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Engineering and Environment

MSc Distance Learning Programmes

Work Based Project

Proposal Quick Guide

BE1012 Work Based Project/BE1275 Dissertation

Proposal Quick Guide

The Proposal Quick Guide

The module handbook contains extensive guidance on all aspects of both the Work Based Project
and the dissertation, so please ensure that you read and act on the information provided. This quick
guide is designed to get you started on the proposal with the basic requirements/expected approach.


The submission date will be Friday 23rd October 2015

This is a formal proposal of 4,000 words maximum.

The proposal is worth 20% of the total mark for BE1012 Work Based Project and BE1275

A fully completed Ethics Register Form needs to be submitted along with the proposal.

See Assessment brief/module handbook for further information

The General Approach

The title you have agreed for either your Work Based Project or your dissertation should originate
initially from discussion between you, your supervisor, and your employer (or sponsoring
organisation) if relevant. The onus is upon you to refine and develop the idea behind the title,
ensuring that this relates to your professional pathway.
Your supervisor will provide advice and guidance on the viability of your project proposal and the
academic aspects of your research methodology, so it is vital that you maintain regular contact.
Remember, this proposal is worth 20% of your final mark and can therefore make a difference to
your module mark.

Content and Structure


Working Title
A good title gives your investigation a direction, and should be concise and focused. If you are
studying a particular organisation, you may wish to keep them anonymous for reasons of


The Purpose of the Work Based Project/Dissertation

This section sets out (with supporting references) your subject topic and the reason for your
proposed study. It should be seen as an opportunity to provide a rationale for why the topic is
worthy of investigation.


Hypothesis or Research Questions

If you intend to validate a hypothesis, then this should be a statement which clearly articulates
your position for or against your main argument. However, you may wish to answer a research
question(s) and this should also be stated here.


Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives provide a statement of your ultimate goal. The aim is the problem you
will set out to solve stated in one or two sentences. The objectives will represent logical
breakdowns of your aim and should be specific, realistic, clear and easily understood.


Initial Literature Review

In order to provide a basis for your rationale, you must complete an initial literature review.
Each proposal is different, but as a guide this should comprise approximately 2,000 words. (This
literature review material can be used and built upon in the final project/dissertation in the light
of feedback received).

BE1012 Work Based Project/BE1275 Dissertation

Proposal Quick Guide


Outline Methodology
This section identifies what approaches will be employed to conduct your investigations and
should logically flow from your literature review and project rationale. It should refer to
research methods literature to support your methodological choices (See module reading list).


References and Bibliography

Here you identify the literature sources that you have used in producing your proposal.
References should be the sources you have referred to within the proposal and the bibliography
should include those things that you have read but not specifically referred to.


Working Plan
This should be a timetable indicating how you intend to plan out your work. A sample plan is
provided at the back of this guide but this is only an example, not a template.

Marking Criteria

Refer to the table below for the marking criteria that will be used in assessing your proposal. The
table contains questions and statements that will help you to ensure that the content of your work is
appropriate and at a satisfactory level.
Title and Purpose (10%)
Does the title reflect the focus, nature and purpose of the study?
Is the topic clearly defined and is it related to appropriate, good quality literature sources?
Are the key theoretical concepts/frameworks defined and explained?
Hypothesis, Research Questions, Aims and Objectives (20%)
Has the proposal defined a clear purpose for the research?
Are there clearly defined investigative aims and objectives?
Is there a logical flow from problem statement to aim and objectives?
Do the objectives breakdown the aim into smaller, measurable sub-goals?
How well do the aim and objectives relate to the key theoretical concepts?
Are any stated hypotheses/research questions appropriate to the study?
Initial Literature Review (20%)
Are the range and types of literature sources sufficient to define the topic?
Have critical judgements been made about the literature?
Is the literature sourced relevant and appropriate?
Has the student used sources to create tightly focused theoretical concepts?
Are the identified concepts appropriate to the study?
Outline Methodology (20%)
Are the methodological strategies that will be adopted in the study clearly defined?
Is the strategy appropriate and can it be implemented?
Has consideration been given to any ethical issues (if appropriate)?
Does the methodology flow logically from the literature review?
Referencing and Bibliography (10%)
Are the bibliographic citations in the running text correctly referenced using the Harvard
referencing system?

Are the reference lists arranged in accordance with the Harvard system?
Research Plan/Timetable (10%)

Is there an awareness of the different aspects of the process that need to take place?

Is the plan well thought through and realistic

BE1012 Work Based Project/BE1275 Dissertation

Proposal Quick Guide

General issues (10%)

Is the proposal written with a sense of academic authority?
Does it construct and sustain a well-structured argument embedded in theory?
Is the proposal accurate in terms of spelling, punctuation and grammar?
Is the proposal well presented?

Ethical Registration and Approval form

You need to submit a completed form (see Module Information Forms of Module Handbook,
Appendix B) at the same time as your proposal. In the light of the proposed research methods what
ethical issues need to be considered and addressed; for example using signed consent forms for
research interviewees, dealing with anonymity in data management and reporting of findings. (See
learning materials for further information). These forms need to be approved before primary data
collection is implemented

Things to think about in developing your PROPOSAL submission

Remember the purpose of the Proposal submission; as well as an assignment in itself it is
about effectively preparing for the final Work Based Project/Dissertation. This stage is part of
an overall process, therefore it is important to think about the overall goal in selecting and
developing your focus.
Remember you have to effectively demonstrate the learning outcomes for this module (see
module information).
Is there accessible literature relating to your area of interest; is there relevant academic
literature that would enable you to develop a framework for analysis?
Is there the potential/capacity for you to conduct empirical research in relation to this
subject would it be feasible (practical/realistic/appropriate)?
What is the potential for depth of analysis? It is very tempting to think that the scale of
the module assessment requires a wide ranging topic, however selecting too broad a
focus can contribute to an unmanageable study where it is difficult to achieve an
effective research design, depth of analysis, and coherence of argument.
Think through your proposal in terms of its remit and proposed methodology- carefully; is
it do-able and manageable as well as appropriate; can it be implemented successfully?
Be aware of the time frame from the outset and manage your time accordingly. The proposal
deadline is Friday October 23rd 2015; an effective submission requires thinking and reading
time as well as writing. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity of effectively
developing your proposal by rushing a submission at the last minute.
Do make the most of the supervision process to advise you on how to develop your idea and
proposal. This requires you to think ahead in agreeing a communication plan with your

BE1012 Work Based Project/BE1275 Dissertation

Proposal Quick Guide

Sample Working Plan (this is only a very brief, illustrative example it is not a template! Your working plan must detail what has been set

out in your proposal)

October 2015
Finalise and submit work
Continue literature review

November 2015

December 2015

Continue literature review

Continue literature review

Complete literature review

Revisit remit, research

methodology following feedback
from supervisor.

Begin collecting background

data,eg identifying case study

Work on research design preparing data collection eg topic

guides for interviews or designing
survey for piloting; Identify
potential respondents/sample etc

Ethical approval

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

Finalise data collection tools

Data collection

Complete data collection

Begin data collection

Eg Send out questionnaires;

Conduct interviews

Collate and analyse primary data

June 2014
Write up findings

January 2016

July 2014
Write up conclusions

May 2016
Analyse primary data

Write up draft Research Methods


August 2014

September 2014

Bring whole project together

Finalise document

Complete introductory chapters


BE1012 Work Based Project/BE1275 Dissertation

Proposal Quick Guide