MANG6550 : Dissertation (DSIE)


University of Southampton


Dissertation (DSIE)

Module Code

MANG6550 : Dissertation (DSIE)

The research proposal: What will you need to do?
Choosing a research topic for your coursework
Your research topic should be based on a particular organisational context or related to a generic
management or business issue related to your programme of study. It is advisable that you choose a topic
area that can be further developed for your dissertation research, but it is perfectly acceptable if you decide
to investigate a different topic for your dissertation at a later stage. The choice of a research topic for this
coursework is yours and yours alone – the most important thing is to show your understanding of
methodological issues and approaches for conducting academic research and your ability to critically evaluate

them. The teaching team of this module is not in a position to discuss the suitability of possible topics for your
dissertation; you will need to discuss this with your dissertation supervisor at a later stage.
Main contents (Section Structure)
Having chosen a research topic, you should complete the following parts:
Part 1 – Introduction (this should be common to both proposals and so only need be presented once)
• Provide a title for your research
• Research background/context: give an overview of the context or scope of your research topic, draw
on key topic-related literature (correctly referenced), and explain why researching the topic or
problem is important.
Part 2 –Research design
Design a succinct research proposal for your chosen topic, including:
• Overall research question: state what your overall research question is. This should be clear, succinct
and specific.
• Research aim(s) and objective(s): List your aims and objectives relating to the research question(s).
You may include brief review of the relevant academic literature, your hypotheses (if applicable),
and any key theories that serve as the theoretical underpinning of your study.
• Explain which research strategy you have chosen.
• Explain and justify the sampling method, including but not limited to your sample population and
sample size.
• Design a way of collecting suitable quantitative/qualitative data and explain how you would
administer it. You may include your survey questions or an interview guide in the Appendices as
supporting documents. NB. If you are proposing to use secondary data instead, clearly show how
the data were originally collected and discuss their relevance and quality.
• Explain how the data will be analysed and presented in order to address the research question, aim(s)
and objective(s).
Part 3 – Critical evaluation
Going down through each layer of Saunders et al.’s (2019, or earlier) ‘Research Onion’, write a critical
evaluation of your research design developed in Part 2 against other research approaches or strategies
(drawing on a wide range of research methodology literature to support your argument). As a result, you
should conclude by why, based on your critique, the proposed research design serves as the most suitable
approach for your chosen research topic.
Important note: you must NOT actually collect or analyse any data for this coursework – this is just the
proposal stage where you set out how you plan to collect and analyse the data.
The general guidelines for marking this piece are given below – this will give you an indication of the weighting
applied to each part (which will also guide you in terms of the word count for each part).
There are penalties for a late submission. In the extremely rare event of an extension being required (for
certified medical reasons for instance), you should follow the extension/special considerations process – your
lecturers are not able to grant extensions.