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Literature Review

Whatever kind of project you design for yourself, you are expected to make use of relevant literature and to demonstrate this in the project report. Most projects will draw on several different areas of literature, each of which is relevant to your question in different ways. The goal of a literature review is to critically analyse the various bodies of literature, synthesising them into a theoretical argument that informs your project. When you review literature, you are identifying those writers whose ideas are useful in laying the foundation for your own work.

Exactly how you carry out your reading and how you include it in your report is a matter for methodological choice (and hence discussion with your supervisor). For example, if you are undertaking an inductive theory building approach, much of your reading will have to be postponed until you are able to judge what kind of theory is emerging from your data. On the other hand, if you are designing interview questions, you will need to base this on your understanding of relevant theory, so you will need to do a lot of reading at the start of your process. Most people choose to write up a separate chapter of their report reviewing the literature, but it is perfectly legitimate to thread your reading through the report on a continuous basis as it becomes relevant.

The choice is yours, although you should also take your supervisor’s advice on this.

The Write-up – A Reflection of Your Learning

When you write up your project we ask you to demonstrate that you have designed and implemented a learning exploration for yourself. The University requires that your project reflects the original thinking of yourself or your group. You must take particular care, then, to avoid academic dishonesty in your writing. Make sure you are very familiar with the rules regarding plagiarism, which are printed as an appendix in your Masters degree Handbook (see also section 6 below).

In your project report, the learning objectives should be central to the whole argument: the literature review should reflect the learning objectives; the project methodology should be directed by the learning objectives; and the discussion and conclusions should address the learning objectives.

Whilst the primary audience for your project report is yourself (and other reflective general managers like you), it must also be accessible to, and interpretable by, the examiners. Although you are writing the project for yourself, it is the rigour and integrity of thought that is always critical. You must be sure that you satisfy the marking criteria which include covering elements such as literature review and methodology.

The reflection on your learning may be explicitly integrated into the various sections of the report, or alternatively, you may have separate paragraphs throughout the report purposefully designated to deal specifically with the development of your understanding through the undertakings of different activities, such as the literature review or discussion of fieldwork.

Your project report should be between 13,000 and 16,000 words in length (unless you are doing a group project for which extended word limits are defined in section 4.3 below). The maximum word count will be stringently enforced. You are required to report the total word count for your project

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