5 Top tips for completing a practice-based Masters dissertation

5 top tips for completing a practice-based Masters dissertation from Dr Kirsteen Grant, Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University and Programme Leader for our Top-up to Masters in Human Resource Management programme in London for CIPD Level 7 graduates.

The MSc Top-up programme runs over one academic year and aims to develop key knowledge, competencies and professional skills that will help students address the challenges facing modern organisations and HR practice. The programme is research-based and is structured around completion of a Masters dissertation.

The programme underlines the importance of practice-based learning and research by enabling students to investigate an HR issue that is located in a real work situation. They will develop theoretically informed and practical recommendations that aim to provide solutions and improve professional practice in their chosen area of research.

So, if you are thinking about topping up your Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, or CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Human Resource Management or Human Resource Development, here are Kirsteen’s 5 top tips for completing a practice-based Masters dissertation:

#1 Think carefully about your topic and research question

Selecting a research topic can be daunting at first. Choosing a topic that’s of interest to you will help sustain your commitment and motivation throughout the research process. When choosing your area of research, read around and think about current hot topics in the HRM field, what are people currently talking about? Also, think about how your chosen research question might help you to improve professional practice in your workplace, in other words, how might you make a difference, and also raise your own profile, in the workplace through implementation of your recommendations?

#2 Engage with your sponsor or place of research

If your employer is sponsoring your course, then they will very likely have an interest in your chosen research topic. Therefore, speak to your sponsor early about your interests and also the area of practice that they would be keen for you to research. You can then jointly develop potential research questions that work for both of you.

#3 Plan your time carefully

Researching and writing a Masters dissertation is a significant time commitment. As professional practitioners, you will likely be juggling work, family life and study, so it’s important to plan your time early and realistically. This is linked to my next tip:

#4 Engage effectively with your allocated supervisor

It’s important that you develop a plan with your supervisor about when and how often you will communicate, and also how you will communicate, for example, in person, on the phone, via Skype, etc. Also be clear about your supervisor’s expectations around reading drafts and turnaround time for feedback.

#5 Do not understate the value of your recommendations for practice

Presenting research-informed recommendations to your sponsor is a key opportunity for you to raise your profile within the organisation and perhaps even play an active role in helping to implement the recommendations. This is also a great opportunity for you to develop your CV and contribution to professional practice.

I hope you have found these top 5 tips helpful and I wish you well in your studies.

If you’re looking to enhance your knowledge, become more competitive in the market or continue your professional development, this is the programme for you! We have a spaces on our London, September 2019 programme, so if you are interested please call 0208 239 1323 or email courses@acacialearning.co.uk and speak with our course adviser today.

FIND OUT MORE including what you’ll learn, entry requirements and fees.

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