MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
FACULTY OF COMMERCE
DISSERTATION RESEARCH GUIDELINES
Published by: Midlands State University
P. Bag 9055
Year: April 2014
RESEARCH REPORT PRESENTATION
The purpose of this section is to go over the specifications in the presentation of the research
report in order to achieve uniformity and consistency at undergraduate level. The section focuses
The Preliminary (Front) Pages
The Research Report Text
Back Pages/materials(references and appendices)
1.1 The Preliminary Pages
In the preliminary or front of the research report you present the following materials:
The Title Page
The Approval Form
The Release Form
Table of Contents
List of tables
List of Figures
Definition of key terms and acronyms
1.1.1 The Title Page
It is considered as page (i) but is left unnumbered. Titles are single-spaced and are
written in upper case. A good title should be self explanatory. It may seem
contradictory both to urge specificity and to require that the title be short. However
you can fit a good deal to specific information into a title if you avoid padding it with
words that serve no explanatory purpose. Such expression as “study of” or “an
experimental investigation of” don’t really add anything. If the title is more than 1
line, (maximum length 12 to 15 words) it should break in a logical place for easy
reading. The cover/ page shows:
Logo (font size 14)
Institution granting degree(font size 20)
Faculty and department (font size 18)
Title of Project font size (14)
Name of Writer(font size 12 final executive binding)
Registration Number font size (12)
Purpose of dissertation (in italics)
Purpose of Research Project (in italics) font 12
Name of country (font 12)
Year of Award (See Appendix I)
Supervisor’s name (final executive binding)
The Release Form
This is a form that grants the university permission to produce copies of the project
and also reserves the author’s publication rights. (See Appendix II).
Signed Approval Form
This serves as official acknowledgement and acceptance of the project as
satisfactory. It is signed by your supervisor(s) and an external examiner/Programme
Coordinator/Tutor/Regional Coordinator where applicable. (See Appendix III).
Dedication (Optional) (centred and bold) : 2-3 sentences
This serves as a tribute or recognition to a specific individual or individuals. (See
1.1.5 The Abstract (centred and bold)
The abstract is used by potential readers to determine at a glance, the contents of
the project. You should present it as a precise and well-written summary. Our
abstract should contain:
The purpose of the study
A clear statement of the problem/problems being researched on.
A description of the methods used in the study, which is the design, the sample size
and the sample composition.
An indication of where and how the data/ information was obtained.
A description of the data analysis technique.
A summary of the findings, conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further
research. Your abstract should be at most a page in length. (Se Appendix V).
1.1.6 Acknowledgements (centred and bold) : maximum length half a page
In this section you thank persons to whom you are indebted for guidance and
assistance in making your study successful. You must present this section on a
separate page. (Appendix VI).
Table of Contents: Title case bold and centred)
You present an outline of the components of your research report. These
components include: the preliminaries and these are typed in lower case. They are
arranged as follows as they appear in the project:
Title Page (i)
Release Form (ii)
Approval Form (iii)
List of Tables (viii)
List of Figures (ix)
After the preliminaries you then list chapters and chapter headings and sub-headings
giving the page(s) where these are located in your research report. You present the
back page materials, which are references and appendices after chapter v.. For typing
you should ensure that:
Chapter numbers and preliminaries’ page numbers are typed in Roman numerals;
Chapter titles and chapter numbers are typed in upper case;
Sub- headings of each chapter are typed in lower case and single spaced;
Margins are 3.8 cm on the left and 2.5 cm at the top, bottom and right sides;
Numbering of the pages should be at the center bottom edge;
References and appendices are presented in Arabic numerals and typed in upper
case. (See Appendix VII).
List of Tables
You should show the table number, its title and reference page. This should be done
in lower case. (See Appendix VIII).
1.1.9 List of Figures
Anything other than tables should be considered as a figure. You should write the
figure number, title and reference page. Type these in lower case. (See Appendix
1.2 The Research Report Text
This refers to Chapters 1 – 5 since these constitute your main report. You need to split up
your chapters into clear enough and appropriate sub-headings. The components of each
of the five chapters will be discussed in subsequent units.
1.2.1 Text Formatting
This sub-section concentrates on the presentation specifications of the research
report text or main body. Reference is made to:
General typing rules
Tables included in text
Figures included in text
All paged should have top, bottom, left and right hand margins with the following
3.8 cm on the left margin to allow binding
2.5 cm at the top and bottom
2.5 cm on the right hand.
1.3.2 Typing Rules
A4 pager is to be used
Typing should be done on 1 side of the page only and should be one and half
spaced use New Times Roman
All chapters should be numbered in Roman numerals, centered and typed in
All chapter titles should be centered between page in capitals and 2 spaces
below the chapter number heading
For all sub-headings, use capitals and lowercase combinations. Sub-heading
should be underlined and flushed against the left margin. However, if sub –
headings are highlighted or done in bold but still in lower case, they must not
be underlined as shown by the example which follows:
CHAPTER 1 (font 14)
INTRODUCTION (FONT 14)
If sub – headings are more than 1 line, they should be single spaced
Each chapter begins on a separate new page.
1.3.3 Text Spacing
Begin 3 spaces below the last line of the title. A minimum of 2 lines must be used
to divide paragraphs or when beginning a new sub–division.
Consistency in the mode of typing should be used e.g. Computer, Electric or Manual.
Long quotations should:
Be single spaced
Be in block typed form i.e. 4 spaces from left margin and right margin
To be enclosed in quotation marks
Begin 3 spaces below general text
Quotations less than 3 lines are enclosed in quotation marks and typed within
the general text.
1.3.5 Table Included in the Text
Tables should be numbered and given a title/heading. When numbering tables take
Arabic numerals should be used
Tables can also be numbered consecutively throughout the project e.g. Table
1; Table 2; Table 3 and so forth.
Tables can also be numbered by sub-topics or by chapter e.g. Table 1.1, Table
1.2, Table 2.1, Table 2.2, Table 3.1 and so forth
Tables and table titles should be done in lower case and underlined. If bold,
do not underline.
Tables should have titles and source.
Table title and relevant table should appear on the same page.
The numbering system adopted for tables must be used consistently
throughout the project.
Table title on top of table, table source to appear below table.
1.3.6 Figures used in the Text
Figures refer to illustrations used other than tables. Figure number and title must
appear at the bottom of each illustration and these are again typed in lower case.
1.3.7 Hyphenated Words
Protruding words into right hand margins should be avoided. Avoid hyphenating last
word on the page.
1.3.8 Bold Titles
Titles of books and periodicals should be underlined if used in text. Use Harvard style
The following specifications should be noted:
All front materials are numbered in the lower case of the Roman numerals,
centered at the bottom of the page.
Arabic numbering begins on Chapter 1 and continues up to the end of
Numbering should be done at the bottom center of each page.
All numbering should be in the lower case.
1.4 Back Page Materials
These refer to references and appendices.
Should come immediately after last chapter i.e. chapter V, that is, last
Chapter of the research report.
Should reflect works consulted and appearing in the text.
Should be in alphabetical order and not numbered or butted
Should be in lower case, if longer than 1 line, they should be single-spaced
and not go beyond the year of publication.
Underline titles of books and italics and journals. Titles of articles should be
in inverted commas. Refer to Harvard style of referencing.
Being an extension of the research document, these should be paged normally. They
include copies of research instruments used and other documents deemed necessary
for inclusion but must be kept to a minimum. In addition to being numbered
sequentially, each appendix must be provided with a title.
You must submit 2 loose spiral bound copies for marking. After making the
necessary corrections, you should then submit 2 bound copies and a soft copy on CD.
1.5.1 The Cover Page
The inscriptions on the cover must be the same as those on title page.
1.5.2 The Spine
The following information should be inscribed on the binding spine and be
abbreviated where necessary:
Name of Student;
1.5.3 The Colour
Preferably basic green or blue with inscriptions on both spine and cover.
1.5.4 Dissertation Length
The length of the dissertation should be between 15 000 to 20 000 words.
In the previous Unit of your guide, you were exposed to and became familiar with the faculty
requirements for the presentation of a research report on an acceptable quality and standard.
You are now ready to proceed to unit 2. In this unit an effort is made to describe and explain to
you step by step how to write Chapter 1 of your research report. You should note that chapter 1
is entitled “Introduction” in order to emphasize its relative function. This unit of your guide has
been split into sub-units that exactly correspond with the sub-units of Chapter 1 of your research
report. You will find these sub-units presented in the subsequent paragraphs of this unit as you
read along and study your guide.
Background to the Study
The background places the research study into some intelligible context, touching broadly
on some of the issues related to it. Generally, you will rely on some information, which led
you to get to the resource of this particular research problem in the first place. For
example, you might want to touch on the commercial, social, geographical, educational
and or political context of the problem, or the various dimensions in which it manifests
The researcher should identify the gap that must be filled by the present study. Where the
background to the study depend on literature, this must be cited.
2.2 Statement of the Problem
This section should contain a brief and clear statement of the problem to be solved. Some
of the characteristics of a good research problem statement are that it should be:
Researchable, that is it should be possible to investigate it empirically. It should be
answered through the collection and analysis of scientific data.
Precise, that is it should be written n clear unambiguous language.
Resolved through research. The researcher should make sure that the problem
chosen offers definite sources of information, which when collected, can answer the
key questions sufficiently.
Carefully fit into the broader context of current theory and relevant research.
Clearly and logically related to its sub-problems/research questions or hypothesis.
Related to a particular area of study covered during the Business Management course
2.3 Objectives (3 or maximum 4)
This section succinctly clarifies the aims or objectives of the study, what the study seeks to
accomplish. Research objectives should be smart and there is no room for vagueness, that is
avoid usage of words like to understand, to show, to highlight or to explore. You may want to
explore to explain or to infer. In some cases you might just want to replicate what is
already known. You must make this clear. In summary, research serves the following
primary purposes: to describe; to explore; to explain or to infer.
These terms are further explained as:
To explore: is just to find out more about an area, which few or no people have
ventured into. Exploratory studies are done in areas which are little understood, and
where the relationship among variables is unknown or only a little is known.
To describe: that is, to reveal patterns and trends of situations, or events, objects,
phenomena or behaviours. By describing them, the hope is that they will be
understood better, and so answer the question, ‘why?’
To explain: is to reveal the linkages among the elements constituting situations,
events and phenomena. Exploratory studies attempt to answer the question, ‘why?’
Research questions are developed from research problem. Theses can be written as more
statements. Good research questions ought to be amenable to some more or less definite
answers. However while the question must lend itself to some answer, it must not be totally
answered by a simple ‘Yes’ or a simple ‘No’. It must require you to collect and process
research evidence as part of the answer.
Research questions must specify variables. When the research questions/sub-problems are
addressed individually, they yield responses, which can be reconstituted to make up a
complete answer to the main research question or research problem. The research
questions must be precise.
2.5 Statement of Hypothesis/Preposition using qualitative statistics
Hypothesis is tentative answers or ‘intelligent guesses’ or ‘probable answers’ to the research
question or sub-problems. There are statements about the expected relationships between
variables. Each hypothesis will be tested from analysis of the researched data collected. A
researcher who is not confident of statistical testing of hypothesis is advised not to state
hypothesis but research questions instead, in his/her study. Hypothesis can be written in
null or alternate (directional) form.
2.6 Significance (or Importance) of the Study
In this sub-section you should point out how the solution to the problem or the answer to the
research question can influence theory or practice. That is, the researcher must
demonstrate why it is worth the time, effort, and expense involved in carrying out the
research. You should point out and explain the practical benefits that the study is likely to
provide. You should consider who would benefit from the study and the specific ways these
benefits would be felt. Besides, you may also explain how the study provides benefits to the
methods that will be used in collecting, presenting and analyzing data in a particular field.
Theoretical, practical, student benefits (self) -gap
Assumptions are statements of what the researcher believes to be fact but theses cannot be
You should remember that assumptions are not the object of the research but strengthen
the basis of your research. These assumptions, like the significance of the study have
practical and theoretical implications. Without these assumptions, your research cannot be
carried out. For you to be able to carry out the study you should hold certain facts about
the study as given. These are the assumptions that your study makes which would influence
your research findings. Expectations about research are a/ concept area relationships of
Definition of terms (Just before chapter I) in contextual
You should identify all terms that require being defined in order to avoid any
misinterpretations. These definitions help you to establish the frame of reference with
which you as the researcher approaches the problem. The variables to be considered should
be defined in operational terms, that is, they should either be observable or measurable so
that they can be manipulated scientifically. These terms should be employed consistently
throughout the report. Dictionary meanings do not serve adequately in defining terms of a
Scope (Delimitation) of the Study
Delimitations refer to the boundaries of the study. These enable you to point out clearly
what is included in the study. A description of both conceptual and practical (physical)
boundaries is need. Delimitations answer the questions:
What are the concerns of this study and;
What are not its concerns?
How far does it go into the treatment of the given issues and where does it stop?
How wide is the field from which it will source its data?
To cover – Theoretical
- Time frame
In short, delimitations point out what is included in the study such as the population or
sample size and the variables, etc.
Limitations (going to the root of research and remedies) written post facto
Limitations are those conditions beyond the control of the researcher that may place
restrictions on the conclusions of the study and their application to other situations. It is
not enough just to state these limitations ( challenges, weaknesses or constraints) without
suggesting the compensatory factors that ensure that the research remains valid and
reliable. Tie it with areas of further research
Limitations are weaknesses that are inherent in the research, which the researcher is given
credit for pointing out and serve to alert the reader/user of the research about what to take
note of when interpreting and generalizing the findings and conclusions of the study. These
limitations should be comprehensive hence you need to sufficiently clarify them to the
You should highlight the constituent parts of chapter one. A statement linking ( main issues
that come out, themes, data migration )this chapter with chapter two may be provided. In
most research projects, you may find that this section provides an opportunity to summarize
how the rest of the report has been organized. Thus you need to briefly describe the focus
and content of the subsequent chapters of the report. What prompted this study?
This section discusses some cardinal points in reviewing related literature and gives some
guidelines on how to do a good literature review. The purpose of a study of related literature is
now given in summary form. Sub themes
3.1 Purpose of Literature Review
A knowledge of related research enables you to defined the frontiers of the research
field: For example, you may say; ‘Brown (1989) Muzadzi (1993) and Kwedungepi (1999)
discovered this much about my research problem, the investigators Maeresera and
Mushayabas (2000) added this much to our knowledge. This research proposes to go
beyond Maeresera and Mushayabasa’s work in the following manner’ ……………….
Throughout review of related theory and research enables you to pace your quotations
in perspective You should review related literature for the purpose of finding a link
between your study and the accumulated knowledge in your field of interest. Studies
with no link to the existing knowledge seldom make significant contributions to the
field. Such studies tend to produce isolated bits of information that are of limited
Reviewing related literature helps you to limit your problem or research questions and to
clarify and define concepts of the study.
A research question may be too broad to be carried out or too vague to be put into concrete
operation. A careful review of the literature can help researchers to revise their initial
question so that it can be investigated. It also helps in clarifying the concepts involved in
the study and in translating these concepts into operational definitions. In social sciences
many behavioural constructs like stress, achievement and motivation need to be clarified
and operationally defined. These constructs and other behavioural concepts do not lend
themselves to scientific research until they can be qualified. In reviewing literature, one
becomes familiar with previous efforts to clarify these concepts and to define them
Successful reviews often result in the formation of hypothesis regarding the
relationships between variables in one’s study. Studies in which hypotheses are
tested are usually useful than those without hypotheses or research questions.
A critical review of related literature often leads to an insight into reason for contradictory
results in an area.
In research contradictory findings or inconsistencies may be caused by the research
design used for resolving the problem or the type of instruments employed or the
methodologies and analyses made. A comparison of the procedures of these studies may
explain the inconsistent findings.
Thoroughly studying related research helps you learn which methodologies have proved
useful and which seem less promising.
As you proceed through the related literature and develops increasing sophistication, you
may soon find yourself seeing better ways in which some of the studies could have been
A thorough search of the related literature avoids unintentional replication of previous
You should not carry out an investigation where a very similar study was done before. If
you deliberately want to replicate a previous study you should state the reason for this
replication. You might want to investigate a different aspect of the problem. For
example, a study might have been carried out to establish the major causes of some
firms in a certain industry. The study might have focused on a large firm in a certain
industry in Zimbabwe. The study might have in industry. You may replicate the study
by focusing on small to medium firms in a different industry.
The study of related literature places you in a better position to interpret the significance of
your own results.
Becoming familiar with theory in the field and with previous research prepares you for
fitting the findings of your research into the body of knowledge in the field. When you
reach this stage of reviewing related literature you should consult a few books about
research in general and research in business administration in particular. A good
knowledge of theories,definitions, variables and previous research findings is necessary
and can only be obtained by consulting authoritative sources. This stage of the research
can be entirely sure of what you would be looking for. Some sources of literature
review are given below:
Sources of Literature
Summaries of theses and dissertations
Index of research journals
Computerized information systems (internet)
Primary documents e.g. circulars and reports
No use of Wikipedia, yahoo answers, lecture notes, com answers
The following general hunts on carrying out a review of review of
related literature will help you to get started on your literature
3.3 Some General hints on Literature
1. You should begin with the most recent publication and work back
to earlier publications.
2. Use primary sources as far as possible.
3. Write the bibliographical data of a source on a card (just one sources per card).
4. You should first read the summarized sections of a report to determine whether it
is relevant to the research. Then skim through the source to find the relevant
sections and begin with summaries and quotations of relevant material. Indicate
quotations and their pages clearly. You should do this directly on the research
cards and write legibly.
5. Very important sentences or paragraphs should not be summarized but quoted.
6. Use Photostats, particularly in the case of articles from journals.
7. You should consult the library staff if you need help.
8. A brief intensive study of the literature is worth more than an extensive superficial
one. If you are dealing with a new problem about which a little research has been
conducted, you should consult any source, which can render a significant
contribution. The importance of a research problem does not depend on the
amount of literature available on the subject.
9. All notes you have collected eventually have to be read through again before being
incorporated in a well thought out, well integrated and systematic report.
NB: For your literature review to be relevant, it must focus on:
The theory from which the research topic is derived
Stated hypotheses or research questions (at least four citations per page
Stated problem and sub problem
Identifying the gap in research that is filled by the current research.
That are not original and documented by accepted standards.
Policy on Academic Dishonesty and Cheating
All materials, which are not yours, must be reviewed and referred. Failure to do so results
into academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty and cheating is unethical Christian
education. You should not present work and materials that are not original and documented
by accepted standards.
This unit focuses on chapter 3 of the research report normally entitled “Research
Methodology”. In this chapter a clear and concise description of how the study was carried out is
given. This is a vivid description of all he activities and procedures undertaken during the course
of the research. The review of related literature should have assisted you in deciding on the
suitable methodology for the study. This is usually written in the future tense at the proposal
stage as you will be suggesting what you intend doing. The report on what transpired during the
research exercise is generally written in the past tense. It is important that you remember to
revisit the proposal chapters so that you effect the necessary changes when you compile your
The various aspects of this chapter are discussed below:
This section gives you the opportunity to spell out in brief the main concerns and focus of
the chapter, that is, “What the chapter is all about”. These concerns are the research
design, research instruments, data collection procedures, data presentation and analysis
plans and the chapter summary.
4.2 Research Design/ Plan
The term ‘design’ and ‘plan’ mean the same thing in research as both refer to a description
of the format and theoretical structure under which the study will be carried out. This also
includes the discussion of steps to be taken in order to safeguard the validity or
authenticity of the findings. The main concerns of this section are:
To identify the design, e.g. descriptive survey, experimental design, correlation
research design, historical research design and case study research.
To describe the theoretical framework of the design so as to bring out its strengths
To justify the choice of the design viz a viz the context in which the study will be
4.3 Subjects/Target population (figures)
Subjects are research participants you intend to use in the study. You should describe the
target population and sample to be used in the study. This entails a thorough discussion of
sample size (figures) employed.
4.4 Research Instruments
The researcher should specify the type of instrument used and on which sub-group(s) as
well as giving justification for using the particular instrument.
N.B Interviews, observations or questionnaires represents broad methods of collecting
primary data. The researcher must specify the type of interviews, observations or
questionnaire used e.g. telephone interviews, personal interview, electronically distributed
questionnaires or non-participant observations etc and in which sub-groups the instrument
Research instruments are tools you would use for collecting information and data needed to
find solutions to the problem under investigation for example tests, questionnaires,
interview schedules and observation guides. There are various kinds of data collection
instruments. Research instruments should be clearly described so as to bring out their
strengths and weaknesses as a way of justifying their selection and suitability to the
research. Measures taken to control the weaknesses identified should be spelt out so as to
ensure the validity and reliability of these instruments and data to be collected. A research
instrument should have clear instructions. Instrument items should be very clear, logical
and should address the sub-problems identified in the introductory chapter.
4.5 Data Collection Procedures
Validity and reliability
Here the researcher should show how he/she ensured validity and reliability of research
instruments for e.g. triangulation and pre-testing of instruments
These are steps taken in administering instruments and collection of data from subjects
under study. Such steps include:
Making appointments with research subjects through, for example telephone,
Distribution and administering of instruments on the sample for example, by hand,
by mail or though research assistants.
Retrieval of instruments.
These steps need to be clear, orderly and justified. They are a deliberate and well
thought out strategy meant to enhance timely collection of comprehensive data.
4.6 Data Presentation and Analysis Procedures
This section spells out the overall products to be used to organize,
describe and analyze collected data. Statistics are tools used by the researcher to help
make sense of the data collected. The process entails suggesting the manner in which
findings are to be:
Presented according to logical themes for example using tables, graphs and or
Described to reveal their meaning.
These procedures should be clear, logical and justified.
Gives a clear and brief description of the main concerns treated within the chapter.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS DISCUSSION
In unit five we dwell on essential requirements for the fourth chapter of the research report.
However we focus on data presentation techniques, discussion and interpretation of research
findings. You will notice that as researcher the data presentation process will involve scanning
and sifting the collected data, organizing it, and summarizing it. We also indicate that effective
data presentation requires tables, figures or text. Further, it is important to remain focused
throughout ensuring that data presentation focuses on the problems and sub-problems/sub-
questions as outlined in unit 2, the first chapter of the research. We also expect that your
discussion and interpretation of findings will remain equally focused through ensuring that all the
results of the sub-problems/sub-questions/hypotheses are discussed.
The introduction for the chapter should describe briefly how the chapter unfolds.
5.2 Data Presentation Process
Having collected data from the field, it is expected that the researcher at this stage
of the research process will:
Scan and Sift the Data
You should read the data to ensure it is complete, accurate, consistent and relevant.
You should watch out for trends, which may emerge in the scanned data. Such
trends could assist you to organize data into meaningful chunks.
Organizing and summarizing the Data
You should make sense of the data by rearranging it into a manageable form. This
could call for counting using rows and column. You may also compare responses from
various respondents. You can categorize the responses. You need to identify
patterns of responses to a question. This calls for use of descriptive statistics like
You should utilize different ways of summarizing large amounts of data. You may
resort to use of:
Tables and figures for example pie charts when showing relationships of parts to the
whole, scatter graphs, when demonstrating trends or patterns; histograms, when
demonstrating comparisons between categories or line graphs, when you wish to
underscore time and rate of change.
Statistical summaries: Here the researcher could use measures of central tendency
and /or dispersion
Selected quotations, which could include selected direct statements from
N.B a)Numbers used at the beginning of sentences must be in prose and not in figures
for example, Seventy-five percent of the administrators indicated that they were
worried about loss of power resulting from new policy.
b) In answering the sub-problems/sub-questions, you should take each sub-
problem/sub-question/research objectives separately and select data related to it.
c) The answer to each of the sub-question/sub-problems/research objectives should
contribute to answering the main research question/research problem
Presenting the Data
Data presentation is effectively done using tables, figures and text. It should be structured
around sub-problems. Variables to be discussed under background of the subjects usually
include socio-demographic data such as age, sex, marital status, academic and professional
qualifications. Such characteristics of the subjects will be useful in the interpretation of
the results as they may have a bearing on how subjects respond.
After presenting data on the background of the subjects, the researcher should move on to
data presentation focusing on specific sub-problems/
sub-questions of the research study. These sub-problems/sub-questions should be
answered logically and separately.
Sub-headings in this section should emerge from the sub-problems/research questions.
Avoid using direct questions as sub-headings.
The Use of Tables and Figures
Results reported verbally are usually enhanced by tables and figures. Tables are used to
show rows and columns of numerical data. Figures are used to make a graphic or pictorial
presentation of data. Figures include histograms; scatter plots, graphs and charts. When
using tables and figures you must observe the following:
Verbal descriptions should accompany tables and figures to ensure that readers
understand correctly what is being shown.
Tables and figures should be neat, simple and accurate.
In tables, the title and source is placed at the top and in figures it should be placed
below the illustration.
For uniformity, Arabic numerals should be used to number tables and figures.
Each table or figure should contain all the information necessary to interpret it.
A table or figure never precedes but rather follows as closely as possible the first
reference to it in the report.
Only those tables and figures that present information essential to the understanding
of the chapter should be included.
A table that will not fit into the remaining space of the page is placed on the next
page. No blank spaces should be left.
Long detailed tables or figures that interpret the continuity of the discussion should
be put in the appendix e.g. regression analysis
A well-constructed table should be self-explanatory and sufficiently clear to be
understood without reading the textual explanation. Conversely the textual
explanation should enable the reader to grasp the main ideas without examining the
Table X. (See Appendix XI).
After studying each table or figure the researcher should write a paragraph or two
explaining what it contains and drawing the reader’s attention to note-worthy
findings. However, there is need to avoid discussing every entry in the table of
figure. This style of presentation is boring and defeats the purposes of using tables
and figures. In fact, an informative table supplements but does not duplicate the
Headings of tables are usually derived from sub-problems/sub-questions.
5.4 Data Analysis/research objectives
-for quantitative research the following analytical tools can be used
1. Descriptive statistics e.g. measures of central measures of dispersion
2. Inferential statistical tools e.g. confidential, interval estimates, hypothesis testing, chi
square regression/collective testing
Qualitative e.g. - Discourse analysis
- Content analysis
- Comparative analysis
- Thematic analysis
5.5 Discussion/Interpretation Section
The discussion of findings should focus on the results.
The discussion should tie together findings in relation to theory and review of
If the results support or contradict previous research findings on the topic, this
should be stated. (See Appendix XI).
If the results differ from previous findings, an explanation why this occurred should
If the study was set up to test hypotheses, the discussion section must report the
outcome of each hypothesis. The statistical test used must also be appropriate.
Ensure that all the results of the sub-problems/sub-questions/hypotheses are
In terms of language be definite about the data and statistics but be tentative about
interpretations and conclusions as shown by these statements.
o It would appear that most managers in the study were against Gender
o Results seem to suggest that training positively influences worker
o The explanation for this outcome could be distance education tutors were
exposed to the theory of tutoring at a distance.
On the other hand, one should be more definite when reporting data and statistics as
shown by these statements:
The mean and standard deviation were 10 and 2.5 respectively.
The co-efficient of correlation was 0.8
N.B. Statistics support existence characteristics in a population on basis sample
The writing style should be precise, simple and direct.
5.5 Chapter Summary
The summary of the chapter should highlight the main findings of the study.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This unit consists of three main sections, which conclude the entire
research report. These are the summary, the research conclusions and
the recommendations. After reading through this final chapter, the
reader becomes informed of the research problem tackled, the research
methodology used and its limitations, major findings of the study and their
implications for practice.
6.1 Summary of findings
Some students give a summary of each chapter rather than summarizing major finding in
chapter 4. In a study where a researcher is investigating that causes of high staff turnover
in the hotel industry, the summary could be as follows:
The study found out that although both sexes of workers are involved, males tend to
be more affected than females. It can be concluded that males tend to be more
intolerant to what they view as authoritarian leadership styles than their female
A close association between high staff turnover and poor workers’ results on the part
of employees was also established. The poor results could be attributed to
insufficient training and long working hours.
While problem of staff turnover was quite prevalent, it was also observed that
nothing was being done by the head offices to address this issue.
It can be concluded that the H.O is not supportive.
These are summed up answers to the sub-problems stated in Chapter One.
They, however, should be drawn from summary of findings, hence they are termed research
– based conclusions. For example the conclusion of the research study on major causes of
staff turnover in the hotel industry can be highlighted as:
It is common in the applied sciences for research efforts to yield findings that show the
need for altering existing practices. In the recommendations section, the researcher
examines his findings in the light of such suggested applications so as to enable to suggest
possible ways of improving situation to address problem stating clearly what,when,how. The
recommendations could read as follows:
In the light of the above conclusions it is recommended that head offices should launch in-
service workshops for workers with a focus on leadership styles so that they become more
flexible in their leadership.
While workers have very genuine reasons to move out, it is recommended that head off
makes an effort to retain workers. This can be achieved by ……………………..
All sources referenced in the report must be traceable. If your readers wish to check
a source you cite, they must be able to find it without having to contact you first.
All the articles, books, etc that you have cited must appear in your reference list.
However, do not include any sources to which you have not specifically referred,
even if you feel they provide ‘background’ material.
Start section on a separate page with ‘References’ centered at the top. Then list
the reference alphabetically by surname (last names of the senior (first) author. If
the same person is senior author for more than one reference in your list, then the
references are ordered chronologically for that person. If the same person supplies
more than one reference for the same year, then the different references are
labeled ‘a’, ‘b’, etc in parentheses after the references, and when reference is cited
in text, the letter is given in addition to the year. The purpose of this organization is
to make it easy for the reader to match up any citation in text with its full reference
6.5.1 Style of References (HBR)
Journal Articles: Only the first word of an article title is capitalized.
Author(s), title, and journal information are separated from one another by
periods. The name of the journal and the volume are underlined. At the end
of each reference, the page numbers for the whole article are given.
Books: Books are identified by author, title, publisher and year. Only the
first word of the book title is capitalized. Unlike the title of a journal article,
the book title itself is underlined. The necessary publisher information
includes the city of publication, the name of the publisher, and the year of
A Chapter in a Book: Some books are collections of works by different
authors. In this case you want both to reference the person who actually
wrote the information you cite and to tell in what book to locate it.
Popular Magazines: You should usually don’t reference articles in popular
magazines since they are not a verifiable source of scientific information. If
you do need to reference a popular source, you will find that there is no
volume number and that magazines do not follow the convenient journal
policies of numbering pages in order throughout an entire year and of keeping
all the pages in an article consecutive.
Technical Reports: There are some reports that have ‘semi-published’ status.
They are issued by organisations, such as a university or government agency,
and have limited circulation. Enough information must be given about them
so that a reader can contact the organization and learn the whereabouts of a
No Personal Author: Constructing clear reference without a personal author
to cite can be inconvenient, if not an outright mess. If the ‘author’ is an
agency or association, then the reference will be alphabetized according to
the first significant word of the association’s name.
Thesis: Doctoral and masters thesis are usually unpublished, but the
universities for which they were written have bound copies. It is better not to
refer to these unless absolutely necessary since your readers will have
difficulty obtaining the material.
You should cite all and only references used in the research.
Kothari, C. R. (1985) Research Methodology: Methods and techniques. New Delhi: Wiley
American Psychological Association (1999) Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association (4th Edition). Washington D. C.
Logo font 14
Title Page Sample
MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY (Font 20)
FACULTY OF COMMERCE (Font 18)
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT (font 18)
THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR AS THE LEADING SECTOR IN ZIMBABWE:
AN INPUT MODEL APPROACH (font 14)
PATRICIA MOYO (font 12)
Reg No. (font 12)
SUBMITTED TO THE MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT (Italics & font 12)
GWERU, ZIMBABWE (font 14)
YEAR: 2014 (font 14)
The Release Form Sample
MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
NAME OF AUTHOR: PATRICIA MOYO Reg. No
TITLE OF PROJECT: The Manufacturing sector as the leading
Sector in Zimbabwe: An Input – Output Model
PROGRAMME FOR WHICH PROJECT
WAS PRESENTED: Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
YEAR GRANTED: 2005
Permission is hereby granted to the Midlands State
University Library to produce single copies of this project
and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or
scientific research purposes only. The author reserves
other publication rights and neither the project nor
extensive extracts from it may be printed or otherwise
reproduced without the author’s written permission.
PERMANENT ADDRESS: 4 Flamboyant Close
DATE: November 2014
The Approval Form Sample
MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
The undersigned certify that they have read and recommend to the Midlands
State University for acceptance; a dissertation entitled………………………………,
submitted by Patricia Moyo in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
This research is dedicated to …………………………………………………
The study sought to determine the effectiveness of supervision and evaluation of
staff at Public Universities.
In this study 200 lecturers, 100 administrators, 30 Deans and the chairpersons of the
Departments were used as the research subjects. Questionnaires and interviews were
used as research instruments. The documentary review method was also used to
provide information on how Deans and chairperson supervised and evaluated their
The study showed that while lecturers and chairpersons supervised and evaluated
staff, they lacked the necessary expertise and did not have adequate time to discuss
supervision evaluation reports with their subordinates.
This study recommends that Deans and chairpersons especially new ones, be given
some orientation on supervision and evaluation. It is also necessary for these leaders
to be provided with supervision and evaluation guides in order to enable them to
carry out their tasks more effectively.
Finally, it is also recommended that further research be undertaken in order to
establish appraisal system used in universities.
I wish to acknowledge the assistance received from the following
people who made it possible for this document to be put together.
I also want to express my gratitude to personnel at Midlands State
University Library for their help and assistance.
Table of Contents Sample
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page i
Declaration Form ii
Release Form iii
Approval Form iv
Table of Contents viii
List of Tables ix
List of Figures x
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Background of study 1
Purpose of the Study 3
Statement of the Problem 3
Sub – Problems 3
Importance of the Study 5
Assumption of the Study 6
Delimitations of the study 7
Limitations of the Study 8
Definition of Terms 8
CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW
The Concepts of Staff Development 11
Rationale for Staff Development 14
Staff Development Needs and Their Sources 19
Models of Staff Development 21
Current Staff Development Practices in Zimbabwe 23
CHAPTER III: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research Instruments 32
Data Collection Plan 33
Data Analysis Procedures 34
CHAPTER IV: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
Establishing the Existing of Staff Development 43
Selection of Staff Development Topics
Personnel involved in the Actual Staff Development 44
Effectiveness of Staff Development Programmes 46
Attendance of Staff Development Sessions in Schools 47
Whether Staff Development Sessions are Interesting 48
Ability of Presenters/Facilitators of Staff
Quality of Staff Development Programmes 54
Venue Suitable for Staff Development 56
Evaluating Staff Development Programmes 58
CHAPTER V: SUMMARYOF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of findings 75
Appendix i Letter of introduction
Appendix ii Release form
Appendix iii Approval Sample Form
Appendix iv Dedication Sample
Appendix v Abstract Sample
Appendix vi Acknowledgement Sample
Appendix vii Table of contents Sample
Appendix viii List of Table Sample
Appendix ix List of figure
List of Tables Sample
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE DESCRIPTION PAGE
1. Lecturers who Participate in the study 90
2. Respondents by Gender 94
3. Respondents by Marital Status 97
4. Objectives of Committees 98
5. Terms of Reference for Committees 99
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Description Page
1. Comparison and Size of Committees 102
2. Number of Committees in each University 104
3. Total Contributions to Committee Meetings 123
Textual and Tabular Presentation of data Sample
The title of the table below was derived from one of the sub-problems stated as:
“Which power bases are perceived by school heads to very effective in influencing student
teachers to comply with the demands.
Presentation and Discussion of the Findings
The first objective of the study was to examine the power bases perceived by the school heads to
be very effective in influencing student teachers to comply with school head’s demands. Able
below shows that most heads (32.5) perceived coercive power as the most effective power base
influencing teacher compliance. The least effective power base was expert power (2.5%).
School Heads’ Perceptions of Power Bases Influencing Teachers’ Compliance.
Power Bases N % Rank
Information power 40 20.0 3
Expert power 55 2,5 6
Referent Power 20 10.0 4
Position Power 50 25,0 2
Reward Power 20 10,0 4
Coercive Power 65 32,5 1
Total 200 100
When ranked (See Table 1), the results show that coercive base (32,5) was viewed as the most
effective, followed by position power 25, information power (20) referent power and reward
power (10%) and lastly expert power (2,5%). The results are not consistent with earlier findings by
Magagula (1994) who found out that most high school heads in Swaziland perceived the position
power base as the most effective and the coercive power base as the least effective. Position
explanations for this disagreement could be that participants in Magagula’s study were school
heads with relatively long experience as heads in addition to high academic and professional
qualifications. On the other hand, school heads in the present study were relatively
inexperienced with low academic and professional qualifications. Limited experience and low
academic and professional background tend to limit one’s exposure to more acceptable