Assessment 1 – Dissertation Thesis

Submission Deadline:

Assessment Weighting:       80%

Module Learning Outcomes assessed in this piece of coursework

  1. Critically identify information from a variety of secondary sources.
  2. Write a critical literature review that deals effectively with relevant concepts/theories/models.
  3. Critically select and implement appropriate primary data collection methods
  4. Analyze quantitative and/or qualitative data and evaluate in relations to models/theories.
  5. Present a dissertation and/or research project that effectively communicates research findings in a timely manner.

Producing a Dissertation Thesis

What is a dissertation?

There are many definitions of what a dissertation is and these vary according to the level of study (a dissertation at undergraduate level is likely to be defined differently to a dissertation at PhD level). In reviewing these definitions though it becomes apparent that there are some common ideas about what constitutes an undergraduate dissertation.  Some of the phrases and ideas that occur regularly, and so can be regarded as ‘key’ to what a dissertation is, are:

  • Extended or prolonged piece of work.
  • Independent study.
  • Involves you selecting a subject or topic.
  • Defining your own questions.
  • Is scholarly.
  • Is original – i.e. something that you do for yourself (and not ‘something that has never been done before’).
  • Involves doing research.
  • Involves collecting data and analysing it.
  • Involves a supervisor.

Pulling these ideas together a definition of a dissertation is:

An extended piece of writing, supported by a supervisor, on a topic chosen by the student that is the result of the student’s own independent and in-depth research. 

Some people also call a dissertation a thesis or paper – but we shall use the word dissertation. However it is not a report.

Why do we ask you to do a Dissertation? This is because the process of producing this type of assessment enables you to:

Identify your own area of interest.

  • Explore an area in depth.
  • Define your own question.
  • Experience the process of producing knowledge.
  • Manage a project from beginning to end.
  • Consolidate your communication, information-seeking and intellectual skills.

A useful clue as to what a dissertation involves can be found in the origin of the word. Dissertation comes from the Latin verb ‘dissertare’ which means ‘to debate’. In turn the word ‘debate’ implies a discussion involving different points of view of ideas. A dissertation therefore will not only examine a subject in detail but will discuss and review the various points of view about it. The dissertation is expected to be an original and current piece of work – this means that you cannot submit a piece of work that has already been submitted for another purpose either at UWL or in another institution. Note that you may use some of the content from the research proposal you submitted as part of the Research Methods module. In such cases you will not be wrongly penalised for doing so.


Learning Resources

You are strongly encouraged to refer to the following list of core and recommended reading texts listed below to help you with your dissertation:


Core Reading

Altinay, A, Paraskevas, A. and Jang, S. (2016) Planning Research in Hospitality and Tourism. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann

Clark, M., Riley, M., Wilkie, E. and Wood, R.C. (1998) Researching and Writing Dissertations in Hospitality and Tourism. London: Thomson Business Press.

Finn, M., Elliot-White, M. and Walton, M. (2000) Tourism and Leisure Research Methods. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.

Long, J (2007) Researching Leisure, Sport and Tourism. London, Sage Publications.

Veal, A.J. (2011) Research in Tourism and Leisure: A practical guide. 4th ed. London: Financial Times,

Pitman.  (2006) 3rd ed is also available as an electronic book).


Recommended Reading

Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing effective Analysis and Argument. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Moran, D. (2000).  Introduction to Phenomenology, London: Routledge


Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers. 4th ed. London: Paul Chapman. ((2002) 3rd ed. is also available as an electronic book).


Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review. London: Sage.


Jankowicz, A. (1991) Business Research Projects for Students. London: Thompson Learning


Jankowicz, A. (2005) Business Research projects, 4th ed. London: Thompson Learning (Available as an electronic book)


Levin, P. (2005) Excellent Dissertations!. Maidenhead: Open University Press.


Reilly, K.  (2004)  Ethnographic Methods. London: Routledge


Sarantakos, S. (2005) Social Research. 3rd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Silverman, D. (2010) 3rd ed. Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage.


Walliman, N.S.R. (2004) Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success. London: Sage.


In addition to these books there are many texts in the Library relating to research. There are over 500 texts that show up when searching for ‘research’. Some of these books are more general texts which have a bit of everything in and some are specialist and focus on a particular method such as questionnaire design.  You will need to read a range of such texts to help you understand and implement an appropriate research plan.  Websites are also useful sources of information but care is needed in your choice of these. When reviewing the literature, for example, general internet sites and sources are not going to be very useful. Sites such as Wikipedia should be avoided as the source of any articles tends to be unknown and the content can be changed by anyone. The best approach is to use legitimate academic sources. You also need to be sophisticated in your use of key words when searching the Internet. For example, the words ‘research methods’ and some variations were used as key words and put into Google.


The reading list for this module is available on Blackboard in the module area or by searching This shows real-time availability of books in the library catalogue and direct links to online resources.


Special online support guides  ( for the subject are also available to help you find relevant information for assignments, with contact details of the Academic Support Librarian for your subject.

Types of dissertation


It is possible to do one of two types of dissertation – the Standard Dissertation and the Work Based Dissertation.


The Standard Dissertation

This is research that is on a topic that usually relates to a wide number of people or organisations and what you find out would be of interest to a sector of the industry or to some of the people within it.  So, for example, if you wanted to find out the extent of a particular practice you would need to perhaps send out a questionnaire to a large number of companies in order to find out what is happening or what attitudes are prevalent.

Any methods can be used (questionnaires, interviews, observations, case studies etc) as long as you can argue and support from literature that they are the most appropriate method(s) to answer your research questions.  The point is that your conclusions will be of interest to a wider group of people.  The advantage with this type of dissertation is that you would have potential access to a wide number of people who could help you with your research.


The Work Based Dissertation

This is applied research or problem solving research that looks at any issue for a particular organisation and this would normally be the organization where you currently work.  The idea here is that you take an issue for the organization/company and, using a rigorous research process, come up with conclusions and recommendations that will be useful to the company.

For this type of research you would use a case study approach which may involve using questionnaires/interviews/observations etc but these would all be focused within the chosen organisation/company.  The advantage of this approach is that you can work within your own company and this may make good use of your time and knowledge.

However, there are some disadvantages. Data may not always be forthcoming in spite of earlier promises and you are reliant on the good will of your senior managers for the success of your project.  For this reason we require certain safeguards and assurances from your employer before you start your research and if we are not satisfied that appropriate support will be forthcoming then we will insist you carry out a standard dissertation as above.

Writing the dissertation


The dissertation is made up of a number of chapters:

Chapter 1      Introduction

Chapter 2      Literature Review

Chapter 3      Methodology

Chapter 4      Analysis and Discussion of Findings

Chapter 5      Conclusion.


These chapters are discussed in great detail in all the documentation that you have been given: in this guide; in the lecture notes; and in the Dissertation Guide online. However it is useful to have this general structure in your mind at the outset.


It is more than likely that you will write say 95% of a chapter and then have to go back to it at a later date to finish it off. This is because your ideas change, new material is found or some elements can only be written towards the end of the process when you know what you have done.


Plagiarism – words of advice and warning!


Plagiarism, as you should know, is copying someone else’s work either in part, or totally, and submitting it as your own work. Plagiarism could be


  • Using a diagram from a book or journal and ‘forgetting’ to cite the source.
  • Cutting and pasting sections from other pieces of work in journals or from the Internet without citing
  • A complete copying of someone else’s work and passing it off as your own.


Another form of cheating, and hence plagiarism, is making up information. In a dissertation this would usually mean dreaming up imaginary results for your primary data collection and pretending that you have done things that you haven’t.


We regard plagiarism as very serious, especially at level 6, as you are trying to gain credit for the module, and hence a high level qualification, by fraud. Cases of potential plagiarism are sent to the Plagiarism Committee.


This is not a nice thing to happen to you. If it does go to the Plagiarism Committee you will be invited to an initial meeting to state your case. However in most cases plagiarism on your dissertation is regarded as a major breach of the rules. You would then have to attend a second interview where you will be asked potentially even more awkward questions. This for most people is stressful. If you do not attend then a decision will be made in your absence.


Based on the evidence submitted there a number of possible outcomes. However most of these are penalties which go up in severity. To see what the possible penalties are you should refer to the relevant section of the University Student Handbook.


However to give you some idea of what the penalties are, some students in the past have finished up with either (i) no qualification at all or (ii) a lesser qualification than they anticipated. This is because the dissertation is regarded as the ultimate test of your ability to carry out independent work with minimal guidance at a high level.


The two penalties outlined above are major penalties but even slightly less severe penalties are still substantial – ‘retake the module with a mark capped at 40%’ being such a ‘less severe penalty’. However this will mean re-enrolling on the module, paying a module fee, writing another proposal and redoing the dissertation and will take at least another 12 months which in turn means that you do not graduate with your friends. Additionally if the module mark is capped at 40% it will probably affect your degree classification. You may also have to explain all this to family and friends.


Additionally no decision will be made about any possible award until any plagiarism issue is resolved.


So do not expect to get away with plagiarism. Your supervisor will know from discussions with you what you are capable of and your usual style of writing. If your supervisor has never seen you and a dissertation is submitted that looks good and reads well then our suspicions will be aroused.


If you wish to read more about plagiarism three good websites are;


  • University of Indiana


  • University of Alberta


  • The English Centre, University of Hong Kong



Submitting drafts of your work through Turnitin


To help you overcome the problem of possible plagiarism we allow you to submit drafts of your work through the plagiarism detection software Turnitin. The drafts can be individual chapters or the dissertation itself. Because these are draft submissions you can submit as many times as you like.


To submit a draft you need to:


  • Go into the Service Industries Dissertation course on your Blackboard page.
  • Click on the Assignments banner on the left hand side of the screen.
  • Follow the instructions.


Because it usually takes a bit of time to get an ‘Originality Report’ back it is best to submit at night and then check the report the following morning.


The originality report gives percentage rating of possible plagiarism called a Similarity Index. It is difficult to say whether a high percentage indicates plagiarism. However typically anything over 40% will need looking at by you. Similarly an individual source with a percentage over, say, 10% may also need looking at.


An alternative way of assessing possible plagiarism is to say that if there are 30 or more consecutive words in any one block from another source then that could be regarded as plagiarism. Some universities are as low as 15 consecutive words!


You just have to remember to credit other people if you quote or use their work and to be truthful and honest about how you have completed your research.  You get more credit from critically reviewing others work and identifying weakness in your own research than you do by trying to cheat.


The university and module staff reserve the right to review these drafts using the Turnitin software.


Your tutors can also view these drafts and print them out. Everything you can see and do, so can your tutors.


Submitting drafts of your work to your supervisor


It is expected that you will submit a draft of each chapter to your supervisor who will give you feedback on the structure and content of these chapters.


  • Your supervisor will agree with you the submission date for each draft chapter but these dates are outlined below.
  • You should send the draft by email directly to your supervisor, unless your supervisor specifies otherwise.
  • Each draft chapter will only be reviewed once. You should not send further versions of the same chapter to your supervisor once you have received this feedback.
  • A mark will not be given for a draft.


The table below shows suggested deadline dates for draft chapters. Some of these are very tight and so negotiation with your supervisor may be required if you cannot meet them. However adherence to these more or less means you will be on track to finish the dissertation in good time.




Please Note:


Supervisors will give clear feedback and advice on Intro, Lit Review and Methodology. However Analysis/Findings and Conclusions are the sections that are based on your own data, so you will only receive brief ‘advice’ on general layout and presentation of these two chapters.


Structure of the dissertation


The structure of your dissertation should conform to the following guidelines. Information about the content of these chapters is also given in the lecture notes. The hard (paper) copy of the dissertation should comprise:


Title page


This should have your dissertation title, your name, your student number, the module code, the pathway and the month and year. It should be in a readable black font.


It is unnecessary to include pictures, shading or colour on the title page. Academic pieces of work do not require such embellishments. Some dissertation markers think such additions detract from the dissertation. Also do not cover the title page with anything other than the UWL cover sheet. Do not obscure the details on the title page with fore example an opaque cover.




It is usual but not compulsory to thank those who have been of particular help to you in completing the dissertation. Some students also take the opportunity to thank those who have supported them through their studies – such as members of their family.


If you wish to acknowledge your supervisor for their help it is customary to ask their permission. Do not be offended if they decline the request as many supervisors do so as a matter of course on all dissertations. The best advice is to keep it to members of your family.





This is a maximum of one page which concisely summarises the research. It consists of three paragraphs – what the research was about (aim and research question, what you did (the methodology) and what you found out (your findings/conclusion).


Contents page or list


This should be detailed and identify each section of the dissertation with corresponding page numbers. You write the contents list last. It should include all appendices and be followed by separate lists of tables and figures if appropriate.


Chapter 1 – Introduction


The Introduction should contain:


  • Your topic clearly stated.
  • The reason why it is of interest to you.
  • Background information as appropriate.
  • Definitions of all special and general terms.
  • A clear overall purpose including aim, objectives and research questions or hypotheses.
  • It is also informative to give a brief description of the contents of the remaining chapters of the dissertation. This alerts the reader and prepares them for the rest of the work.



Chapter 2 Literature Review                                                   


This chapter should demonstrate that you have conducted a thorough and critical investigation of relevant current sources, outlining, comparing and discussing key ideas, explanations, concepts, theories and models associated with your chosen topic.


You should present these ideas in a systematic, well-structured and logical sequence. It should be written in an essay style but it is normal to subdivide the literature review in to numbered subsections. Short paragraphs of one or two sentences are not the correct writing style as the argument cannot be developed or the point made to any depth if the paragraph is not of sufficient length.


All literature should be referenced in the Harvard System, not just for quotations but also for ideas and information drawn from the works of others.



Chapter 3 Methodology                                                           


This chapter describes and assesses the approach you have taken to the data collection process. It is an opportunity for you to be self-critical (which what the markers are looking for). Do not assume you have been perfect in collecting your data – reflection is important in this chapter. The chapter is likely to be sub-divided into three sub-sections.

The first sub-section will refer to the theory of research and present a clear rationale for your methodology. This will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of possible methods (do not discuss all research methods) and an explanation of why you have chosen your particular method(s) and discounted the others.


Do not just restate the notes you have been given by us but refer to the research methods literature and texts. You will probably find that some advantages are actually disadvantages for your research, and vice versa, or you may come up with some of your own.


The second section should explicitly describe what you actually did (where, when, how many, pilot survey etc) and any issues related to sampling theory (sampling frame, sampling techniques used). It should be possible to replicate your research from the detail given here.

The third section will be a critique of the success, or otherwise, or your method(s). The technical names are reliability and validity.  You would also include some suggestions for improving the research should it be done again either by you or somebody else.




Chapter 4 Analysis and Discussion of Findings   


This chapter discusses what has been found through any primary data. It covers three areas:


  • Analysis of the results. The analysis can be discussed here but the details of any analysis (calculations, spreadsheet print outs, etc.) should be shown in the appendices.


  • Discussion of the results of the analysis. You should present any discussion clearly and logically and it should be relevant to your aim, objectives and research questions/hypotheses. Put any tables or diagrams that you decide to include as close as possible to the text and not in the appendices, and discuss them fully – do not leave it to the reader to try and workout what a diagram means or what the most important element is.


  • How your findings relate to the literature. Make sure that you relate the findings of your primary research to your literature review. You can do this by comparison: discussing similarities and particularly differences. If you think your findings have confirmed some literature findings say so and say why. If you think your findings are at variance with the literature say so and say why.



Chapter 5 – Conclusion                                                              


State the main conclusions of your dissertation. State explicitly how and to what extent you have met your aim, objectives and answered the research questions or proved/disproved your hypotheses. You conclusions should follow logically from your findings and not contain any new material. For the Work Based Dissertation only you should also include Recommendations.

You should state the word count for the dissertation at the end of this chapter.




This should conform to the current Harvard System as used by the University. You should refer to the Harvard System booklet you were given.




The final sections of the dissertation are the appendices. Each appendix should be lettered (A, B, C etc.) and cross referenced in the main text. They consist of detailed information relating to the methodology and findings chapters such as a data sheet and a copy of the questionnaire.

The appendices should be in the order that they are referred to in the main text. For instance, if Appendix A refers to something on page 25 and Appendix B refers to something on page 15, the appendices need to be re-lettered. This inconsistency occurs when text is moved around or inserted.


In total there are 11 sections to the dissertation of which only 5 – the 5 chapters – are specifically numbered.


The electronic copy of the dissertation you submit should comprise everything from the Title page to the Appendices.


Length of the dissertation


The dissertation should be between 8,000 and 10,000 words. This count includes everything that can be counted such as tables, figures and diagrams.


Some universities allow 10% each way on these limits – we don’t. The dissertation MUST be between the limits.


Having said that, a dissertation that is just over 8,000 words in length, in most cases, will not have developed the argument sufficiently.  In such cases it is likely to be marked down accordingly because of a lack of depth or discussion.


A dissertation that is over 10,000 words will be marked down because it is too long. Editing your work is one of the skills we are trying to develop. Some markers will stop reading once they think they have reached 10,000 words and thus not mark the excess!


Ideally you should be aiming for about 9,500 to 9,800 words.


Length of each chapter


A frequently asked question is – how long is each chapter? The answer is ‘We don’t know – as there are many factors that affect this – the topic, your writing ability, the primary data collected and so on’. However it is possible to give some approximate figures, as shown below:

Min               Max

Chapter 1      1200               1800

Chapter 2      3800               4200

Chapter 3      1200               1500

Chapter 4      1000               1500

Chapter 5        800               1000


Total               8000             10000


It must be remembered these are just guidelines and there is much variation possible around these.  For example you may write less than the minimum suggested for Chapter 1 but then write slightly more for Chapter 2 to compensate. Provided you address all the issues in each chapter in depth then the above will serve as reasonable guidelines.









Style and presentation of the dissertation


The dissertation should conform to the following standards:


Paper White A4 paper should be used.

The paper should be of good quality and of sufficient thickness for normal reading.

Binding The hard copy should be Thermal bound (the LIBRARY offers this service).
Pagination All pages should be numbered in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 etc.).

Page 1 is the first page of the Introduction.

The sections that come before the Introduction (Abstract, Acknowledgement and Contents Page) should be numbered with small Roman numerals i, ii, iii, iv, etc.).

All page numbers should centred at the bottom of the page.



Margins at the binding edge must not be less than 40 mm (1.5 inches) and other margins not less than 20 mm (0.75 inch).
Spacing of lines Double spacing between lines should be used for all text.

However, indented quotations and references in the Reference list should have single line spacing.

Chapter headings Each chapter should have a header – e.g. Chapter 1 – Introduction.
Section headings Section headings may be used within a chapter but should be consistent. Use this module study guide as an example.
Tables & Figures Where tables and figures (graphs, charts and diagrams) are used they should, as far as possible, be given margins equal to or greater than a page of text.

They should be displayed or pasted into the dissertation as near as possible to the relevant text.

Each one should be numbered consecutively, for example, Table 1, Figure 1, etc.

Font You are advised to use either Times New Roman or Arial (this font) – do not use Comic Sans MS for example.
Font size Font size 11 or 12 (this is in size 11) should be used. The size of the chapter headings and section headings are left to your discretion but should not be unduly large.
Bolding It is normal to just bold headings and not bold what you think are key words.
Italics Italics should only be used for direct quotations.
Underlining There is no need to underline anything in the dissertation.

Submission of the dissertation


  • You should submit one hard paper copy of your dissertation to the academic office and one electronic copy via turnitin. ALL should be submitted before 1.00pm on the due date. Note that you must also submit the Research Logbook to the academic office at the same time as the hardcopy of the dissertation.


The following points should be adhered to when submitting your dissertation:


  • The hardcopy should have your supervisor’s name on (who will be the first marker)
  • No hard copy of the dissertation will be returned to you after submission. If you want your own copy you will have to print additional copies.


To submit your dissertation electronically you need to:


  • Submit through Blackboard / Turnitin.
    • Go into the Service Industries Dissertation course on your Blackboard page.
    • Click on the Assignments banner on the left hand side of the screen.
  • Follow the instructions.
  • This electronic copy should be from the Title page to the end of the References.
    • Do not submit the appendices as part of the electronic copy
    • Because Blackboard / Turnitin is a computerised system, it does not allow you to submit after the deadline. You must therefore submit the electronic copy (well) before the deadline time and date.



The university and module staff reserve the right to review the dissertation using the Turnitin software.




Second marker and the External Examiner


Your dissertation maybe selected for second marking as part of the University’s procedures to ensure fairness and consistency and to adhere with Quality requirements. A sample of dissertations are also reviewed by the External Examiner.


Late submission and extensions


Late submission relates to both the paper submission and the electronic submission. You must treat all copies as basically one and the same, as the rules apply to all three as though they are one copy. The following table shows the various combinations of submissions and whether they will be regarded as a late submission or not:


Submit by the dissertation date Outcome
1 Hard copy + Electronic copy + Research Logbook OK
1 Hard copy Late submission
1 Hard copy + Electronic copy Late submission
1 Hard copy + Research Logbook Late submission
Electronic copy + Research Logbook Late submission
Electronic copy only Late submission
Nothing Late submission


Thus, unless you submit everything by the hand-in deadline for the dissertation then you will be in a ‘late submission’ situation.


The penalty for late submission of either the hard copy, the research logbook and/or an electronic copy by the stated dissertation hand-in date is dependent on whether or not an extension has been given. The table below shows the various possibilities:


Circumstance Outcome
Extension granted and missing work submitted by agreed extended date. Full marks


Extension granted and missing work submitted after agreed extended date. 0%
No extension granted and missing work submitted within 5 working days of stated dissertation date. Maximum of 40% awarded
No extension granted and missing work submitted after 5 working days of stated dissertation date. 0%
Nothing submitted. 0%


It is only in extreme circumstances that extensions are given for the dissertation (please discuss with your dissertation supervisor). An extension request form can be obtained from the academic office, which must be signed by your course leader with a new agreed hand-in date.  If you have any doubts at all about whether you have been given an extension you should contact your course leader.


The granting of an extension is only done in exceptional and unforeseen circumstances as you are expected to manage your time effectively. One of the main reasons students apply for extensions tend to be because of computer problems especially in the LIBRARY.


There could be 400 students or more on this module having to submit their dissertations with you at approximately the same time. Hence the pressure on computing and especially printing and binding facilities is extremely high.


In the past the student network failed on the hand-in date and caught out a number of poorly organised students. In one year there was a virus in the LIBRARY that ruined a number of student’s work at the last minute. Failure of printers, computers or corrupt memory sticks etc is not an acceptable reason for an extension.


If you have a computer related problem you should see the module leader and negotiate a slightly later hand-in time – normally a couple of hours later (your case is only believable if it will take a brief time to print after computer problems are resolved). At most the hand-in will be postponed until the next day – but this is very rare.


To overcome these potential problems:



Get ahead of yourself.


Do not leave printing and binding to the hand-in day, or even the day before.


Aim to submit both the hardcopy, research logbook and the electronic copies at least one day before the deadline date (you should have completed the dissertation by then anyway).





For more serious circumstances you should apply for mitigation – although considerable reasons have to be given. If mitigation is approved any decisions and marks awarded will be in accordance with the decision of the Mitigation Board. This may delay the awarding of your degree.


If you do not know the formal procedure for mitigation you should contact your Module leader and/or the academic office. Please notify your dissertation supervisor if you are applying for mitigation.


After submission of the dissertation


Viva voce


In certain circumstances, students should be prepared to attend a viva voce examination if requested to do so. This is usually required if the dissertation is considered to be a borderline pass or if the truth or originality of the work is in question.  We try to do this as soon as possible after the work has been looked at. You must be available to attend a viva voice if required up until the end of Semester 2.


Until you receive your final results from the University you should keep all drafts of your dissertation and materials especially those used in your primary data collection such as recordings, interview transcripts and completed questionnaires etc.  You could be asked to produce them to verify your work.


If you are not able to produce these materials then your tutors will be very suspicious about whether you have, for example, collected the data yourself.


Marking of the dissertation


Some dissertations are double-marked by the supervisor and second marker. They will then meet to agree a final mark.


The mark is then moderated by a panel of dissertation supervisors who will look at the range of dissertations, paying particular attention to consistency across classifications, fails, firsts and any borderlines cases.


The overall module mark (dissertation and research logbook) is also considered and if it falls within 2% of the next classification, and if the dissertation itself achieved a mark in the higher classification and has been pulled down to a lower classification by a poor mark on the research logbook, the overall module mark may be given the higher classification if the supervisor and the panel think it is appropriate and a true reflection of the student’s abilities as evidenced by the final dissertation.


A sample of dissertations is also viewed by each Course external examiner.


The marking criteria for the dissertation is available on Blackboard. You should know these criteria in detail and use them as a checklist on your submission.




If your overall mark (weighted mean of research logbook and dissertation) is less than 40% you will be given a resit opportunity. You will be sent one of your copies of your dissertation with the feedback comments from the supervisor with advice on how to improve the dissertation in the deficient areas.

However this resit is usually required to be resubmitted in a fairly short period of time (typically you have about 3 weeks to amend the work). Depending on the faults with your work this can be demanding both in terms of what has to be done and the time constraints you are operating under. This is especially the case if the deficiency is to do with the primary data collection where you may need to collect either some data or more data.


For the resit you need to submit the following by 1pm on the due date:

  • 1 hard copy of the resit dissertation with your supervisors name on it
  • 1 electronic copy of the dissertation through turnitin, the link will be in the Assignments folder in Blackboard and marked ‘Resit’.


You may be required to resit the Research Logbook. Since the logbook is supposed to be a running record of your project management skills, it is not possible for you to resubmit an improved version of the logbook. In this case you will be set an alternative piece of resit work based on the project management of the module.






If your overall resit module mark is less than 40% then you will be given the opportunity to retake the module again, if you wish to obtain an honours degree.

Retaking the module means:

  • Waiting until the module is next offered – usually the next semester but note this cannot be guaranteed.
  • Enrolling on the module.
  • Paying the module fee.
  • Getting a new module study guide.
  • Attending the dissertation workshops sessions.
  • Submitting a new research logbook.
  • Seeing your supervisor regularly.
  • Submitting the dissertation (paper and electronic copies) by the due date.


The following should be noted:


  • It will take two semesters to go through this process.
  • There is no guarantee that you will be able to enrol the next semester. This is especially the case if you want to retake in September, as we may not have enough supervisors to supervise all the dissertations then.
  • You may encounter visa problems.


To avoid a resit or retake you are advised to read all the documentation so that you know and understand it. This way you should be in a good position to produce a good dissertation.



Summary of submission dates


The table below summarises the submission dates.


Timing Submission Dates for SEPTEMBER 2019 starters Assessment
First semester

week 1

Monday 16th September 2019 Publication of supervisor list.
First semester

week 9

Friday 15th November 2019 Submission of all Research Ethics Forms
Second semester

week 15

Tuesday 12th May 2020 Dissertation – Submission of 1 copy of dissertation plus the research logbook to Academic office plus electronic copy via Turnitin.


NOTE: You must fulfil ALL the hand-in requirements of the Dissertation on time, that means hard copies and e-copies must be in by the deadline. For e-copies Turnitin will CLOSE 1 minute after the hand-in time given i.e. 1.01pm.



Allocation of supervisors


Supervisors are allocated at the start of the dissertation project in week 1 of the first semester. Every effort is made to match you with a supervisor who has an interest and subject expertise in the topic you have decided upon. We consider this desirable as both parties can engage in an interesting topic together.  However, it is generally considered that the main function of a supervisor at undergraduate level is to guide the student through the process of doing research and not to provide subject knowledge as this is the responsibility of the student.


When you have been advised who your supervisor is (see the Dissertation notice board and via Blackboard) you should then make an appointment with them to discuss your project. This is best done by email.


The learning support provided in the form of a supervisor will be new to many of you and you will need to work with your supervisor through the process of doing your research. They will expect to have contact with you on a regular basis, see work in progress and discuss your ideas with you.


Your supervisor is the first marker for your final dissertation and you should always keep them up to date with what you are doing.  By all means talk to subject lecturers – but always check things out with your supervisor.





  • Can I select my supervisor?


Unfortunately no, we make the allocation. This is because of staff work loading, lack of knowledge of staff interests and general fairness to all students – as some students will not know the staff.


  • Can I change my supervisor once allocated?


Once again – no. Once the allocation is made you have to work with that supervisor. In exceptional circumstances supervisors may swap students amongst themselves usually because of the topic area being studied.


What can you expect from your supervisor?


  • That they will be interested in your research.
  • That they will be available for meetings as needed, bearing in mind reasonable access and the need to negotiate times and dates convenient for both parties. That they are punctual and turn up as arranged.
  • That they will ensure a suitable environment for meetings and offer ‘quality time’ and that they will be prepared for your meetings.
  • That they respond promptly to messages.
  • That they will give constructive and honest feedback on your ideas, your proposal and on draft sections of your dissertation. Each section will only be reviewed once.
  • That they will NOT look at a full draft or do any pre-marking prior to the hand in date.
  • That they will challenge your ideas and expect you to argue your strategies.
  • That they will be supportive.
  • That they will guide you in developing your research methodology.
  • That they will clarify any rules and procedures.
  • That they will mark your research logbook and your final dissertation.


What does your supervisor expect from you?


  • That you will be interested in and enthusiastic about your research and have generated a topic and ideas for investigation.
  • That you have read all the documentation and have a clear understanding of what is required – that you will ask if something is not clear.
  • That you turn up punctually and are prepared for your meetings/discussions and this means that you can produce a progress report and a clear agenda for discussion.
  • That if you are unable to attend a meeting/discussion, you will give 24 hours notice of cancellation – your supervisor may be coming in at that time just to talk to you.
  • That you respond promptly to messages.
  • That any work that you would like feedback on is given to the supervisor prior to the meeting to allow for considered reflection.
  • That you follow advice and that you are honest about any problems and shortfalls you may be experiencing.
  • That you take responsibility for your own work and recognise that the learning time for this module is 400 hours. (e.g. an average of 13 hours a week for thirty one weeks).
  • That you use your research logbook to make a record of what is agreed at each meeting, together with an agreed time and date of the next meeting.
  • That you drive the relationship – i.e. you make the appointments with your supervisor as and when you need them. It is not the supervisor’s role to chase you.



Once an appointment is made you must keep it unless you cancel it with plenty of notice (at least 24 hours). There is no easier way to upset a supervisor than by not turning up.



Frequency of meetings


It is essential that you have either several meetings/discussions with your supervisor or get feedback electronically.  If they do not see your work on a regular basis they cannot help you. How many and how long is a matter for you and your supervisor to negotiate to your mutual satisfaction and within your time commitments. However work on the basis that each meeting is business like – so is short and concise i.e. 15 – 20 minutes.


One definite meeting that must take place with your supervisor is prior to starting the primary data collection. In particular before you send out any letter, questionnaire or other materials (you are not allowed to use the UWL logo or header in these documents) you need to get approval from your supervisor for the data collection instrument. We don’t want something which contains spelling mistakes, poor grammar or poorly designed questions being sent to people in the industry.


You need to give any material to your supervisor a few days before any actual meeting. This allows them time to read the material. Once it has been read a meeting can then be arranged accordingly to get feedback.


Having read this guide (possibly a few times) and taken on board the advice remember that many students have gone through this process and come out the other side with excellent work and marks. You are following a well-worn path that we know works. Do not leave things to the last moment but work on a regular basis, set yourself mini-targets and stick to them. Good luck!  On the next page is the final reminder.











This module is different to other modules.


A dissertation requires a lot of hard work, a lot of reading and a lot of preparation – do not underestimate the task.


Do not leave things until the last minute – get started early and aim to finish early. Have a timetable and stick to it.


Know the key dates.


It is expected that you see your supervisor as you go along.


Check that your dissertation follows the stated structure, style and presentation requirements.


Know the marking criteria – what are we looking for and assess your own work.


Keep all your material until after you receive your results.


Always make backup copies of your files (hard drive, two memory sticks and email) and in multiple locations!  Do this throughout the process of producing your dissertation – not just your final version.


If in doubt about mitigation/extensions see your course leader or the module leader.


Print off and bind your dissertation early to avoid disaster!


Hand in the one hardcopy and electronic submission before the deadline.


If you want your own copies bound, print extra copies and bind these too.


Do not plagiarise any part of your dissertation – know how to cite, quote and use the Harvard System.


After you have submitted celebrate (a little, not too much)!




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