The Business Consultancy route will suit students who like more applied ways of investigating business problems. The Business Consultancy Project is a piece of real world applied consultancy, undertaken for a client (this may be your employer, another organisation identified by you or one identified by the RGU Employment Hub) which offers you the chance to put into practice leadership and strategic thinking skills developed during the course of your studies. It suits more to those who are currently working in an organisation or have a contact/opportunity in a host organization. Students will undertake a research project and complete a consultancy project, identifying solutions and make appropriate recommendations for future action.
The topic may come from one of a number of sources. The most obvious is from the subjects that you have studied. It is also possible however that a topic may arise out of an aspect of the student’s employment experience. Students should also discuss possible topics with lecturers and tutors. It is imperative that students should choose a topic which they will enjoy researching has a strong academic underpinning and is a feasible area of investigation.
The Business Consultancy Project is a piece of real world applied consultancy, undertaken for a client (this may be your employer, another organisation identified by you or one identified by the RGU Employment Hub) which offers you the chance to put into practice leadership and strategic thinking skills developed during the course of your studies. All projects are strategic in nature and focus on a real, contemporary issue facing an organisation. This might involve research, developing a new process or carrying our market analysis or the identification of a new business case. Capstone consultancy projects are designed to enhance career options for all students by developing and enhancing your research, analytical, communication, personal and professional skills. The project thus provides a basic grounding in the process and methods which underpin consultancy. Completing a project requires the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information and observations. It is an orderly and practical exercise for which there are common criteria for evaluation. Students are therefore advised to proceed according to a practical plan in a systematic manner. A consultancy project is NOT a ‘big essay’. It should be regarded as a proper piece of applied research, undertaken for a client.
It is expected that the report will be a maximum of 15,000 words.
Should the client wish the report to remain confidential then this must be clearly indicated on the front cover. A Confidentiality classification means that, outside of the client, only internal markers and the external examiner will be able to view the report. Please discuss this issue with the module coordinator prior to submission of the report.
A project may arise from a client organisation ‘advertising’ a project via RGU, out of an aspect of the student’s employability experience, or it may be directly related to an aspect of the student’s study. Students may also source projects from their own personal network.
Ensure that your supervisor and ‘client’ are kept informed of any major changes or problems. In addition, you should make a conscious, regular check that the research does not stray outside of the primary aim and that the agree timetable is being adhered to.
Due to the diversity of topics, there is no specific or recommended structure of the Business Consultancy Report. Students should use their own judgement about the best structure of the report. It will depend on the topic and nature of the consultancy project.
From an assessment point of view, the following grade criteria will be used. The detailed rubric is available in the appendices.
|Business Consulting Project Grading Criteria||%
|Rationale, aim and objectives||10%||The Rationale for the Business problem, Identification of key stake holders, terms of reference, aim and objectives.|
|Concepts, Practices and Literature Review||25%||Discussion of Concepts and Practices, Literature Review|
|Research Methods and Data Collection Techniques||20%||Discussion of suitable Research Methods, Discussion of Data and Collection Techniques|
|Data Evaluation, Evidence and Critical Discussion||30%||Presentation and Analysis of Results, critical Evaluation of the key findings and its implications to stakeholders|
|Recommendations and Conclusions||15%||Recommendations and Conclusions|
Your project submission must be your own original work and all sources of data, information, quotes and diagrams must be acknowledged by citing references. This is an individual assignment and so you must not collude or copy the work of another student (past or present).
You must properly reference quotations and acknowledge the source of information which you have put into your own words by way of footnotes or endnotes and in the bibliography. Failure to make proper use of referencing can impair the quality of your overall work.
A failure to properly reference material taken from another source may amount to plagiarism which is classed as academic misconduct. A student found guilty of academic misconduct may ultimately be permanently excluded from the University.
Guidance on proper referencing may be obtained from the RGU library pages within the Support section of CampusMoodle.
The following is extracted from the University’s Academic Regulations regarding plagiarism and other academic misconduct.
Categories of Academic Misconduct
- Plagiarism is the practice of presenting the thoughts, writings or other output of another or others as original, without acknowledgement of their source(s). All material used to support a piece of work, whether a printed publication or from electronic media, should be appropriately identified and referenced and should not normally be copied directly unless as an acknowledged quote. Text translated into the words of the individual student should in all cases acknowledge the source.
- Falsification or fabrication of data consists of the misrepresentation of the results of experimental work or the presentation of fictitious results.
- Collusion involves two or more students working together, without the prior authorisation of the course leader, tutor or supervisor, to produce the same piece of work, and then attempting to present this work as entirely their own work. Collusion may also be suspected when one student copies work from another student, without the knowledge of the first student.
- Bribery is the paying, offering or attempted exchange of an inducement for information or material intended to advantage the recipient in an assessment.
- Personation consists of a substitute taking the place of a student in an examination or undertaking an assessment on behalf of another.
A student who aids and abets a fellow student to commit academic misconduct shall be deemed to have committed academic misconduct and will be dealt with accordingly.
Before submitting the work, you must check through it to ensure that.
- All material, that has been identified as originally from a previously published source, has been properly attributed by the inclusion of an appropriate reference citation (in Harvard format) in the text;
- Direct quotations are marked as such using “quotation marks” at the beginning and end of the selected text), and
- The full details of the reference citation have been included in the list of references (in Harvard format)
Please check that your work meets originality requirements prior to submission of the final version of your project using the online Turnitin software. Direct links to the Turnitin sites for uploading your draft and final versions are located via the Dropbox in CampusMoodle. Please note that the Turnitin Report will show the overall percentage similarity of your work with source material. The recommended upper limit is 25% similarity, but you should check the detail in the report to ensure that there are no large sections of your work which are marked as similar before submission. You are advised to check a draft and final version of your project in advance of any submission so that you can address any sections which are highlighted in the Turnitin Report.
For more information: Please refer to the Academic Governance section on the RGU website.
It is important to fully quote sources in support of your arguments.
In order to understand and cover various aspects of the project, students will normally require to read specialist textbooks or other sources of information.
The books may have been used to cover the subject in general, or to enable a quote to be made on a particular theory, opinion or fact. This is not the same as a list of books by various authors simply related to the subject of the report. The books should have been of positive use. They also give the assessment board an indication of the soundness of your research.
The bibliography section of the report should list all the text references in alphabetical order of authors’ surnames. The detail given should enable the source to be traced. A sample layout is shown in Appendix E.
Please note: the bibliography is in addition to your referencing by way of footnotes and endnotes.
- Author’s name in block capitals together with the initials, for example,
- The date of publication and edition (where appropriate). Date is shown in brackets, for example, (1994).
- Title of work. The title of a textbook or report is underlined. If the work is in a journal, the title of the journal is underlined.
- Place of publication, for example, Manchester.
- Name of publishers, for example, Pitman.
References in the bibliography to the journals should include volume numbers, issue numbers and page numbers. Where the reference exceeds one line type, the extra lines are indented two spaces so that the names of the authors in the list of references are prominent. Lines of each reference are single spaced.
The project is written by the student under the direction of the supervisor.
The arrangements for writing the draft project for feedback should be agreed with the Supervisor at the first meeting. You may decide to produce a draft of each chapter for review at regular intervals or produce one draft by an agreed date before the submission deadline.
If you decide on the latter, there are risks in having feedback later on in the writing-up. If this approach is taken, it is important that you give your supervisor adequate time to make comments on your draft work. It is not practical or reasonable for the supervisor to make constructive comments if she/he is handed the final draft days before the deadline is due. As a guide the supervisor should have the complete draft for comments at least 3 weeks before the deadline.
However, students and staff may find it more beneficial to submit individual draft chapters for commenting on an ongoing basis – this is the recommended approach as it means feedback is provided at an earlier stage. If this approach is agreed, your supervisor will review one draft of each chapter before submission (as long as the drafts are provided in good time for review before the final submission date). The supervisor may also wish to see one complete draft of the project so that he/she can give feedback on the overall presentation and logical flow of the work. At this stage it is expected that you will have addressed the feedback on individual chapters and any further comments will be of a more general nature.
Your supervisor will provide constructive feedback on the draft(s) on, for example, the structure, readability (logical flow of argument), content coverage, depth of analysis and referencing. The supervisor will not proofread your work or tell you what to write and under no circumstances will he/she give you an estimated grade for your work (please do not ask for this).
Before commencing on the draft, prepare a plan (or outline) of the proposed contents, with reference to the original plan, supplemented by the experience gained during investigation.
- Set out in sequence a list of all the major sections
- Expand this detail to cover group or paragraph headings. If known include tables, diagrams, appendices
- Put each heading and sub-breakdown on a separate sheet of A4 paper in the correct sequence.
Thus, you will have the skeleton outline on which the draft can proceed, each heading or part of the project being handled as a separate entity. The time spent on this approach can bring order to the considerable amount of information previously gathered during the conduct of the research.
The final project should be a convincing, clear and unambiguous document. It should be concisely written in clear language, reflecting the student’s professional style and contribution. Avoid a long-winded, rambling presentation, having no natural flow or sequence. The Business Consultancy Project and Dissertation can be written in the past tense (it describes what was done, not what will be done) and third person singular. An Extended Research Proposal can be written in future tense.
e.g. “it was decided to analyse the results according to the methods of Smith (1995). For this reason it was first necessary to compute the mean and standard deviations. After further analysis, it became obvious that the required data was not available and so an alternative method by Jones (1997) was adopted”.
Do NOT write ‘I decided to analyse…’ and avoid making reference to yourself as ‘the author’ unless it is absolutely necessary. If all items prepared for the draft are written in the third person singular, it prevents extensive rewriting at a later date.
The project should be word processed and with one and a half line spacing used throughout except in the case of direct quotations which should be single spaced. All text should be justified. The project should be typed using a sans serif font (such as Verdana) and a font size of at least 11pt.
The abstract can only be produced after the introduction, body of the dissertation, appendices, conclusions and recommendations have been completed. An abstract is simply a resume in approximately 200 words on the subject under investigation, the aim, how it was tackled, together with reference to the conclusions and any recommendations, depending on your Route of study. (See Appendix B)
This item gives the student the opportunity to express thanks due to an employer or individual who had given assistance or advice. (See Appendix C)
The draft is completed by preparing the contents page. It should be noted that the items can only be listed in order at this stage as the page numbers will not be available until the final report has been typed. (See Appendix D)
Students should check that all references included in the text are listed and that the RGU Harvard style of listing and citing references has been employed.
REMEMBER: Both the style and format of your thesis are extremely important in terms of conveying an appropriate impression to the assessor. Avoid illustrations and logos inside the bound thesis and use formal language and a professional presentation throughout.
The left-hand margin is 1.5 inches; all other margins are at least 1 inch.
The text will usually be divided into numbered chapters with sections and sub-sections. Each chapter should start on a new page to give the necessary degree of emphasis.
Titles of chapters may be shown as centre page headings and emboldened. Section and sub-section headings are normally left-aligned and emboldened. You may vary the style as long as you are consistent throughout the project. You are advised to use standard or customised heading styles available in Microsoft Word so that your Table of Contents can be automatically generated from them (refer to the online Microsoft Word help facility for details). This ensures accuracy and a professional format.
Tables and Figures must be numbered and titled. These should be included in the list of tables and figures and placed in an Appendix. They should be numbered consecutively according to the Chapter in which they are located (for example, the first Figure in Chapter 2 is Figure 2.1). All Figures and Tables must be referred to by number in the text (for example, ‘the data is presented in Table 2.3’) and not by their location (i.e. not using ‘the following table shows the data’ or ‘the table below shows the data’.)
Many projects fail to do full justice to the efforts made. They do not follow the required standard of layout and sequence of content. They are often found to contain spelling mistakes or typing errors. Little excuse exists for failure to proof-read the final copy. If in doubt get someone else to proofread your work for typographical and grammatical errors.
The maximum word limit is 15,000. This limit excludes words in the title page, contents page, acknowledgements, abstract, tables, references lists, bibliography and appendices. Please note that although content in the appendices is not included in the word count, appendices are part of the work and must be referred to in the body of the work. Appendices should not be excessive in length and should only be included if they are directly relevant to the work. Please also note that tables must not be used to include additional text, they must only be used to present summary data/information.
The word count limit must be strictly adhered to as it is regarded as being critical to the assessment of your ability to write concisely on a focused research topic. Projects which are under the word limit may lack depth of discussion and detailed explanation. Projects which are over the word limit may not be written concisely or sufficiently focused on the topic and penalties will be applied for this in the marking scheme and also in the overall mark for the project as follows: Projects that do not fall within the permitted work count range will be penalised by the deduction of one grade point, that is equivalent to 10 percentage marks (e.g. the final mark will be reduced from grade B to grade C etc.)/
It is therefore very important that you check and record the word count of your project accurately. The word count must be stated on the title page of the project (Appendix A) and the Project Submission Form.
Reports must end with conclusions and recommendations. Conclusions should not introduce new material. It is a good practice to identify the location of such information by including a reference to the appropriate page (or appendix) in the particular conclusion. Examiners can only assess the information presented. Conclusions should be direct, in simple language, and set out as separate paragraphs, which should, of course, have a natural flow.
Reports should conclude with a recommendation / set of recommendations which will be of practical use and benefit to the client organisation or sector (Route A and B only).
Many reports fail to do justice to the efforts made. They do not follow the required standard layout and sequence of content. They are often found to contain spelling mistakes or typing errors. Little excuse exists for failure to proof-read the final copy. If in doubt get someone else to proof-read your work for typing errors and bad grammar.