

6 The Literature Review The objective of the Literature Review is to summarise and analyse the relevant theoretical literature relating to the topic. It is not easy and will take some time to do. It should demonstrate: An understanding of the relevant theories. A critical appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of these theories. A summary discussion of previous empirical studies, including research methodology and results. A brief conclusion placing your research in the context of the theoretical and empirical literature.

7 Contextual Outline This Chapter is intended to provide descriptive background information relating to the research topic. Many dissertations tackle topics relating to specific countries and/or industries which require more general information to support the research. A contextual chapter is therefore not always necessary. This Chapter can be relatively short and is often the easiest to write. It should be started relatively early, soon after the draft Introduction.

8 The Empirical Analysis
This Chapter is the heart of the Dissertation and where a substantial proportion of the total marks are awarded. The empirical methodology should relate to the research objectives and justified in the Literature Review. It should make good use of the available data. The results should be explained and analysed in the context of their statistical validity, the relevant empirical literature and the objectives of the Dissertation. There should be a brief summary and conclusions.

9 The Summary & Conclusions
This is a brief Chapter summarising the Dissertation. This should have short summaries of the context, objectives, literature, empirical analysis and the principal findings of the Dissertation. This Chapter can only be written after the rest of the research has been completed. It may be necessary however, to re-write the Introduction before submission.

10 Dissertation Topics Students have a free choice regarding the topic of their Dissertation research. The topic must be relevant in some way to the material covered on the MSc. There are several sources of ideas: Staff research presentations. If topics are of particular interest, discuss your ideas with the staff member. Previous dissertations. Applying similar questions to another country, industry, issue. MSc course papers. Academic journal articles.

11 The Availability of Data
Data is the major factor in determining whether a dissertation topic is viable – and therefore the marks obtainable. Access to data is a key factor in choosing a topic. The choice of topic and the availability of data is inter-dependent. Where appropriate data is available, it should be collected as soon as possible, ready for later analysis. Students undertaking empirical analysis should have collected their data by the end of June.

12 Data Sources There are numerous sources for data:
International data sets published by the UN, World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, OECD. Country data sets available from national statistical institutes. Data sets in published empirical studies. On-line data (DataStream, EcoWin etc.) Company accounts. Business surveys.

13 Dissertation Writing Writing-up an extended piece of research is not easy. A Dissertation is not a test of English grammar but care should be taken in writing it. All writing (draft and final) must be word-processed and spell-checked before being given to supervisors. Students should see writing-up as a continuous process and not to be left to the final week(s). Supervisors are likely to recommend re-writing drafts to incorporate errors and omissions. It is normally best to write in Ariel 11pt or Times Roman 12 pt. Drafts should be 1.5 or double-spaced.

14 Dissertation Supervision: Staff
Each student will be allocated to a Dissertation Supervisor. The Supervisor’s functions are: To guide the Dissertation research. To direct students towards particular theoretical and empirical literatures. To monitor and discuss the progress of the Dissertation. To provide feedback on drafts. Supervision is via regular face-to-face meetings. Supervisors have a responsibility to meet their students.

15 Dissertation Supervision: Students
MSc Students also have their own responsibilities in the Supervision process: To meet regularly with their Supervisor. To submit drafts and other work in advance to give Supervisors time to prepare for meetings. All drafts and other material submitted to Supervisors should be in a readable state. To inform Supervisors if they are unable to attend a meeting and to arrange an alternative time. To discuss any absence from the University; whether for data collection, interviews or personal reasons.

16 The Dissertation Timetable
The timetable for the Dissertation is determined partly by the Submission Deadline of 12 September 2008. The MSc rules indicate that first drafts should be given to Supervisors by the end of July. Final drafts should be given to Supervisors by the end of August at the latest. The proposed timetable for work should be discussed by students with their Supervisors, based upon the draft outline in Chapter 1.

17 Dissertation Marking Marking is based upon the following criteria:
The quality of the overall arguments. The quality of the theoretical review – demonstrating a good awareness of relevant theories and literature. The quality of the original empirical work, usually involving testing using one or more statistical models. The quality of the analysis of the empirical results, with particular reference to theory. The derivation of appropriate conclusions and policy implications based upon theory and empirical results.

18 Dissertation Marks 80%+ High quality original research with strong theory, empirical work and analysis – publishable. 70%+ Good quality original research work with many strong elements (particularly empirics) but some weaknesses – potentially publishable. 60%+ Sound original research containing theory, empirics and analysis. 50%+ Some originality but weak or lacking sufficient theory, empirics and analysis. < 50% Fail – lacking coherence, unoriginal and weak theory, empirics and analysis.

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