An applied research dissertation is a core part of all MSc programmes, and represents the final aspect of the programme, in which students develop an independent piece of work that is in an area that is particularly interesting to them, supervised by a member of faculty.
This module descriptor covers the applied research dissertation for MSc Occupational and Organizational Psychology, and MSc Human Resource Management.
For all students on these programmes, the dissertation must comprise:
An academic dissertation: identifying an applied topic of interest, identifying a gap in the literature and developing and carrying our research to investigate or examine that gap.
Primary research: data collection and analysis (use of secondary data or other sources of data must be approved by you supervisors).
Fieldwork: research carried out in an organizational setting
Practically relevant implications: addressing either a research gap that has clear implications for management practice
The applied research dissertation is completed through semesters one and two, and the summer period, with bulk of the work on the dissertation being completed during the summer after semester 2 exams.
In Semester 1, faculty in the People and Organizations Department will present areas of research interest to students. There will then be a period in which students may meet with prospective supervisors to discuss possible topics for the dissertation.
By week 10 in semester 1, students must submit first and second choice projects with different supervisors. Students will then be allocated to supervisors. Effort will be made to accommodate first choices wherever possible.
At the beginning of semester 2, students must meet with their supervisors.
During the first part of semester 2, students must work to produce a full dissertation proposal (3000 words), which presents a literature review identifying gaps to be examined in the research, and a description of methodology, including description of empirical work to be carried out and associated ethical issues. An ethics form must be submitted at the same time.
Supervisors will provide formative feedback on the proposal, and determine if a full ethical review is required.
From the end of Semester 2 onwards, students will work to execute the project proposal, meeting regularly with their supervisor.
A total of up to 4 supervision meetings will be available to students. It is the student’s responsibility to take advantage of these meetings.
Supervisors may read one complete draft of the dissertation to provide further formative feedback provided that it is submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the submission deadline.
The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:
Evidence of ability to work as an independent, critical and competent evidence-based practitioner
Ability to carry out primary applied research
Ability to report findings of applied research in writing clearly and effectively
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:
- 10,000-word applied research dissertation (excluding references, Tables, Figures, and Appendix)
3,000-word research project proposal
In writing and verbal feedback from research proposal, and in one-to-one supervision.
- Enable students to develop a major piece of original independent work under the supervision of a member of faculty.
- Guide students in applying research methods training from their MSc programme to research in an organizational setting.
- Provide students with experience of conceptualizing research problems, designing research studies, and conducting primary research work ethically and effectively.
- Allow students to specialise their learning in an area that is relevant and interesting to them.
|Understand in depth and provide insight into a relevant applied topic of academic interest.
|Write with clarity and precision about the research project.
|Critically evaluate models, theories and research in the chosen topic area.
|Synthesize and integrate extensive evidence from the research literature, to identify an original and novel gap to be addressed.
|Use theory to develop hypotheses or propositions to be tested or examined
|Design and carry out appropriate methodology to examine the gap in the literature, justifying and evaluating chosen methods practically, technically, and ethically.
|Collect and analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data.
|Critically evaluate findings to draw sound conclusions.
|Evaluate limitations in methodology and the dissertation, and their impact on conclusions
|Communicate the introduction, methodology, results and discussion of findings in writing concisely and clearly, including in an executive summary format.
Successfully manage a major piece of project work independently.