Recent Question/Assignment

Centre for Postgraduate Studies
All students pursuing Master of Public Health will have to work on a Master’s Dissertation. As a partial fulfilment for the award of the Master’s degree, a learner must submit a research report in the form of a Thesis. The research report/Thesis is an academic write-up that details the whole research process undertaken by a graduate student, right from the conceptualisation of a problem to the discussion of his/her findings or outputs. Villa College recognises a good Master’s Dissertation as one which:
• demonstrates the learner’s understanding of his/her problem, strategies to seek solutions to the problem through appropriate use of data collection methods and analytical techniques, and ability to interpret and relate the results to the objectives of his/her study.
• attempts to search for explanations to the problems and meanings of concepts through a comprehensive and critical review of the relevant literature from scholarly books and journals.
•• constitutes a clean piece of work, well -edited and thoroughly checked for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, sentence construction, report formats and others. Proper citations of authors in the texts and proper writing of references should be observed according to the writing style suggested by American Psychological Association (APA).
• demonstrates the learner’s ability to present ideas, explanations and results in a smooth and logical flow from the beginning to the end of each chapter. Overall coherence of the report should be maintained through appropriate explanatory linkages between chapters.
The Master’s Thesis report as required by Villa College is a three-part document: Preliminary Section, the Body and Supporting Materials.
Figure 1 presents the overall layout of the project report. The subsequent write-up will explain in detail these three important parts of the thesis. In addition, it will also touch on the format of the final write-up as a hardbound document for submission to Villa College. However, to be noted is that there may be variations depending the types of projects.
Module Title Dissertation
Module Code PUBH9008
Module Replaces (if appropriate)
Level 9
Credits 40
Total Learning Hours 400 L = Lecture
T = Tutorial
P = Practical
O = Others
I = Independent Learning
Total Contact Hours 10 390
Pre-requisites PUBH9006 &PUBH9007 Co-requisites Excluded Combinations
Teaching and Learning Methods / Modes of Delivery In this module we use an active and participative learning approach. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop independence in their approaches to studying.
Consultation: Individual support would be provided through allocated supervisors during the process of completing the dissertation.
Seminars and Research Workshop: This is the platform where active and participative learning approaches are used in tutorials seminars to explore concepts in detail, to demonstrate theory in action and to provide structured opportunities for skills development.
Learning Management System (Moodle): Parts of the module materials are available at the Learning Management System (Moodle) at Villa College. This is also used as a platform to engage in discussions and shared learning.
Minimum Qualification and Experience Required by Lecturers Master’s Degree in a relevant field with 5 year experience in teaching
Version 1.0 Valid From April 2020 Date of Approval April 2020
Module Description
The dissertation module aims to showcase the student’s critical abilities, as they plan and deliver an extended, independent research project. Each student will work under the guidance of an academic supervisor, with extra support provided by a series of workshops and seminars. This will help them to develop the key skills for researching their chosen project. The dissertation encourages the student to manage their time effectively, organise their ideas, and extend and compliment their previous studies.
Expected Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module students will be able to gain:
• Explore a range of ontological and epistemological issues in relation to research
• Investigate various approaches to research design with suitable data collection methods and analysis technique.
• Understand ethical standards of conduct in the collection and evaluation of data in a health-related research
• Critically review health-research impact on professional policies and practices
• Engage in an independent and sustained critical investigation and evaluation of a chosen research topic relevant to environment and society
• Analyse an appropriate body of literature and theoretical framework to their own research interests
• Competently design and execute a public health-related research with appropriate attention to methodological rigour and ethical standards
• Interpret, organize and present research data and concepts using various modes of presentation
• Critically informed understanding of the use of specific research instruments for collecting data for action research with suitable analysis technique.
• Self-evaluation and reflection on the work of others to develop and revise various educational practices in bringing a positive change to Public Health
• Develop a research based argument and/or practices, including a self-critique of the limitations of their study
• Acquire advanced research skills encompassing construction of research tools and conducting data collection
• Develop their knowledge and skills as practitioners, drawing together theory and practice that clearly articulates professional practice
• Confidently engage in academic and professional presentation and communication with others about the new ideas from the research findings
Curricular content in terms of topics and summary of content planned
Learning Hours
Each student will be allocated a dissertation supervisor to support their studies. Support will comprise: Individual tutorial support (usually 10 hours per student) with larger research support workshops, seminars and documentation. The student will design the research in an area of interest and approve the proposal prior to commencing the research. The content of the module will reflect individual needs of students, but will focus on the
execution of students’ empirical research and the writing of their dissertations. The dissertations are likely to include: Introduction; Contextualisation; Methodology; Data Collection and Analysis; Implications; Recommendations and Conclusions.
Reading List
Essential Reading(s):
Guest, G. (2015) and Namey, E.E. (2015) Public Health Research Methods, Sage Publications
Haire-Joshu, D and McBride, T.D (2013) Transdisciplinary Public Health: Research, Education, and Practice, John Wiley & Sons,Inc.
Black, T. R. (1999) Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences: An Integrated Approach to Research Design, Measurement and Statistics, Sage Publications
Berg, B. and Lune, H. (2012) Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, Pearson
Argyrous, G. (2005) Statistics for Research: With a Guide to SPSS, Sage Publications
Creswell, J. W. (2014) Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. (4th ed). London: Sage
Bryman, A. (2012) Social Research Methods (4e), Oxford: Oxford University Press
Further Reading(s):
Blaxter, L. (2006) How to research. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Hart, C. (2009) Doing a Literature Review (2e) London: Sage Publications
Jackson, A. and Mazzei, L. (2012) Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research London: Routledge
James, D. and Biesta, G. (2007) Improving learning cultures in further education. London: Routledge.
Gray, D. (2009) Doing Research in the Real World (2e) London: Sage Publications
Assessment Strategy and Grading Criteria
Assessment components for the module are as follows:
Coursework 100% (Dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words)
Assessment Hurdles (if any)
The preliminary section consists of the title page, the abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents, list of tables and figures. All pages in the preliminary section are to be numbered at the centre of the bottom margin using lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.). The title page should not be numbered.
(a) Title Page:
Although title pages may differ from one institution to another, they usually include:
( i) the title of the project,
(ii) the name of the author,
(iii) the relationship of the project to a degree requirement, ( iv) the name of the institution where it is to be submitted, and (v) the year of presentation (see Appendix B).
The title should be concise and should indicate clearly the purpose of the study. Keep in mind its possible usefulness to another researcher who may search a database where your Master’s Dissertation may be listed. The title should not claim more than the project actually delivers. It should not to be stated broadly and make it difficult for the reader to determine what the project is about. For example, the title “Mathematics Achievement Of Urban Poor Children” is too general and a more precise title would be “Mathematics Achievement Of Poor Children In An Urban School In Maldives”. These items should be written in Times Roman font/16pt. The title should be in capital letters, single-spaced and centred between the right and left margins of the page. If the title goes beyond one line, the words in the title should be divided into lines so that each successive line is shorter than the one above it and is centred below it in an inverted pyramid style (see Appendix B)
(b) Abstract
The abstract is a short, one paragraph summary of the most important components of the project report. It normally includes a brief statement of the problem, the objectives of the project, the main questions to be answered, the sample involved, the major findings and their implications. The abstract should not exceed 250 words written in single spacing.
(c) Acknowledgements
An acknowledgment page is included if you have received unusual assistance in the conduct of the project. The acknowledgements should be simple and restrained. Do not indulge in flattery and excessive recognition for routine participation of family members, lecturers, supervisors, librarians and clerical helpers.
(d) Declaration
The declaration is meant for you to declare that the Master’s Dissertation is the result of your own work. You should use the format provided by Villa College. Refer to Appendix C.
(e) Table of Contents
The Table of contents serves an important purpose in providing an outline of the contents of the project report. Differentiate between headings and subheadings using capitalisation and small letters. Page references for each topic should be indicated.
(f) List of Tables and Figures
If tables and figures are included in the Thesis, a separate section should be included to list each table or figure. The full titles of figures and tables, worded exactly as they appear in the text, should be presented with corresponding numbers and page locations. The Acknowledgements, Table of Contents and List of tables and figures sections should be presented using Times Roman font/12pt.
Preliminary Section
Body of Thesis
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Research Questions and Hypotheses
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Scope of the Study
1.7 Limitations of the study
1.8 Definitions of Terms
2.1 Related Literature
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Conceptual Framework
(You can structure this section in any way that suits your study)
3.1 Research Paradigm and Approach
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Population and Sample
3.4 Instrumentation
3.5 Data Collection Procedures
3.6 Reliability & Validity
3.7 Ethical Considerations
3.8 Framework for Data Analysis
(If quantitative research methods are employed, must include description of statistical analyses in relation to research questions/ hypotheses/ objectives and presentation of relevant tables and figures)
5.1 Summary of Main Results/Findings
5.2 Discussion
5.3 Implications
5.4 Limitations of the Study
5.5 Directions for Future Research
5.6 Conclusion
Supporting Materials
Figure 1: Overall Layout of a Project Report
The body section details the major contents of the research you have undertaken. These contents are presented in five chapters. For some reports, there are six chapters with the 5th chapter being broken down into two chapters, one focusing on Discussion and the other on Summary and Conclusion. If necessary, more chapters may be included in the thesis.
Chapter 1 Introduction
The introduction should present the problem or issue that you intend to study.
• The first section in the introduction chapter is the background to the study. In this section, you should provide a description of the background to the problem or issue that you intend to study. This should be as brief as possible. Do not ramble! The background should be clear and straight to the point. Describe the general field of research relating to the issue and then narrow down to the specific area you are concerned with.?
• Discuss the issue that you intend to study in terms of problem statement and show that there is an issue that needs to be addressed or a “gap” in the literature that you will fill. When you are able to identify the issue or gap, then the research question will fall in place naturally. Think of
the Introduction as follows:?
Imagine a group of academics discussing in general the area of study you are interested in. You join in the conversation (assuming they allow you to!) and draw their attention to your specific problem of interest. You tell them that there is something that has not been resolved or there is a gap or problem. You argue that this gap or problem has to be addressed and go on to describe it in detail. Then you tell your listeners the objectives of your study and how it will attempt to answer the research questions.
• In one or two statements, write the objectives of the study. Ask yourself what you hope to uncover through your project and then say it in a way that your colleagues will understand it. Use simple and jargon-free language. In this section, you might want to elaborate on the conceptual framework to further clarify your objectives. Otherwise, you can have an additional section on Research Design in Chapter 3 to explain the conceptual framework of your study.?
• The objectives are followed by questions you wish to answer. These questions must be in line with the objectives and should indicate the variables under investigation. They should be clearly and unambiguously framed as they will influence research methodology and the type of data analysis to be performed. Include null hypotheses, if necessary.?
• Briefly tell the reader the significance of the study (justify why you are doing the study). You can argue the significance of your study based on the following criteria:?
o the problem or gap demands attention because the findings could influence practice and
? policy;
o the methodology you are using is unusual; o you are studying certain variables that has not been given attention in previous studies;
o your study will contribute to the body of knowledge in the field; o the outcome could be the extension of a theoretical model o any other extenuating justifications
• The limitations of the study refer to elements which are beyond the control of the researcher. Outline the limitations in terms of the sample, data collection and/or data analysis so that the reader is aware of the parameters of your study. Do not be intimidated by the limitations of the study because it is not possible to expect every research conducted to be perfect. They merely indicate to the reader that you are aware of the limitations and that the findings should be interpreted in light of these limitations.?
• Provide operational definitions of key terms, especially the variables investigated in the study. In this context, you should be aware of the distinction between a constitutive definition and an operational definition. A constitutive definition is the dictionary type of definition. This type of definition helps to convey the general meaning of a variable, but it is not precise enough for research purposes. You need to define the variables in your study so that readers know exactly what is meant by the terms and so that other researchers can replicate the research. This is only possible if you provide operational definitions of the variables, and there are two types of operational definitions: measured and experimental. A measured operational definition details the operations by which researchers measure a variable. For example, intelligence may be operationally defined as scores on the Standford-Binet Intelligence Scale. On the other hand, an experimental operational definition details the steps a researcher takes to produce certain experimental conditions. For example, the operational definition of concept mapping strategy in a reading research study may take the form of a group of students reading texts with the help of concept maps (experimental condition) and another group of students reading texts without the help of concept maps (control condition).?
Chapter 2: Review of Literature
The Review of Literature provides details on what other researchers have done in the area, and what you propose to do. In this section, you need to cover the following:
• The major issues or schools of thought.?
• The gaps in the literature (in more detail than that provided in the introduction).?
• Research questions and/or hypotheses which are connected carefully to the literature being ? reviewed.?
• Definition of key terms (this can be done when you introduce each idea, or in a definition ? section). You should provide the operational definitions of the key variables of your study?
• Methodological issues arising from the gaps relating to sampling, instrumentation, data -collection procedures and data analysis.?
The theoretical framework, which can either form the first or the final part of the Literature Review chapter. It describes the theoretical basis that you are using in conducting your ??research.
Generally, this chapter provides a background for the development of your study and brings the reader up to date about research and thinking in the field. It also gives evidence of your knowledge of the field. You should avoid an article-by-article presentation but should indicate areas of agreement or disagreement in findings or gaps in existing knowledge. Also, avoid excessive use of quotations. Nothing is more tiresome or difficult to follow than a review of literature that is merely an accumulation of quotations. Furthermore, you should rely more on primary sources for your review. Although books are a good source of reference, you should make as much use of the journals which are well recognised and known in the area of your research. As the literature review indicates the current state of knowledge in the area, the references reviewed should also be as recent or up-to-date as possible.
Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter describes the methodology used in great detail and with justifications of its use over other similar methodologies. For example, you could explain:
• Why you are using a certain paradigm or theory.?
• Why you are using a particular methodology.?
• Why you are using a case study of a specific kind.?
• Why you are using a particular method?
• Why you are researching certain dependent or independent or moderator variables.?
• Why you have chosen a sampling frame and the size of a certain sample.?
• How you propose to have access to the data.?
• How you propose to analyse the data.?
The following details the sections of the chapter on methodology.
(i) Population and Sample
It is here that you describe the target population your research is directed to. You need to explain the size of the sample and how you select them. Indicate the extent to which the sample is representative of the population. For example, What is the composition of your sample? Are you going to use random sampling or purposive sampling and why?
(ii) Instrumentation
You should include a clear description of the data collection techniques or instruments you used. For example, if your study is a survey you have to explain how you have designed and developed the questionnaire or interview checklist. Explain the number and types of items included in the questionnaire. If you are using attitude scales, achievement tests and other psychological tests; you have to give evidence regarding the reliability and validity of the instruments. You should also describe the scoring procedures adopted for the instruments used.
(iii) Data Collection Procedures
You should provide a clear description of the procedures you use in collecting your data. Among the various issues discussed in this section includes the implementation of pilot studies and the actual research procedures.
(iv) Framework of Data Analysis
This section elaborates on the techniques used in the data analysis to obtain the information required to answer the questions in your thesis. Ideally, you should explain how you will analyse the data obtained under each question. It would be helpful if you can present a summary of your analytical framework using the following grid (Figure 2):
Objective Question Hypothesis (if Sources of Types of Technique of
Figure 2: Summary of Analytical Framework
Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Results
In this chapter, you present the analysis of the data obtained from the study. This is the heart of the Master’s Dissertation. For a quantitative study, tables and figures (e.g. graphs) are commonly used to organise and present numerical data. Tables and figures are useful in presenting an overall picture of the data as well as showing trends that have emerged from the analysis. Describe all findings that are shown in the tables and figures in detail. You are advised to refer to the Journal of Educational Psychology and the American Educational Research Journal to see how tables and graphs are presented and explained.
If you do a qualitative study, there will be less numerical data. Instead your data would consist of concepts, categories or themes which may be presented in table form. You would also be presenting data in the form of anecdotes or excerpts of interviews, observations and documents to support your arguments. For qualitative studies, The Qualitative Report is a useful journal which presents reports of qualitative studies in education, nursing and medicine.
For clarity, you may want to present your analyses and findings under each question. However, demographic data of the sample that are not findings to your research questions should not be presented in this chapter. This information should ideally be presented in chapter 3 under the heading “sample’.
Chapter 5: Discussion and Conclusion
The last chapter comprises two parts. The first part includes a brief summary of the problem, methodology and results. Focus should be on a summary of the main findings and it should be as brief as possible. Some researchers present the main findings in the form of list. The second part is a discussion of the findings. Here, you identify and interpret the findings. Give possible reasons why the results occurred. You could also provide reasons by referring to the findings of previous research (This is where the studies cited in Chapter 2 are useful). Explain how far your findings are similar to or different from those of previous research. You should also relate your findings to the theory/theories upon which your study is based. As you are the one who has conducted the study, you should have a deeper understanding of the study compared to most readers. Thus you are expected to discuss the findings and to give your own opinions about the outcomes. Other important sections in this chapter are “Implications of the findings” and “Direction for future research”.
One of the most common weaknesses found in the writing of graduate students is that their reports present important and interesting findings but fail to provide a thoughtful interpretation and discussion of the findings in relation to past research and existing theories. On the other hand, there is the tendency for learners to over-generalise on the basis of their limited data.
You should keep in mind that this chapter is the most used part of the project by other readers.
Readers who scan available literature to find significant studies examine this chapter before deciding whether or not further examination to the report is worth reading.
This section of the report comprises the References and Appendices.
List of References
• This must be provided in the usual scholarly fashion.?
• Use the citation style proposed by the Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA style for short). References are arranged in alphabetical order with the last name of the author listed first. Here you could include journal articles, books, chapters in books, monographs, reports, newspaper articles you have cited in the report. You can access the APA writing style from
• Make sure that all materials cited in the text are also found in the list of references, and vice
versa. This will reflect your academic honesty.?
Include in this section all the relevant support materials especially the research instruments, scoring procedures and other materials pertinent to the study. An appendix is indicated by the word APPENDIX, capitalised and centred on the page with label of the material below it. The first page of the appendix is the title APPENDIX A with the label of the material, followed by its contents, and then APPENDIX B and so forth. This will indicate to whoever assesses your research report that it is a complete and quality product.
Except for the title page (Arial narrow font/14) and declaration (Times New Roman font/14), all sections of the research report should be presented in Times Roman font/12pt, double spacing. The abstract should be written in Times Roman font/12pt, single spacing
For details about the scope and depth of the Master’s Dissertation, please refer to Appendix F.
Given below is the format you should follow when you prepare your final document.
(a) Line Spacing
The body of the text should be double-spaced. Single spacing is only permitted in tables, long quotations, short footnotes, notes, multi-line captions and in the references.
(b) Margins
The first page of each chapter should have the following margins:
2.5 cm/1 inches 2.5 cm/1 inch 2 .5 cm/1 inches
2.5 cm/1 inch
The text in the subsequent pages should have the following margins:
Top :
Right :
Left :
Bottom :
2.5 cm/1 inch
2.5 cm/1 inch 2 .5 cm/1 inches
2.5 cm/1 inch
The following additional guidelines need to be followed:
• Do not type more than one sentence after the bottom margin. If it is necessary to do so, it should only be for a footnote or the completion of the last sentence of the chapter, topic or subtopic or information in a figure.?
• All tables and figures must be placed within the specified margins.?
• A new paragraph at the bottom of a page must have at least two full lines of type. If it does not, the paragraph should begin on the next page.?
(c) Pagination
The font size of 8 is recommended for page numbers.
Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc) should be used in the preliminary section. All pages in the preliminary section are to be numbered at the centre of the bottom. The title page should not be numbered. The Declaration page after the title page begins with ii.
Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc) are used on the pages of the text and the supporting materials should be printed 1.0 cm from the bottom margin and placed at the right hand side without any punctuation.
(d) Subdivisions
The internal organisation of the text should be consistent throughout the dissertation. The text should be divided into chapters, for example, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. Subdivisions can also be used. Content of each chapter may be divided under headings and sub-headings such as 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 and so on. Headings should only be presented at a maximum of three levels, as shown below.
Please note that it is perfectly all right if some portion of the page is trimmed off after binding.
(e) Notes and Footnotes
There are differences in the use of notes and footnotes in various disciplines. Notes and footnotes, if used, should have a smaller font than the text (font size 8).
(f) Tables
Tables must be printed within the body of the text at the centre of the frame and labelled according to the chapter in which they appear. For example, tables in Chapter 4 are numbered Table 4.1, Table 4.2, Table 4.3, and so on. Use single spacing for the caption if it exceeds more than one line.
The table number and its caption should be placed above the table itself. If any table takes up more than one page, the continued table on the following page should indicate that it is a continuation, for example, Table 4.3, continued. The caption is not repeated. If a table is reproduced, the reference must be cited.
It is advisable to place a table as close as possible to the discussion related to the table. It should only appear after reference about the table has been made in the text.
(g) Figures
Figures are graphs, illustrations, photographs or anything that is neither script nor table. Like tables, figures and their captions should be labelled according to the chapters they are found. For example, figures in Chapter 4 should be labelled as Figure 4.1, Figure 4.2, and so on. However, unlike tables, the labels for figures should be placed at the bottom of the figures. A figure should not normally extend beyond one page. If it does, the same guidelines for tables should be followed.
(Ruthlan / Arial Narrow, size 18, Upper Case)
(Ruthlan / Arial Narrow, size 18, Upper Case)
Master of Research Studies
Centre for Postgraduate Studies VILLA COLLEGE
*Do not indicate the box on the Front Cover & Spine
(Ruthlan / Arial Narrow, size 14, Upper Case)
(Ruthlan / Arial Narrow, size 14, Upper Case)
A Master’s Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research Studies
Centre for Postgraduate Studies
Villa College
(Ruthlan / Arial Narrow, size 14, Lower Case)
*Do not indicate the box on the Title Page
(Times New Roman / Arial, size 14, Upper Case)
Student ID number:
I hereby declare that this Master’s Dissertation is the result of my own work, except for quotations and summaries which have been duly acknowledged.
Signature: Date:
*Do not indicate the box on the Declaration
Submitting semester/ month
November 2020
_____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
(Not more than 5 words/phrases)
*Single spacing
*ONE (1) page only
*Do not indicate the box on the Abstract
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Problem Statement 1
1.3 Objectives of the Study 2
1.4 Research Questions and Hypotheses 3
1.5 Significance of the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 7
1.7 Limitations of the Study 9
1.7 Definitions of Terms 9
2.1 Review of related research
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Conceptual Framework
(You can structure this section in any way that suits your study)
3.1 Research Paradigm and Approach
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Population and Sample
3.4 Instrumentation
3.5 Data Collection Procedures
3.6 Validity and Reliability
3.7 Ethical Considerations
3.8 Framework for Data Analysis
(Description of statistical analyses in relation to research questions/hypotheses/objectives and presentation of relevant tables and figures)
5.1 Summary of Main Findings
5.2 Discussion
5.3 Implications
5.4 Limitations of the Study
APPENDICES Directions for Future Research