Project format guidance
The following is a guideline for the structure of a project report. You may find that your own project does not necessarily fit in with this classic structure. Please discuss the structure of your project with your supervisor. The word limit is 10,000 words excluding appendices.
1. Title Page
The following information should be presented in this order with all text centred:-
a) the title (not more than ten words) and sub-title, if any
b) the words “submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of BA (Hons) Business Studies” or BA (Honours) Business Administration
c) the month and year of submission
3. Synopsis (or Abstract)
A summary of the project, of no more than two hundred words, is required. This should briefly state the main aims and conclusions.
4. List of Contents
This should list in sequence, with page numbers, all sections of the project from Objectives to Appendices. If you are in any doubt as to how to do this look at the Contents page in any textbook.
5. List of Tables and Figures
The lists of tables and figures (diagrams, graphs, illustrations) should follow the list of contents and each have their own numbering sequence.
6. Introduction and Objectives
A brief introduction to your project and a clear and concise statement of the major objectives
of the work.
7. Literature review
Discussion of the theory, concept, technique or issue on which the project is based. This should include a review of the literature on the topic, the development of your own ideas about it, and how this leads into the empirical work that you plan to undertake.
A clear and concise statement of the methods used in the past to collect empirical data. You should set out how you intend to proceed. Your methods should be capable of being replicated by another researcher.
Any limitations of the methods used that could affect the outcome should be discussed here.
Presentation and analysis of the salient information which has been gathered in order to test the hypothesis. This section will vary considerably in both length and content depending on the nature of the topic. It may include models or systems constructed by the author as a result of the investigation.
Significant features of the results must be clearly indicated. Raw data, if appropriate, should be presented in Appendices.
10. Discussion of results, conclusions, recommendations
Evaluation of the material presented in the results section. Comparison of results and conclusions with those of previous authors.
Reassessment of the hypothesis and discussion of the broader implications for management, industry, government organisations or other appropriate bodies.
This section should also include your conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further development. Where you have extended recommendations (this may be the case with a project based around an organisation) you may wish to cover recommendations in a separate chapter.
List all the references which appear in the text in alphabetical order by the authors’ surnames.
These are to be used sparingly. Separate appendices are to be used for different sets of detailed information that would not be appropriate to include in the main text of the dissertation. For instance:-
Reproduction of a questionnaire used
Details of a population sampled
List of organisations sampled
Relevant extracts from standard tables (with acknowledgement of source)
Raw or gross data from surveys summarised in the text
Appendices MUST NOT include brochures, pamphlets, etc obtained from organisations. The only unlikely exception would be where you are investigating specifically the design of the brochures themselves. Similarly, extracts from other articles, etc must not be reproduced.
General Guidelines on presentation
All pages, including tables, etc and appendices, should be numbered consecutively throughout the project.
2. Section Heading
It is helpful to use section headings in each chapter. The hierarchy and system of numbering chapter and section headings should be consistent.
3. Tables and Figures
Where these are used, they should, as far as possible, be given the same margins as a page of text and bound in the project as near as possible to the relevant passage. Material which cannot be bound in this way should be contained in a pocket inside the back cover. Tables and figures should be numbered separately in the order of their presentation.
The following system must be used consistently throughout the dissertation:
When a reference is made to a book or article, the author’s surname should be given with the date of publication in brackets, e.g. “Richards (1998) has expressed the view that all Welsh people are troglodytes” Alternatively, the author’s name and date may be given in brackets after the reference, e.g. “The view has been expressed that all Welsh people are troglodytes (Richards, 1998)”.
Where referencing journals or newspaper articles, quote the name of the journal if the author is unknown. The date must also be shown.
If a quotation from any source is included, it must be an exact copy of the original text and quotation marks must indicate exactly where the quotation begins and ends. At the end of the quotation, which should be indented from the main text, the author, date of publication and page reference must be given, as follows:-
“The research findings suggest that style alone is not the answer to effective leadership” (Handy, 1976, p 93).
Alternatively you can use italics to indicate a quotation.
The research findings suggest that style alone is not the answer to effective leadership. (Handy, 1976, p 93).
Only recognised abbreviations should be used and each should be given in brackets, on the first occasion, e.g. Department of the Environment (DOE). You may wish to provide a separate list of abbreviations.
(a) Clear, simple language should be used.
(b) When an ordinary word is used in a technical or special sense, explain its meaning briefly.
(c) A general rule for numbers in the body of the text is that, up to ten, they are expressed in words (one, six) and above ten in figures (124, 1,762). However, ‘one hundred’, ‘five thousand’, ‘ten million’ etc are expressed in words.
(d) Use paragraphs as an aid to developing an argument. As a rule, paragraphs are often about one-third to half a page in length.
(e) The dissertation should normally be written in the past tense using the third person singular passive (e.g. “A questionnaire was sent to all local authority leisure departments” rather than “I sent questionnaires to …….”).
Typographical detail, binding and cover
A4 size paper should be used.
Projects should be in typescript or print.
Copies produced by xerographic or comparable permanent processes are acceptable.
If you are not typing the project yourself, you are strongly advised to choose a competent typist and see an example of work if possible.
The margins at the binding (left hand) edge should be not less than 40mm and other margins not less than 20mm.
Both copies should be bound.
Cover title: the outside front cover shall bear the title of the work in block capitals, 28pt (7.9mm).
There is no single correct way of completing and presenting a project but try to stick to these general principles as far as possible.
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