POSTGRADUATE DISSERTATION HANDBOOK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSTGRADUATE DISSERTATION HANDBOOK

points to note:

 

  • Your dissertation topic must be relevant to your degree, e.g.: Strategic Hotel

Management, International Events Management, International Hotel Management, Tourism Development, Tourism Management, Tourism Marketing, Sustainable Tourism

 

  • You must keep copies of all notes/ materials/ drafts as well as the data collected and used in the dissertation, for at least one year after you have submitted your dissertation. You must produce these if requested to do so.

 

  • Establish the availability of your supervisor over the summer and agree deadlines by which they will receive drafts of work.

 

  • Ensure you hand in work for review by the set deadlines. Supervisors cannot be expected to give good feedback on work received late.

 

  • Consult the Student Common Room on SurreyLearn for guides and information on Academic Integrity

 

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW…………………………….. 6

1.1  Module Contact details…….. 6

1.2   Module Description…………. 7

  1. DISSERTATION STAGES EXPLAINED………………………….. 10
  2. LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY AND METHODS… 12
  3. SUPERVISION………………….. 13

4.1   The role of the supervisor. 13

4.2   Supervision meetings…….. 14

  4.2.1 Suggestions for meetings 14

  1. ASSESSMENT………………….. 16

5.1   Assessment criteria………… 16

5.2   Marking process……………. 16

5.3   What if I need an extension?………………………………………….. 16

5.4   What happens if I fail?!….. 16

  1. DISSERTATION CONTENT AND STRUCTURE………………… 17

6.1   Contents……………………….. 17

6.2   Length…………………………. 19

6.3   Common Faults in Dissertation…………………………. 19

  1. GOOD SCHOLARSHIP, REFERENCING AND ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT………………………. 22

7.1   What is good scholarship? What is plagiarism?……………… 22

7.2   What do I reference?……… 22

7.3   Avoiding plagiarism………. 23

7.4   What happens if I am accused of plagiarism?……………………… 23

  1. APPENDICES…………………….. 25

APPENDIX A: SUPERVISION MEETINGS RECORD…………. 25

APPENDIX B: Layout and formatting requirements……….. 26

APPENDIX C: TITLE PAGE TEMPLATE (Amend as appropriate)…………………………. 27

APPENDIX D: DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY……………… 28

    APPENDIX E: EXAMPLE OF MSc DISSERTATION MARKSHEET…………………….. 28

 

 

 

 

 

1.            INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW

 

 

Assessment Pattern:

   
Units of Assessment  Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Dissertation (15,000 words) to include an Executive Summary of no more than 1,000 words 100%
   
Alternative Assessment  
Qualifying Condition(s)

An aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

 

 

Pre-requisite/Co-requisites:

To submit their dissertation for assessment, students should have 120 taught credits*

 

Module Overview:

The dissertation is CORE to all programmes and is the final element of the programme, providing an opportunity for a sustained period of research. It allows students to concentrate on topics that are of particular interest to them and it draws upon a range of different aspects of the taught programme particularly the Research Methods module. It also gives an opportunity for students to work independently with individual supervision.

 

Module Aims:

The module is designed to allow students to: undertake an original piece of research; demonstrate an ability to select and define and focus upon an issue at an appropriate level; develop and apply relevant and sound methodologies; analyse the issue; develop recommendations and logical conclusions; be aware of the limitations of research work. The students will also be expected to demonstrate an awareness of any ethical dilemmas that arise in their research  

 

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the students will have:

• Developed an in depth understanding and insight of a relevant topic of specific

  interest
Demonstrated critical engagement with existing literature relevant to their topic
Demonstrated an ability to use appropriate methodologies and to justify their use
Demonstrated the ability to analyse and present their data, and to critically compare these with existing knowledge
Demonstrated an ability to critically evaluate results to produce sound conclusions
Shown an ability to identify modifications to existing knowledge structures and theoretical frameworks
Awareness of the limitations of their study, and be able to identify new areas for investigation/new problems/new or alternative applications or methodological approaches
Synthesised many of the elements covered in the taught part of the programme
Demonstrated the ability to present a major piece of coherent work based on selfdirected research

 

Module Content:

Students will identify a topic area of interest that they wish to develop further through their dissertation. This must be relevant to their programme of study. On the basis of this topic, students will be assigned a supervisor who will guide their work. The module is, however, largely based on self-directed study and research, which takes place during the Spring semester and the summer.

 

Methods of Teaching/Learning:

The module commences in the Spring Semester and is completed by early September of the same year.

 

The teaching and learning strategy is designed to develop the students’ ability to conduct and report independent research. It builds on the Research Methods module, allowing students to gain experience of applying some of the principles and methods learned. Included in the strategy is the development of a research proposal to help students crystalise their ideas.

 

The teaching and learning methods include regular supervision and support by an experienced tutor in more generic aspects of the process. Students will discuss initial ideas with the teaching team for their programme, and then will write a short research proposal outlining the problem, research objectives and their proposed research strategy – including approaches, arrangements for fieldwork, development of instruments and sample. This is a formative assessment and allows a fruitful discussion between student and supervisor about the proposed research. The proposal should be agreed with the supervisor before proceeding with the dissertation. Subsequent meetings may include discussing details of methodological approaches, how to organise fieldwork and structuring and writing the dissertation. Where necessary, students must obtain ethical approval prior to data collection. The supervisor will also comment and provide feedback on one complete draft of the student’s work.

 

Assessment Strategy: The student is assessed entirely on the basis of their written dissertation. The assessment criteria are available in the Dissertation Handbook provided to all students. All Dissertations are also checked for plagiarism using an electronic plagiarism detection system.

 

Selected Texts/Journals:

Essential reading: None

 

Recommended reading:  The majority of the reading required for dissertation will be specific to the topic being investigated. Students are expected to use a variety of sources, as relevant to their topic. Supervisors will guide such reading.

Also, refer to textbook and readings supplied by Research Methods.

 

Background Reading

A number of books have been written as guides to researching and writing dissertations, which students may find useful. Examples include:

Horn R (2009) Researching and writing dissertations: a complete guide for business and management students. CIPD

White B (2000) Dissertation skills for business and management students. Cassell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.            DISSERTATION STAGES EXPLAINED

 

It is expected that you will dedicate regular time to your dissertation throughout the whole of the module, both during and after the scheduled support sessions, and throughout Semester 2 as well as during the summer period. You will need to bear in mind other module commitments (such as exam revision and/or coursework in Semester 2), but you are expected to complete your literature review during Semester 2. Try to spend at least some time each week on your dissertation, even if this is only collecting literature.

 

Submission of the topic area and provisional title

 

You need to register the topic area and a provisional title in order for us to allocate you a supervisor. You should do this as soon as you can, via the questionnaire on SurreyLearn, but no later than the date specified in the table on page 2. If you do not meet this deadline, you will be assigned a supervisor, but they may not be a good match to your topic.

 

Allocation of supervisor

 

You will be allocated a dedicated supervisor for your dissertation. You will be informed who your supervisor is by the date specified on page 2. It is your responsibility to make contact with your named supervisor as soon as you can. More information about the role of your supervisor is in Section 5.0.

 

 

Ethical Issues in research

 

This form should be completed once your methodology is finalised. It should then be submitted online no later than the deadline date stated on page 2. Once you finalise your research design with your supervisor, you should complete the online selfassessment ethical approval form (SAGE form).  For many of you, this will be final stage necessary in ethical approval, but if you are going to interview individuals or survey fellow students or interact with at-risk populations your project may require a more in-depth review. The completion of the self-assessment form will let you know if you this more in-depth review is necessary.

 

If you make any changes to your research method, you must check with your supervisor as to whether you need a revised form.

 

All instructions and forms necessary are available on the FASS Ethics Committee page.

 

Your dissertation submission will NOT be accepted without a completed SelfAssessment Ethical Form and you WILL be turned away and asked to obtain this.  If you are subsequently late with your dissertation submission, it would be subject to the usual late penalties in line with the regulations.

 

Deadline for submitting drafts

 

Your draft literature review should be submitted to your supervisor by the deadline stated on page 2. You should agree dates by which other sections of your work will be completed. It is unreasonable to expect your supervisor to read and comment on drafts of your work close to the submission date. Discuss the latest date that your supervisor will receive drafts prior to the submission deadline. You are expected to plan your time effectively – the final weeks of the module are for formatting, proofing etc. Your supervisor may still be available for questions and/ or meetings but establish the availability of your supervisor at the beginning of your dissertation period.

 

Submission

 

Any time until 16.00 on the deadline date (please see the table on page 2).  Please check your deadline carefully as you will see there are 2 dates in the table.  If you have secured 120 credits after your semester 2 exams, you MUST submit by the earlier deadline.  The second deadline is ONLY for those students who have Late-Summer Re-assessments (August/September).

 

Late submissions (after 4pm) attract a penalty of 10 percentage points reduction in marks per each 24 hours after the deadline. The reduction is made after the work is marked.  After 3 working days the recorded mark will be zero.

 

You must submit the following before 4pm on the deadline:

 

  • An electronic copy via SurreyLearn

 

Students who have secured 120 credits may submit earlier than their deadline should they wish however please be aware that the result would not be available any sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.            LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY AND METHODS

 

The overall aim of the learning and teaching strategy is to encourage you to take responsibility for your own learning within a supportive environment, developing self and project management skills along the way.

 

A range of resources are available to you including:

  • This handbook
  • Research Methods Lectures
  • Dissertation Support sessions in Semester 2
  • Advanced library tutorials
  • Your Dissertation Supervisor

 

 

4.            SUPERVISION

 

This section details the supervision arrangements and mutual expectations for Postgraduate students and their dissertation supervisors. It also includes advice as to how to get the most from your supervisor.

 

 

4.1             The role of the supervisor

 

A supervisor will be allocated to you on the basis of the title of your proposed dissertation and on what you have written in your Dissertation Proposal Form. Whilst the exact nature of the role of supervisor may vary, they will all undertake to:

 

  • Discuss the proposal for the dissertation
  • Agree on the approach to be adopted and timetable of work
  • Give guidance on reading (as appropriate)
  • Give advice on structure and presentation
  • Give advice and feedback on the acceptability of elements of student draft chapters.

 

Your supervisor, although experienced in dissertation supervision, may not have subjectspecific information on your dissertation topic. Obtaining this material inevitably is your responsibility. Since the expertise of the School is extensive the supervisor may be able to refer you to another member of academic staff. However, it should be emphasised that the onus of responsibility for the dissertation rests with you, the student, and that the role of supervisor is one of guidance and not dependency. Your supervisor may wish to complete a progress sheet of supervision (Appendix A) or ask you to take and submit ‘minutes’ after each meeting, summarising your discussion and agreed actions.

 

Please note: if you send work after the date agreed with your supervisor, and particularly send work at the last minute, you cannot expect your supervisor to have the time to do the necessary checks. Supervisors will not normally read and/ or comment on a complete draft close to the deadline for submission. You should establish, with your supervisor, the last date on which they will receive a complete draft.  In addition, your supervisor cannot be expected to correct English. You should make use of the service provided by the English Language Institute in the University, and your supervisor may direct you to this service if they feel it is necessary.

 

Once you have agreed your methodology with your Supervisor, you must also complete and sign a separate online Ethical Issues in Research form.  If you have not completed this and had it signed by your supervisor, you will not be able to proceed with your data collection. If you require ethical approval, you will be given further instructions. Students who collect data without the necessary approval will be asked to destroy any data collected, and if this becomes apparent when the dissertation is marked, the dissertation will be failed.

 

 

 

 

4.2             Supervision meetings

 

You must arrange to meet your supervisor in February/March and June and up to three times between July and September. These latter meetings should be agreed with your supervisor. Remember that your Supervisor will be supervising other dissertations and that they have to share their time fairly. Please also ensure that you establish the availability of your supervisor over the summer, as it is likely that your supervisor will not be available throughout the period. By doing this you can plan your time effectively.

 

The following points are intended as guidance for you regarding your responsibilities during the process of supervision. Taking control of these meetings will ensure that all parties benefit.

 

  • Be well prepared
  • Make sure you have read any texts suggested
  • Note down any problems you have and discuss strategies to overcome them
  • Have a clear view on how the dissertation is progressing
  • Submit written work well in advance of the meeting for discussion

 

Remember that this is your dissertation and you are expected to guide the meeting.

 

Make notes during meetings and keep a record of what has been discussed and agreed – your supervisor may ask you to submit this to them. Before ending the meeting with your supervisor think about whether you have:

 

  • Raised all the key issues
  • Agreed the date of the next meeting and discussed future work

 

 

4.2.1        Suggestions for meetings

 

The following notes may help to focus your ideas on the purpose of each meeting at the different stages of the supervision process. It should be emphasised that the following are only suggestions, and you and your supervisor may decide on your own approach to supervision, e.g.: group supervision, by email etc.

 

First Meeting (after submission of proposal)

  • Feedback on Dissertation Proposal
  • Discuss any difficulties/problems
  • Consider the overall structure of dissertation
  • Review time-plan

 

Second Meeting

 

  • feedback on literature review
  • finalise methods
  • Ethical issues form introduced here

 

 

Subsequent Meetings

 

  • Discuss detailed aspects of your methodology
  • Approval of research instruments, as appropriate
  • Submit preliminary draft of methodology for feedback.
  • Submit a final draft of your dissertation by an agreed date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.            ASSESSMENT

 

In order to achieve the threshold standard for the award of credits for this module, you must demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes as described in the module outline. The pass mark is 50%.

 

5.1             Assessment criteria

 

The dissertation will be assessed on the weighted criteria – the dissertation marksheet and criteria will be posted on SurreyLearn during Semester 2

 

5.2             Marking process

 

Your dissertation will be marked by two academic staff, and independent of your supervisor. Your grade is agreed by these two markers and will be ratified by External Examiners and the Board of Examiners. Following the Board of Examiners, feedback on your dissertation will be released via SurreyLearn.

 

5.3             What if I need an extension?

 

There is no automatic right to an extension.

 

If you believe significant extenuating circumstances will prevent you from submitting your dissertation on time (for example sustained serious illness), please complete the application via the Student Self Serve.  You must be able to supply relevant supporting evidence. Please note: IT failure is not a valid extenuating circumstance at any stage of the dissertation – keep regular back-ups!  Please read the extenuating circumstances information in the PG Programme Handbook for examples of what can be considered. Please ensure that you request an extension by the deadline specified.

 

5.4             What happens if I fail?!

 

The pass mark for the dissertation is 50%. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of achieving a mark below 50% you will be advised by the Board of Examiners as to whether you can resubmit your dissertation. Dissertation can not be considered for compensation.  In most cases, a second submission is permitted within 6-months of the Board of Examiners, usually based on the original work improved using the feedback from markers. The maximum mark that can be achieved on resubmission is 50%.

 

If you are told that you have failed, the feedback from the two markers to guide your resubmission will be posted on SurreyLearn. The supervisor will meet with you once to confirm that you understand the feedback and what you need to do. They will also look over one draft of the work that you intend to resubmit and give general feedback. The draft must reach the supervisor no later than one month before the resubmission date.

 

 

6.            DISSERTATION CONTENT AND STRUCTURE

 

Although you are free to structure your dissertation how you choose (heeding your supervisor’s advice) you may find it easier to include all the material necessary by using the following structure. Inevitably you will need to make decisions as to what to include in which section, if in doubt, devote your best critical material to those sections that carry most of the mark weighting.

 

6.1             Contents

 

Your dissertation should include the following elements:

 

  • Title page (see Appendix C for template): This should include the word count of your dissertation.

 

  • Executive summary (1000 words; 10% of marks): Set out on its own immediately after the title page. This often takes the form of a series of summary statements, ordered under similar headings to those used within the Dissertation. These summarise the key information or findings. The Executive summary should be written for an intelligent layman.

 

  • Declaration of Originality (see Appendix D)

 

  • Table of contents: An outline of the entire dissertation in list form, setting out the sequence of the sections with page numbers. It is conventional to number the preliminary pages (executive summary, table of contents) with lower case Roman numerals (i.e. (i), (ii), (iii) etc.) and the main text pages (starting with the first chapter) in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 etc.) as shown below:

 

CONTENTS PAGE

List of Tables i

List of Figures ii

List of Abbreviations iii

Acknowledgements iv

 

CHAPTER 1 (Title) 1

  • (First section heading)
  • (Second etc.)
  • (Third etc.)

 

  • List of tables and figures: A table is a presentation of data in tabular form; a figure is a diagrammatic representation of data or other material such as graphs, photographs, images or maps. Tables and Figures should be numbered consecutively according to chapter (e.g.: Table 1.3 is the third table in Chapter 1, and Figure 4.2 is the second figure in Chapter 4). Each should be separately listed with page numbers.

 

  • List of abbreviations: Abbreviations should be used sparingly, and those that are not self-evident or in common use should be explained where they first appear in each chapter by giving the full expression and the abbreviation in brackets, e.g. ‘gross domestic product (GDP)’. Abbreviations not in common use should appear at the beginning of the dissertation.

 

Useful rules for abbreviations:

No full stops in abbreviations consisting of initial capital letters, UK, US (adjective), EEC, OECD, BBC, UN. Note: ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘United States’ should be spelt out when used as nouns;

No full stops after abbreviations ending with last letter of word abbreviated, Dr Mr Mrs St; Full stops to be used in abbreviations consisting of phrases or single words, e.g., i.e., cet. par., op. cit., et al., p., pp., vol., No.

 

  • Introduction and/or definition of research problem: The introduction should set out the purpose and scope of the dissertation, clearly explaining what it is about, how it is structured, but more importantly, why the research is necessary and to whom. You need to ensure that the academic and applied rationale is well explained and justified. An academic rationale should answer the questions “Why don’t we know this already? Why is more study on this topic needed?” and an applied rationale should demonstrate the relevance of the topic to contemporary business environments. The section should end with the main aim and objectives of your study.

 

  • Literature review (this may be more than one chapter): This section gives an overview of the context and background to the research problem. It builds on your problem definition and aims and objectives and so is an expansion of the concise arguments you make there. It is probably the section that will give you most scope to show off the wide range of sources you have consulted. Although based on existing literature, you should still present your material critically.

 

  • Methodology: This section evaluates and justifies the research methodology that will be used to obtain the data to answer the research questions. It states the research problem, discusses the operationalisation of hypotheses (where relevant), discusses the research instrument used, the method of collecting the data – including sampling, the analysis of the data and the validity and reliability of data. It should contain enough detail to allow someone else to repeat your study.

 

  • Results: You should present your data in an appropriate form, which may include tables, graphs or in the case of qualitative data, verbatim quotes. Select the format that best suits your data, and do not present your data in more than one form. Ensure that the text around your presented data pulls out the key findings, rather than repeats what is already given. A table/figure should never be presented without supporting text. Tables and figures should be clearly and consistently labelled either above or below, and the reader should be able to understand the table/figure from the title without referring to the text for explanations. Units of measurement, the year to which the data refer, geographical area covered, and sources should be clearly stated. The labels in the text and in the lists should correspond exactly.

 

  • Critical analysis and discussion: It can be hard to know which section to discuss your results – this or the preceding one – and you may decide to combine these two sections into one or more chapters based on theme, depending on your topic and your supervisor’s views. However, what is vital is that your Dissertation contains sufficient analytical discussion in addition to the more descriptive ‘scene setting’ material of the literature review sections, and presentation of results. It is here that you will compare and contrast your findings with those already reported in the literature.

 

  • Conclusions: Here you need to answer the “So what?” question. What significance do your research findings have? For whom? Why? and How? In this chapter you link the research problem with literature review and findings, stating what you can conclude based on the work conducted. Based on your conclusions you should comment on managerial implications, the limitations of the research, suggest further work and better ways to resolve the problem.

 

  • Full list of references used in the dissertation: You should provide correctly formatted bibliographic details for every citation included in the dissertation. Do not include material which is not referred to in your text (also see Section 8.0 below on referencing and academic misconduct).
  • Appendices: Often misused and misunderstood, an appendix should only be used to include supplementary (but non-essential) material which, if included, would disrupt the flow of the text. Appendices are not marked so do not include any vital information, e.g.: results of analysis, in one if you want the content to be considered as part of the assessment. Appendices do not contribute to the overall word length.

 

6.2             Length

 

The dissertation should be at least 13,000 words but no more than 15,000 words in total to include a 1,000-word Executive Summary. A penalty of 10 marks will be deducted for any submission above the maximum word count (please refer the university guidelines for submitting your work/word allowance: https://exams.surrey.ac.uk/assessments )

 

The following do not count in the word-limit:

 

  • Supporting text pages (table of contents, bibliography, references).
  • Tables, graphs, legends, annotations or illustrative material.
  • Footnotes and Appendices

 

The following do count in the word-limit:

 

  • Words in tables

 

 

You must state the actual word count on the Title page of the dissertation.

 

Including large amounts of important material in footnotes, tables and/ or appendices is poor practice and will be reflected in the marks awarded.

 

 

 

6.3             Common Faults in Dissertation

Title Page

  • Title too long
  • Wrong degree title
  • Surplus information

Executive Summary

  • Too long; should be 1,000 words max
  • Not written in a concise style, too much waffle at the expense of required detail
  • Does not contain enough detail to allow reader to make judgements over credibility of work

 

Statement of the problem

  • In the introduction, this must be clear and of managerial relevance. There must be some evidence that there is a problem.

Literature Review

  • It is just a listing of paragraphs quoted directly from different authors. It has no logic or coherence.
  • Literature reviewed is often irrelevant to the problem or outdated,
  • Contains personal opinion, not substantiated through the use of the literature

References

  • Poor referencing; some missing, spelling mistakes, inconsistencies
  • Use of third hand sources – avoid listing works which others have referred to but you have not actually read yourself. In these cases, use the ‘cited in…’ construction in the text, and reference the source that you actually read in the reference list
  • Excessive use of inappropriate sources

Hypotheses (where relevant)

  • Very poorly written
  • Often expressed in causal form
  • Obsession with use of word “significant”
  • Not stemming from theory / Not related to problem

Methods

  • Inadequate justification for chosen approaches
  • Lack of detail about what you actually did

Research instrument(s)

  • Indiscriminate borrowing
  • Lack of understanding
  • Poor language skills apparent

Analysis

  • Inadequate feel for data through careful descriptive work
  • Simplistic analysis not commensurate with Masters’ level study
  • Inappropriate use of statistics
  • Lack of understanding of appropriateness of a test
  • Obsession with significance, yet it is set randomly, without reference to subject norms or literature
  • Inadequate development of results in relation to their practical importance
  • Too much naïve material in the form of simple % (nothing wrong with %, but not suitable for everything); too many pretty pictures repeating information available on tables

Logic

  • Inadequate link between problem, theory, hypothesis, method, data analysis

Critique

  • Insufficient evidence to support ideas

Conclusions

  • Insufficient evidence of awareness of the limitations
  • Conclusions not based on facts established through the study

Tables and Graphs

  • Inadequate title
  • Source not given
  • Not referred to directly from the text
  • Inappropriately located in text or appendix

Appendix

  • Pages must be numbered, ideally in continuation of text
  • Material must show title
  • Contains material irrelevant to the main body of the work

English

  • Far too many spelling, grammar and syntax errors.
  • Ambiguity and misinterpretation more frequent than lack of clarity

Attribution

  • Mixture of writing styles and insufficient attribution, leading to suspicion of plagiarism

 

 

 

7.            GOOD SCHOLARSHIP, REFERENCING AND ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT

 

In your dissertation, as with all academic work you will be expected to demonstrate a high standard of academic referencing. To recap, this is for three reasons:

 

  1. To show the breadth and depth of research you have carried out
  2. To enable the reader to follow up on interesting ideas/ research that you have discussed
  3. To avoid being accused of plagiarism.

 

7.1             What is good scholarship? What is plagiarism?

 

Academics (including you!) are engaged in the generation of new knowledge and insights that contribute to what we already know about the natural, supernatural and social world – this is called ‘scholarship’. Good scholarship is the result of conventions that help the readers of academic research to see exactly what is new, what is the work of others and how it all fits together – the main way this is done is through the referencing system.

 

In the academic context, plagiarism is generally understood to mean the use and citing of the words, scientific results, inventions or ideas of others and presenting them as one’s own, without due reference to or acknowledgement of the author, whether the author is a researcher, journalist or another student. Sources may be many and varied and will include the spoken word, printed text, data or text held electronically on a database or accessed via the Internet. Put simply, authors (including you!) need to add a citation after every idea or set of ideas they write about that are not their own. Thus you need to reference any idea that comes from another source, not just direct quotes. There are several different ways of doing this, and at FASS we use the Harvard Referencing System.  The Library has a web page about Bibliographic Referencing at http://www.surrey.ac.uk/library/subject/bibref/.

 

There is also a new page on Learning Skills at http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/learningskills.html which includes some useful links for plagiarism.

 

It is also strongly recommended that students read the guides and information on SurreyLearn regarding Academic Integrity.  These can be found within the Student Common Room.

 

Be advised that all dissertations are put through a plagiarism detection service, which in the past has detected plagiarism from academic sources, the internet, other students in Surrey, and students in other academic institutions. The University takes plagiarism very seriously, and has strict penalties. Through the SurreyLearn Common Room, you have the opportunity to submit your work through Turnitin ® for checking before you submit your dissertation.

 

7.2             What do I reference?

 

As the above section suggests, you should attribute all your sources regardless of the medium the material comes in (e.g.: You Tube video, journal article, blog, radio programme, book chapter etc.) There is a general rule of thumb that says that which is ‘common knowledge’ does not need to be referenced, but it can be difficult to define common knowledge. If it is common knowledge, there are usually numerous sources supporting this, so use them! It is also a good idea to completely avoid cutting and pasting text from the Internet, even if you correctly enclose a paragraph in quotation marks and add the reference underneath, you are very unlikely to get many marks since this is not your own work and does not demonstrate your understanding.

 

Quotations are good to see, when appropriate, but use them judiciously for the above reasons. If you can say it just as well yourself, write it in your own words and integrate it into your text, adding the citation at the end of the sentence/ passage.

 

7.3               Avoiding plagiarism

 

In writing your dissertation, you may often be working with ideas and terms which are not familiar to you. This can lead to the temptation to ‘lift’ words or sections of text from books or other sources. Your supervisor must be able to see your own thought processes, copying from the text suggests you cannot use the ideas yourself, and thus a lack of understanding. Supervisors are familiar with differences between the writing style of students and experienced authors.

 

Plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, is a form of cheating, as a result of which an individual gain or seeks to gain an unfair academic advantage. It includes the use of another author’s words verbatim, summarising or paraphrasing another person’s argument or line of thinking, or use of a particularly apt phrase, without proper attribution.

 

Tips for avoiding ‘unintentional’ plagiarism:

  • Don’t cut and paste from the web
  • Don’t copy notes from sources word for word – reword at the time you are reading the material (this also helps your understanding)
  • Fully reference your notes as you go, including page numbers if applicable
  • Use several sources in your writing, this minimises the reliance on any one author and reduces the risk of accidentally leaving passages unreferenced.
  • Run a draft of your work through the Turnitin software available on SurreyLearn to check any problematic areas. A tutorial is also available on the SurreyLearn to help you understand how to do this, and how to interpret your report.

 

7.4             What happens if I am accused of plagiarism?

 

It is unacceptable to the University of Surrey that any student registered with the University or one of its Associated Institutions for an award of the University should cheat in order to gain themselves an academic advantage. The University will penalise any student who is found to have cheated in accordance with its Regulations for the Conduct of Examinations and Other Forms of Assessment (see your Student Handbook for details).

 

If an allegation of plagiarism arises, you will be offered an opportunity to defend your work (which may include bringing all your notes and other materials used to write your dissertation) to a panel convened for the purpose. This panel will recommend action to the next Board of Examiners. Penalties for academic misconduct, including plagiarism, extend from reducing marks to zero for the assessment in question (for a first offence) through to termination of your studies for repeated offences. In the latter case you will not be able to repeat your work and receive your Masters degree.

8.  APPENDICES

 

APPENDIX A: SUPERVISION MEETINGS RECORD

 

 

Student:

 

Course:

 

Topic:

 

Date: 

 

Comments: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Meeting:

 

 

Date:

 

Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next meeting:

 

 

APPENDIX B: Layout and formatting requirements

 

Page layout: Please lay out your text using 1.5 line spacing one side of the paper only. Your margins should be a minimum of 3cm on the left and 2.5cm on the right, top and bottom. Text should be left or fully justified. Use a new paragraph for each substantive point you make and leave a blank line between paragraphs please. Include page numbers on every page and ensure they correspond with the relevant entry in the table of contents.

 

Font & formatting: For the body of the text, use a professional font of 12 pt and black in colour. A judicial and professional use of colour is fine, but you should avoid fussy formatting. Ensure your emphases (e.g.: bold or italics) are consistent throughout the text.

 

Headings and subsections: Please number your chapters and subsections including meaningful subject headings. This helps your reader to follow the flow of your argument and find important information quickly and should correspond to the list in your table of contents.

 

Tables, figures and images: All tables, figures and images must be numbered consecutively within each chapter, and have a self-explanatory title. Do not use clip art or any other form of decorative image unless it is essential to the analysis you are undertaking, e.g.: a screen shot to illustrate a specific feature of an organization’s website.

 

Footnotes: Use footnotes only when absolutely necessary – e.g.: when you want to signal an important but tangential issue that would otherwise interrupt the flow of text. Overuse of footnotes is poor practice and will be reflected in marks awarded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX C: TITLE PAGE TEMPLATE (Amend as appropriate)

 

Submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in

Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Outlet Manager and Pricing Decisions by Supermarkets

 

 

 

by

 

 

Katherine Summers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

University of Surrey

 

September 2020

 

 

 

Word count:

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Katherine Summers

APPENDIX D: DECLARATION OF ORIGINALITY

 

This declaration must be included in your project and should be on the page immediately following the executive summary.  The statement is written below and you should fill in the necessary details and make the relevant deletions:

 

 

I hereby declare that this thesis has been composed by myself and has not been presented or accepted in any previous application for a degree. The work, of which this is a record, has been carried out by myself unless otherwise stated and where the work is mine, it reflects personal views and values. All quotations have been distinguished by quotation marks and all sources of information have been acknowledged by means of references including those of the Internet. I agree that the University has the right to submit my work to the plagiarism detection sources for originality checks.

 

Author’s signature, full name and date.

 

 

APPENDIX E: EXAMPLE OF MSc DISSERTATION MARKSHEET

 

Below you will find the marking criteria for the dissertation. The marking criteria (shown below) are stated as questions and are very detailed so as to offer clear guidelines for the students as to what we are looking for in each section. Naturally, some of the criteria carry more weight than others and this is reflected in the overall impression section.

 

Student Name:

xxxxxx

Student Number:

xxxxxx

 

 

     
 

Section

Weighting

 

(a)

Agreed

Overall Mark

                       1.

Executive Summary

 

0.10

 

 

                       2.

Introduction

 

0.10

 

 

                       3.

Literature Review

 

0.20

 

 

                       4.

Methodology

 

0.20

 

 

                       5.

Analysis &

Discussion of

Findings

 

 

0.25

 

 

                       6.

Conclusion

 

0.10

 

 

                       7.

Presentation and

Coherence

 

0.05

 

 

 

TOTAL %

   

 

 

 

 

Final Overall Mark (100%) ………..

 

 

Is plagiarism a concern?  Yes [    ] No [     ]

 

Similarity Percentage                                         …..

Largest percentage from ONE source          ……

 

Is the validity of the study a concern?            Yes [    ] No [   ]

 

If YES, please explain: ………………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

1st Marker’s Signature 

 

Date 

 

2nd Marker’s Signature

 

Date 

 

1st Marker’s Name (Print)

 

 

2nd Marker’s Name (Print) 

 

29

 

 

First Marker Feedback

   

FEEDBACK 

 

 

2 – INTRODUCTION MARK   WEIGHTING 10%

FEEDBACK

 

3 – LITERATURE REVIEW    WEIGHTING 20%

FEEDBACK

 

 

4 – METHODOLOGY MARK   WEIGHTING 15%  
FEEDBACK

 

   

 

5- ANALYSIS & DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS MARK   WEIGHTING 25%  
FEEDBACK

 

   
1 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY MARK   WEIGHTING 10%

 

6- CONCLUSION  MARK                              WEIGHTING 10%  
FEEDBACK

 

 

 

7- PRESENTATION AND COHERENCE MARK                                                                                                                                                          WEIGHTING 5%

This section considers the overall holistic nature of the dissertation.

 

GENERAL FEEDBACK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30