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Research Methods during Writings the Dissertation

Dissertation Critiquing

A dissertation is a long essay for the fulfillment of higher degree research projects, especially Masters and Doctorates. It is therefore necessary to do the work with precision and a proper sense of mastery of content. While the dissertation is expected to be a detailed paper on a specific subject, it should be guided by the basic principles of research projects. The proposal guide should be a self-evaluation criterion on the relevance and appropriateness of the work done (Cooley and Lewkowicz, 2003). Though the dissertation on Training and Development (Case study GlaxoSmithKline) was specific, the paper has not tried to address the specific objectives that are expected to guide any research paper.

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According to the guide, among the research questions that the dissertation tries to answer are assessment of the working environment, the anticipated change from the specific company, the factors of motivation for the employees, and conflict resolution mechanism. These are issues that are not duly addressed in the paper. The paper has potentially failed to anticipate the questions that the readers are asking about the project and try to answer them (Paltridge, 2007). While the paper fell short of addressing these issues, it was very comprehensive on literature review and background information.

There was an inherent problem in the focus of the research paper. The researcher has tried to conjure up some issues but they do not stand up as exploitive enough to address the specific issue of training and development in Glaxo SmithKline Company. A research paper of this magnitude must be able to address specific issues, be guided by a strict structure of research paper writing, offer recommendations and be creative and original in the work done(Cooley and Lewkowicz, 2003). It, therefore, appears that a lot of materials have been taken from other people’s work and do not seem relevant to this paper. Another concern on the paper is the language use. There are many grammatical, logical and syntactical errors spread over the whole paper. General discussions of the expectation of the paper should be explicitly developed from the introduction to the recommendations (Markman et al, 2001).

The dissertation must also answer both theoretical and practical questions of the specific area. Different research approaches or methodologies can be employed during the research (Jackson, 2008). But the focus of the dissertation should be maintained from the Introduction part to the Recommendations. There is a specific format for carrying out research and writing the research paper. This particular structure must be maintained and the issues cannot be jumbled up through the essay without order. The research methodology in any research paper is critical and for this case, the paper was expected to use a questionnaire with open-ended questions for qualitative analysis and closed-ended questions for quantitative analysis. The comprehensive analysis leads to proper interpretations and conclusions (Creswell, 2003). These are the guidelines for the recommendations of the dissertation. While the paper is specific in trying to address the specific problem of Training and Development, it did not use a questionnaire on the sample expected in the research. The recommendations given in the paper have no basis as they are not formed on the correct formula for research projects. In analyzing the paper there are very salient areas of weaknesses that need to be addressed but there are also a few areas where the paper seems comprehensive enough.

Weaknesses of the dissertation

There are many weaknesses on this paper ranging from the issues on language use, following the strict research paper format, plagiarism, coherence of argument and logical sequence of ideas.

Language Use

The paper has failed in the level of language used especially in grammar. In the opening sentences of the Introduction, there are sentences with capital letters in the middle of the sentences. This shows a lack of consistency or the work was not revised before being handed in for marking. Language as a medium of writing the research papers should be clear and concise in bringing out the issue in question and in trying to answer the research questions formulated from the focus of the research paper (Creswell, 2003). There are different abbreviations used presumably to refer to GSK but they are given as GSM. This pokes a lot of holes in the focus of the paper. The paper also has a mixture of tenses with a lot of use of future tense when it is supposed to be written in the simple present tense. For example, pg. 7 there use of ‘adopt with’ instead of ‘adapt to’ (grammatical error).

There are a lot of spelling mistakes in the entire paper, putting in doubt whether the paper was revised as was expected before it’s presented for marking. For example ‘are’ is misspelled as ‘ire’, ‘well’ as ‘ill’, and many others. The use of very many words was also cited in the text. This shows that the paper was not edited to remove redundancy from the text. For example ‘people who do work’ simply means ‘workers’.

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Lack of Research Paper Format

Guided by the given research outline the paper was expected to have six subsections with specific mandates to reach the goals. However, what is presented is an essay of incomprehensible material that follows no guidelines. For example, the paper was expected to have an introduction followed by research questions and research objectives (Creswell, 2003). Then there is the justification of questions and objectives. These are areas that have been completely neglected and left out. These are important areas that are expected to guide the research project without which the result is a jumbled-up piece like the one presented. There seems to be no mission statement to guide the progress of the paper. The paper was also expected to compare and contrast different research designs and methods and data analysis techniques (Marczyk et al, 2005). These areas have also been neglected where methods like surveys, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups were expected to be used. While the questionnaire is quoted in the beginning as the method to collect data, there is no evidence that the questionnaire was actually used and in fact, the result of that questionnaire is in doubt. The data analysis and data interpretation is based on the result of the questionnaire without which all other issues cannot be addressed (Miles and Huberman,1994).

The paper was not guided by the provided guidelines and therefore lacks the basis for evaluation.


While it is not a crime to use other people’s work as reference materials it is crime to quote other people’s work without their express authority (Brandt, 1999). While there are no specific areas where plagiarism can be cited, it seems the paper is a ‘work of bits and pieces’ from other people’s work. This makes it impossible to develop the idea. The whole introduction and literature review sections talk nothing about GlaxoSmithKline employees and their training inadequacies. It also does not mention anything about the products hence leaving the readers guessing. Therefore it becomes difficult to link the materials given as support to the primary aim of the research. The paper has tried to be technical to the point of losing the cardinal aim of unearthing the problem of Training and Development. The paper does not refer to any issues of production and problems encountered that should have informed the research.

Coherence of Arguments

Any argument whether scientific or not should be coherent enough to have the right sequence of ideas (Winker and McCuen-Metherell, 2008). Reading through the paper, for example, the whole literature review part shows no relation between the theoretical background given of Human Resource Management and the Training and Development issues focused on the paper. The paper seems to have deviated from its course all the way from the introduction. It is a paper that was aimed at addressing training issues but which mostly talks about human resource management. The paper has therefore been misdirected. The Conclusion, for example, should be based on specific findings from research questions and research objectives. However, the paper presented has not been focused on these parameters and areas of research. There is nothing about GlaxoSmithKline except the title. The expectations of the paper as outlined in the proposal guide should identify training programs and their direct impact on the productivity of the company.

Logical sequence of ideas

It was expected that during analyzing and interpretation of data the ideas would be obvious from the guided literature review and research question and objectives (Winker and McCuen-Metherell, 2008). The guide was expected to use both primary data from questionnaires and secondary data from other research materials done on this company. There is no evidence that any research was actually carried out through proposed stratified sampling was expected to be used. From qualitative analysis, there are theoretical conclusions that should be arrived at, and statistical analysis from quantitative analysis. These two methods have no evidence of use in the paper presented. There was no relevant research methodology used to carry out the research. For example pg 37 of Research Methodology, there were no specific methods that are cited or show any evidence of use given in the text.

Strength of paper

While there are serious issues about the language, coherence and relevance of the research, there are strong points for consideration. The paper was able to identify the basic attributes of the research (Sevilla et al, 1992). The choice of GlaxoSmithKline with its global outlook would have made a solid argument for the paper. While there are strong issues highlighted on the importance of training and development it is unfortunate that such a company could have such a success without a detailed record of the training and development of personnel. While a lot of challenges were expected, the paper has cited this to be one of the issues that impeded the progress of research. The hence level of people to be interviewed also could have given a skewed view and may not have given the true picture of the underlying issues of human resource management.

Lessons for new MSc Management students

First, the use of questionnaires for quantitative and qualitative approaches should be able to guide the research. Open-ended questions give room to qualitative analysis of data presented and therefore relevant conclusions can be made (Brandt, 1999). Quantitative data are derived from closed-ended questions or guided questions that can be used to draw charts and present the data in pictorial nature. In data analysis, it is easier to use the pictorial presentation of data than theoretical presentation (Louis et al, 2007). However, both methods must be applied for enhanced and clear presentation of the materials in question.

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Secondly, follow the strict guideline for research. The structure of research whether at the Masters of Doctorates level does not change? The structure should be easy to understand and follow. The logical development of ideas should give rise to a good essay that is guided by the specific objectives of the research project (Vaus, 2001). It is through research that problems inherent in companies are exposed. Therefore a lot of care must be taken when trying to source information especially when confidentiality is highly necessary.

Third, avoid plagiarism. Copyrighted materials are considered intellectual property that is being protected by law. However it is not a criminal act to use other people’s work to acquire knowledge, but the use of copyrighted materials is prohibited in areas of research as originality is what informs the awarding of different degrees.

Fourthly, use the specific methodology in research. Different methodologies range from surveys, questionnaires, interviews or focus groups. The specific method to collect data helps in outlining the coherence of the research.

Lastly, it is necessary and important to use the correct language that is both easy to understand and leads to development of concepts. As a medium of learning and research English should be used in the correct tense (Creswell, 2003). When formulating an introduction, the paper should have a mission statement that guides the focus of the research paper. The focus of the paper should be maintained through a seamless essay that has a coherent and logical flow of ideas. The conclusion should be a summary of the research done.


Brandt, S. (1999). Data Analysis: Statistical and Computational Methods for Scientists and Engineers (3rd Edition), New York: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Cooley, J and Lewkowicz J. (2003). Dissertation Writing in Practice: Turning Ideas into Text, Hongkong: Hongkong University Press.

Creswell, W. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Analysis (2nd edition), London: Sage Publications.

Jackson, L. (2008). Research Methods: A modular Approach, California: Thomson Higher Education.

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Louis, C. et al, (2007). Research Methods in Education (6th edition), New York: Routledge.

Marczyk, G. et al. (2005). Essentials of Research Design and Methodology, New Jersey: John Wailey & Sons.

Markman, R. et al, (2001). 10 Steps in Writing Research Paper (6th Edition), New York: Barron’s Educational Series Inc.

Miles, B. and Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis (2nd Edition), California: Sage Publications.

Paltridge, B. et al, (2007). Thesis and Dissertation writing in Second Language: a handbook for supervisors (8th edition), New York: Routledge.

Sevilla, G. et al (1992). Research Methods: Quezon City: Rex Book Store Inc.

Vaus, D. (2001). Research Design in Social Research: New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Winker, A. and McCuen-Metherell, R. (2008) Writing the Research Paper (7th Edition): Boston: Wodsworth.

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