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Module ASB-4902:
MSc Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by Bangor Business School

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 3

Organiser: Prof Owain ap Gwilym

Overall aims and purpose

To provide an opportunity initiate, plan and accomplish a substantial piece of work entailing an extensive review of the existing published theoretical and empirical literature on a clearly defined topic, augmented by the application of quantitative or qualitative methods in further analysis of that topic.

Course content

There is no set syllabus. The dissertation encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the professional skills relevant to the strategic management of a variety of business practices. Students choose their research topic, provided that there is suitable and sufficient reading material available, and a member of staff is available to supervise in the chosen area of study.

Assessment Criteria


Work demonstrating an adequate attempt at acquiring and applying knowledge.

Content 1. Partial identification of the issues 2. Adequate understanding and use of appropriate conceptual frameworks, experience and facts; some errors 3. Some evidence of consulting source material 4. No originality 5. Insufficient relevance

Structure 1. Links parts together, but lacks a coherent structure 2. Clear, but limited, objectives 3. Does not always reach a conclusion 4. Weakened by inappropriate or inaccurate use of language


Work demonstrating high level of analytical and applied competence on a broad range of factors. Free of major errors.

Content 1. Clear identification of the issues 2. High standard of critical analysis using appropriate conceptual frameworks and/or applying relevant experience and facts 3. Good evaluation and synthesis of source material 4. Shows some fresh thinking and originality 5. Substantially relevant

Structure 1. Clearly structured and logically developed 2. Clear, relevant and attainable objectives 3. Relevant conclusions 4. Supported by an appropriate range and use of language


Work of excellent quality in every respect. Focused and comprehensive, with critical depth and insight. Representing a model answer at the top end of the range.

Content 1. Concise and comprehensive identification of the issues 2. Excellent standard of critical analysis using appropriate conceptual frameworks and/or applying relevant experience and facts

  1. Comprehensive and excellent use, evaluation and synthesis of source material
  2. Shows fresh thinking and originality
  3. Wholly relevant

Structure 1. Well structured and logically developed 2. Exceptionally clear, relevant and attainable objectives 3. Clearly spelled out and relevant conclusions 4. Supported by a good range and appropriate use of language

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify a suitable topic for research.

  2. Plan, organise and manage an extensive research project on the chosen topic.

  3. Make use of library and electronic resources to identify literature and locate data.

  4. Synthesise and critically appraise a body of academic literature.

  5. Apply appropriate analytical, statistical, IT, research design, writing and other research skills in order to present relevant theoretical and/or empirical evidence on the chosen topic.

  6. Compile, edit and present a substantial research report.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Proposal 20
Final Dissertation 80

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Two 2-hour workshops outline the main features of how to undertake a postgraduate project. The lectures examine the main issues faced in choosing a suitable dissertation subject, research methods used to undertake a successful project, and accessing information sources and databases. The first explores how to conduct a literature review and identify an appropriate research question. The second considers appropriate research methods, including data collection tool design, access, data analysis, resource constraints and ethical issues.

Individual Project

Students are allocated a recommended 4 hours of staff consultation time for their postgraduate projects. Here advice is provided on the relevant primary literature, including book chapters, journal articles and internet sources that they are expected to use for dissertation study. Also information on databases, statistical packages and qualitative data software can be provided. Self-study for the dissertation is supported by email contact with staff. It is a student's responsibility to initiate meetings and maintain regular contact with their supervisor.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Analysis, deduction and induction. Economic reasoning is highly deductive, and logical analysis is applied to assumption-based models. However, inductive reasoning is also important. The development of such analytical skills enhances students' problem-solving and decision-making ability.
  • Problem solving and critical analysis: analysing facts and circumstances to determine the cause of a problem and identifying and selecting appropriate solutions.
  • Research: the ability to analyse and evaluate a range of business data, sources of information and appropriate methodologies, which includes the need for strong digital literacy, and to use that research for evidence-based decision-making.
  • Numeracy: the use of quantitative skills to manipulate data, evaluate, estimate and model business problems, functions and phenomena.
  • Self-management: a readiness to accept responsibility and flexibility, to be resilient, self-starting and appropriately assertive, to plan, organise and manage time.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: