Describe and evaluate the studies that present the theoretical framework used to select the variables or the focus for the study and to guide the analysis and interpretation of the data.

No Description Page
Introduction to this handbook 3
Dissertation organisation 3
Guidelines for organisation of the dissertation 3
Arrangements of the dissertation 4
Chapters 5
Bibliography and references 8
Appendices 8
Main points to be considered for various sections 8
Research problems 8
Relevant scholarly literature 9
Research design 9
Findings 9
Conclusions and recommendations 10
Form and style 10
Other guidelines and formatting 10
Plagiarism in dissertation 11
Grading criteria 12
Responsibility 13
Candidate`s responsibility 13
Supervisor`s responsibility 14
Bibliography 14-15

A dissertation is a necessary requirement in the successful completion of a Master’s degree. Writing a dissertation is one of the most creative challenges for any postgraduate Programmes. It offers students the opportunity to prove that they have the ability to implement the knowledge they have acquired throughout their studies in postgraduate level programme and to carry out in-depth research into a topic of their choice related to the aims of the Programme, under the guidance of a supervisor.

A successful dissertation would represent an outstanding academic achievement, which required hard work, critical thinking, personal discipline and dedication; and sometimes it is the greatest academic achievement for many students. Completing the dissertation is a challenge and will lead the student up to the cutting edge of research conducted at that time on his or her area of interest or field of research.

A dissertation is often expected to make an original contribution to knowledge, which was based on individual and independent work.

This handbook is intended to guide and assist our Postgraduate students towards successfully completing well researched, sound and professionally presented dissertations. It is hoped that both supervisors and candidates would find this handbook helpful, and furthermore it contains mandatory guidelines which at least, will satisfy the minimum requirements for acceptable dissertations and the award of the degree.

You would find this section especially helpful to:

Establish and agree on the terms of student/supervisor working relationship.
Develop a workable plan and follow through an organised sequence of work, and activities to meet deadlines set for research, writing, and analysis, consultations with supervisors, review, and presentations, and/or publications.
Organise the structure of your work, which will reflect a high level of academic orientation and professionalism.

A dissertation must address a significant question and demonstrate that its author can interpret findings and formulate conclusions that are the result of independent thinking and sustained evaluation of source materials. These findings must be expressed in clear and grammatical language that is well-organised into cogent and coherent argument. A dissertation must have a comprehensive introduction or review of literature, discussion and bibliography.


The following is a suggested format that may be used to lay out the material within the dissertation document:

Cover page
Declaration Page
Dedication Page (Optional)
Acknowledgement page (Optional)
Table of Contents
List of tables and Figures
Operational definitions of constructs (if any)

CHAPTER 1 Introduction
CHAPTER 2 Literature review
CHAPTER 3 Methodology
CHAPTER 4 Findings
CHAPTER 5 Discussions, conclusions and direction for further research



Candidates must follow these rules in submitting their dissertations:

a. Front Page – Cover Page
The title page should include the following details (see appendix):
The full title of the Dissertation o The full name of the author
The award for which the degree is submitted in partial fulfilment of its requirements
The Faculty and University title including the collaborating establishment, if any
The month and year of submission

b. Second Page – Declaration

Student must declare that this is his/her original work and that the work has never been submitted and/or presented for any award in any university or institution of higher learning.

c. Third page – Dedication (optional) d. Fourth page – Acknowledgement

A statement of acknowledgement for any assistance given in carrying out the research should be mentioned here.

d. Fifth page – Abstract

The abstract is a synopsis of the research works undertaken written in approximately 500 words. This abstract should state the nature and scope of the research undertaken and the contribution made to the knowledge of the subject area. A loose copy of the abstract should be submitted with the dissertation. The loose copy will have the names of the author and supervisor, the title of the dissertation and year of submission.

e. Sixth page – Table of Contents

f. Seventh page – List of figures and tables g. CHAPTERS

The dissertation should be systematically divided into appropriate sections and subsections throughout the work. It should contain information about aspects relevant to the project which, if contained in the main text, would ensue from the argument being presented in the dissertation.

The ideas, experiences and other information gathered from the literature review should be referenced and acknowledged by using the abbreviated citations in the text which provided the key to a fuller description in the reference section

All dissertations/thesis begin with an introduction describing the problem under investigation and its background, its relevance to the field, the assumptions and the limitations of the study, and the expected findings.
Chapter One should discuss the following points:
An introduction describing the background of the problem and the rationale for the research
The research aims and objectives
Research questions and hypotheses
The significance of the study
The operational definitions used in the study
Structure of the study

Chapter 2:
Literature Review
All dissertations, contain reviews of the literature about their topics. A literature review appears in dissertations as a separate chapter). The project will include a robust and critical literature review. The main purpose is to establish the important areas of research and enquiry such that the project objectives can be achieved. It serves an important purpose in expanding the body of knowledge that we have with which to understand current performance and as a secondary base to build better informed practices for the future. It should review both the academic literature and the empirical practices that organisations operate

A successful literature review will accomplish the following objectives:
Describe the line of research or investigations of which the dissertation is meant to form a most recent part.
Identify, describe, and evaluate the studies that support the dissertation’s or research project’s formulations of the research problem, the research question, and the significance of the study.
Describe and evaluate the studies that present the theoretical framework used to select the variables or the focus for the study and to guide the analysis and interpretation of the data

collected in the dissertation project.
Identify, describe, and evaluate the studies supporting the selection of the dissertation’s methodology and approach.
Support the appropriateness of the dissertation’s instruments, measures, and/or methods used to collect data

The main aspects of the literature review should be based on the following points:

The literature review chapter will discuss the previous research and theory in which the researcher discovered and developed the research problem.
It will show the relevance of the particular theoretical perspective or framework for identifying the issues, variables, phenomena, or key factors to investigate, including the significance of the problem.
It will synthesize and critique the literature reviewed, showing both the main foundation points for the dissertation and the opposing viewpoints, controversies in interpretation, or contrary findings relevant to the study. For example, attachment theory has many components and constructs; the literature review synthesizes them with other relevant research findings and selects those constructs that will be used to focus the present study.
Chapter-3: Research Methodology Chapter Three, you will describe the step-by-step the methods and procedures used in your study, in a way that will enable future researchers to replicate your study. The methodology should be informed by the background and rationale section. In the methodology section you should present your methodological choices on the research design, data collection method/s, sampling, data analysis, ethical issues

This chapter has at least the following elements:
Purposes of the Study: Re-introduce the purpose of the study.
Research Design: Define more fully the research design, citing its strengths and weaknesses.
Target Population and Participant Selection: Identify the population from which participants are to be selected and the method of sampling. Discuss and justify the sample size in this section.
Procedures: Describe the methods and procedures for conducting the study including ethical considerations of the study.
Instruments: Describe the data collection instruments
. Hypotheses and Research Questions: State the hypotheses or research questions in the proper form and style.
Data Collection and Data Analyses: Describe the collection and data
Findings/Results Chapter Four presents a non-evaluative reporting of the data, supported by tables, figures, and charts where applicable. Quantitative studies are typically guided by hypotheses or research questions, and

so the data are typically reported relative to each hypothesis or research question. This section is important as this is the area where you engage with new and original material that you have collected and the skills deployed here are definitive in terms of the scope final assessment grade together with the recommendations. Data must be presented systematically and structured clearly around tables, figures etc.
Chapter Four has at least the following elements:
Introduction: a brief introduction to the chapter containing three main points: a description of the chapter’s purpose, how it fits into the overall dissertation, and how the chapter is organized.
Description of the Sample: a description of the sample of participants who were in this study including significant demographic data describing the sample.
Statement of the Results: A brief point-by-point summary of the results and findings of your data analysis, typically organized around the research questions or hypotheses.
Details of the Analysis: The full detailed presentation of the data analysis and results. Again, this section typically takes each hypothesis or research question in order, describes the analysis, and presents the results for that hypothesis or question.
Summary: the findings can be recapitulated as a transition to Chapter 5

Chapter-5: Discussions, conclusions &
Recommendations In Chapter Five, authors must evaluate their own work and provide personal insight into and interpretation of their study’s results. This does not mean, of course, that informal, first-person writing is now possible. But within the constraints of scholarly writing, the learner now presents what the study means to him or her, and more widely, what he or she thinks it means to the field of practice, to the line of previous research, and to the communities interested in the topic.

In general, however, Chapter Five must accomplish two primary objectives:
It should assess whether the dissertation addresses the problems that precipitated the study (and how well); in doing so, the learner should interpret the study’s results in light of existing findings in the field.
It should recommend directions for future study.

To accomplish the first objective, Chapter Five addresses and discusses what the study means: What its implications are for the research question, the previous literature, and the wider communities of interest. Whereas Chapter Four was limited to simply presenting the results, now the researcher must show how those results do or do not answer the research question and what they mean in its light.
In your discussion section you should present your analysis clearly and logically and it should be relevant to your research aim, research
question(s), hypothesis (es) and objectives. 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

The second objective is to make recommendations for future research. To do so, Chapter Five should discuss the limitations of the study. The following elements can be incorporated in chapter-5:
Introduction to the chapter
Summary of the results
Discussions of the results
Recommendations (if any)
Contribution of the study
Theoretical and Managerial implications
Limitations of the study
Direction for further research


All published or other sources of material consulted must be acknowledged either in the Bibliography or Reference list. A list of references that you have used that should be cross-referenced with your text.

Books – Author’s surname, initials of other names, (year of publication in brackets); Title of book. Publishers and place of publication
Articles and Journals – Name of Author(s), Title of article. Name of Journal, Volume and Number, Date of publication, page number(s)
 Internet Search – Site Address needed (Please see Appendix for Harvard Referencing style guide)


Any appendices should be included. These should be made up of relevant statistical data or material which cannot be fitted into the chapters.


Dissertations should make an original contribution to knowledge, based on individual and independent work.

Does the dissertation deal with a significant and meaningful problem that lends itself to a substantial research effort? Is the problem of interest to other scholars or practitioners in the field? Has a persuasive case been made as to why the problem is worth solving?
Is it clear who or what will be aided by the research findings?
Will the findings provide a basis for generalised conclusions or have practical applicability?
Are the research questions stated concisely and explicitly in question form? Are they precise, specific and focused? Do they flow logically from the problem?
Are the hypotheses, when applicable, well formulated? Do they pose a relationship between or among measurable variables that is subject to testing?
Are the limitations of the study identified with recognition of their consequences? Are discrepancies in the study dealt with positively?
Are technical terms well defined? Are the definitions clear-cut, unambiguous, and comprehensible?
Does the dissertation clearly address some aspect of social change? What aspects has been addressed?

Is the conceptual framework properly developed for this type of study? Is previous work on the topic and related subjects critically appraised with due respect for differences of opinion?
Does the dissertation reflect comprehensive knowledge of the literature in the topic of the study, including both classic and contemporary works? Is this knowledge demonstrated in the presentation of the problem?
Is the research informed by primary sources of theories, concepts, principles and models in the field and are they referred to specifically? Is there an identifiable historical and philosophical context?
Is appropriate literature cited to provide a rationale for the research design, methods of data collection and data analysis?

Is the research designed fully described and justified?
Does the research design derive logically from the problem statement and the research questions?
Is the rationale for the chosen methodology clearly articulated?
Are the methods of data collection appropriate to the research design and the research problems?
Are the methods of data analysis and interpretation appropriate to the research questions or, when applicable, to the hypotheses?
Is the presentation of the research design and the study’s implementation sufficiently thorough as to enable replication of the study in all its essential aspects?

Are the processes by which the data were analysed and interpreted clearly presented?
Are the analyses and resulting findings presented logically and comprehensibly?
Do patterns and implications emerge from the data analysis? Do they yield informative findings that are meaningful in terms of the research questions?


Do the conclusions and recommendations flow logically and consistently from the research findings?
Are the recommendations useful? Do they point to appropriate action? Does the study provide a basis for further research?

Is the dissertation well written in scholarly language that is grammatically correct?
Is the presentation in accordance with required style and format? Are citations and references correctly used?
Is the material set systematically, logically, and rationally with appropriate use of headings and sub-headings?
Is the work well organised? Does it flow smoothly and without redundancy? Does it communicate to the reader in a straightforward fashion?

a. Length of dissertation – 15,000-20,000 words.

More or less than 5% of the prescribed word count will be penalised. Word count will be based on the abstract to the final chapter or conclusions. This excludes references, bibliography, notes and appendices

b. Diagrams, Pictures

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