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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Management Honours Dissertation (BUST10049)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe Management Honours Dissertation is taken in the 4th year of study and is part of the core courses in Business Studies and related degrees. It is a requirement for students aiming to graduate with an MA from the University of Edinburgh.

It is an independent research project which culminates in the production of a ~15,000 word document, commonly split into the following chapters: Introduction; Literature Review; Methodology/Research Design; Results/Findings; and Conclusion.
Course description The dissertation is a 40 credit course (equivalent to 2 full courses at Honours) and equates to one-sixth of the total Honours assessment taken over both the Honours years (6 courses in 3rd Year and 4 courses plus the dissertation in 4th Year). For the MA Honours in International Business or MA Honours in International Business with a Language, the dissertation ranks as one-third of the total assessment.

It is the most independent component of the Business School's undergraduate degree programme as it requires students, supported by their Dissertation Advisor, to identify and define a research topic, conduct the research and report on findings in a substantial piece of academic writing, all within a predetermined schedule of nearly 12 months.

Undertaking the dissertation allows you to develop a deep level of analysis and understanding of the theory and processes of organisations, markets, and the business environment through the completion of a piece of individual research.

Student Learning Experience:

The dissertation provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities in the graduate attributes that form part of the learning outcomes identified by the University of Edinburgh. In addition practical skills will be built in research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication and personal effectiveness.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate research skills in planning, executing and reporting research.
  2. Demonstrate independent learning and critical thinking.
  3. Demonstrate critical and in-depth knowledge of a particular subject area.
Reading List
There is no set text or journal articles for this course but many research methods books and articles may be useful, e.g.:
-Business research methods. Bell, Emma, Bryman, Alan and Harley, Bill. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press; 2019.
-Research Methods for Business Students. Saunders, Mark N.K, Lewis, Philip and Thornhill, Adrian. Old Tappan: Pearson Education UK; 2012.
-Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Creswell. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2009
-Case study research: Design and methods. Yin. London: Sage Publications; 1989.
-The Integration of Fieldwork and Survey Methods. Sieber. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1335-1359; 1973.
-Thematic Coding and Categorizing, Analyzing Qualitative Data. Gibbs. London: SAGE; 2007.

There is also a range of online resources available to support your dissertation process, including:
-Library resources for dissertations and research methods:
-Institute for Academic Development resources:
-dissertation resource list:

There is a referencing guide available at:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Critical Enquiry

Upon completing the dissertation you should be able to:
- Undertake an independent piece of research, supported by an advisor, on complex topics,
- Review literature in a critical manner in order to identify research questions and draw conclusions,
- Identify, justify and use appropriate modes of enquiry to answer research questions,
- Use appropriate techniques to analyse research data,
- Reflect on successful and poor time management,
- Feel confident in your project management skills,
- Think critically about a particular topic and evidence,
- Evaluate your own performance against generic assessment criteria,
- Develop cognitive skills such as analysis, synthesis, creativity and evaluation,
- Reflect on how best to communicate information and arguments to a wider audience.

Personal Intellectual Autonomy

The dissertation will develop the following personal intellectual autonomy skills:
- Time management and scheduling a major project,
- Reflect on and understand how you operate best when facing a major task, meeting deadlines and milestones,
- Develop cognitive skills such as those of analysis, synthesis, creativity and evaluation.


The dissertation will develop the following communication skills:
- Prepare and deliver a report according to a set guidelines,
- Communicate original research findings clearly and accurately in writing,
- Relate your research findings to the existing body of knowledge on the dissertation topic,
- Use references, quotations and acknowledgements,
- Reflect on how best to communicate information and arguments to a wider audience.
Additional Class Delivery Information Contact Hours

Over the course of the dissertation period, a student should expect a minimum of four meetings of variable length with their Dissertation Advisor. Depending on the degree programme involved, students will also have had 4-6 hours of dissertation preparation lectures in 3rd year and the following support sessions in 4th Year on reviewing literature and writing up.
1) Literature review
2) Research contribution
3) Research design and data collection
4) Writing your methods
5) Analysis
6) Writing a discussion
7) Writing a conclusion

Non-contact Hours

As the Management Honours Dissertation accounts for 40 credits (equivalent to two taught courses), and is a complex piece of work, students should expect to devote a considerable amount of time to it - working independently outside of contact hours. As per the Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework (SCQF), this means that it should entail approximately 400 hours of student effort. Successful completion requires considerable time devoted to researching the topic, gathering and analysing relevant data and writing up your study in the appropriate manner. Students should not underestimate the time required and the need to make an early start on reviewing the literature and undertaking your own research. In addition, if a student intends to use modes of enquiry with which he/she is not entirely familiar, he/she will need to spend time familiarising themselves with these. Writing up in an appropriate manner is also a lengthy process.

It is, therefore, important for students to understand fully the need to 'front-load' their efforts as much as possible so as to allow plenty of time to complete the dissertation within the time allowed.
Course organiserDr Teea Palo
Tel: (0131 6)51 1070
Course secretaryMiss Isla Dalley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3900
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