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Appendix University of Portsmouth Singapore


Welcome to Portsmouth Business School. We are one of the most significant/ tremendous and most successful university-based business schools in England. We offer a full range/scope of degree programmes in a variety/variation of combinations of business and management disciplines, including law and economics, and in many delivery modes.

Innovative and business relevant research underpins our educational offering. Many of our academic staff combine distinction in research and scholarship with significant industry and consultancy experience. Through our degree courses, we offer/provide you the opportunity to learn current best practice in the resolution of business problems/issue within the context of an academically rigorous conceptual framework.

We are firmly committed to developing graduates who can operate in the increasingly complex and global world of business, where boundaries across organizational functions, and across geographical and cultural settings, have become fluid and dynamic. For us, graduating/qualify is not a final destination but the beginning of a life-long learning journey as part of an international community of Portsmouth graduates.

We focus/aim to be your partners in this journey and your continuing professional development. We strive to help and guide our graduates to become responsible global citizens, who aspire to create real and lasting social value.

We are delighted to offer you our Bachelor arts (Hons) Accountancy and Financial Management programme/schedule through Kaplan and wish/desire you well with your learning.






Mr Chong Kok Jong
MBA, BCom, CPA(Australia)

Kok Jong graduated from Murdoch University, Australia, with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He started his career/profession as an analyst in property investment and has also gained account management experience in the information technology, and the travel and hospitality industry.

Kok Jong has subsequently obtained a Master of Accounting degree from Curtin University of Technology, Australia, and an MBA degree from Heriot-Watt University, U.K. In the past 16 years, he has held different managerial and professional positions in education and training services sector.

Kok Jong’s has been committed to lecturing and training courses in accounting and management. His passion for academic lecturing is reflected in his application of practical experiences in class and dedication to student queries. His primary interest is to ensure that student will enjoy learning by acquiring knowledge and developing skills that can be an applied in real life and at the same time achieving success in the examination.

Kok Jong holds a CPA (Australia) qualification. He is currently pursuing a research interest in education administration.



  1. To provide students with the opportunity to study an area of particular interest in greater depth than the general curriculum
  2. To provide students with the break/chance to undertake independent investigation through desk-based research skills
  3. To encourage the development of censorious and analytical skills
  4. To provide students with the opportunity/chance to integrate theoretical and conceptual knowledge within a critical literature review


This module is structured/design around a series of lectures, class debate and, where relevant, case studies and video materials. Class involvement is an essential component of the composition of this course. All students will be expected to engage in class discussion and debate to facilitate the formation of their critical judgments.


Upon successful/victorious completion of each module, you will be awarded 20 Credits or 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System)


The following is a broad/ extensive outline of the amount of time it is expected will be required to complete each module:

Class Contact: Lectures and workshop                                                          36 hours

Specified Learning Activities (project preparation & research)                       6 weeks


The recommended textbook and supplementary readings for this module are:

  1. Greet ham, B. (2014) How To Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation. 2nd edition, Palgrave MacMillan


  1. Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thorn hill, A. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall London.
  2. Zikmund, W. G., Babin, B. J., Carr, J. C., Griffin, M. (2013) Business Research Methods, International Edition (with Qualtrics Printed Access Card), 9th edition, Cengage Learning.
  3. Hart, C. (2000) Doing a Literature Review, London: Sage Publications.


On realization of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to select a suitable topic for investigation and to appreciate its relationship with current developments in the respective subject area(s);
  2. Demonstrate the ability to define clear research aims and to select and review secondary sources;
  3. Apply creative thinking to problem-solving;
  4. Draw meaningful conclusions and recommendations from the sources reviewed;
  5. Critically review their performance.


The following is an outline of the topics of this module:


FT Session

PT Session


Introductory and Overview

Topic 1: Introduction to Research Project (Chapter 1)








The Research Process (Chapter 3, 4)

Topic 2: Research Methods








Literature Review I

Topic 3: Problem Definition (Chapter 6)

Searching databases and evaluating findings








Literature Review II

Topic 4: Case Study Methods and Secondary Research

(Chapters 8)

Searching databases and evaluating findings








Research Methods (Chapter 9)

Searching databases and evaluating findings








Research Methods (Chapter 10)

Research Questions Formulation






Topic 5: Finding and Analysis (Chapters 20)

Research Questions Review






Analysis and Presentation (Chapter 21, 22)

Research Proposal Consultation






Topic 6: Writing Up (Chapter 25)

Research Proposal Submission & Presentation







Research Proposal Presentation & Review






Topic 7: Reflection Issues (refer to lecture note)

Topic 8: Referencing and Bibliography (refer to lecture note)








Review, Feedback and Conclusion








The marks for this module will be allocated as follows:



Due Date


Coursework – Research Proposal




11 January 2018


Coursework – Essay




24 May 2018



Choice of Topic

You can choose any topic in the area of accountancy, accounting and financial management (or possibly another business discipline with the agreement of your tutor). You should look for a specific issue or problem to investigate, rather than a general topic. Current news stories, ideas from your classes or work experience are all excellent sources of ideas for projects. As a general rule, a good argument or research question is one to which you cannot find an easy answer!

The Research Questions

You are expected to identify a relevant topic for your ISAC, clearly state an appropriate research question (or questions) and offer a practical and academic rationale indicating why your argument and these questions are worth further study.

You are encouraged to draft your title and research questions, in no more than 300 words, and in no prescribed format. There is no benefit/profit to writing more than the bare minimum to convey your ideas. Note that a ‘question’ is something which takes a question mark on the end, not a statement or a vague heading.


Your Proposal is the plan for your final ISAC research document. You are expected to identify a relevant topic (if it has changed from the theme chosen for the first assignment this should be justified as an appendix to your text) and explore an appropriate research question (or questions). You must also discuss the significance of the main issues and theoretical debates around your research questions/ problems, by developing arguments based upon the secondary sources you have reviewed. You are expected to provide a draft structure using Word Outline View or a similar outliner.

Template for the Research Proposal explained

  • Title - suggesting focus/ aim of the project clearly
  • Rationale - why is this topic worth investigating? Should include academic as well as the applied justification for your choice.
  • Research Objectives - why are the specific accomplishment you hope to achieve at the end of the study?
  • Research questions- what is the issue or problem that you are investigating? Phrase up Three Question which you will attempt to answer through your literature review discussion. These may later be useful as sub-headings to divide your discussion into clear sections.
  • Literature review- identify the central main central area(s) of theory/ academic debate relevant to the topic and outline the current state of research/ understanding of problem topic, discussing the significance of this literature to your project. Sources should include the above five reference, and preferably additional academic/ professional/ government research, reports, statistics, newspaper articles, and information gathered from the Internet (although you should consider the validity and reliability of web-based materials carefully).
  • Research methods – indicate how do you plan to gather the data, what research design would you considered concerning the questions raised.
  • List of References – At proposal stage, you should be able to indicate that you have the skills to identify at least (minimum) 5 credible and academically rigorous sources upon which to base your arguments for the literature review. These should be formatted according to APA referencing style.
  • You may also include the conclusion that shows the anticipated outcome of research, or a statement of how unique and original/innovative your work is, whether it achieves/attain a useful new insight into the subject, or replicates existing work.

The FINAL ISAC Project

The primary assessment for this unit is the ISAC project document with a word limit of 4,000 words (excluding references/bibliography and any appendices). This should be an extension and further development of your Proposal and as such, will be presented in a way that develops the arguments associated with the research questions in a well-evidenced and structured way. Make sure you consider any weaknesses of your Proposal as highlighted in your Tutor’s feedback.

Developing your literature review for the final ISAC

You should offer a critical analysis (which means discussing both sides of any arguments from a range of credible sources and using these as evidence to support your conclusions). The majority of the literature you refer to and consult in the production of your project should be sourced at a high level of academic credibility, i.e., academic texts, journals articles and research reports. Secondary data may be incorporated, and some secondary analysis of previously published research data may be undertaken (if appropriate). Additional material can be drawn from the Internet and newspapers, but it is envisaged that this will be mainly for illustrative purposes and not be the core of the material sourced. Use of Appendices should be limited to content which is relevant and individually referred to in the main body of the document only.

In your literature review, you will be expected to provide a critical discussion of the significance of the findings from your sources and indicate how this aids in answering your research questions. You must justify any claims you make about your topic, using the academic sources to support your arguments. This means providing references to existing research and reasons why you assert something is so. There should be a robust theoretical approach adopted throughout the discussion which may, for example, be achieved by using and applying theory/academic debates to undertake an analysis of practical problems and issues that (business) organizations are facing.

Your project should then offer conclusions and a final evaluation of the chosen topic in which you make recommendations for future research or investigation. This discussion should again refer back to an address/ answer your research questions. It is important to note that your conclusions should be more than a summary of your discussion. Instead, you should discuss the implications of your findings, directly about your research questions. Guidance will be given on this critical part of the process in the lectures and Workshops.

Template for the FINAL ISAC Project explained:

  • Title - suggesting focus/ aim of the project clearly
  • Rationale - why is this topic/subject worth investigating? Should include academic as well as an applied rationale. You should note how these questions relate to existing literature on the subject topic.
  • Research objectives - why are the specific accomplishment you hope to achieve at the end of the study
  • Research questions or problem(s) - key issues that your project addresses
  • Literature review / critical analysis and discussion - provide an overview of your topic, identifying leading main academic and applied issues. Areas discussed should relate to your research questions, but excellent projects will show how the chosen topic maps onto broader business debates. You should critically discuss academic theories and concepts as well as existing research/secondary data to thoroughly evaluate the current situation regarding your topic. Identify each section with sub-headings and ensure you have addressed each of your research questions, analyzing the significance of your findings and supporting your arguments with appropriate references.
  • research methods – indicate how do you plan to gather the data, what research design would you considered concerning the questions raised.
  • Conclusions & recommendations for future research - drawing together the main points you have raised so far, you should state your answers to the research questions/ problems you set yourself at the beginning of the project. These conclusions should logically flow from earlier discussions and should include recommendations or ideas for future research into the topic.
  • References (and Bibliography) – a Reference list is a full, correctly compiled list of all sources specifically referred to in the ISAC using APA format. A Bibliography is a list of all other sources which you consulted in the production of your work but did not cite (optional). You ask to consult the library’s excellent referencing help pages via the ‘useful links’ page on Victory or directly from


General submission guidelines (presentation and layout):

Layout: Use the template headings (as provided in Appendices in this handbook). Check you have covered each section of the marking criteria. Indicate parts through the use of appropriate subheadings, to structure your text to help the reader to follow your line of argument more clearly.

Writing style: while the Proposal can be written in a report style; the final ISAC project MUST be written in full-sentence essay structure, adding tables, model diagrams, bullet lists and appendices as appropriate.

Presentation: Word-processed (not handwritten), using black ‘standard’ 11-12pt font for your text (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman), with a minimum of 1.5 line spacing and the default margins setting for MS Word (e.g.: no less than 2.5cm top and bottom and 3cm left and right to allow the marker room for writing notes and feedback on your work).

  • Ensure your Student Number is on the front cover and each page NOT YOUR NAME! (‘header/ footer’ tool is useful for this)
  • Print your work double-sided to reduce paper usage
  • Do not place your work in any folder – staple it and your coursework front sheet together when you submit it to the coursework office, it does not need to be bound.

For advice on how to write references using APA format:

See referencing guidelines in the library and from the University’s Information Skills or Library support web pages:

For step-by-step instructions relating to any source, including websites, films, radio, blogs (although not recommended!), etc., use:

For an online tutorial provided by the American Psychological Association who devised the style go to

If the source you are referring to or citing was initially published in a language other than English, you should follow the instructions via: You may need to provide a translation of the citation and title for clarity in your project.

As a rule of thumb, if ANY words you use in your work are not your own, you MUST state the author, year and page number of the original work AND use “quotation marks.” The University’s guidelines for the penalties imposed on poor scholarship and plagiarism will be strictly adhered to by the markers.



(Note: This MAY be written in report style, or in full sentences as per an essay)

Student number:


Degree Pathway:


Submission date:


Workshop Tutor:



RATIONALE FOR STUDY (academic and applied) including - how is your work unique and innovative?




RESEARCH QUESTIONS (no more than 3)






What methods of research will be employed? and what is the research design?




What is the anticipated results?




Key literature sources (list at least 5 credible, preferably academically rigorous sources i.e. journal articles)


These must be formatted correctly, according to APA referencing style.




Student number:


Workshop tutor:




% Mark x Weight




Rationale and Objectives of Study



  • Clarity
  • Academic justification
  • Applied rationale
  • Clear objectives



x 0.20 =

Research Questions



  • Linked to rationale, objectives
  • Appropriate focus
  • Breadth of coverage
  • research methods: types & design


Literature Review & Critical Discussion

  • Breadth and depth of coverage
  • Structure and clarity of review
  • Critical analysis
  • Relevance and quality of references







x 0.5 =

Conclusions & Recommendations for Future Research

  • Flow from discussion
  • Related to questions
  • Logical/ reasonable





x 0.20 =

Referencing (& Bibliography) Style;

Report Presentation

& Organization


x 0.10 =

Marker’s comments:



Total mark =





The ISAC research proposal is marked in accordance to the following sections:

  1. Rationale, Research Objectives/Problem Statement
  2. Title & Research Questions
  3. Literature Review
  4. Research Plan (Methods), Conclusion (expected outcome)
  5. Referencing Style, Presentation & Organization



The final ISAC project itself is marked out of 100%, divided into four weighted sections:

1. Title, Rationale, Objectives, Research Questions


2. Literature Review & Critical discussion


3. Research Methods, Conclusion & Recommendations


4. Referencing Style and Report Presentation & Organization



Rationale & Objectives

Clarity: You are expected to clearly state why you have chosen your topic.

Academic: You must provide a fully referenced educational justification for the project (e.g., the issue is under-researched, requires updating, is a new use of theory, a contemporary issue, etc.)

Applied: The topic must be related to a definable business problem/ issue for which evidence should be provided (e.g., newspaper report, previous research, etc.)

Research questions

Linked to rationale: Your questions should directly address the issue/ problem you identified in your reasoning.

Appropriate focus: You should not adopt too broad or narrow a stance towards your topic.

Breadth: You should not have too many (or too few) questions

Research methods: what types of research & if research design focuses on secondary data approach

Literature review & critical discussion

Coverage: You should incorporate a range of literature in this section, including both academic and applied material. This could include/ combine but is not limited to: academic journal articles; industry reports (e.g.: MINTEL), professional bodies (e.g.: CIPD, CBI), statistics (e.g.: Labour Force Survey), trade magazines (e.g.: Management Today), credible internet sources, broadsheet newspapers; textbooks and other academic books and so on. It is not necessarily the number of sources you cite, but the relevance, currency, quality and academic rigor of your sources which is essential (i.e., focus on peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles as the predominant source type).

Structure & clarity: You should write in a transparent, concise manner and structure your sections so that it flows logically towards your conclusions.

Critical analysis: Your discussion should be analytical and evaluative rather than merely describing the content of other sources. You should build an argument throughout your work and compare and contrast differing points of view. These arguments should be well evidenced and supported by credible sources.

Relevance: You should show the importance of the material you discuss throughout, evaluating the significance of your findings. Excellent work will locate the topic in a broader business & social context, but the relevance of any ‘digressions’ must be to avoid losing marks.


Conclusion & recommendations for future research

Flow from the discussion: Your conclusions should stem from your discussion. You would not usually incorporate entirely new material in this section, nor introduce fresh insights into your topic

Related to questions: You should summarise the key points from the preceding section and analyze/ evaluate them to answer/ address the questions you identified at the beginning of the project. One way/method to do this is to arrange your conclusions section with each question as a heading.

Logical/ reasonable: Your recommendations should be a valuable consideration of further research that might be carried out on your topic in the future. Strong projects will consider the limitations of non-empirical studies (e.g., those based solely on secondary data or a review of published literature) and suggest ways these might be overcome.

Referencing (& Bibliography)

You must produce a complete list of works which you cited in the main body, under “References,” and any other works which you read but did not cite directly, under the heading of “Bibliography” (optional).

The marker/s will check if you have correctly and consistently applied the APA format to your citations, references and bibliographic list of sources. If you are unsure, check the following link to the Library’s PDF document:,68664,en.pdf.

For further details of sources of referencing help, see page 8 of this handbook.

In addition to appropriate and consistent referencing style, you are also required to conform to proper report presentation format.



This Section/part of the Study Guide provides students with details of the UOP grading system and also explains criterion-referenced grading (UOP Policy). Under criterion-referenced grading, students are graded on the quality of their work without reference to other students (norm-referenced). For instance, the submission that meets the required guidelines regarding writing style, analysis, description, and summary will be awarded according to the standards/level set out. All students’ work is graded to indicate the standard attained using the criterion-referenced approach.

University-wide grading criteria:

Outstanding work – contains accurate, relevant material, demonstrates an understanding of complex subject matter & can view it in a wider context.

Shows originality and confidence in analyzing and criticizing assumptions, is aware of the limits of knowledge.

Likely to add new insights to the topic and approaches the quality of published material. Evidence of extensive research uses and presents references effectively.

Outstanding quality in terms of organization, structure, use, and flow of language, grammar, spelling, format, presentation, diagrams, tables, etc.

70-79 As below plus:

Outstanding work – contains accurate, relevant material, demonstrates an understanding of complex subject matter & can view it in a wider context.

Shows originality & confidence in analyzing and criticising assumptions, is aware of the limits of knowledge.

Evidence of extensive research uses & presents references effectively.

Excellent in terms of organization, structure, use & flow of language, grammar, spelling, format, presentation, diagrams, tables, etc.

60-69 As below plus:

Excellent work – contains most of the information required, is accurate & relevant & demonstrates an understanding of the subject matter & attempts to view it in a broader context.

Shows some originality of thought with good critique & analysis of assumptions, is aware of the limits of knowledge.

Well researched, good use & presentation of references.

Very good in terms of organization, structure, use & flow of language, grammar, spelling, format, presentation, diagrams, tables, etc.

50-59 As below plus:

Work that attempts to address the topic with some understanding & analysis, critical aspects of the subject matter covered. Research extends to primary sources.

Appropriately cited and presented references.

Satisfactory presentation concerning performance, organization, language, grammar, spelling, format, presentation, diagrams, tables, etc.

The majority of students might generally be expected to fall within this range.

40-49 As below plus:

Adequate work which attempts to address the topic with limited understanding and analysis.

Some research using texts, Internet & key reference sources with reference citation and presentation according to the convention.

An attempt to follow directions regarding organization, structure, use & flow of language, grammar, spelling, format, diagrams, tables, etc.

30-39 FAIL

Anything which is inadequate in most or all of the following: length, content, structure, analysis, expression, argument, relevance, research and presentation.

Work in this range attempts to address the question/problem but is substantially incomplete and deficient.

Severe problems with some aspects of language use are often found in work in this range.

0-29 FAIL

No significant attempt to address the question or problem and manifests a severe misunderstanding of the requirements of the assignment.

Acutely deficient in all aspects.


Policy on Late Submissions and Academic Integrity

You are advised to read the following necessary documents before you commence your studies on this module:

1.  Guidelines for the Late Submission of Coursework

This document distributes a detailed outline of the rules and regulations surrounding the presentation, submission, and marking of assignments. The instructions provided must be adhered at all times to avoid an unnecessary loss of marks. Further details can be found in your copy of Student Handbook.

2.  A Briefing Document for Students on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.

The University understands plagiarism to be the incorporation of another person’s writings or ideas or works, in any formally presented work (including essays, theses, examinations, projects, laboratory reports, oral, poster or slide presentations) which form part of the assessment necessity for a module or programme of study, without due acknowledgement either entirely or in part of the original source of the matter through appropriate citation. Further details, please mention to your copy of Student Handbook.

Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. In any assignment, plagiarism means that you have presented information or ideas belonging to someone else falsely as being your original thoughts on a subject.


All assessments/projects submitted must be the result of your work.

The following statement must be comprised of the cover page of all assignments submitted:

I am announcing that all matter consists of in this essay/report/project/dissertation are the result of my work and that due acknowledgment has been given in the bibliography and references to ALL sources be they printed, electronic or personal.

Signed: Student name/s, student number





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