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WRITING A DISSERTATION

A dissertation can be defined as the communication of a piece of investigative academic work which demonstrates in the context of existing knowledge both understanding and critical analytical thinking of an original kind.

Communication

The work is clear and accurate, concise and relevant

Grammar and spelling are correct

Style of writing is lively and concise

Investigative

Work must find something relevant

Research must have aims and objectives to give the work focus

Academic

Work must have an academic underpinning appropriate to your degree

All information provided should be supported with facts and figures and accurately sourced.

Context of Existing Knowledge

A research work is not an isolated investigation

It must relate to the existing knowledge in the subject area

Understanding

Work should develop and demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the subject

Critical

Question everything

Identify trends, provide evidence

Seriously  examine assumptions and ideas that have emerged

Analytical

Do not accept anything on face value

Compare one thing with another

Consider advantages, disadvantages and implications

Draw your own conclusions

Original

Dissertation must be your own work

It must represent your own thinking, investigation and presentation

Quote from the work of others provided the source is fully acknowledged, but do not fall into the trap of copying or plagiarizing other people’s work

 

A RESEARCH PROPOSAL

A research proposal presents a problem, discusses related research efforts, outlines the data needed for solving the problem, and shows the design that will be used to gather and analyze the data.

 
A research proposal includes the following:  
 

§         Proposed Project Title – usually a single sentence title that clearly explains to the reader what the dissertation is going to be about.

§         Research Objectives – includes a set of objectives (usually 3 to 4) that clearly describes the aims of the research study.

§         Problem Statement – what exactly is the problem, which is being analyzed through the research study.

§         Literature Review – existing knowledge, related to the subject matter of the research study, that is already published in books, magazines, journals, on websites etc.

§         Research Design – what will be the broad research methodology or approach for collecting data, both primary and secondary, for your research

§         Resources Required – the physical, financial, human resources that will be required to carry out the research study.

§         Form Of Presentation – the way in which the completed dissertation will be structured and presented for final submission.

§         Business/Management Implications Of The Study – how does your research study help businesses and/or the industry that you have analyzed through your research? Any there any implications for the business.

§         Limitations Of The Research – are there any geographical, scope, time, financial, or other limitations that you might encounter in doing your research.

§         Bibliography – sources used for gathering the information to prepare your research proposal.

 

WRITING A GOOD RESEARCH PROPOSAL

 
A good research proposal clearly answers the following questions:
 
 
§         Does the proposal offer a focused research question?
 
§         Where a number of aims are stated, is the primary question clearly specified?
 
§         Does the proposal convey evidence that the methodological issues raised by the research
      question have been thought through?.
 
§         Does the student appreciate what kind of data will be required? Is the proposed methodology justified?
 
§         Does the proposal indicate a familiarity with the appropriate theoretical concepts needed to underpin the project?
 
§         Is discussion of the theoretical concepts supported by reference to the appropriate literature?
 
§         Does the proposal include an appropriate preliminary structure?
 
§         Is there an appreciation of the business issues inherent in the proposal?

 

BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE DISSERTATION

Appropriate length of report should be around 10,000 words. Your dissertation should include tables, charts and figures.

Work must be printed out on numbered pages, bound and presented in a smart, well-designed cover.

Typing should be on only one side of the pages in double or one-and-a-half line spacing

The font should be 12 in ‘Times New Roman’ or similar typeface such as ‘Arial’

A wide left margin is necessary to allow for binding (minimum 3 cms) with sufficient margins (minimum 2.5 cms) at the top, bottom and right hand side of each page.

Two copies of the dissertation should be submitted.

 

DRAFT STRUCTURE

In the beginning of your work itself, draw up a draft structure of your work and examine it critically before determining the final structure of your dissertation.

The draft structure should include chapter headings, areas that you intend to cover, and a brief outline of the contents of each chapter

Discuss the draft structure with your supervisor

Draft structure gives you a plan to work on, but it may change as your work progresses.

 

DISSERTATION FORMAT  

On the cover of your dissertation the following information should be provided:

The title of the dissertation

Your name

The name of your center or college

The name of the course or award for which you are presenting the dissertation

The date of submission

Any suitable graphical design

 

The first page inside the cover includes:

 The title of the dissertation and your name

 

The second page:

Acknowledgements page

 

The third page:

Abstract of the dissertation: approximately 300 words. An abstract is a summary of the aims and scope of the work, when and how it was carried out, results and conclusions emerging from the work.

 

The fourth page:

Contents page – showing the title of the different sections of the dissertation

 

The fifth page:

List of tables and figures and the numbers of the pages on which they occur

 

The sixth page:

Main chapters or sections will start from this page onwards:

 

The First Chapter will be the Introductory Chapter, orienting the reader to the subject of the dissertation and engaging the reader’s interest. This chapter should be approximately 10 % of the work.

It will contain:

Introduction of relevant background information

Reasons for investigating the subject

Research aims

A literature review

Justification for choice of research methodology

 

The Second Chapter should be Literature Review

In this chapter:

The researcher should demonstrate that other works relevant to the study area have been consulted

Work has been placed in the context of research already done by others

Researcher may compare and contrast what he is doing with a particular approach, or methodology, of what has been done elsewhere

 

The Third Chapter should be Research Methodology

This chapter:

Describes the way in which research has been carried out

Showing what methods and approaches have been used

Explaining why the used methods and approaches were more appropriate than other methods and approaches

 

The Fourth and The Fifth Chapters are Central Chapters  

These central chapters along with literature review and methodology would make 80 % of the work

These chapters should contain:

Exploration of relevant theory gathered from literature review to give the necessary underpinning

Summary of existing state of affairs surrounding the research topic

Systematic evaluation and analysis of the information obtained

Critical appraisal of results

 

The Final Chapter would be Conclusion

The Conclusion must make 10 % of the work

In this chapter one should:

Draw together the main points revealed in the research

Summing them up

Stating the implications of findings

The conclusion must be related to the evidence one has gathered

 

Referencing and Bibliography

The Text must be clearly referenced by using either the Harvard or Footnote style of referencing. In order to avoid being charged with plagiarism you must make sure that you use a proper referencing in your text and also provide an adequate and systematic bibliography at the end. Any idea, definition, statement, data, diagram, model etc that you take from some outside source should be properly acknowledged. There is no harm in using such information. You are more than welcome to use information from various sources but they must be properly acknowledged. Various aspects and types of referencing both in the text and in the bibliography have been explained in complete detail below.

Referencing

Referencing in the text

The Harvard system uses the author's name and date of publication to identify cited documents within the text.

·        For example: It has been shown that…(Saunders, 1993) 

·        When referring generally to work by different authors on the subject, place the authors in alphabetical order: (Baker, 1991; Lewis, 1992; Thornill, 1983). 

·        When referring to dual authors: (Saunders and Cooper, 1993). 

·        When there are more than two authors: (Bryce et al., 1995). 

·        For corporate authors, for instance a company report: (Hanson Trust plc, 1990). 

·        For publications with no obvious author, for example the Employment Gazette: (Employment Gazette, 1998). 

·        When referring to different publications by the same author then the works should be ordered by date in ascending order: (Lewis, 1987, 1991). 

·        To differentiate between publications by the same author in the same year use a, b, c etc.: (Forster, 1991a). Make sure that this is consistent throughout the research project and corresponds with the bibliography. 

·        To reference an author referred to by another author where the original publication has not been read: (Granovetter, 1974, cited by Saunders, 1993). In this case the author who cites and the original document's author both should appear in the bibliography. 

·        Only use author's initials to differentiate between authors with the same surname. 

·        Quotations should be placed in inverted commas and the page number given, for example: the Harvard method of referencing provides a simple way of coping with the main text and also bibliographies (Bell, 1993:28)

Bibliography

In the bibliography the referenced publications are listed alphabetically by author's name and all author's surnames and initials are listed in full. If there is more than one work by the same author, these are listed chronologically. Also remember that you should use numbered bullets to list the various sources. 

·        An example of a reference to a book would be:

Saunders, M N K  and Cooper , S.A. (1993) Understanding Business Statistics, London , DP Publications.

 

·        A reference to a book other than the first edition would be:

Morris, C. (1996) Quantitative Approaches to Business Studies (3rd edn), London , Pitman Publishing.

 

·        A reference to a book with no obvious author would be:

Department of Trade and Industry (1992) The Single Market. Europe Open for Professions UK Implementation, London , HMSO.

 

·        A reference to a particular chapter in a book would be:

Robson, C. (1997) Real World Research, Oxford , Blackwell, Chapter 3.

 

·        A reference to a particular chapter in an edited book would be:

Craig, P.B. (1991) 'Designing and Using Mail Questionnaires', in Smith, N.C. and Dainty, P. (eds) The Management Research Handbook, London , Routledge, pp.181-89.

 

·        An example of a reference to an article in a journal (in this example volume 20, part 6) would be:

Brewster, C. and Bournois, F. (1992) 'Human Resource Management: A European Perspective', Personnel Review, 20:6, 4-13.

 

·        A reference to an article in a (trade) journal with no obvious author would be:

Local Government Chronicle (1995) ' Westminster poised for return to AMA fold', Local Government Chronicle, 5 November, 5.

 

·        A reference to an item found on the Internet would also include the fact that it was accessed online, the date of access and the full Internet address.:

Jenkins, M. and Bailey, L. (1995) 'The role of learning centre staff in supporting student learning', Journal of Learning and Teaching, 1:1, Spring (online) [cited 29 Mar 1996 ] Available from Internet

URL:http://www.chelt.ac.uk/cwis/pubs/jolt/issue 1.1/page 2.html

 

Appendix / Appendices

Normally it includes:

Blank sample questionnaire

Tables of raw data

Any other useful information not provided in the main body of the research

   

ASSESSMENT OF DISSERTATION

The assessment of your dissertation is based on the following key criteria:  

Communication

Investigate work

Academic work

Context of existing knowledge

Understanding of the subject

Critical thinking

Originality

Overall presentation

 

EXAMPLES OF RESEARCH TITLES/TOPICS

 1.      An assessment of the potential of a major domestic and international food manufacturer within the children’s confectionery market.

 2.      The impact of developments in IT on the marketing of financial services.

 3.      The impact of ozone depletion and the greenhouse warming effects on the marketing policies of the refrigeration industry in recent years.

 4.      From job interview to promoting a business: how effective is marketing yourself?

 5.      The evaluation of advertising effectiveness in the service industry

 6.      A critical review of the prospects for interactive services to the home and the implications for marketing strategies  

7.      Has modern technology destroyed customer services within the financial services sector?  

8.      The role of information technology in marketing communications

 9.      Women in sales job: the glass ceiling

 10.  An evaluation of the promotional strategies and tools in achieving greater sales in retail organizations

 11.  A study on the evolution of the use of target marketing in the media, entertainment and show business.

 12.  An investigation into marketing activity aimed at children

 13.  Marketing strategies in the airline industry

 14.  Marketing in non-profit organizations

 15.  The development of mail order/home shopping

16.  Selling to the Japanese: a critical evaluation of current theories and practice for successful market entry

 17.  Effectiveness of billboard advertising in UAE

18.  A comparative study of positioning strategies in soft-drink business  

19.  Marketing tourism in urban areas : a comparison of Dubai and Sharjah

 20.  A study of cause related marketing in UAE business organizations

 21.  Critical appraisal of marketing strategy of Government of India Regional Tourist Office (GOIRTO) with special reference to the Gulf market

 22.  An evaluation of telemarketing as one of the best tools compared to other promo tools in the hotel industry

 23.  Critical evaluation of marketing strategy in Lufthansa Cargo Airlines

 24.  Marketing of new investment projects in the Middle East region

 25.  Evaluation of marketing strategies for promoting retail banking: a case study of ABN Amro Bank

 26.  Evaluation of credit card marketing by Mashreq Bank, UAE

 27.  Critical appraisal of the impact of information technology in direct marketing: a case study of Ultimate Industries Limited, Sharjah, UAE

 28.  Marketing of telecommunication services: a case study of Etisalat

 29.  Evaluation of the marketing of retail banking services and products at Mashreq Bank

 30.  A comparative study of the promotional strategies of two leading newspapers in UAE with special reference to Gulf News and Khaleej Times

 31.  Evaluation of marketing strategies and reader’s perception for U magazine

 32.  Evaluation of Citibank’s NRI services as compared to the NRI services offered by HSBC and Grindlay’s Bank

 33.  Study of customers’ perception of products and services of Etisalat

 34.  The development of home shopping/mail ordering in UAE

 35.  A comparative study on the marketing communications strategy of two international airlines, viz. Saudi Arabian Airlines and Czech Airlines for the UAE region

 36.  Evaluation of advertising effectives: a comparative study of fast moving consumer goods and durable products  

37.  The study of electronic media as a marketing tool in the UAE  

38.  The study of key marketing strategies and approaches used by P&O Container lines

 39.  An evaluation of marketing strategies for Iridium, Middle East  

40.  A comparative study of marketing strategies of Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF) and Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah  

41.  Study of customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction with respect to the medical services offered by Zulekha Hospital , Sharjah UAE  

42.  Introduction and marketing of branded water pumps in the Sultanate of Oman for M/s Metel Trading Co.

 43.  Evaluation of Customer Services in the marketing of construction products in UAE

 44.  Evaluation of effectiveness of sales promotion tools in marketing of fast moving consumer goods: a case study of Al Gurg Lever Company

 45.  Effectiveness of Personal Selling in UAE’s retail textile business.

 

SAMPLE RESEARCH PROPOSAL

1.1Topic

An analysis of the fast food companies promotional activities, affecting the demand for junk food in the UAE market.

1.2 Background of the study

Fast food for a quick bite sounds great because of the mouth-watering taste, but the after effects are very hazardous. Fast food has become popular in the past few years. The factors, which make people consume more fast food, are

·        The drastic changes in lifestyles.

·        As women started working, there is nobody to cook hence fast food has become a quicker source of killing hunger.

·        Fast food is very cheap and easily available, it’s just a phone call away to any of the nearest outlets, and home delivery is done as soon as possible.

Promotions are one major way to attract a customer to consume more junk food. Its either because of the special offers there is consumption or just because they feel lucky that particular day.

1.3 Research Question

How does the fast food companies promotions, encourage people to eat more junk food?

1.4 Research Objective

·        To analyze the fast food companies promotional activities.

·        To analyze the factors, which make people, consume more fast food.

·        To offer recommendations to fast food companies for more effective promotional activities.

 

1.5 Literature Review

What is Marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK defines marketing as ‘the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.’

A simpler definition of marketing is’ Marketing is the selling of goods that don’t come back to people who do.’ (Marketing Communications, An integrated approach third edition, PR Smith with Jonathan Taylor.)

 

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is essentially a conceptual framework, which helps to structure the approach to each marketing challenge. The marketing mix variables are usually considered as internal variables over which a manager has control and makes decisions.

There are 4p’s in the marketing mix, which are

Product- any poor quality product says more to the user than any amount of advertising.

Price- price communicates, e.g. high prices send a different message to low price, and many buyers use price as an indicator of quality.

Place- place of purchase also communicates, e.g. an item purchased in a designer store has a different perceived value to an item purchased from a street store.

Promotion- sales promotions, premiums, incentives and motivation schemes are used for both products and services in consumer, business-to-business and industrial markets. There are 3 main categories:

Customer promotions- Premiums, gifts, prizes and competitions e.g. on the back of cereal boxes.

Trade promotions- special terms, point-of-sale materials and free pens, diaries, competition prizes.

Sales force promotions- incentive and motivation schemes etc.

(Marketing Communications, An integrated approach third edition, PR Smith with Jonathan Taylor.)

 

History- KFC

Colonel Harland Sanders, born September 9, 1890, actively began franchising his chicken business at the age of 65. When the Colonel was six, his father died. His mother was forced to go to work, and young Harland had to take care of his three-year-old brother and baby sister. This meant doing much of the family cooking. By the age of seven, he was a master of several regional dishes.

Now, the KFC business he started has grown to be one of the largest quick service food systems in the world. And Colonel Sanders, a quick service restaurant pioneer, has become a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit.

Kentucky Fried Chicken became a subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. (now RJR Nabisco, Inc.), when Reynolds acquired Heublein Inc. in 1982. KFC was acquired in October 1986 from RJR Nabisco, Inc. by PepsiCo, Inc., for approximately $840 million. In 1980, Colonel was struck with Leukemia and he died at the age of 90.

There are over 11,000 KFC outlets in more than 80 countries and territories around the world serving some eight million customers each day.

A foretaste at the menu- French fries, various varieties of combos, kids meals, snack box, dinner combos, twister meals etc. (www.kfc.com)

History -Mc Donald’s

Mc Donald’s rich history began with the founder, Ray Kroc. The strong foundation that he built continues till today with McDonald's vision and the commitment of the talented executives to keep the shine on McDonald's arches for the following years to come.

Mc Donald’s is the world's leading food service retailer with more than 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries serving 47 million customers each day. It is one of the worlds most well-known and valuable brands and holds a leading share in the globally branded quick service restaurant segment of the informal eating-out market in virtually every country in which they do business.

Some of the world famous and favorite foods from their lip smacking menu are-World Famous French Fries, Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets and Egg McMuffin.

 

Growth in the Gulf-

In the Arab nations, all McDonald's restaurants are locally owned and operated by Arab entrepreneurs. The first restaurant in the region opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 8th, 1993; then Jeddah, KSA on January 19th, 1994; Oman in March 1994; Kuwait in June 1994; Bahrain on December 15th, 1994; the UAE on December 22nd, 1994; and Qatar in December 1995.

McDonald's has 25 restaurants in the UAE with the first restaurant opening on 22 December 1994.

 

Franchising:                   

McDonald's has always been a franchising Company and has relied on its franchisees to play a major role in its success. McDonald's remains committed to franchising as a predominant way of doing business. Approximately 70% of McDonald's worldwide restaurant businesses are owned and operated by independent businessmen and women, i.e. franchisees.

Our franchising system is built on the premise that the Corporation can be successful only if our franchisees are successful first. We believe in a partnering relationship with our owner/ operators, suppliers and employees.                (www.mcdonald’s. com)

 

1.6 Research Design

Research design is the plan and structure of investigation so as to obtain answers to research questions. The plan is the overall scheme or program of the research. It includes an outline of what the investigator will do from writing hypothesis and their operational implications to the final analysis of the data. A structure is the framework, organization, or the configuration of the relations among variables of a study. (Business Research Methods, Tata McGraw- Hill Edition, Eighth Edition, Donald R. Cooper, Pamela S. Schindler.)

Research design is an activity and time based plan. This design is always based on the research question. It guides the selection of sources and types of information. The design outlines procedures for every research activity.

Exploratory Research:

Exploratory research is appropriate for the total study in topic areas where the developed data are limited. In most other studies, exploration is the first stage of a project and is used to orient the researchers and the study. The objective of exploration is the development of hypothesis, not testing.

Descriptive studies:

Descriptive studies are those used to describe phenomena associated with a subject population or to estimate proportions of the population that have certain characteristics.

I shall be using an exploratory research.

 

1.7 Methodology

Census: census is a count of all the elements in a population.

Total Population of UAE

Sampling:

The basic idea of sampling is that by selecting some of the elements in a population, one can draw conclusions about the entire population. A population element is the subject on which the measurement is being taken.

Types of sampling

Random sampling:

This is a special case in which each population element has a known and equal chance of being selected into the sample. Sample is drawn using random number table/ generator.

Systematic sampling:

This method selects an element of the population at a beginning with random start and following the sampling fraction selects every kth element.

Stratified sampling:

It divides the population into subpopulation or strata and uses simple random on each strata. Results may be weighted and combined.

Cluster sampling:

In this sampling method, the population is divided into internally heterogeneous subgroups. Some are randomly selected for further study.

Double (sequential or multiphase) sampling:

This process includes collecting data from a sample using a previously defined technique. Based on the information found, a sub sample is selected for further study. 

I shall be using random sampling methods, because my research topic needs a mixture of people. I shall be distributing my questionnaires to different populace to get their opinions.

The age groups are as mentioned below:

13 below

Teenage

20-30 years

30-40 years

40-50 years

50+

Sample Size

50

The reason why I am targeting to the above-mentioned age groups is because those are the ages, which consume fast food, and especially the youth.

A good sample has both accuracy and precision. An accurate sample is where there is little or no bias or systematic variance. A sample with adequate precision is one that has a sampling error that is within acceptable limits for the study’s purpose.

 

1.8 Data Collection Method

I shall be using primary data as well as secondary data.

Primary Data – Primary data are sought for their proximity to the truth and control over error. These cautions remind us to use care in designing data collection procedures and generalizing from results.

Secondary Data – Secondary data has at least one level of interpretation inserted between the events and recording.

Personally administered questionnaires will be used to gather better information for my research. The questionnaire would include scales to offer a meaningful analysis. It would include both open ended and closed ended questions.

 

Scaling is a “procedure for the assignment of numbers (or other symbols) to a property of objects in order to impart some of the characteristics of numbers to the properties in question.”

Scales such as-

Likert Scale- this is the most frequently used variation of the summated rating scale. Likert scales help us compare one person’s score with a distribution of scores from a well-defined sample group.

Ratings scale- rating scales are used to judge properties of objects without reference to other similar objects. Ratings may be in such a form such as “like-dislike,” “approve-indifferent- disapprove” or other classifications using various more categories.

I shall be referring to substantial Journals, Articles, Books, Internet and Magazines in context to my topic.

I shall be distributing the questionnaires to all the selected age groups.

The amount of questions that shall be there in the Questionnaire would be 15-20

 

1.9 Business Implications

How my research would help the fast food company’s promotional activities?

The companies would get to know how well their promotions are flourishing in the market and whether people are loyal to their food or is it just because of the promotions that they consume. They would also get to know how competent is their company in comparison to other brands.  

 

1.10 Limitations

The factors, which would limit my research are-

·        Time is a major factor as the topic is very vast and needs a lot of time for research.

·        Cost is another hindrance, as research is very expensive in this part of the world.

·        As fast food companies are increasing every second day and as I cannot take all of them into consideration, I shall be targeting my study only to KFC and Mc Donald’s.

 

1.11 Form of Presentation

The dissertation will be presented in the conventional form as laid down by the University with separate pages with the following cover sheet title, acknowledgement, abstract, contents, list of tables and figures. Apart from the above-mentioned sections, the dissertation would also include a reference list at the end of each chapter and a full- fledged Bibliography at the end of the report. Sample questionnaires and certain useful appendix would also be included.

 

1.12 Project Plan

Phase 1

After approval of the dissertation proposal, literature searching will be done. This will be enhanced further with the review of information on other related aspects of the research. Though literature searching would continue through out the project, it will be intense during the 1st phase.

Phase 2

An extensive study of research objective will be carried out and questionnaire will be floated to consumers to collect primary data.

Phase 3

Data collected from the various interviews and reports will be analyzed and will be structurally laid for further interpretation.

Phase 4

The last stage will involve word processing, editing and finally the completion of the dissertation.

 

1.13 Resources Required 

Apart from the physical and mental efforts of the student, the dissertation supervisor, respondents, library, families and friends, the dissertation will also require access to various text on the market consumer buying behavior, sales and marketing, journals and other business magazines and newspaper. All the above-mentioned will be accessed through various private and public libraries. Apart from these a pc with access to the Internet and writing materials will also be required.

  

1.14 Bibliography

1)     Business Research Methods, Tata McGraw- Hill Edition, Eighth Edition, Donald R. Cooper, Pamela S. Schindler.

2)     Marketing communications, An integrated approach third edition, PR Smith with Jonathan Taylor.

3)     Press release- KFC.com

4)     www. Mcdonald’s. com

5)     www. KFC.com

 

 

Wishing You All The Best !!!

 

Referencing

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