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Dissertation Handbook
Note this guide is ONLY for those students who have NOT completed the
separate module in Research Methods. (BSM577)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This dissertation guidance has benefited from the input of a number of academics. Thank you.
Module Descriptor.
A copy of this can be found on Moodle.
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 General
The dissertation is the largest single piece of work that you will undertake on your postgraduate course and it provides the greatest test of your ability to achieve Masters level status. Therefore, this work marks the final stage of your intellectual development as a postgraduate student. Indeed, the process in which you are about to embark, provides you with a challenge in applying: knowledge, skills, experience, wisdom and a variety of other analytical techniques, which you will have acquired throughout your period of study. This Master?s stage therefore allows you the freedom to employ these attributes in an independent piece of work.
Completing a dissertation requires the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information and observations. It is an orderly intellectual and practical exercise for which there are common criteria for evaluation. Students are therefore advised to proceed according to an intellectual and practical plan in a systematic manner.
Remember a dissertation is NOT a ?big essay.? it is a different kind of work, more elaborate and systematic. If you think of your dissertation as an essay, it will almost certainly be well below what you are capable of producing.
Many students find that the most difficult part about their dissertation is getting started. This guidance will help you produce your dissertation by developing a clear understanding of expectations from the outset. It provides information on the style of presentation; an expected generic structure; an explanation of the assessment criteria; and some examples of good practice. In addition to this guidance, you will also be able to:
? obtain advice from your dissertation tutor (this is likely to be more specific about the actual content and logic of your own dissertation);
? seek general guidance from the dissertation co-ordinator;
? consult relevant business research textbooks; and possibly more importantly research journals
Clearly the base materials for writing up will be your own notes, records and analysis of your research data. You will also find it helpful to refer to your proposal (and the feedback that you received on it). It is always good practice to remind yourself about what you set out to achieve. The various sections in the proposal can be used to develop the introduction to the corresponding chapters in your dissertation. This relationship will be explained in more detail later in this guidance.
It is critical to note that the dissertation is produced for the purposes of an academic audience. In assessing your work we are trying to determine if:
? you are competent in conducting business related research;
? your research methods, findings and analysis are credible and justifiable;
? you can demonstrate the use and understanding of higher level cognitive skills through the analysis and synthesis of your research findings;
? you can communicate your research appropriately so that others can have confidence in your work;
? you have considered and justified any practical implications for change given the context of your investigation.
Essential ingredients of a dissertation, as distinct from a client or consultancy report, will be academic underpinning through a critical review of the literature and a rigorous discussion of research methodology and design. If this academic underpinning and critical evaluation is lacking in rigour then this will have a detrimental impact on your grade and could result in failure.
1.2 Purpose of the Handbook
Since the dissertation process is a challenging exercise, this handbook has been produced to help provide you with some of the basic information on key issues associated with the approaches you should consider in terms of: – carrying out the study and writing the completed dissertation.
1.3 Purpose of the Dissertation
The main purposes in researching and writing your dissertation are threefold:-
1. to provide you with an opportunity to develop and apply analytical, critical, evaluative, communication and investigative skills appropriate to a major piece of advanced and independent research;
2. to demonstrate a higher level of understanding and knowledge in relation to issues implicit within the chosen subject area;
3. to develop an understanding of research methodology and research processes involved in Master?s Level study, and to apply these to primary/secondary data sets.
1.4 The Aims and Learning Outcomes of the Dissertation Module
Aim
To provide the student with the opportunity to integrate knowledge and skills at Master? level by undertaking a supervised, independent piece of research on an approved topic in a degree related discipline.

Learning Outcomes
1. Produce a research topic and proposal in preparation for the Dissertation.
2. Investigate and critically review relevant literature on a chosen research topic to establish the need for further research in this area.

3. To carry out the methodology, analyse and synthesise the results obtained. (Normally from both primary and secondary research)
4. Derive conclusions from the research conducted and formulate recommendations to industry and/or future researchers.
5. Synthesise and apply in a practical context, the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in the taught elements of the programme.

1.5 The Nature of the Dissertation

A dissertation has TWO basic features that distinguish it from other pieces of work which you have already undertaken and therefore it is important that there is a clear understanding that: –

1. The subject material of the dissertation is solely your (the student’s) responsibility.
2. The role of your dissertation supervisor is solely advisory, whereby the supervisor?s role is to guide the student through the dissertation process and advise on key issues and aspects of the student?s research. Additionally, it should be borne in mind that all decisions made on both – the content/structure of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation, are the responsibility of the student.

With this in mind, the following flowchart gives an outline of the important stages involved in the dissertation process.
Outline of the Dissertation Process
This information is provided for guidance only and does not replace the requirements of the University?s Academic Regulations, which are available for consultation on the University
1.6 FEES AND EXPENSES
You will be expected to meet all fees and expenses incurred on the Master?s Degree Dissertation programme.

1.7 CHOOSING A TOPIC
The first task in the dissertation process is for students to choose an appropriate topic and decide on a provisional title. This can be the most difficult part of the process since, if you choose unwisely, there may be unforeseen consequences later. With this in mind, try to be realistic about the topic and choose one that you are clearly interested in and indeed, a topic where there are a number of relevant literary sources. Reliance on parents or friends to provide information is unwise, since with the best will in the world, they are unlikely to have sufficient knowledge of the requirements for a master?s dissertation or they may not be able to provide you with the right type, level or depth of information required to satisfy the main aim of the study. An additional point to bear in mind, it is wise to think of your career – and therefore – to consider a topic that will assist you in achieving your long term aspirations and thereby further developing your career in the process. Hence, it is generally wise to choose a topic neither too narrow nor too broad in scope.

The more effort you put into the choice of research topic (in the earlier stages of your study) the greater the potential for reducing the number of problems you may encounter later in your study. If in doubt about a topic, seek the advice of your dissertation co-ordinator or seek out staff who have an interest in your specific research area and listen carefully to the suggestions put forward. Submission of a topic is the trigger for the allocation of your supervisor. There is a standard template on the Virtual Campus for you to use when submitting your Topic.

1.8 THE DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
Developing a tightly focused topic and thinking about the approach towards addressing the main aim of your proposed study is extremely important and can therefore be seen as one of the most critical stages in the dissertation process. Hence, there is a need to plan the dissertation very carefully, by concentrating on some key aspects/issues, which are outlined, below. If you approach these with care and attention, you will find that the production of the final dissertation can be easier than first anticipated. However, this is not in itself easy to accomplish and much effort will be required in completing the dissertation successfully.

Two points to note at this time:
1. Poor planning generally produces poor results.
2. Follow the advice of your dissertation supervisor.
Hence, the dissertation proposal – forms the foundation for this final stage of your master’s degree. Consequently, you must: – review relevant literature; set the scope of the study – in terms of a main aim; define appropriate research objectives; explain their rationale; select and justify your proposed methodological approach; demonstrate an understanding of methods of analysis; and outline an appropriate structure for your particular study. In addition, you must set out a schedule/plan for the execution and completion of the dissertation. There is a standard template on the Virtual Campus for you to use when submitting your proposal.

Please note dissertation proposals MUST relate to your Post Graduate degree discipline. Proposals submitted outwith the subject of your main discipline may be deemed a fail.
Length of the Dissertation Proposal
The Dissertation Proposal should be 2000 words in length (excluding diagrams, references and appendices) with a tolerance of +/- 10%.
Submission of the Dissertation Proposal
In order to proceed with the dissertation, it is necessary to submit a copy of the dissertation proposal.
Warning
If you fail to submit a Dissertation Proposal by the due deadline without good cause (e.g. medical circumstances), there will be an assumption that you no longer wish to proceed with the Dissertation and that you no longer wish to be considered for the master’s degree of which the Dissertation Proposal is a compulsory element.

Confidentiality Issues: Please refer to the information on Moodle

1.9 DISSERTATION MANAGEMENT

Successful production of a Dissertation is mostly about organisation rather than inspiration. As part of your Research Proposal, you should have produced a Gantt Chart that outlines your work schedule. It is now your responsibility to manage your time within that schedule or to adapt it as circumstances make necessary. Above all, you should be aiming to have the main parts of your Dissertation nearing completion about a month before the submission deadline.
It is sensible to discuss work on a regular basis with your Supervisor, rather than waiting until you have almost completed your Dissertation. Your Supervisor will then be able to detect any problems at an early stage. Whilst the Supervisor will make suggestions/recommendations of particular issues, concepts, theories, etc., in the process of discussing your work, it is your responsibility to ensure that you fully understand the potential consequences – if you decide not to take cognisance of their comments.
The submitted thesis must be your own work and you have responsibility for its eventual success or failure. The Supervisor?s role at this time is to offer guidance and constructive criticism, suggest solutions, and give encouragement. Your Supervisor should also advise you on the presentation and layout of the Dissertation, but you must take ultimate responsibility for both the content and presentation by carefully following the presentation instructions in this handbook. The supervisor is not an editor!
You should seek Supervisory contact/discussion on a regular basis. Exactly how frequently these should take place is impossible to determine in advance, and it is therefore your responsibility to make contact with your Supervisor when you feel that a discussion would be helpful. Some Supervisors establish a pattern of regular meetings, if they feel that it would be beneficial for a particular student, or is required by the subject being investigated, but such arrangements should not be taken to be the norm.
Your Supervisor will normally expect to see ONE draft of each individual section or a full draft before submission, and will provide feedback on drafts. In exceptional circumstances, at the Supervisor?s discretion, further drafts may be required.
The latest date on which your Supervisor will normally be able to look at a final draft is two weeks prior to the submission deadline.
However, this very much depends on the workload of the individual Supervisor and you should discuss and adhere to deadlines for drafts set by your Supervisor.
Please remember that your dissertation supervisor has other responsibilities and commitments. They are also entitled to take holidays and you must seek advice regarding their availability and plan your interactions with them accordingly.
For your assistance there is always a duty member of staff over the summer vacation period. (Contact ABS reception who have information on the duty staff) They should be able to help with general dissertation issues; any specific subject related problems should be referred to your supervisor.
2. STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF YOUR DISSERTATION
Students are expected to demonstrate in the Dissertation that they
? have understood the conceptual range and complexity of the chosen topic;
? are aware of the literature available on the topic;
? are able to analyse and assess the issues and facts, opinions and procedures involved in the area of investigation;
? can bring an independent viewpoint to bear upon the evidence and its practical implications;
? can present this viewpoint in succinct conclusions, giving a balanced discussion of the evidence.
Students are also expected –
? to organise and display their findings in a clear and coherent manner
? to give particular emphasis to cogency of argument, appropriate use of evidence, clarity of layout, and synthesis of the constituent aspects of the topic
? to attain high editorial standards in presentation
Generally the content and structure of the Dissertation is similar to the Research Proposal, but there are a number of significant additional sections.
Title page:
Please use the standard specimen title pages at Appendix A
? the full title of the thesis
? the full name of the author
? the name of the supervisor
? the award for which the Dissertation is submitted in partial fulfilment of its requirements
? that the degree is awarded by The Robert Gordon University
? the year of submission
? the word count (excluding acknowledgements ,diagrams, references, bibliography and appendices)
Confidentiality statement ? normally students should expect that their dissertation will be available for inspection. If there are genuine reasons why your work could be considered confidential then you should discuss this matter with your supervisor at an early stage in your work.
Abstract – a brief (c.250-300 words) summary of the aim, methodology, contents, and conclusions of the dissertation.
Acknowledgements – a list of people who provided help to the author during the research and writing of the dissertation. It is normal practice to acknowledge those who have supported your work.
List of contents showing the breakdown of the dissertation into its constituent parts and locating them by page number. It is good practice to also include list of figures, tables and appendices.

Introduction presenting and justifying the research problem/issue and introducing the approach taken to investigating and presenting the problem.
Glossary ? a list of abbreviations and technical terms used and their definitions.
Literature Review
Methodology presenting, as appropriate, details of the research approach and design, methods and techniques used to collect and analyse data and any problems encountered.
Main text organised in a way appropriate to the topic presenting a review of relevant literature, results and discussions and synthesis of findings, critical analysis of facts and/or ideas, using chapter headings, and paragraphed and spaced for ease of reading and cross-reference.
Conclusion(s) (and recommendations) – an assessment of the findings along with any recommendations; this section should, explicitly or implicitly, establish the validity of the work in relation to its field.
References provide essential theoretical support for the research. References should follow the standard RGU/ABS protocol that can be found on the library website.
Bibliography – a separate list of the other relevant and useful works in the field that you have consulted.
Appendices – optional; useful for relevant but supplementary information (e.g. copies of any questionnaires used in the research), or for some kinds of statistical information material which exemplifies discussion in the main text.
Detailed guidance on each of the main sections (chapters) for your dissertation is provided at Appendix B.
3. ASSESSMENT OF YOUR DISSERTATION
The completed dissertation must provide proof of the ability to think, analyse, criticise, organise, synthesise, evaluate and assess. These qualities will maximise the potential opportunity for students to achieve a sound score in the assessment.
In assessing dissertations, supervisors are primarily looking for evidence of a student’s ability to work independently on a research topic with the minimum of supervision. The assessment of the dissertation is as follows:
Completed Dissertation : 100%

The feedback criteria used in assessing the dissertation are provided for consultation on Moodle. Students should familiarise themselves with this prior to writing the dissertation.

A descriptive dissertation will generally not receive a favourable grade. In assessing the completed dissertation a number of elements are taken into account including: –
? Content
? Scope
? Use of literature
? Methodology
? Analytical depth
? Criticality and success in meeting stated objectives
? Relevance of conclusions and their relation to the stated objectives
? Creativity and originality
? Recommendations
? Presentation
? Structure
? Referencing

The dissertation will normally be 15,000 words MAXIMUM in length (excluding acknowledgements, diagrams, references, bibliography and appendices) with a tolerance of +/- 10%. Dissertations will be subject to the usual penalty for incorrect wordage. A dissertation is judged on its intellectual rigour and the insight it provides to your understanding of the topic.
For your information, Appendix C ? gives guidance on the evaluation of post graduate dissertations, and you should fully understand the details identified here, prior to writing your completed dissertation.
Normally, your supervisor will mark the dissertation. It will be marked by two lecturers who will agree a final overall grade and feedback. Where there is a failure to agree a grade, the dissertation will be assessed by the dissertation co-ordinator (or an appropriate designate) and this grade will be the actual grade that is awarded subject to ratification by the Assessment Board. Selections of dissertations are always sent to the external examiner/s for verification.
Additionally, for those students submitting a dissertation that is on the borderline of a pass/fail, or indeed, if there is some question concerning the authenticity of the dissertation submitted – a student may be required to attend an oral examination/presentation on their submitted work, before their final grade is awarded.
Hussey and Hussey (1998 p.18) provide a useful table to illustrate the differences between a good and a poor dissertation. This has been reproduced below for convenience.
Good dissertation Poor dissertation
Good literature review Poor/uncritical literature review
Sound primary research Poor/little primary research
Logical structure Haphazard structure
Analytical Descriptive
Theory integrated Theory tacked on
Underpinned by conceptual framework Little/no conceptual framework
Integration between methodology, literature, analysis, conclusions, etc. Little/no integration between elements
Table 1 Characteristics of good and poor dissertations
4. FORMAT AND SUBMISSION OF YOUR DISSERTATION
The dissertation must be submitted in printed format unless along with an electronic version. There is a template on Moodle for the first few pages of your dissertation. It should be presented in a permanent and legible form in accordance with the following:
1. Printed in A4 size paper, can be double sided with 1.5 or double spacing. The font should be Verdana 11 point.
2. Pages should be numbered consecutively throughout, beginning with the first page of chapter 1 as 1. Preceding pages can be numbered i, ii, etc.
3. A margin of at least 40mm should be left on the left hand side of the page and at least 20mm on all other sides.
4. The cover page (Appendix A) should be completed.
5. There should be a separate abstract (see template Appendix A) not exceeding one page, bound into the dissertation outlining the nature and scope of the work and key findings.
SUBMISSION OF THE DISSERTATION
You will be informed of the final deadline for the submission of the Dissertation in a separate letter sent to you individually at the start of your dissertation. If you are in any way unsure please contact the post graduate office.
The submission of the Dissertation for assessment is solely at your discretion. While you would be unwise to submit the Dissertation for assessment against the advice of your Supervisor, it is your right to do so. Equally, you should not assume that your Supervisor?s agreement to the submission of the Dissertation guarantees the award of the degree.
If you are unable to submit your dissertation by the submission date you must contact your Course Leader as soon as possible before the final hand in date. Please find further details regarding the protocol for extensions etc on Moodle. Remember if you do request an extension/mitigating circumstances and it is approved there may be a possibility that your submission will be too late to go forward at the next assessment board. Subject to passing all requirements this could delay your possible graduation by several months.
You are expected to submit 2 spiral-bound printed copies, and one copy on a named CD-ROM. The School?s Technical Services staff will assist you with preparing these copies, if necessary.
All items should be placed in an envelope carrying the student’s name, student number and course and should be submitted to the Coursework box on Level 4.
Dissertations should NOT be submitted to Reception NOR direct to the Supervisor.
In the event that the package is too bulky to post in the Coursework box it may, exceptionally be submitted to level 4 reception.
Distance learning students can submit by post: the address is as follows:
Ms. Linda Mair
The Robert Gordon University
Aberdeen Business School
Garthdee Road
ABERDEEN
AB10 7QG
Please make sure you obtain a postage receipt and keep an electronic copy of your own in case of emergencies!
Please note: No receipts will be issued for dissertations submitted.
Dissertations including non-written material such as computer programmes or audio-visual items may be submitted. These must, however, be accompanied by written introductory and explanatory material. Students must ensure that the non-print items are firmly fixed in place.
The electronic version of the Dissertation of those Master?s students who successfully complete and achieve 70% or more in the Dissertation will be placed on Campus Moodle and any PHD dissertations (subject to any restrictions on confidentiality) will be placed on the University?s Open Access Repository and become freely available on the Web.
Copyright of the Dissertation will remain vested in the candidate.
5. STYLISTIC POINTS TO NOTE
5.1 General
It is important to communicate your ideas clearly. However good you may think your ideas to be, if you fail to communicate them clearly to your supervisor, the grade that you will obtain will generally be poor. Remember that others will read your work and they will not have had the benefit of working with you and hence the clarity of your written communication is paramount. A good start would be to look at the dissertations lodged in the RGU library; they will give you a good idea of the level and style of work you will need to achieve.
There is a significant difference between one?s own opinion and material drawn from a body of academic writing and evidence in the chosen field of study. A clear distinction should be drawn between what you think and what is accepted fact or reason. If all materials are sourced including tables of data, diagrams etc., then it will be assumed that the rest of the dissertation is your work and your view alone. In science, all experiments should be repeatable. In business and the social sciences, all primary research should at least be capable of being repeated even if there are practical difficulties. Therefore, it is convention to write in the passive tense i.e. ?a questionnaire was undertaken? rather than ?I undertook a questionnaire? even though you did undertake it – on the grounds that it could have been undertaken by anyone. The fact that you did – should not have any effect on the results. Avoid terms such as ?in the author?s opinion?. What you really need to do is consider what that opinion is based on – evidence, accepted academic judgement or blind prejudice.

5.2 Quotations, References and Bibliography
Correct referencing in full – using a standard referencing system is absolutely essential. The recommended system is: – the ABS version of the Harvard System. The examiners also need to see the extent of the reading undertaken which should be indicated in the bibliography. Contact the University Library and they will be able to assist you in using this Referencing System. A copy of the ABS Harvard referencing system is available on the library web page at http://www.rgu.ac.uk/library/howto/page.cfm?pge=25531 .
Some Referencing Examples for you to consider:
Referencing exercise
After completing the following exercise successfully you will be able to: cite references within a text, construct a reference list and construct a bibliography.
1. Details in original publication
… According to Clanchy and Ballard students find academic writing difficult. …
(From: page 9 in ?How to Write Essays: a Practical Guide for Students?, by Clanchy, J. & Ballard, B., 1998. London: Longman.)
Type of reference: whole book
Relevant page(s) in Harvard guide: 3 & 4
Quote this within your text
According to Clanchy and Ballard (1998 p. 9) students find academic writing difficult.
Tip: regardless of format (paper, electronic, book or journal or web site), your reference within the text will always indicate the authors name and publication year. If it is a direct quote from a book, journal article or newspaper, include the page number for the quote as well. In this case, the authors names are already included in the quote above, so it is only necessary to add the publication year and page number in brackets.

Quote this in your reference list
CLANCHY, J. and BALLARD, B., 1998. How to write essays: a practical guide for students. London: Longman.
Tip; Do not include the page numbers of any quotes in your references list; these only appear in the text.
The authors names are always typed in capital letters. The first letter of the book title and any proper nouns start with capital letters, otherwise all letters are lower case. Note that book titles are given in italics.
2. Details in original publication
… Professional communication courses can help students become more aware of ?the highly charged and changing occupational and social contexts that define professional work.?…
(This quote is from p. 331 of an article by Brenton Faber in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, July 2002, vol. 16 No 3, on pages 306 ? 337, entitled: Professional Identities: What IS Professional about Professional Communication?)

Type of reference: journal article
Relevant page(s) in Harvard guide: 3 & 5

Quote this within your text
?Professional communication courses can help students become more aware of ?the highly charged and changing occupational and social contexts that define professional work.? (Faber 2002 p.331)

Tip: regardless of format (paper, electronic, book or journal or web site), your reference within the text will always indicate the authors name and publication year; in this case, the authors names aren?t mentioned in the quote so include authors name with the year of publication in brackets and add the page number for that particular quote..
Quote this in your reference list
FABER, B., 2002. Professional identities: what IS professional about professional communication? Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 16 (3), pp. 306 ? 337
Tip: note that for journal articles, the name of the journal itself is given in italics, rather than the title of the article.
Note that the page numbers given are for the whole article, and not the single page from which the quote is taken. Use p. for a single page, and pp. for multiple pages
Journals usually have a volume and issue number; include these rather than the month of publication.
3. Details in original publication
The article ?Money: How to choose . . . what are the real differences between the funds?? in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday February 24 2007 on page 8.
Type of reference: newspaper article
Relevant page(s) in Harvard guide: 5 & 7

Quote this within your text
(Guardian 2007 p. 8)

Tip; there is no author named in the article, so use the name of the newspaper (or journal) instead

Quote this in your reference list
GUARDIAN, 2007. Money: how to choose… what are the real differences between the funds? Guardian, 24 February, p.8

Tip: as there is no named author, use the name of the newspaper instead of the author.
Newspapers don?t give a volume and issue number, so use the date of publication instead.

4. Details in original publication (look at this reference in conjunction with number 5)
The whole book by Michael E Porter called ?Competitive strategy: techniques for analyzing industries and competitors?. Published in New York by the Free Press in 1998.

Quote this within your text
(Porter 1998a)

Quote this in your reference list
PORTER, M.E., 1998a. Competitive strategy: techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York : Free Press

5. Details in original publication (look at this reference in conjunction with number 4)
An article by Michael E. Porter called ?Clusters and the new economics of competition? in Harvard Business Review published November/December 1998 in volume 76, issue 6, p. 77-90

Notes on references 4 & 5
Types of reference ;book and journal article and referring to more than one source by the same author
Relevant pages in Harvard guide; 4 & 5 & 18

Quote this within your text
(Porter 1998b)

Quote this in your reference list
PORTER, M.E., 1998b. Clusters and the new economics of competition. Harvard Business Review, 76 (6), pp. 77-90

Notes on references 4 & 5
Tip: if you include more than one item by the same author, they are filed in order of year of publication, earliest first. Where items by the same author are published in the same year, add a letter to the year of publication to identify particular items; the letters are also included in the text citation.
6. Details in original publication
…? If you use someone else’s work without acknowledgement you risk facing charges of plagiarism, which could damage your progress through University.?…
(This quote was taken from the following website on 16 October 2006: http://www.rgu.ac.uk/library/howto/page.cfm?pge=25531). The webpage was last updated in 2007.

Type of reference: web page
Relevant page in Harvard guide: 16

Quote this within your text
?If you use someone else’s work without acknowledgement you risk facing charges of plagiarism, which could damage your progress through University .? (RGU Library 2006)

Tip: the date given in the text is the year of publication of the webpage; if no publication date can be established use n.d. (short for no date) e.g (RGU Library n.d.)

Quote this in your reference list
RGU LIBRARY, 2006, How to cite references. [online] Aberdeen: RGU. Available from http://www.rgu.ac.uk/library/howto/page.cfm?pge=25531 [Accessed on 16 October 2006]

Tip ; the title of the web page is given in italics. You need to add [online] to indicate an electronic source and give the url and the date accessed i.e. the date you looked at it.

7. Details in original publication

?Online recruitment services are among the most popular applications on the Internet. However, their usability is compromised by the information overload problem, as users must frequently search through hundreds or thousands of job advertisements for given query.?

(From page 39 of PERSONALIZATION TECHNIQUES FOR ONLINE RECRUITMENT SERVICES. By: Smyth, Barry; Bradley, Keith; Rafter, Rachael. Communications of the ACM, May2002, Vol. 45 Issue 5, p39-40, 2p; (AN 11872575)
Cited References (4) Times Cited in this Database(1)
PDF Full Text (774K) )
Found on the Business Source Premier database

Type of reference: Journal article
Relevant page in Harvard guide: 5

Quote this within your text
?Online recruitment services are among the most popular applications on the Internet. However, their usability is compromised by the information overload problem, as users must frequently search through hundreds or thousands of job advertisements for given query.?
(Smyth, Bradley and Rafter 2002 p. 39)

Quote this in your reference list
SMYTH, B., BRADLEY, K. and RAFTER, R., 2002. Personalization techniques for online recruitment. Communications of the ACM. 45 (5), pp. 39-40
8. Details in original publication

This quote from Michael Porter
"The worst thing you can do is compete with your rival on the same
things," advised Porter. "If you do, the competition almost always
becomes a destructive `arms race’."
(From The me-too trap. By: Streeter, William W.. ABA Banking Journal, Jan2006, Vol. 98 Issue 1, p4-4, 2/3p; (AN 19356539)
HTML Full Text PDF Full Text (581K)

Found on the Business Source Premier database

Type of reference: secondary referencing and journal article
Relevant page in Harvard guide: 19 & 5

Quote this within your text
In Streeter?s article, "The worst thing you can do is compete with your rival on the same things," advised Porter. "If you do, the competition almost always becomes a destructive `arms race’." (Streeter 2006)

Quote this in your reference list
STREETER, W.W., 2006. The me-too trap. ABA Banking Journal. 98(1), p. 4

Tip: when you use a quote from one author included in another author?s work, you need to make it clear you haven?t read the original work (eg by Porter), so your reference would be to the article you HAVE read ie the one by Streeter.

9. Details in original publication
Cite this website http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/wrkgtime/flexwking/flexwkgfst.htm?IsSrchRes=1

Type of reference; web page
Relevant page in Harvard guide: 16

Quote this within your text
(CIPD 2008)

Tip: when looking for the author?s name, it is by far the most preferred option to note the name of the person or individual who wrote the piece. However, many web sites do not give personal author?s names on their pages, so instead, use the name of the organisation who produced the information, in capital letters. This dies mean that the organisation name will be repeated as a publisher as well in your reference; that is correct.

If using the name of the organisation as an author, it is preferable to spell out the complete name rather than use the initials, unless the organisation is officially known by it?s initials. If in doubt, check the home page to see what they are officially calling themselves, and if still in doubt, spell out the complete name.

Quote this in your reference list
CIPD, 2008. Flexible working. [online] London: CIPD. Available from: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/wrkgtime/flexwking/flexwkgfst.htm?IsSrchRes=1 [Accessed 1 December 2009]

Tip: even if it is on the internet, this is a one-off publication (like a book) rather than something that is repeated on a regular basis (like a journal article) so quote it in the format of a book and add the necessary notations to indicate you found it online eg [online], Available from: and the date [Accessed]

The place of publication is the town where the organisation is based. If it is not indicated on this page, in your web browser, shorten the url from eg http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/wrkgtime/flexwking/flexwkgfst.htm?IsSrchRes=1 to http://www.cipd.co.uk/ which should take you to the organisation?s home page, then use the ?Contact us? option to find the address.

10. Details in original publication
Cite the table ?Meeting the fiscal rules? on page 4 of the budget 2007 document on HM Treasury web site at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/3/4/bud07_completereport_1757.pdf
Type of reference; figures, tables & illustrations AND web page
Relevant pages in Harvard guide: 12 & 16

Tip; the crucial thing to remember is that you must quote the entire document as you would normally, then indicate to the reader the place within the document that you will find the table. This report is document is part of a series of reports published annually, and is not published daily, weekly, quarterly, six monthly, so quote it in the same format as a book.

Quote this within your text
(HM Treasury 2007 p.4 Table 1.1)

Tip: quote the usual reference in the text i.e. the name of the author of the entire report (HM Treasury) and the year of publication, then follow it with the number of the page containing the table and the table number. This is the only place you need to indicate the details of the table within the document.

Quote this in your reference list
HM TREASURY, 2007. Budget 2007: building Britain?s long term future: prosperity and fairness for families. [online] London: HM Treasury.
Tip; in your references, simply quote the entire document in the format of an online book, and do not include the details of where to find the table, which should only appear in your text.

5.3 Before submission of the dissertation

Before submitting your completed Dissertation, review it to ensure that you have:

? established an hypothesis or series of hypotheses (mainly used in quantitative methodologies) or a research question or series of research questions (mainly used in qualitative methodologies);
? a research aim and a number of more specific research objectives;
? established detailed research methods that will meet your aim and objectives:
 undertaken thorough secondary research, and produced a suitably structured literature review or use of other relevant secondary sources;
 undertaken thorough primary research, i.e. a piece of empirical work involving collection of data by you personally (in exceptional cases primary research may be excluded if the student is performing substantial re-analysis of secondary data);
 explained and justified your chosen methodology. This will include defining population, sampling, etc;
 demonstrated how your research instrument (questionnaire, interview or other method) will answer the research questions or provide data to permit hypothesis testing. Also demonstrated how your research instrument has been informed by your literature review;
 evaluated the success of your methodology in relation to your aims and objectives (this may include response rates etc.);
? undertaken a thorough analysis of your results in line with your research objectives and in the light of your literature review;
? drawn conclusions from the results of your research that either prove/disprove your hypotheses or address your research questions.

Additional detailed guidance has been provided in the following appendices:
Appendix D contains tips on drafting and revising your work including guidance on writing the abstract.
Appendix E provides guidance on conducting a critical review of the literature.
6. PLAGIARISM

This is a form of cheating. This includes copying part or all of a dissertation or the un-attributed quotation of even a single sentence belonging to another author. In such instances, this will result in at least a FAIL being awarded for the dissertation and possibly further penalties being imposed by the University. It is perfectly proper to quote original authors and you are encouraged to do so – this may be an indication of the depth of your reading. Quotations should however, be brief, relevant, to the point, and discussed in appropriate context.

If there are doubts about authenticity of your work, for example the undertaking of a questionnaire, you may be required to provide documentary evidence as proof. Any materials which have been used in the production of the dissertation such as notes, questionnaires, letters etc., should be retained by you (the student) as evidence until you have received your final award. N.B. staff may wish to review and consider your data set in the light of your Proposal/completed Dissertation.
Useful website:
http://www.intranet.rgu.ac.uk/celt/learning/page.cfm?pge=7018
APPENDICES
Appendix A Specimen Title Page
Appendix B Detailed guidance on writing your chapters
Appendix C What are markers looking for?
Appendix D Tips on drafting and revising your work
Appendix E Guidance on conducting a Critical Review of the Literature
Please make careful use of the feedback received when writing your dissertation.
On receipt of this feedback the student is expected to make contact with their supervisor as soon as possible.
Note: Proposal has 2000 word limit.
Provisional title, abstract.
Title is OK. Abstract possibly a bit lengthy ? it can be made shorter, crisper and more specifically to the point than at present.
Rationale for study/Research question/s, Literature review
An Introduction should be looking briefly at the topic, setting the scene of the dissertation, including the sector/organisations that will be included in the research. The Rationale should be looking at what it was that made you feel that this dissertation needs to be carried out. Are there, for example, specific problems that currently exist that your work is going to address?
The Literature Review could be better. As you are a HRM student you should be able to describe better the T&D process ? mention of learning cycle etc. With some detail on the various steps in relation to the Aims of the dissertation. I would also have thought that making reference to something like the CIPD?s Annual T&D Survey would have been a good idea to gauge current practice.
Motivation section is rather brief and lacks critical analysis ? you need to work on this area!
Aim and objectives.
Keep the Aim to a single aim. Forget the second sentence.
Objectives are OK.
Research Methodology/ techniques for data collection. Limitations?
Methodology – You need to spend more time discussing your options and then clearly identifying which ones you intend to use and why! What you have written at present is somewhat confusing. I suspect that at the foot of the 4.7 section you meant to write ?quantitative? instead of ?qualitative? as you refer to ?employees?.
Data Analysis looks appropriate. I don?t see anything about the Limitations of your research. You need to include this. You should also have identified what resources you require to complete your dissertation.
Ethical considerations: Consent, access etc.
Covered OK.
Gantt Chart: Plan from onset to submission
Included but would be improved if dates were used rather than just weeks ? it makes it more workable then and easier to see when you are falling behind.
Correct Referencing /Bibliography
Watch your referencing ? Several of your cited sources isn?t listed in the References section.
You need to use page numbering both for the dissertation and in the Table of Contents.
Course: MSc in Human Resource Management
Module:
DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
Assignment and Title:
Training and Development: It?s Importance on Employee Motivation and Performance and how to ensure that it is
DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
Training and Development: It?s Importance on Employee Motivation and Performance and how to ensure that it is Effective
RESEARCH PROPOSAL IN PART FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF A MASTERS IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT COURSE
Abstract
Training and development of staff is vital in organizations especially in this era of increased competition since organizations need not only to survive but also to grow and develop. Training and development has without doubt become an issue of strategic importance to human resource management. Although many studies have been conducted on this topic in firms in both developed and developing economies, it is important to mention that most of these studies have focused on the benefits of training and development in general. Not much has been done to evaluate the training and development practices used in order to establish how they can be made more effective and how training and development is critical for the performance of an organization and how it specifically helps motivate employees. To fill this gap, this research seeks to critically examine in detail and evaluate the approaches and practices used by organizations in employee training and development and to examine how effective they are in increasing organizational effectiveness and competitiveness as well as increasing employee motivation. To achieve this, an exploratory study will be conducted in which mixed method approach will be used to collect data from a number of selected organizations in Nigeria. Qualitative data will be collected using interviews from the human resource managers while quantitative data will be collected using a questionnaire from employees particularly to obtain their opinion on how they feel about the training and development practices provided or its absence in the organization. The findings will not only fill the identified gap in literature but also provide recommendations on how training and development practices can be made more effective in order to ensure that organizational goals are met and the competitiveness of the firm increased.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contents
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Report rationale, aims and objectives
3.0 Review of Relevant Literature
4.0 Research Methodology
5.0 Ethical considerations
6.0 Conclusions
7.0 References

1.0 Introduction
Training refers to the process used to upgrade knowledge, develop skills, and bring about behavioural and attitude changes and to improve the ability of those being trained to perform tasks in an efficient and effective manner in organisations. (Palo et al, 2003) combines the concept of training and development and argues that they play the role of ensuring that employees contribute to achievement of organisational goals through development of appropriate skills, knowledge as well as attitude. According to him, this contribution and improvement of organisational performance is mainly through development of employees as individuals, work teams and as members of the organisation as a whole. In addition, training and development is considered to be a systematic process which seeks to ensure that employees are effective in meeting exigencies of the organisation?s dynamic environment. This includes improving on the skills, knowledge and attitude an individual requires to improve his performance in the organisation.
Training and development has been identified by scholars and practitioners as a major factor that contributes towards increased performance, effectiveness, productivity, employee commitment to the organisation hence retention, and motivation as well as workforce skills, attitude and development. The success of any organisation, whether in the service or manufacturing sector, is greatly dependent on its human resources. According to Anis et al (2010), the performance and competitiveness of a firm in its market depends on how effective its human capital is. Ballot et al (2006), however stress that maintaining this valuable asset depends on the strategies the management puts in place to achieve satisfaction, commitment and motivation hence effectiveness and increased productivity. These authors also bring to attention the importance employees attach to intrinsic value provided as compared to extrinsic incentives such as monetary incentives. Investment in proper training and development programs is therefore not a choice for organisation seeking to motivate employees and achieve high performance.
The findings of a study conducted by Garcia (2005) demonstrate that effective training is a major prerequisite to building an effective and efficient team. Other studies by Anis et al (2010); Ghbregiorgis & Karsten (2007); Sahinidis & Bouris and Ballot et al., (2006) also indicate that regular training of employees results in increased self-esteem and confidence to do their duties. These studies also indicate that such employees are highly motivated. Olaniyan and Ojo (2008) explain that training not only prepares workers for their tasks but also increases their knowledge as well as skills making it easy for them to adapt to the numerous internal and external changes within the market environment, technological development and other changes within the global context.
According to Groen (2006), training not only creates opportunities for employees to get promoted but also creates a reliable pool of employees to replace those who might leave the organisation. Study by Decktop et al (2006) found that training enhances job satisfaction as well as productivity as it equips employees with the required skills and knowledge making it easy for them to perform their tasks effectively. Saleem et al (2011) note that cross-training enhances sense of responsibility and importance among employees as it involves on-job and off-job training as well as multi-tasking hence increases feelings of security and therefore motivation of employees at the work place.
Scholars have also established that as much as training and development has numerous benefits, it can also be useless especially if it is not aligned to employee needs and organisational goals (Kumpikaite & Ciarniene 2008; Manzoor 2012; Hameed & Waheed 2011; Kumpikaite & Ciarniene 2008). Singh and Mohanty (2012) emphasize that training programs and efforts will be futile unless they are aligned with organisational needs and those of employees and also fit with the business strategy. Otherwise, they will be a total waste of organisational resources and could seriously reduce employee morale and motivation. According to Ongori and Nzonzo (2011), organisations must come up with a way of evaluating the training programs used to establish whether they are meeting the desired outcome, that is, whether they are providing employees with the skills and knowledge they require to execute their tasks and therefore attain organisational objectives.
2.0 Report Rationale, Aims and Objectives
2.1 Rationale
The key rationale for this study is to examine training and development programs used in organisations in order to establish how they affect employee motivation and performance, and also to identify how the organisations evaluate these programs to ensure that they are effective and therefore use the findings to make recommendations on the best way to evaluate training programs and make them effective in achieving organisational objectives. The results will not only broaden existing literature on the topic but also fill the existing gap and provide a basis for future research. Practically, the findings will enable management of organisations to better understand and appreciate the link between effective training and the challenges associated with employee performance. The results will also provide managers with a reference guide on how to design proper training programs and as well as the right evaluation methods of these programs for effectiveness in order to enhance employee effectiveness and motivation as well as increased organisational performance.
2.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
This study seeks to explore how training and development practices are used in organisations as a strategy to motivate employees and enhance organisational performance. In addition, this study will concentrate on the role of training of employees, methods and approaches used in training employees, and how organisations evaluate the training programs they use to establish their effectiveness in achieving the desired outcome.
To achieve the purpose of the research, the following objectives will be pursued;
1. To establish the role of training and development in increasing employee motivation within organisations
2. To establish the role of training and development in increasing organisational performance and effectiveness
3. To explore the various methods and approaches used in training and development of employees
4. To examine how training programs are evaluated for effectiveness within organisations
5. To establish ways through which organisations can ensure that the training and development programs used are effective in achieving organisational objectives
3.0 Review of relevant Literature
This section reviews existing literature on training and development, its role and importance on organisational performance and effectiveness as well as employee motivation. This section will also review identified programs and approaches to training and development and methods used by organisations to evaluate these programs.
3.1 Training and Development
In today?s globalised business environment that is characterised by numerous changes in management, consumer expectations and technology, training has become a necessity for any organisation seeking to survive and remain competitive. Ballot et al (2006) argues that conventional specialism is no longer an option for organisations as they are now required to develop the skills of their workforce to make employees productive so that the organisation can compete effectively by providing quality services and products.
Human resource management considers training and development to be an organisational activity whose goal is to enhance the performance of individual employees and teams within the organisation (Owan; 2004) according to this author, training and development is known by various names such as learning and development, human resource training, and employee development.
For a long time, training has been defined as that process which enables individuals to change their behaviour, skills, knowledge and attitude. In this context, Training is regarded to involve developing and supporting learning activities that will result in achievement of the desired level of effectiveness and performance (Mathieson, 2006). Conversely, Development is a term that is used to describe the long-term growth and mainly involves directing resources as well as attention on what employees may need to know at some time in future (Owan, 2004). Therefore, training is more focussed on the current responsibilities while development is centred on future duties and responsibilities (Mathieson, 2006). Owan (2004) notes that these terms are nevertheless often used interchangeably or symbolized by a single term performance consulting? which emphasizes on the outcome of training and development process or how what employees have learned impacts their performance.
Training and development programs have been found to have several potential benefits with regard to effectiveness and performance in organisations. Hameed and Waheed (2011) found that training creates pools of qualified employees to take the place of those who may leave the firm. According to the authors, training also plays a significant role in ensuring that organisations have the human resources required to support as well as achieve business strategy and growth. According to Ghebregiorgis and Karsten (2007) organisations seeking to survive in the today?s global environment must possess characteristics of adaptability, flexibility and performance. Garc?a (2005) acknowledges that these qualities significantly contribute to survival of the organisation and be attained by providing training and development to the firm?s human resources. According to Garcia, training is basically practical education that facilitates development of knowledge and sharpening of skills, overcoming of inefficiencies and attainment of closer approximation. Training is often connected to the current situation as well as job task. Ballot et al (2006) views training as an educational process. They argue that people who have the capacity to learn and internalise new information, reinforce it and re-learn hence reinforcing existing skills and knowledge and as such, have time to think and consider new options that enable employees to increase their effectiveness as well as performance at the workplace. Effective training disseminates useful information that informs employees and also develops skills, attitudes and behaviour that are transferrable at the workplace (Sahinidis & Bouris 2008). Training can be offered as a skill development for individuals or teams/groups. In general, training involves presentation of content and learning of this content as a way improving behaviour and attitude at the workplace and at the same time enhancing skill development.
Garc?a (2005) defines Development as the process of developing employees for future responsibilities and jobs. Ghebregiorgis and Karsten (2007) stress that training must consider the needs of the organisation and therefore require an evaluation to first be carried out to determine what training is required and for which group of workers. For that reason, rigorous training requires a comprehensive performance assessment to be carried out which will identify where and why particular training is required (Ghebregiorgis & Karsten, 2007). In addition, the assessment also analyses specific employees that are in need of training and those that should be trained for development purpose (Ghebregiorgis & Karsten 2007).
In their examination of benefits of training and development, Ghebregiorgis and Karsten (2007) mention that besides increased knowledge and skills, training and developments also enables employees to network with others and draw from their experiences.
Zwick (2006) explains that training can be either internal or external. Internal training occurs when the training program is organised within the firm by the training or human resources department using a talented or senior member from a specific department as the trainer or resource person whereas external training is generally organised from outside the firm usually by consultants and training institutes.
While training and development programs and applications are as numerous as the skill requirements and functions of a firm, several applications can be differentiated from each other such as clerical training, sales training, computer training, technical training, communications training, supervisory training, organisational development, career development and management development (Mabey & Ramirez, 2005).
In their study, Thang and Quang (2007) concluded that for employees to be effective and productive, training and development must be provided. According to these scholars, the right training, education and development programs have the potential to provide many benefits for the organisation in terms of increased productivity, job satisfaction, loyalty, performance and effectiveness, and improved skills as well as knowledge hence significantly contributes to organisational growth.
Deckop et al (2006) point out that training can at times be ineffective as firms sometimes give specific training to workers because these skills were not initially nor provided to them. This results in training not adding any value either to the organisation or the employee. To confirm that training is effective, Deckop et al., advise organisations to conduct an audit of the training and also for the resources used. The authors argue that this is an effective way of ensuring that the best results are achieved from training programs.
Garc?a (2005) points out that training and development must be based on the overall organisational strategy for them to be effective, it must be based on the overall business strategy as well as objectives for it to be effective. Hameed and Waheed (2011) add that planning and designing of the training programs should match the specific organisational goals. According to the authors, training programs should take account of the firm?s strengths and weaknesses, its customers and competitors, and any other societal or industrial trend that is relevant. This information should then be applied in identifying areas where training is required (Hameed & Waheed, 2011). According to Ghebregiorgis and Karsten (2007), internal audit should be carried out to identify the general areas of the firm where training will be of benefit. They suggest that another strategy that can be used is completion of a skills inventory so as to identify the types of skills available and those that may be necessary in the future.
3.2 MOTIVATION
The importance of employee motivation cannot be neglected in any sense as today it has become the foundation for organizational survival. McColy and Wise (2002) showed that motivation is a tool to improve performance through learning. Success in the market place is highly related to learning and how an organization wishes to survive in a competitive market environment. Research shows that motivated employees play a vital role in the success of the organization. Motivation is an important factor which describes performance. It is a driving force contained by the individual (Mullins, 2007). It is concerned with the behaviours of the individuals and people act to achieve something to satisfy their needs ( Gitman and Daniel, 2008)
Motivation is recognized as a key business element to enable management to transform and enhance the business. Kreitner has described motivation as a psychological process that generates a purposeful behaviour. Researchers have identified several factors that motivate employees. They have identified those factors in their theories.
Maslow presented the Needs hierarchy theory and Herzberg the two factor theory. In his model, Hertzberg has classified motivation into two factors and states that employees at least need something that encourages them to do work efficiently. There are also other ways by which theories of motivation can be applied in actual work environment. Bentham states that promotion is another factor that contributes to success and when employees are given high responsibilities they perform well. For that reason it is considered a key factor as it helps to encourage employees to perform better with quality.
4.0 Research Methodology
This section of the study reviews the methodology framework that the study will apply to collect and analyse data in order to answer the research questions. The methodology for this study will be guided by the research opinion proposed by Saunders et al (2007). Rationale for every method selected will be provided.

4.1 Research Design
An exploratory design will be used in this study as it seeks to explore training and development in order to understand its importance on employee motivation and overall organisational performance as well as how it can be improved by analysing the evaluation methods used to check its effectiveness. This study seeks to obtain further knowledge that will enable organisations to come up with effective training programs. As such, exploratory design which is inductive in nature is the most applicable approach (Creswell, 2009).
4.2 Research Philosophy
Interpretivism philosophy will be used to guide the methodology for the study. Interpretivism emphasizes the meanings of phenomenon hence mainly uses qualitative methods to collect data. This philosophy requires collection of in-depth data in order to obtain rich analyses that will enhance understanding of the phenomenon. It is inductive in nature and therefore draws meanings from the data.
4.3 Research Approach
Research approach can be either inductive or deductive. Sometimes mixed approach is also used. Based on the philosophy selected and the research design, this study will use inductive approach which seeks to gain understanding and develop meanings from the data collected rather than testing preconceived ideas about how the variables being studied could be related (Creswell, 2007). Inductive approach is focussed on obtaining in-depth data hence is the appropriate approach for the study.
4.4 Research Strategy
The study will apply survey strategy in which a number of identified organisations will be surveyed and data collected using the selected methods that will be discussed later in the chapter. The advantage of survey strategy is that is applicable with both interviews and survey questionnaires as instruments for collecting data (King, 2004).
4.5 Methodological Approach
The study will use mixed method approach. While qualitative data is the main data that will be used in answering the research questions, quantitative data will also be collected in order to authenticate the qualitative findings and also to address the limitations that are associated with qualitative research such as generalisation and reliability (Saunders et al., 2007).
4.6 Time Horizon
Based on the fact that this study has time-constraints, the study will use a cross-sectional research design in order to provide a snap shot of how effective training affects performance and employee motivation in organisations and how training programs are evaluated to ensure effectiveness.
4.7 Sampling
Since the study intends to use mixed-method approach in collecting and analysis of data, it will also apply both probability and non-probability sampling techniques. Purposive sampling will be used to select the managers from whom qualitative data will be collected. Purposive sampling is the most appropriate technique to employ as it ensures that only those who have relevant experience as well as knowledge regarding the research problem are selected. It addresses the limitation of random sampling which sometimes includes subjects that do not have enough information. According to Maxwell (2005) purposive sampling provides an information-rich sample and is most appropriate for qualitative research. This study will only use human resource managers as the subjects for qualitative data.
Employees, from whom qualitative data will be collected, will be selected using stratified random sampling which addresses issues of generalizability and reliability that characterise non-probability sampling. The employees will be grouped based on the departments they work in such as production, marketing, finance, quality assurance and others and then randomly selected from these groups so that the final sample is representative of the entire organisation.
4.8 Data Collection
The study will use both qualitative data which will be collected from human resource managers and quantitative data which will be collected from employees in the organisations to be studied. Qualitative data will be collected by applying semi-structured interviews. These interviews have been selected because of their applicability as well as advantage in collecting qualitative data which is keen on meanings. According to King (2004), semi-structured interviews provide rich data as they allow formulation and use of secondary questions which seek to obtain deeper explanation from the respondent in addition to the standard questions which are usually structured based on the research questions. As such, they enable the researcher to come up with rich information regarding the research questions. They also allow the respondents to narrate their experiences in their own words hence eliminate case of researcher biases that characterise other instruments used in data collection. The interviews will be used to collect data on the type of training approaches and programs used and the evaluation methods used to test the effectiveness of these programs. The questions will also seek to obtain the managers view on how training and development affects employee performance and organisational performance.
Quantitative data will be collected from the employees using a survey questionnaire. This will be used to obtain their opinion regarding the kind of training programs obtained, whether they feel that they are beneficial and how they affect the way they work. The questionnaire will apply a four-point likert scale in categorising the responses from the subjects. The scale will range from (1) signifying strongly agree to (5) signifying strongly disagree.
4.9 Data Analysis
Qualitative research is focused on meaning and hence requires an inductive method of analysis for rich meanings to be obtained from the collected data. For this reason, this study will adopt thematic content analysis which is widely recognized as an inductive technique for analysis in analysing data collected using the interviews with the human resource managers. In this method, themes are specifically drawn from the collected data and the technique does not give the researcher a chance to impose their own pre-conceived ideas. Transcriptions of the interviews will first be made. In thematic content analysis, data the transcriptions are analysed line by line and themes as well as their patterns identified. The themes are then categorised based on their meaning (Creswell, 2003). These categories are then given codes in order to facilitate subsequent analysis. This tool therefore also quantifies the data besides identifying the themes arising from it (Creswell, 2007). The line by line analysis ensures that no theme is left out. The process is repeated until it is clear that there are no longer new themes arising.
Data from the questionnaires will be analysed using statistical methods. Descriptive analysis will be conducted to describe the participants as well as providing a summary of the findings. This will include mean, standard deviation and standard errors. To answer the research questions, inferential analysis will be used. The study will apply t-test to compare performance of firms and motivation level of employees in cases where training and development l program will be used to conduct the analysis in order to enhance accuracy of the results.
4.10 Resource Requirements
The resources required for this study are time and financial resources to facilitate movement of researcher, collection and analysis of data as well as preparation of the interviews and questionnaire.
Time Plan
TIME(weeks)
ACTIVITY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Preparation of proposal and presentation
Seeking consent from the various authorities
Developing questions for the interview and questionnaire
Carry out pilot study
Data gathering
Data analysis
Write of final report and submission
5.0 Ethical Considerations
The subjects for this study are human beings and for this reason, steps will be taken to ensure that ethical issues do not arise as is required in research. The researcher will ensure that they obtain informed consent from both the organisations and the employees by ensuring that they sign letters which explain that the purpose of the study is purely for academic purpose, how data will be conducted and that it will be treated with confidentiality and only shared as required. The researcher will also protect the anonymity of the participants by withholding their names. Data will be treated with confidentiality by storing in a personal computer under a password that is known only to the researcher. The study will use voluntary participation and will not offer any incentives or coerce participation. The participants will be made to understand that they have the right to withdraw from the study at any point they feel like.
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