To: Xiao Shen
From: Athina Bastien
Date: 15th December 2009
Re: MSc resubmission guidance
This document highlights some of the points that you need to address when reviewing your MSc dissertation in view of a resubmission.
Firstly, based on the feedback you have already been provided with, the following areas need prime attention:
• Thoroughness and penetration of review of past work and use of relevant literature and appropriate sources
• Intellectual quality of analysis and discussion of results
• Relevance of the work to the industrial context (where applicable)
• Demonstration of the application of knowledge
• Demonstration of the achievement of objectives and statement of conclusions
• Organisation of report into logical sequence of facts and arguments.
Overall, it is important to carefully consider your data, its analysis and your findings. It is essential that your process is thorough, clear and evident. Consider your proposals and findings and how these fit in with your research objectives and how they help you meet those objectives.
Specifically, you need to ensure that your analysis of the literature is a critical one (i.e. what is your own understanding and your own views following what you read?). Your critical analysis needs to be followed by a synthesis that is sound and useable (i.e. a framework that is based on the literature reviewed that can be meaningfully used for further research and possibly application).
Furthermore, in response to your recent questions by email, I strongly advise you to remain focused on the CONSTRUCT domain that you have already selected (i.e. “Using Partnering”) and not search for alternative domains. Provided that you could complete all the required review and rework you could then consider working with additional (not alternative) CONSTRUCT domains. However, this, in my view, is low priority. This should also be evident from the guidance provided for your resubmission.
Moreover, my suggestions about selecting a case study remain the same as those expressed during our discussions throughout the year: relevant sources include journals, books and well referenced and credible internet material. You can also look at sources provided by professional bodies (e.g. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development –CIPD-, etc.). The case study selected should enable you to compare practical with theoretical aspects of your investigation.
Finally, the following detailed points require attention.
In the meantime, please observe the project planning advice sent to you separately and feel free to contact me with any queries.
Starting with your abstract, ensure that what you present here (e.g. “theories were critically discussed, analysed and compared with good practice...” actually applies and is reflected in your work. In addition, you have used the word “should” in numerous occasions, incl. your abstract; do consider how this fits in with a phenomenological piece of work, the CONSTRUCT framework or the use of ‘good’ as opposed to ‘best’ practice. To actually provide you with the answer, the word “should” does not fit with any of the above. Address this in your abstract and throughout your project.
Need to provide references (REF) to support what you say. Check the knowledge@W.P.Carey reference; what does that mean?
Show how your objectives were met.
“The case study is not regarded as a selection of methodology, it is the researcher’s choice based on the project topic”. What does this mean? Clarify.
Observation throughout section 2.3: no mention is made of the fact that you did not conduct the case study yourself!
How do you define trust?
How would you build trust in a multicultural organisation?
Do review your understanding of the CONSTRUCT framework and be precise about the basis of your work (i.e. Dr Bastien’s work). You say “The [CONSTRUCT] framework was established based on the HEX railway construction case study”. This is inaccurate; the case study is only part of the framework. You say “ the trigger of conducting her research is mentioned at the abstract chapter of her article as the recognition from a previous research which was also done by Dr Bastien”. Firstly, you need to refer to that ‘trigger’ as opposed to saying where it is located in bibliography. Secondly, what is that “previous research” that I am supposed to have conducted?
“To create a unique project for the alliance”. Explain, clarify.
Why do you choose the domain “Using Partnering”? What about all the other elements?
Fig. 3.10 is illegible.
Prescriptive vs descriptive approach: what is your understanding?
This is a fundamental point that I observe as soon as I read your abstract (as I have noted above) and is evident throughout your dissertation.
“Philomathic” audience: what is your understanding? You have used the word “competent” whereas I believe it to be “willing”.
Need to further reflect on and explain the following points:
“This project is mostly concerned with conducting research on using partnering to establish trust”.
Why do you select only “...one branch...” of CONSTRUCT?
“...More effective...” in what sense?
4.1 Which is the source of the case study?
5.1 How was the analysis really performed? Thoroughly explain your process with clarity including your ‘coding’ technique.
Review the last paragraph in section 5.2.1, i.e. “Consequently.....suppliers”.
5.3.1 “Synthesise the theory above and then trust can be understood” What can this possibly mean and what value does it add to your work?!
Do review all this section up to the end of p.57.
5.3.2 “Compare CONSTRUCT(C) Framework with practices reported in the Toyota case”.
The title does not match the content; where is the comparison?
Chapter 6 Findings and Recommendations
This part requires extensive review and rework.
How do you derive your findings?
What are your findings?
What are your recommendations?
e.g. Fig. 6.3
This kind of material is meant to be covered by the literature review.
Figures: if hyperlinks were to work, where would these figures be found?
Following from the previous chapter, your Ch. 7 “Conclusions” also needs to be thoroughly rethought.
“The determinants of trust”
Interpersonal vs inter-organisational trust: what is your understanding?
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Review your grammar, syntax and spelling.
• Discuss the extent to which your objectives have been met.
• State the limitations of your work.
• Recommend further work.
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