Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI48S60: DISSERTATION (MSc Management)

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI48S60: DISSERTATION (MSc Management)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N2P109
Tied to N2P209
Tied to N2P309
Tied to N2P409
Tied to N2P509
Tied to N2P609
Tied to N2P709
Tied to N3K909


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth specialist investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to their degree subject.
  • To equip students with an in-depth understanding of key principles of research design and methodology in business and management, and to develop their skills in conducting and disseminating research at an advanced level.
  • The dissertation should be theoretically underpinned and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but may be a critical essay that draws upon academic literature.


  • The topic is chosen by the student and formally approved by the Board of Examiners. It should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation, and relevant to their degree route.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • a critical understanding of a relevant topic through utilisation of appropriate techniques of research and analysis
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • be able to conduct research into business and management issues through research design, use of appropriate methods, data collection, synthesis and reporting;
  • be able to organise, structure and manage a research project effectively at an advanced level;
  • be able to critically evaluate published research and assess its relevance to a chosen research project.
Key Skills:
  • Planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; computer literacy.
  • The ability to think critically and creatively, and to argue coherently and generalise appropriately, based on theory and evidence, for a given situation or organisational problem, including new and unfamiliar circumstances
  • The capacity for sustained independent work and learning at an advanced level, including the ability to manage time effectively over a series of projects
  • The ability to use a toolkit of specialist skills and practices for inquiry into problems, identifying opportunities and implementing change, working with others in projects and communities, and communicating with stakeholders
  • The ability to take responsibility for continuing to learn through reflection on practice and developing their own critical self-awareness, knowledge and skills
  • Written communication of research on a chosen topic to a relevant audience(s).

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students work independently on their research, analysis and writing up, under the guidance of a supervisor, modifying their research design if necessary.
  • Normally the student will meet their supervisor on no more than six occasions. This is considered appropriate, given that the dissertation module is underpinned by lectures and seminars/computer labs from the Research Methods module.
  • The summative component of the dissertation requires students to write a short literature review, followed by a detailed explanation of their selected research method, including - where relevant - detail on data collection and analytical methods, and the presentation of their findings, and a short discussion of these results.
  • Within the dissertation, students produce a short Executive summary providing an organisational perspective on their research findings.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Preparatory lecture on dissertation research 1 1 2 hours 2
Individual supervision 6 As necessary 0.5 hour 3
Reading, preparation, research, analysis and writing up 595
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation, including a short executive summary providing an organisational perspective on the research findings 7-10,000 words (maximum) 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

There is no formal formative feedback on the dissertation, although students can discuss their research proposal in the supervisory meetings, and receive detailed feedback on one draft chapter/section of their dissertation.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University