Graduation Assignment & Final Project Handbook (Master)


Wittenborg University of Applied Science


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Module Code

Graduation Assignment & Final Project Handbook (Master)

This handbook is your official source of information about the graduation assignment. Its contents have been discussed and agreed at various meetings of the Examination and Graduation Board with external members, tutors and administrative staff of Wittenborg as well as advice from external advisors. It is designed to provide you with general information and suggestions to help you complete your final graduation assignment successfully. The Graduation Assignment provides you the opportunity to engage, in depth, with an area or issue of professional or intellectual interest. Carrying out a graduation assignment provides an opportunity to read extensively, but with a clear purpose and focus, in order to develop fresh understanding of a specific question. Writing the graduation assignment, a major piece of work, a thesis, allows you to share that experience and to disseminate the results. A thesis must provide evidence of your ability to analyse complex data and to evaluate the implications of your results. Your thesis should include a reflection on the research process itself as well as providing a discussion of the problems and issues raised in the course of the study. You should also reflect on the limitations of your research study and suggest possibilities for the development of future work in this area, either in terms of more research, or practical implications deriving from this study. A thesis should be in a formal academic style, a style quite appropriate for many other reports in professional settings. It has certain conventions. The readers/viewers for your assignment will be other

members of your particular academic community (students and tutors). It is not written for a non- expert audience, so you can, indeed should, use an academic style of writing and presenting.

Most research reports use roughly the same format. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done a customer satisfaction survey, an employee opinion survey, a health care survey, or a marketing research survey. All have the same basic structure and format. The important thing is that readers of research reports (i.e. decision makers, founders, etc.) will know exactly where to find the information they are looking for, regardless of the individual report. Once you have learned the basic rules for research proposal and report writing, you can apply them to any discipline.

Aims and Objectives – Learning outcomes
One of the important purposes of Graduation Assignment is to introduce students to original research with the guidance of an academic supervisor The main contribution of a Graduation Assignment is that, instead of studying by way of a series of minor and highly-specified topics, the student is obligated to examine a sizable topic for a much longer period of time and to learn to define clearly both the very question and the research findings. By the time a Graduation Assignment is completed the student can often claim to have mastered some aspect of knowledge and is much more aware of the processes of
In particular, you will gain experience with:
• formulating a research question and research objective
• making critical use of relevant literature
• selecting and using appropriate research methods in your research design to conduct
• analyzing and interpreting results and conclusions
• organizing and presenting material in a clear, logical, convincing way
• learning outcomes
• complete a relatively in-depth research project
• demonstrate a good knowledge of the subject area and interpret that information
• produce a coherent, well structured, analytical graduation assignment
• define and plan a workable research project to meet given research objectives

• know how to carry out an adequate literature review as a major ingredient of one’s master- level graduation research project and final thesis

• know how to design a research: defining feasible objectives, presenting a helpful conceptual model and describing the methodology that is to be used
• indicate the strength and weakness of a particular research design
• define a research as a manageable project whereby involving the relevant stakeholders and possible contributors. You will work with your Research Methods and Final Project module lecturers and your academic supervisor to agree on a suitable graduation assignment topic. A general timetable for the work will be set out and a proposal will be submitted. This must be approved by the Research Methods and Final Project lecturer/team as part of the module evaluation, as well as approved by the academic supervisor before you embark on the graduation assignment itself.

Learning Outcomes Linked to Final Qualifications
Mapped with Programme Learning Outcomes: 7, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 (see p. 10-11).
This is direct mapping of the final qualification for this module. A student will achieve the overall qualifications for this programme after successfully completing the final project/graduation assignment.
See the Education Guide (Part 2, EEG) for further reference.
Prerequisite of the Graduation Assignment
Normally, you will be admitted to the Graduation Assignment after having gained at least 40 European Credits (ECs). However, a student must complete 60 credits to present the final graduation assignment. In addition, you should have successfully completed the Research Methods and Final Project Module, for which the learning outcome and/or final product includes a Research Proposal for Graduation Assignment (see details in the Research Methods Module Guide). You are expected to have demonstrated in your previous work the capacities necessary to successfully complete a graduation assignment and to show that your choice of topic is appropriate for such an assignment.
Submission of Graduation Assignment
A student is only allowed to submit a final version of their Graduation Assignment if the following
conditions have been met:
• Student has obtained all ECs except for those of the Graduation Assignment.
• Student has returned all library books or any other borrowed materials and cleared all other liabilities due.
• Student has settled all financial obligations to Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences.
• Student has filled up a clearance form and obtained an official approval from the concerned office(s). This is a pre-requisite before the Graduation Assignment is marked.
Study Load
The Graduation Assignment is expected to include a substantial amount of original theoretical, analytic or empirical work and be 12,000 to 15,000 words in length excluding appendices. Precise details about the length of all types of Graduation Assignment are given below. The Graduation Assignment module is worth 30 ECs on MBA and 25 ECs on MBM, which is equivalent to 840 hours of work or 700 hours of work respectively. The Final Project research & editing time spans.1 full semester (term) which is 1⁄2 a year for MBA students, whereas MBM students will have an additional module Professional-based Learning (WP42) included in the semester in which they also
Teaching and Learning Methods
The Graduation Assignment is an individual piece of work, so you will write it on your own. This will be supported by regular timetabled tutorial meetings with your academic supervisor, at which you will be expected to produce such work as the tutor and you shall from time to time agree.
Assessment Instruments
You will be required to demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of the subject area and a clear plan for a Graduation Assignment by producing a Research Proposal and a Literature Review in the area on which you are conducting the research. You will be required to reach a Pass level in these parts of the assessment before you are allowed to proceed with the complete Graduation Assignment. The Graduation Assignment will be assessed based on a list of criteria, which includes, among others, the originality of the material presented, the addition of new knowledge, the provision of solution(s) for any research issues/problems, your research and presentation skills, your ability to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the subject area, and your ability to apply theory to practice.
In order to proceed for Graduation Assignment presentation and defence to successfully graduate, students have to submit a completed clearance form mentioned in section 2.1. On the following page is shown what the final qualifications are of the International Master of Business Administration, the achievement of which should be apparent on the completion of your Graduation Assignment, which is the last step towards your degree. Compulsory and Recommended Reading
• Research Methods for business students, M. Saunders, P. Lewis, A. Thornhill. (ISBN 978-0-273-
• Marketing Research by Burns and Bush. (ISBN 0-13-147732-3)
• Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Robert K. Yin, Sage Publications, 2003, ISBN
076192552X, 9780761925521
• Articles and literature provided in the Research Methods and Final Project module
• Research Proposal (RP)
Preparing a research proposal is a very important part of the research process. The research proposal outlines your research topic, objectives, main research question, methods and so on. Your research proposal is part of your Research Methods Module and it requires approval from your Academic Supervisor before you start your actual research. In the next section you will find some guidelines for writing a research proposal.
Guidelines for Research Proposal : To be considered for registration for a final research project (Graduation Assignment), all students must submit a research proposal that outlines their intended research. You can only submit your research proposal if you have attended the Research Methods module, as the RP is the sole outcome/product of this module. Research proposals should be presented under headings that provide the title and summary of the study as well as addressing each of the points listed below. In addition, you can use the research proposal templates.
Title of the study – The title can be a working title in that it can be changed at a later date. It should convey the essence of the proposed work.
Purpose of the study – a clearly focused statement of the overall purpose of the proposed research.
Relevant background literature – a section outlining key research that has already been carried out in the particular area.
Research questions or hypotheses – clearly focused research questions/hypotheses that are worth asking and capable of being answered.
Definitions of key terms – precise definitions of the key terms in the research question/s or hypotheses, enabling unequivocal observation, measurement and identification throughout the study.
Research methodology – an appropriate choice of research approach for the particular questions or problems under investigation, including a well-defined list of procedures to be followed in carrying out the research, as well as the method of data collection and analysis, and, if appropriate: a broad description of any particular theoretical framework to be used in the analysis and the reasons for its selection in the study; a brief statement describing how the study population will be selected for the study and the reason for the approach to selection.
Significance of the research – a statement that illustrates why the research question or hypothesis is worth asking.
Ethical considerations – consideration of ethical issues involved in carrying out the research, such as whether informed consent needs to be obtained and, if so, how this will be done.
Timetable for the research – a proposed timetable is extremely important because it gives an indication as to the feasibility of the proposal.

Anticipated problems and limitations – a section that highlights any anticipated problems and limitations in the proposed study, including threats to reliability and validity and how these will be countered.
Bibliography – a list of sources and references (articles, journals, books, periodicals) used and referred to in the process of your research.
Appendices – (if appropriate), which contain any material that will be used or adapted for the study, including any permission that might need to be obtained to use it.

The Graduation Assignment (Final Project)
The following highlights the commonalities associated with any type of Graduation Assignment: A research project is a sustained investigation of an important topic, area or issue relevant to your programme of study. It will demonstrate an up-to-date understanding of developments concerning this topic, area or issue. If possible the concept should be original or you should investigate an issue using one of the methodologies/models contained in your programme.
A research project is not merely a collection of all the information that you can find concerning a particular topic. Instead:
• It seeks to explain how something works, or why something happens in the way that it does, and/or critically compares existing practices, knowledge and understandings, and where possible attempts to discover and conceptualise new information and knowledge.
• For your research project you should select an issue that you can pursue in depth; one whichallows you to analyse existing ideas, theories and concepts, and through original research contributes to debates and knowledge relating to the subject in question.
• The topic should always be placed within the context of the disciplinary domains that you have developed in your study to date. The graduation assignment is a substantial piece of work leading to the production of a thesis normally of between 12,000 to 15,000 words, excluding appendices (the word thesis here covers all written.submissions which will vary in style content and size depending on which type of project is adopted). Depending on the type of project selected some word counts may be less than 15,000 but this will be agreed between the Academic Supervisor and student. Above all, the final project is an opportunity for you to explore an area or topic that you find interesting and important. It is much easier to keep your motivation high if you find your dissertation topic inspiring.