From year to year, it is sometimes the case that some dissertations may fail to meet the required standard. An appraisal of failed and poor quality dissertations has revealed that poor performance is most commonly associated with the following. Any of these shortcomings may contribute to failure.

  • Students not realising what’s involved:Reading through some good quality dissertations can help here.
  • Students leaving everything to the last minute:Planning an effective research schedule and managing time effectively is essential. These project management tasks are the student’s responsibility.
  • Having objectives that are too broad and/or infeasible: The best dissertations have very clear and focused objectives.
  • Inappropriate methodology:It is crucial to use the correct research method. If an inappropriate methodology is used the student clearly has a limited understanding of research and does not appreciate the research process. Students must discuss the method with their supervisor.
  • Preparing research instruments before a thorough literature review: The literature is supposed to guide the research design. If the topic guide or questionnaire is developed before the literature review then the student clearly doesn’t understand the research process and will inevitably miss out important issues.
  • Inappropriate data processing and analysis: For example, analysing qualitative data as though it is quantitative.
  • Reporting results without appropriate commentary / analysis
  • Inaccurate / incomplete referencing
  • Not communicating with the supervisor / using supervisory time effectively – See previous section on dissertation (format / content).
  • Plagiarism

Source: London Metropolitan Business School