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Sport Development, Management & Coaching
Dissertation Handbook
2014 / 2015

Department of
Sport, Exercise and and Rehabilitation





List of Appendices


List of Figures




Advice from previous students


Important dates






2.1 Outline of activities


2.2 Time management


2.3 Choosing your
dissertation topic area


2.4 Practical


2.5 Preparing for
successful projects




3.1 Allocation of


Supervisor – student interaction


What can students expect of a supervisor?


What do supervisors expect from students?


Supervisor – timeline of activity


3.6 Formative feedback




4.1 Code of practice


Completion of ethical approval forms


Ethical approval




Primary data limits


Secondary data


Academic dishonesty



Appropriate writing style


Presentation and order of contents


Order of sections


Cover and Binding


Title page


Declaration of originality and permission to copy






Table of contents


list of Tables, Figures and Illustrative content






6.11 Abbreviations,
Glossary, Symbols and Notation


6.12 Introduction


6.13 Literature review


6.14 Methods


6.15 Results


6.16 Discussion


6.17 Conclusion


6.18 References


6.19 Appendices


6.20 Raw data file




7.1 Extensions and






Student Interest Form



Record Form






Data Limit



Layout Format



& Resources



Title Page



Declaration of






Criteria – Overview



marketing criteria



Protection for Student Projects



Submission Sheet



Fig 1.

Department of Sport Development Ethics Approval Process



It should
be noted from the outset that the Dissertation is an independent piece of work,
with which you will receive support to reach your full potential. Although
supported by your supervisor, you are expected to work independently to address
a research question, collect primary and / or identify suitable secondary data
using methods appropriate to the paradigm, analyse and then present your
findings. The final written report is much more than an extended assignment,
although you will use the skills that you have developed in these activities;
it is the production of an interesting and coherent document. Successful
completion requires time and well developed writing skills; these are abilities
that employers often take into consideration.

The aim of this Handbook is to support your
progress through the dissertation process; it should be used in conjunction
with the other forms of support that are available to you:
The Electronic Learning Portal
(ELP – Blackboard) – where electronic
copies of a number of the documents referred to can be found;
Timetabled workshops and
Feedback / feed-forward from
your supervisor;
The University Library and
electronic journal resources.

Most of the answers that you require
regarding the dissertation process can be found within this Handbook and the ELP, consequently
these resources should be used in thefirst
instance – it is a waste of your allotted time with your supervisor to seek
information which is already available to you through other mediums. The answers to the research question that
you will identify will be found in the literature that you will review and the
analysis of the data that you gather – the purpose of the Dissertation is to
condense and communicate information to an interested reader.

The Handbook is split into sections to aid
your understanding of the process; whilst there is a linear logic to the
sections it should be noted that the completion of the dissertation requires a
holistic approach. For example, it is
expected that the literature review will commence prior to the submission of
the Student Interest Form and that the write up will begin prior to the
submission of the ethics forms.

Handbook should be read and the information digested in preparation for the
Module, rather than when necessity compels you to do

Advice from
previous students
Previous students on this module were asked to give what they considered
to be the most useful advice for new dissertation students. 85% of students
stated that THE most important piece
of advice is to start early. Other
commonly occurring suggestions were:
§ Plan ahead, keep to draft chapter deadlines and plan for the unexpected
§ Review and use literature to support your thinking throughout the
§ Submit ethics early and get going on the project
§ Put time aside each week to work on the dissertation
§ Keep on top of references and keep an updated database
§ Save and back-up work as you go along because computers are unreliable
§ Leave plenty of time at the end to collate all the sections and put it
all together
§ Check with your supervisor that everything you propose to do is
“correct” before you start it

Important dates
During the Dissertation process there are a
number of important events and deadlines that you must be aware of and comply
30thJan 2014 – Module Induction Lecture – Module introduction and staff research
Please see Section 2.5for information on all timetabled workshops and
March 2014–Topics workshop
30thApril 2014(1pm)-Submission of Student Interest Form (Appendix A) toCDP counter
2nd June 2014 –
Supervisor allocation
7th July 2014 – Submission of Literature
Review, Objectives/hypotheses and Research Question
1stAugust 2014 (1pm) –Research plan andEthicsApplication Formsubmission deadline (this is a suggested latestdeadline and
one which must be agreed with your supervisor)



Development, Management & Coaching Dissertation


HK Tutor: Jackson Ho
UNNTutor: Paul Cook
480 hours (total student workload)/ 40 credits


The module aims to develop students’ in-depth knowledge of a specific
area in sport (within the remit of the student’s degree programme). It aims to
do so through the conduct, primarily through independent work by students, of a
research project. As such, it aims to use the knowledge and skills previously
developed by students to engage in the research process.

At the end of the module successful
students should be able to:

1. Plan,
initiate, conduct, and complete an ethically sound independent research
Demonstrate a critical awareness of the design, methods, and appropriate
analysis necessary for a research project;
Appropriately synthesise the findings of a research project;
Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the chosen area of study.












1st December 2014

Exam Board (January 2015)


*See Appendix
E, note2.5of the Dissertation
Handbookfor details of what is included in the word count


Research Project
The assessed outcome (dissertation thesis)
is a written account of an independently conducted research project which
includes conception and statement of the research problem (introduction), the
academic background to the problem (literature review), description of the
research design, tools and analytical techniques used to investigate the
problem (methods) together with a summary and interpretation of the research
findings (results, discussion and conclusions). Along with the written
dissertation thesis, students must also submit a file containing all raw data
and another containing all completed participant informed consent forms, along
with evidence of ethical approval.

Northumbria University has a legal and
moral duty of care to its students and to the wider community; as such theDepartment of
Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitationonly allows ethically
sound research to be conducted. Students are required to submit an Ethics
Submission Form (ESF) as part of their Dissertation study. The ESF is reviewed
by two independent members of staff. Only when the reviewers are satisfied that
all ethical considerations, including the standard of the study design, have
been addressed that approval will be given. Any student who does not receive
ethical approval will not be permitted to use data (primary or secondary) for
their research project. Students who collect data without approval, which is
therefore ethically unsound, will not have the results or discussion chapters
of their dissertation marked. Academic misconduct as a result of ethically
unsound data collection will be dealt with according to University
Students should familiarise themselves with
the procedures and processes required to acquire ethical approval using the
information in their degree-route
specific handbook. Although an ethics submission deadline is provided in
the Module handbook, students are advised to complete the ESF as soon as
possible in order to give themselves sufficient time to address any issues
identified in the review and resubmit. Early approval enables the prompt
collection and analysis of data, and provides time to receive feedback on the
write up of the findings.


Dissertations will be assessed on the
following criteria – the extent to which students:
Clearly define the research
question and purpose of the study and establish the significance of the study
(real world application and/or of interest to a wider academic audience). If
appropriate the aims and objectives, and hypotheses should be clearly defined;
Critically review relevant key
sources of literature in a logical fashion to produce a coherent argument
justifying the study purpose;
Adopt an ethically sound
research design appropriate to the research question and provide a
comprehensive and precise description of the data collection process, tools and
methods of analysis;
Produce a detailed and clear
presentation of the study findings in a fashion that addresses the research
question using conventions appropriate for the discipline of study;
Present a critical
interpretation and explanation of the main findings in relation to the research
question, relevant theory and previous findings from appropriate literature;
Discuss the main findings in
the context of the study’s limitations, with suggestions for further work where
Provide a concise conclusion to
the study that is logically deduced from the study findings;
Use a presentation style that
conforms to the regulations laid down in the dissertation handbook;
Demonstrate individual
innovation, initiative, lateral thinking, and / or independence.


Tutorial sessions (5 hours in total) will
provide formative feedback on progress towards completion.


Exceeding the
specified word limit(s) will result in a 5%
penalty, plus a further 5% penalty
for every 10% of the original word
limit. Submissions of over 150% of
the word limit will be awarded a zero

Your written work will be assessed for the standard of grammar,
referencing, presentation and, where applicable, appropriate use of appendices.
Conformity with academic conventions of writing, referencing and presentation
standards is expected with all academic work. Your work will be judged on
the following criteria:

Correct grammar: clear meaning;
appropriate use of sentences/ paragraphs; avoidance of colloquial language;
Correct use of punctuation;
correct use of abbreviations;
Accurate spelling;
Use of an accepted referencing
system (please see the Student Handbook, or ‘Cite them right: referencing made
easy’ [available from the University Shop and the Library] for full details of
the approved referencing system);
Presentation that is tidy and
conforms to guidelines on formatting and layout; and
Appropriate use of appendices in relation to guidance given in writing by
module tutors.

You are reminded that all assessed work is to
be original, unique (i.e. not submitted for any other module assessment) and
free from all forms of academic misconduct including plagiarism, collusion,
falsification, ghosting and cheating, all of which are defined in the Student
Handbook and in the Assessment Regulations for Northumbria Awards (available on
students ‘MyNorthumbria’ web page and in addition”> ).
misconduct is a serious offence, and could lead to you being required to
withdraw from the degree programme.

At level
six you should by now have a good theoretical knowledge of your subject and
your Honours Dissertation may be your first opportunity in the course to
produce an independent study. There are many different forms of dissertation,
but in general it is a small research exercise or design activity lasting two

2.1 Outline of activities
Most dissertations will divide into a
number of discrete stages such as those listed below. Please note that this is
a guide and that not all of these stages will be relevant to all dissertations.

1 – dissertation research preparation
§ Consider staff areas of expertise;
§ Attend initial dissertation workshops;
§ Start literature search;
§ Choose your question;
§ Consider the purpose of the study (set aims and objectives or
§ Indicate the proposed research design.

2 – Developing a RQ and addressing ethical considerations
§ Refine research question;
§ Continue literature search;
§ Develop methodology and proposed methods of analysis;
§ Consider ethics of study;
§ Submit Ethics Forms;
§ Agree schedule of work with supervisor.

3 – ethical approval and piloting
§ Obtain required permissions & approval from ethics committee;
§ Conduct pilot project;
§ Narrow literature search and review;
§ Write first draft of introduction and review;
§ Check progress on project with supervisor.

4 – preparing to gather useful data
§ Analyse pilot data;
§ Refine proposed method;
§ Write draft of methods section;
§ Write second draft of review.

5 – data gathering and analysis
§ Investigation and data gathering;
§ Analysis and evaluation of the data or information;
§ Write first draft of results and discussion;
§ Identify and evaluate study limitations;
§ Edit introduction, review and methods.

6 – relating findings to existing literature
§ Relate the findings to the research question drawing conclusions;
§ Relate the findings to the aims and objectives, or hypotheses;
§ Relate the findings to previous literature identified in the review;
§ Write second draft of results and discussion;
§ Outline limitations and recommendations;
§ Refine the introduction, abstract, acknowledgements.

7 – final write up and submission
§ Preparation of the final draft;
§ Numbering and contents lists, references section;
§ Compiling, printing and binding;
§ Submit the dissertation.

2.2 Time

“If you fail to plan you are planning to fail”

As outlined by the stages above, the
Dissertation is a significant piece of work – but one that can easily be
achieved with commitment and planning to engage in 400 hours of work. Being aware
of the stages, outlined above, leading to the final report will help you to
plan and manage your time.

N.B. Estimating time is not
easy – build in a contingency for unexpected occurrences: for example, other
module assessment hand in dates, equipment failure, delays due to
hardware/software problems and availability of participants.

2.3 Choosing Your Dissertation Topic Area

The Dissertation is a 40 credit module
which requires 400 hours of work; consequently you should give careful consideration
to the topic area that you will spend the next two semester researching. Chose
a topic which is of interest to you or one that is pertinent to your future
career aspirations; initial tutorial discussions will help you gain an
understanding of what is required to address the question you have chosen, or
to help you to decide whether or not the topic you have devised for yourself is
workable and has sufficient academic merit.

only way to develop your ideas on a dissertation topic is to begin the review
of literature to support the decision making process. Reading around the topic will enable you to discover what the
contemporary issues are within a particular subject area (the broad research
problem that you will develop into a research question); it will also help you
to decide what is feasible within the constraints of the Dissertation.

2.4 Practical Considerations
Apart from the academic content there are
also a number of practical considerations that you need to take into account.
§ Do you have a sufficient understanding of the topic?
§ Is there already a lot of research in this area or is it breaking
new ground?
§ Do the likely demands match the time and effort you are prepared to
put in?
§ Are the resources you will need readily available?
§ When is your supervisor available for consultations?
§ Will you need to learn new techniques and methods?
§ Is it an open-ended or a clearly defined project?
§ Do you already have information you could use?
§ Is it heavily equipment dependant?
§ Will you need technical support?
§ How available are your sample of participants?
§ In what ways is it likely to go wrong?
§ What permission will you need and from whom?
§ What is its value in terms of my learning or its application?

2.5 Preparation for Successful Projects
Members of staff will have areas of
personal research interest which may be of interest to you, or may inspire your
thoughts. A series of timetabled dissertation workshop taught sessions,
including the presentation of staff research topics, will provide an overview
of the key aspects of the research process as they apply to the Dissertation
and to guide your chosen Dissertation topic.

The aim of the workshops is to provide you
with support for specific phases of the Dissertation at the time when you are most
likely to be beginning work on the corresponding component of the dissertation.
It is assumed that you will begin to make a start on these components
immediately after attending the workshops. The themes of the workshops and
seminars are as follows:

30th January 2014 –Module
introduction and staff research interests
10th June 2014– Dissertation
12th June 2014– Managing the
Dissertation process
17thJune 2014–
Research ethics
19thJune 2014– Reviewing the
24thJune 2014– Developing
a methodology
26th June 2014 –
Data collection
21st October 2014– Principles of
Quantitative Data Analysis
Principles of Qualitative Data Analysis
28th October
2014 –
Writing up quantitative research
Writing up qualitative research

The allocation of supervisors is based on
your stated interest in a research topic; therefore, it is important that you
begin to interrogate the literature in search of a suitable research question
as early as possible. Based on your choice of topic you are required to submit
a Student Interest Form (Appendix A)
stating which particular topic interests you and naming the member of staff who
proposed it. N.B. Members of staff
have a limit to the number of students that they can supervise; consequently
some students may be allocated to a supervisor with a shared interest in a
topic rather than the proposer of the topic.

3.1 Allocation of Supervisor
Following the dissertation induction
lecture on30th
January 2014, it is your responsibility to view and
consider the research areas that staff have presented and decide upon a
suitable topic for your dissertation. You must complete the Student Interest
Form outlining the research project that that you wish to undertake and submit
the completed form by the30th April 2014 1pm deadline toCDP counter.

NOTE: TheSchool
staff have wide and varied research interests, which
cross disciplines; consequently, there will be a wide-range of topics from the
management disciplines to choose from. To assist in the allocation process, use
the interest form to demonstrate the precise topic that interests you. For
example, ‘the aim is to test
Tapp&Clowes (2002) market segmentation model on rugby fans’ is more
specific than ‘something about marketing
rugby’ and could attract two different supervisors, one with a particular
interest in segmentation the other with an interest in rugby. Undertaking a
literature search to find the Tapp&Clowes (2002) Model would not take long,
but it demonstrates your interest and commitment to a specific topic, and is
achievable between the induction lecture and the submission of the Student
Interest Form.

N.B. The final allocation and approval of individual supervisors is the
responsibility of the Module Leader and assisting staff. Decisions about
supervision are made after submission of the Student Interest Forms. Student
Interest Forms submitted after the deadline date will be allocated according to
the discretion of the module leader; in this instance you will be required to
agree a suitable topic with your allocated supervisor. If you have any concerns
about your dissertation supervision you need to contact the module leader.

3.2 Supervisor – Student interaction
The approach to teaching and learning in a
supervised dissertation might seem different from your previous experience on
the course. This is primarily YOUR piece
of work and there is no one right way to do it.
Your supervisor is not there as a teacher to present you with new
knowledge, but rather their role is to facilitate and advise your efforts to
address your research question effectively. It is understandable that you might
feel anxious at first, but through supportive feedback you should become more
confident and independent in your research.

You are entitled to 5 hours of your supervisor’s time
throughout the course of the project (no more than one hour in a single week). This usually takes the form of regular face-to-face meetings
booked by the students, but it could be email correspondence, telephone
conversations or a group tutorial of students with similar interests. The use
of your allocated time will be tracked by your supervisor through the use of
tutorial record forms (Appendix B)
that both you and your supervisors will have copies of. Once your allocated
time is used up, your supervisor will be unable to offer you further support.
Scheduling of dissertation tutorials is subject to tutor availability. Though
supervisors do build in time for these sessions on a weekly basis, these slots
can fill up quickly, particularly if they are supervising a number of students.

it is in your interest to have regular contact with
your supervisor who, after all, will have far greater experience of carrying
out research than you and can offer invaluable advice and guidance to
successful completion. It is no coincidence that the poorest results in recent
years have come from students that chose NOT to make use of their supervisor’s
time and expertise.

Any concerns of students or staff regarding
supervision should be referred to the module leader.

3.3 What can the student expect of the
It is generally expected that supervisors
will possess adequate academic and professional knowledge and expertise to
achieve the general aims of supervision for the piece of work in question.

At the start of the project it is
recommended that you discuss the following with your supervisor:
§ The general research problem to be addressed
§ Its academic and practical content and value
§ Primary and alternative methods of investigation
§ A timetable to achieve the aims of the project
§ Access to necessary resources
§ The assessment criteria
§ The module format and presentation guidelines

Supervisors should be expected to:
§ To have a good knowledge of the research or design area (including
safety, health and ethical issues)
§ To exchange ideas freely
§ To be aware of and advise on the pitfalls in the research or design
§ To be open, friendly and supportive
§ To be available, within reason and satisfy the time allocated for
personal supervision of students
§ To be constructively critical
§ To advise on appropriate methods of analysis and interpretation of
§ To advise on ethical issues

3.4 What do supervisors expect from students?
Your supervisor is there to support your
independent study at level six; consequently, they expect you to be committed
to achieving your full potential by meeting deadlines and being proactive and
reactive in your approach to the dissertation process. It is expected that students
will aim:
§ To show initiative and independence
§ To plan and manage time effectively
§ To be familiar with the factual content and methodology of the topic
§ To design the study independently as far as possible
§ To seek advice and comment on work from others
§ To prepare for and meet the supervisor regularly as agreed and
attend meetings punctually
§ To keep written records and report honestly on progress achieved
§ To keep all original data and collection records
§ Ensure that all submitted work complies with module presentation
guidelines and is acceptable in terms of academic style, language and grammar.
§ Ensure that all module submission deadlines are met
§ To attempt to fulfil their potential

3.5 Supervisor –
timeline of activity
Once you
have agreed your topic and research area, you and your supervisor will meet to
discuss a timetable of related activity. The timeline will include dates for
commencement and completion of key phases of the project and for submission of
draft written work to your supervisor for feedback. These dates will assist you
in progressing towards completion by the final deadline.

A timeline
leads to effective management of your project and is a great help to
motivation. It allows you to see the goals you are achieving and gives the
feeling that you are in control of the dissertation. It also helps you to make meaningful progress
reports to your supervisor and allows your supervisor to judge your progress in
relation to interim targets. Identify the critical “milestones” at which you
need to review progress such as completion of ethics forms and also set target
dates for completion of chapters such as your introduction and review.

If you have discussed and planned an
effective timetable for your dissertation you will be able to monitor your own
progress and adapt your work if necessary.
However, reviewing progress with your supervisor is invaluable to
successful completion. A record of meetings is kept by your supervisor on the
form shown in Appendix B and carbon
copies will be given to you after each meeting. If your progress is causing
your supervisor concern they will contact you and also raise the awareness of
the module leader. If unsatisfactory progress continues the module leader will
write to you and a copy of the letter will be placed on your file and may be
referred to when employers seek evidence of your ability to work independently
in job references.

3.6 Formative Feedback
You have the opportunity to receive both
written and verbal formative feedback from your supervisor on ALL of the
chapters, provided that they are submitted no later than the following
7th July 2014 –
Literature review draft submission deadline
29th September 2014 –
methodology draft submission deadline
3rd November2014 – results / discussion draft
submission deadline
17th November2014– Introduction, conclusion, abstract
draft submission deadline
27th November2014– supervision tutorial end date.
Supervisors will not provide tutorial support after this date
Note: staff will not read or provide feedback on
chapters submitted after the above dates

Your supervisor will read and feedback on
each chapter once only. This
feedback will usually occur in tutorial time – however you MUST submit the chapter in advance and allow up to twenty
working days turnaround; however, supervisors will try to return work before
the next formative feedback deadline. Supervisors will NOT read through or feedback on any written chapters brought into
tutorials, but they will answer specific questions.

The comments provided will not consist of
proofreading, that is your responsibility, but rather bulleted feedback /
feed-forward on how you might structure your writing and advice on topics that
should be addressed within chapters. The aim is to support you in your
endeavour to put across your (evidence-based) ideas and arguments in a coherent
and academically sound manner. Note:
the extent of the feedback provided will shift from predominantly written in
the introduction, review of literature and methodology chapters, to a more
verbal focus for the results / discussion chapter(s).

N.B.You should NOT expect feedback on the estimation
of the dissertation grade as supervisors cannot divulge this information.

researchers have an obligation to generate and promote ethical behaviour in
their research practice – studies which are guilty of academic misconduct (see
Module Outline) are NOT ethically sound, and therefore fail to meet Learning
Outcome One. Adopting an ethical approach to research is not only a matter of
conscience for the research but also a legal and Module requirement. As such, fulfilling the requirements of the
ethics process is NOT an addition to the Dissertation but rather a fundamental
and MANDATORY part of academic research. Consequently all students
undertaking primary and secondary data collection are required to comply with
the University’s Code of Practice and requirements to produce ethically sound

4.1 Code of Practice
All studies must conform to University
Guidelines. Studies cannot proceed without an approved ethics application and
signed consent forms from the participants and from any parents, coaches,
institutions (as stipulated in the ethics form); safety is paramount in applied studies requiring field research. NOTE: You will not be allowed to book
or use any equipment if your study has not received ethical clearance.
Technicians will have lists of all students whose studies have been approved and not-approved.

booking of equipment and/or technical assistance must be donethrough CDP counter.

IMPORTANT:Anydata collected without prior ethical approvalwill be considered void
and unacceptable for marking. Any dissertation submitted without prior ethical approval will receive
zero for the methods, results and discussion sections.

4.2 Completion of ethical approval forms
After completion of the semester
oneworkshops on outlining the dissertation process, research ethics,
methodology and research design considerations, you are required to submit a completed ethics application briefly
outlining the nature and methods of your planned study. The completion of the
ethics submission requires you to demonstrate that you are aware of the nature
of your study and any likely risks or impacts, use the submission process as a
way to develop your research question in a timely manner. It is in your best
interests to submit your applicationas early as possible. This will allow
you to begin data collection much earlier, as well as allowing you formative
feedback on your methods that can be used to improve the quality of your data
collection and ultimately of your final dissertation. Note that you cannot proceedwith data collection
until your ethics application has been approved
and you have received signed confirmation from your supervisor.
In support of the ethics submission,
guidance is available electronically on Blackboard and from your supervisor. In
addition, your supervisor has access to all of the required policy and procedure
documents and participant information sheets.

NOTE: You should only complete and submit the forms that you will use in
your study. For example, if you do not plan to take images then the page
requesting consent should be deleted from the standard EthicsApplication Form (EAF).

4.3 Ethical
All dissertations must
receive ethical clearance and follow theHKUSPACEEthics Procedure (Appendix C)
before any data collection can begin. You should submit a completed copy
of the Ethics Application
Form (EAF) to the CDP Counter on or before August 1st 1:00pm – only after your supervisor has
signed to state that the EAF is now ready for independent review (unsigned
forms will be returned without review). On successful completion of the
review process you will receive a signed feedback sheet stating that you can
proceed with data collection (the turnaround time for this process isnormallyone
week from receipt of the completed documentation – unless Full Review is
required which will take a further two weeks). Submit your application early so
you can start the data collection phase of your project.No EAF’s will be accepted for
review after 22nd November 2014.
Submit your application early so you can start the
data collection phase of your project.

If there is a delay in submitting the
ethics form you are impeding and delaying your progress as the study cannot
proceed without it. Anydata collected
without prior ethical approvalwill be considered void and unacceptable for
marking. Any dissertation submitted
without prior ethical approval will receive zero for the methods, results and
discussion sections.

The purpose of the ethics application is
for you to identify any potential ethical issues that might arise during your
study. There are workshops in semester one that recap on key issues and you
should apply these to your application and discuss the issues with your
supervisor prior to submission of your application. Ethics application
forms, guidelines and examples are available on blackboard.



and approved ethics forms must be submitted in your raw data file.

Once you have received ethical approval you
can begin the data collection process, including any pilot studies, with the
primary aim of answering your research question.

5.1 Primary data
The amount of data that you need to collect
should be informed by your research question and the sample population that the
study is based on. A clear rationale, based on academic literature, for the
sampling decisions should be provided within the methodology section.
Guidelines on the minimum and maximum data limits are provided (Appendix D); however they should be
used in consultation with your supervisor to ensure that an appropriate amount
of primary data is collected. It is also worth noting that the emphasis is on
quality as well as quantity; for example, 40 hours of poor interview data will
be significantly less useful in answering your research question than 10 hours
of high quality data.

There is no direct penalty for collecting
less or more data than is recommended in the guidelines or that have been
agreed with your supervisor. However, poor or insufficient data will result in
a poor rationale for the sampling decisions, vague results and discussion
section. In addition, lack of sufficient primary data will make answering your
research question challenging. Consequently students who do not work within the
data limits are risking poor marks for three sections of the overall
Dissertation (see section 6 for details
on these sections).

5.2 Secondary
data collection
Secondary data should not be perceived as
an ‘easy option’. Students wishing to
use secondary data must discuss this in advance with their supervisor,
and be prepared to make a robust case to justify their choice of data sets. The
use of secondary data will only be permissible if it is from a trustworthy
source; for example, Sport England, NGBs, FIFA, ONS, BBC / SKY Sport, and so
on. It is the student’s responsibility to establish that the secondary data
that they are using is not restricted, and is therefore available for public
use. Similarly, the use of secondary data will only be allowed if it is the
most suitable method to answer your research question.

It is expected that the amount of secondary
data used, to answer your research question, will be equivalent to or more than
the primary data limits outlined in chapter 5.1. There is also an expectation
that you will not use secondary data to repeat an existing study, your secondary
data dissertation must demonstrate originality. Therefore, before analysing
secondary data, you should familiarise yourself with the original study;
including its research question, sampling design, data collection methods, data
analysis techniques, and its findings. Your study must be significantly
different to the original.

5.3 Academic Dishonesty
Instances of academic dishonesty are
scrutinised very carefully and the consequences can be harsh. In extreme cases
this can lead to a mark of zero being awarded. Academic dishonesty is
considered under the headings of plagiarism and data tampering. Plagiarism includes using someone else’s
thoughts or writings and presenting them as your own, or allowing someone else
to use your work without an acknowledgement.

Plagiarism includes:
§ Submitting written work that has been extensively copied from a
textbook or article or from the work of another student without an
§ Submitting written work that makes significant use of unattributed quotations
from a textbook or article or from the work of another student
§ Submitting written work that makes use of unacknowledged digital
images copied from a textbook or article or from the work of another student
§ Allowing or being involved in allowing another student to copy a
piece of written work or physical or digital images
§ Submitting for assessment work that has been previously submitted
for assessment on a different module, or at a different institution as if it
were new

Data tampering includes the following:
§ Fabrication of data: presenting data that have not actually been
collected, or presenting data that have not been collected as per the
methodology of the research protocol
§ Falsification of data; altering existing data sets, changing your
data sets, or omitting to present part of your data sets
§ Poor storage of data. Original data must be stored unaltered, in
accordance with university guidelines. Where such data is of a confidential
nature, security and access arrangements must be clearly defined and adhered to
before commencement of the project.

As stated in the introduction, writing up
the draft literature review and methodology chapters should begin immediately
as this process will enable you to gather the information that you require for
the ethics process. Remember that the Dissertation is not only a demonstration
of your ability to plan and conduct research, but rather principally your
ability to communicate the findings based on a robust research design. Consequently,
the writing up of the Dissertation must communicate, in an academic manner, to
the reader the exact message that you mean to deliver.

The layout format of the Dissertation must
confirm to the minimum acceptable standards for the Department of Sport
Development (Appendix E).

Appropriate writing style
Putting your ideas onto paper is a way to
clarify your thoughts and the use of mind maps and brainstorming activities can
be useful. Most people will expect to write several drafts, so do not be
hesitant about starting to write. It is helpful to make a plan for the section
you are writing and have to hand all your notes and research data. In a
successful Dissertation, all of the sections need to relate to each other to
form a coherent whole. This is a chance to demonstrate your writing technique
not only to your supervisor but also to future employers. This is especially
true if you are intending to continue in higher education when you graduate.

As you progress through the dissertation process
your writing style and understanding of the subject will improve, so be
prepared to write several draft chapters – there are no shortcuts, leaving the
write up too late will result in the submission of a first draft with
predictable results.

Word processing means that it is relatively
easy to edit a document, however remember that it is highly unlikely that you
will ever be entirely satisfied with your dissertation. The main points to
consider when reviewing your draft are as follows:
Logical order / argument
§ One idea to a paragraph
§ Good links between paragraphs
§ Aims directly addressed
§ Clear, interesting style and presentation
§ Findings justified by evidence
§ No unreasonable generalisations or claims
§ No slang, jargon, colloquialisms or clichés
§ Data appropriately presented e.g. in tables, charts or diagrams
§ No materials missing or irrelevant
§ Information in appropriate section
§ No unexplained abbreviations
§ Accurate references to figures, appendices and reference section
§ References in Northumbria Harvard Style
§ Consistency in format of headings
§ Format complies with requirements of the Department.

Remember that the word processor is only a
tool; you still need to think in sentences and paragraphs and write with
correct grammar and syntax. Although spellchecker
does highlight incorrect spelling, it does not differentiate between synonyms
(e.g., there/their; weather/whether), and does not highlight words which are
spelt correctly but are used in the wrong context due to a spelling error (e.g.
manner / manor).
Your writing style should enable the reader
to understand and read your project with ease. You should adopt a writing style
appropriate to your discipline. In most cases at undergraduate level,
dissertations should adopt an impersonal style of writing in the past imperfect
tense (was) with no first person usage (I, we, our, you, my).Use examples from
research journals from your discipline area as a guide to the most appropriate
writing style and also consult your supervisor for guidance. For all styles of
writing the usual rules of grammar, spelling and paragraph construction should
be adhered to – use the grammar and spell check functions on the word processor
if necessary. Abbreviated English such as ‘wasn’t’ in place of ‘was not’ is too
informal and should be avoided. If you
are using abbreviations for technical terms, be sure to write the term in full
when you first use it with the abbreviation you intend to use following in
brackets.Referencing must be in the required Harvard Style, as found in ‘Cite them right’ (a link to this and
several other helpful texts on writing can be found in Appendix F).

Presentation and order of contents
One of the aims of your project is to
present your findings in a way that can be understood and are of interest to an
intelligent lay person. All dissertations MUST
follow the Department’s regulations regarding format. It must be typed or word
processed in Times New Roman font size 12 with double-line spacing (single
spaced in abstract, notes, references section and appendices), on A4 paper,
with the normal default margins for A4 (see Appendix E). Headers and footers are optional. Tables and Figures
should be numbered and titled above and below respectively. The word limit is
10,000 words (See Appendix E, note 2.5).

6.3 Order
of Sections
Good structure improves the flow and you
should refer to discipline-specific research journals for examples of good
practice. Sections should be numbered consistently or centred as appropriate.
The classic order of preliminaries and chapters is given in the following
sections, however please note that your dissertation might not logically fit
into this format. For example, it may involve the development, testing and
evaluation of a new piece of equipment, or a specific piece of marketing
research, or might be a particularly probing piece of qualitative research. If
you think this is the case with your project, you should discuss the matter
with your supervisor and if necessary formally agree an alternative layout
before you submit your project. A formal note of the agreed format will be
recorded by your tutor, who will mark your dissertation accordingly. It will
also be taken into account by the second marker.

6.4 Cover
and Binding
Your dissertation must be bound in the
covers provided by the Student Support and Advice Centre. You are responsible
for binding both copies of your dissertation with black, plastic spiral binding only.

6.5 Title
The title should be a concise statement of
what your study is about and conform to the accepted layout (Appendix G). Please note that the title
is extremely important and should give an indication of the content. Your
dissertation title will also be written on your degree certificate. Therefore,
you should agree the title with your supervisor – towards the beginning of your

Declaration of Originality and Permission to Copy
This a pre-designed page (Appendix H) to acknowledge that the
research is owned by Northumbria University and to give permission for others
to photocopy it without infringing copyright laws.

6.7 Acknowledgements
This is your opportunity to thank all the
people that have helped and supported you throughout your dissertation. Please
note that your dissertation is a professional communication and should
therefore not contain frivolous or humorous statements. References to friends
helping you through the long nights of last minute study with supplies of
coffee and beer are NOTappropriate.
It is however usual to acknowledge the assistance of supervisors, technical
staff and participants.

The reader will usually look at this first
to find out if the text is likely to include information that is of interest to
them. It must therefore be a concise summary of your research question, what
you did, what you found and the context of your conclusions. Generally the
abstract is 150 – 200 words long (see Appendix
Ifor a general example and journals for examples of abstracts in your
specific discipline). Remember that not only is your abstract included in your
dissertation, but two loose-leaf copies
are required to be submitted separately. The abstract is the first page relating to your study so it needs to
make a good impression of what is to follow.

6.9 Table
of Contents
The table of contents lists the various
sections with their page numbers in the format demonstrated at the beginning of
this module guide. Please note that pages preceding the introduction should be
numbered with Roman Numerals and those
inclusive of the introduction in standard numerals. The title page should not be numbered but should be counted, as per
this Handbook.

6.10 List of Tables, Figures and
Illustrative Content
This might follow on the same page as the
contents list or can be a separately headed list. All Tables, Figures and

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