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The Dissertation 2014-15


An Introduction and Schedule
of Activities in the Easter Term 2014


Introduction
All students on undergraduate programmes will undertake a double
dissertation module in their final year. As previously announced, a programme
of sessions has been designed to give you an early introduction to the module
and offer you advice and help you to identify your dissertation topic. We hope
that this programme will be beneficial.
Details of the provisional schedule are included below, but all students should
note these important points:
Attendance at the sessions, as indicated below, is compulsory. A
register will be taken. Please check the schedule carefully and put
the sessions you are expected to attend in your diary.
Some sessions are be directed towards students on individual
programmes. These more focussed sessions are compulsory for
students on the relevant programmes as indicated below.
Staff will be particularly busy around the examination period. To make
it easier for you to find appropriate times to discuss your proposed
dissertation we plan to post a number of time slots on the General
Information site on DUO. Naturally, you are welcome to consult staff
other than this at their discretion.
All students must submit their completed dissertation form by Friday
27 June 2014. This should be placed in the post box outside the
undergraduate office. More details on the process are given below.
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Schedule for Monday 2 June

Time Event Attendance Staff Room
09.30 11.00 Dissertation Introductory Lecture
Accounting and Finance
Accounting and Management
Business Finance
Dr Toby Watson D003
11.00 12.30 Dissertation Introductory Lecture
Business
Business and Management
Marketing
Dr Toby Watson D003
14.00 15.30
Types of finance dissertation including
introduction to finance data sources
(Bloomberg, Datastream, WRDS and
Thomson One Banker)
Accounting and Finance
Accounting and Management
Business Finance
Dr Toby Watson
Mr Michael Lucey
D003
15.30 16.30
Business and Management: Where do
ideas come from?
Business
Business and Management
Accounting and Management
Dr Philip Warwick D003
16.30 17.30 Masters in Business Year 3 and Year 4 ALL MBus students
Dr Philip Warwick
Prof Tom Redman
D003

Denotes compulsory session for students on the programme.
Denotes optional session for students on the programme based on interests.

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Schedule for Tuesday 3 June

Time Event Attendance Staff Room
10.00-11.00
Introduction to Marketing
dissertations
Marketing
Students interested in pursuing a Marketing
topic
Ms Jonquil Hinson D003

Time Event Attendance Staff Room
13.00-15.00
Introduction to Accounting
dissertations
Accounting and Finance
Accounting and Management
Dr Riham Rizk
Ms Francine Le
Saint
D003

Schedule for Thursday 5 June
Time Event Attendance Staff Room
09.30-13.00
Session on areas such as literature
reviews, writing tips and producing
effective conclusions.
Accounting and Finance
Accounting and Management
Business Finance
Business
Business and Management
Marketing
English Language
Centre
D003


Dates and times around this period where you can see members of staff for consultation on individual topic areas will be
posted on the General Information site on DUO. You may consult other members of staff at their discretion but must
recognise that the exam period is a particularly busy time.
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Topic Selection
Requirements
Students are required to register their provisional dissertation topic
area, using the form at the end of this document no later than Friday
27 June 2014.
This is a mandatory academic commitment. Non-submission of topic
area will be noted on your student record and may delay allocation of
a supervisor.
Overall topic area
Your choice of topic area should be appropriate and relevant to your
specific degree. For example, this means that if you are on the Business and
Management programme it is considered inappropriate for you to undertake
an empirical finance dissertation. Similarly, if you are on the Business Finance
or Accounting and Finance programmes, it would generally be considered
inappropriate for you to undertake a pure business or marketing topic.
Please consult academic staff for advice. Any dispute about the acceptability
of a topic area should be referred to the Module Leader.
Further guidance
The only constraints on the choice of topic are that your chosen topic is within
a recognised field of Business Finance/Accounting/Business and
Management/Marketing and that there is a member of staff who can act as
supervisor. Selecting a mainstream or adventurous topic choice is neither
an advantage nor a disadvantage.
It is strongly recommended that you speak with your lecturers and tutors
about your likely subject area so that you can be given appropriate advice and
possibly some preliminary reading. You should then be able to establish a
dissertation topic. Lecturers and tutors can provide advice on the suitability of
the topic chosen and provide guidance about the provisional topic, which you
will record on your dissertation form. This form does not need to be signed by
a member of staff but if a member of staff discusses you ideas with you s/he
may choose to make notes, sign this and, if appropriate, indicate an interest in
supervision.
You will be allocated a supervisor by the Module Leader, no later than the
beginning of your final year. This process is likely to be delayed if you do not
submit your provisional topic area by 27 June 2014. It is not, however,
possible to guarantee your choice of supervisor.
You are encouraged to select a topic of your own choice and interest.
However, if you encounter difficulties in making this choice, you can discuss
various topics of interest with a member of staff. S/he will advise on the
potential, the feasibility and potential problems of your choice; however, the
precise choice of topic is your responsibility. If you wish to consult with a
member of staff you should not leave this to the last minute (you were also
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advised to reflect on dissertation topics at the start of your second year).
Academic staff are unlikely to be able to meet at short notice, especially in the
busy period around examinations. To assist you, a number of members of
academic staff will post times on DUO specifically to consult over dissertation
topics.
Examples of past dissertation titles have been posted on the General
Information site on DUO. It is important not to make the subject too wide, and
especially important to have a specific question in mind although at this
stage we are only asking for a topic from you. The dissertation is, in effect, a
set of essays on a given topic forming a coherent piece of work. It is therefore
important to choose a subject that can be adequately treated within this
compass. Dissertations can easily get out of hand within the length and time
available. The lectures and discussion with staff members should help you
make an appropriate choice of dissertation topic.
Questions and Answers
When should I talk to a member of staff?
Talking to a member of staff is not compulsory but is strongly recommended.
In any case, you were asked to reflect on possible dissertation topics at the
start of your second year and talk to tutors. If you do wish to talk to a member
of staff you must not leave this until the last minute. Staff are unlikely to be
able to see you at short notice in the examination period. It may also be that
your topic is unsuitable, and the member of staff asks you to rethink. Times
where staff will be available will be posted on DUO.
I am away for the dissertation lectures. What should I do?
As above, the dissertation sessions are an academic commitment. You must
attend them. All students are expected to be resident during term time, unless
given formal permission to be out of residence by the University. In any case,
it is in your own interest to ensure you attend the sessions. Students were
advised at the very start of level 2 that dissertation induction would take place
after exams.
Can I change my dissertation topic?
You can change your topic with supervisory approval at the start of the
forthcoming Michaelmas term. After an initial grace period, major changes
must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Understandably,
after conducting wider reading, a small number of students will want to
change topic at the start of the year. However, you should not plan on
changing topics. It is vital that you think carefully about your topic area now
and this will allow you to do preparatory work over the summer.
Why do I have to register a topic before the summer?
The dissertation forms a third of your final-year studies. We therefore
anticipate students will want to start reading around their topics and get
outline guidance as early as possible. Doing this will also allow you to make
the most of the structured supervision programme next year right from the
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start of the year. We also want to make sure that your supervisor is allocated
by the start of the Michaelmas term so that you can meet him/her as soon as
possible.
Can I just put down finance, Business or Marketing as a topic?
No, you need to be a more specific. We do not expect a full provisional title
unless you wish to give one on the form but we want a more specific topic
area for example Behavioural Finance or Operations management. We
realise students may want to make changes as they read more over the
summer, but it is in your own interest to start focussing your thoughts as early
as you can as you begin to read and research.
Can I have Dr X as my supervisor?
We cannot guarantee to allocate you a particular supervisor. Academic staff
may, however, express that a topic is of personal interest, and thus they may
be willing to supervise it. However, this is an indication only. All staff will
provide you with highly professional support and guidance throughout the
dissertation process.
Can I get a supervisor from the Business and Management
department when I am on the Accounting and Finance
programme?
Students are asked to select a topic appropriate and relevant to their
programme of study. You will be allocated a supervisor based on your degree
programme. Therefore, students on the Accounting and Finance programme
will typically have a supervisor from the Accounting, Economics and Finance
department, whereas students on the Business programme will have a
supervisor drawn from the Business and Management or Marketing
departments.
Can I get a supervisor from the Marketing department when I am
on the Accounting and Finance programme?
As previous.
If I change my topic will I get a new supervisor?
No. It is important that you devote time to thinking about your topic before the
summer vacation rather than just submitting a form solely to meet the
deadline.
When do I meet my supervisor?
The module leader will allocate your supervisor at the start of the Michaelmas
term (in early October). You will then meet your supervisor in the initial few
weeks of term. In total, you will have six formal meetings throughout the year.
For each meeting, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss
issues that will help to shape your research. Your supervisor will also read a
draft chapter of your dissertation in the Epiphany term and give feedback and
suggestions for improvement.
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The module handbook has more details on the supervision process, and you
can see what is required for each meeting. The 2012-13 handbook is on
DUO, although this may be subject to change before the start of the 2013-14
academic year.
I am on placement who should I talk to about my dissertation
topic?
The module leader is happy to talk to students on placement about the
dissertation and you should therefore get in touch with him. You may also
approach other members of staff to discuss aspects of topics that you are
interested in.
I cant get in touch with Dr Y and want to talk to her about my
proposed topic. What should I do?
Academic staff will be particularly busy around the examination period. You
must therefore plan ahead and not expect a reply or meeting with a member
of staff at the very last minute before submitting the form.
What happens if I dont submit a title form by 27 June?
This will be recorded as a missed academic commitment. More importantly,
students who have not reflected on their dissertation topic (or discussed this
with a member of staff) may be seriously disadvantaging themselves. If there
is a legitimate reason for not submitting a title form, normally serious illness or
other serious adverse circumstances, you should contact the module leader to
discuss this. However, you must do this at the time and not wait until later in
the summer or the start of next year to say that you were ill. Please note that
where adverse circumstances exist you may be asked to submit supporting
documentation.
What can I usefully do over the summer?
You can engage in reading around your topic, building up familiarity with the
academic literature and making notes. If you are conducting
qualitative/quantitative research then you can start to think about how you will
go about this. Note, though, that you may prefer to seek guidance from your
supervisor in the autumn before conducting questionnaire surveys etc. If you
do anything like this over the summer you need to discuss research ethics
requirements beforehand.
If you are undertaking an empirical finance dissertation this is a good time to
ensure that the data you need is available and to start to download this (but
be aware of the caveats mentioned in the dissertation lectures). Really, before
submitting a provisional topic, you should have thought about whether data is
available but the summer is a good time to make absolutely certain.
At the very least, you need to confirm whether you dissertation is
manageable, i.e. whether it appears to be feasible given the time constraints
and any resource limitations (e.g. data availability and availability of literature).
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Dissertation Form
This form must be submitted to the post box outside the undergraduate office by
Friday 27 June 2014.
Use capital letters or fill out on computer
Surname
(family name):

Forename
(first name):

Programme
Accounting and Finance

Accounting and Management

Business Finance
Business

Business and Management

Marketing
Proposed broad topic
area
e.g. Behavioural
Finance or Corporate
Governance see DUO
for more examples

More detail (optional
but encouraged)
e.g. give a full provisional
title any other information
continue overleaf if
needed

Student signature:
Date:

OPTIONAL Academic staff may express that a topic is of personal interest here but a staff
signature is not needed to submit the form. This does not guarantee a particular supervisor.
This topic is of personal interest to staff member: ..
Staff signature:.. Date:
Any notes from staff member to be recorded overleaf.

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