Dissertation - Online MSc

Introduction and module objectives

The dissertation module is an opportunity for students to carry out an independent - though supervised - applied research project. The work will usually apply subject knowledge from one specialist subject area, and so will be an opportunity for students to demonstrate comprehensive and thorough understanding of that subject area. The supervisor is typically a scholar in the chosen subject discipline. Normally dissertations are “applied” and use primary data, but “desk based” projects are possible with the prior agreement of the supervisor.

The purpose of the dissertation module is to develop students’ ability to apply their business knowledge and skills to address a business problem. To quote the Association of MBAs: “[Students] will develop knowledge of the core business areas … and learn how to apply such knowledge effectively in a business environment. This is facilitated in particular on the Dissertation module”.

Whilst being practical and applied, the dissertation is above all else, a critical work.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Explain the main philosophical paradigms in business and management research.
  • Be able to write a comprehensive and thorough literature review in order to develop an analytical framework for the research.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the range of research strategies available.
  • Understand and be able to apply a range of data collection methodologies.
  • Be able to select and apply from the range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies available for business research.
  • Understand and be able to apply data analysis techniques appropriate to the subject and the chosen analytical lens.


  • Writing a project proposal.
  • Identifying and using a range of sources of business information.
  • Literature search and literature review.
  • Selection and arguing for a research methodology.
  • Management of a research project: scoping, planning, reporting, management and control.
  • Time and attention management.
  • Writing long-form documents, including structuring, outlining, building an argument and referencing.
  • Writing a reflective critical appraisal.