Common Problems for Unsatisfactory MSc Projects

Common Problems for Unsatisfactory MSc Projects

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Common Problems for Unsatisfactory MSc Projects



  • WMG Project Formatting Template not applied
  • Harvard Referencing Style not followed through
  • Subjective writing styles
  • Direct COPY and PASTE of diagrams, figures and tables are not allowed
  • Hierarchical numbering for sections not implemented
  • Incomplete reference list/missing citations
  • Figures and tables not explained
  • Improper citation styles
    • Online journal articles should use ‘Journal article format’ instead of ‘online resources format’.
    • Incomplete record for individual references.
    • Reference not supplied
    • Either cited references not provided or references listed but not cited.
    • Reference list not included.


Project Declaration

  • A clear definition on the Declaration (attached in the WMG Project Formatting Template and explained on the Student Handbook) could help to set out clear objectives for the project.



  • Unclear objectives for the project
    • The foremost important objective for the MSc project is to identify an area of knowledge under Project Management/International Technology Management.
    • Once a specific area of project management/international technology management is located, an initial area of academic knowledge should be identified. Research questions and objectives should be stated in the introduction which would guide the structure and directions of the project.


Literature Review

  • Avoid a summary approach to literature review
    • Literature review should be summarized in student’s own words and followed by comparisons of similar literature.  A critical comparison along key and competing concepts must be presented.
  • No in-depth concept or theory under investigation
    • Lack of proper literature review and few concepts or academic theories are under investigation.  Part of the reasons is due to the lack of clear objectives set out in the introduction. Note that majority of the references should involve academic journals.  Online and media reports are discouraged. While books are allowed, peer-reviewed research articles should be the focus of a M.Sc. project.
  • Unable to differentiate between theory and practice
    • Literature review should focus on theories that are applicable to different industries and setting.  Specific knowledge on industrial practices should limited to a small portion of the literature review and serve only as a comparison to reviewed theories. Observations to industry should be limited to the Introduction Chapter.
  • Unorganized literature review
    • Concepts under reviewed are scattered without proper organization with sections and paragraphs.  Poor transitions between concepts.
  • Unable to fulfill the degree requirements for the project
    • For Project Management stream, the topic must relate to the management of projects or programmes within an organization.
    • For International Technology Management stream, the topic must relate to the management/application of technology in an international/global context.
  • No critical review of literature
    • There is no critical comparison between literature.  Nor do students able to review classical and latest literature along the same line of concepts.
  • Reliance on single literature
    • Too focus on review content from single to few resources.
    • Avoid excessive direct quotations.
    • Unnecessary direct quotation from reference should be minimized.
  • Improper choice of references
    • Majority of the references should be on peer-reviewed journals and university textbook.  Media reports and webpages must be avoided in literature review.
    • Outdated literature.
  • No theoretical framework provided
  • Poor integration of concepts towards research objectives


Research Design

  • No justifications on research design
  • No research instrument provided
  • Research instrument does not reflect concepts or variables from literature review and conceptual framework
  • Sample definition and sampling consideration unclear
  • No consideration on the feasibility of the research design and data collection


Data Collection

  • Sampling frame not specified nor explained
  • Poor representation of data as compare to the requirements under the research topic
  • No description on the general characteristics of the data set
  • Supporting appendix for the data not provided


Data Analysis and Discussion

  • No explanation on possible method on data analysis
  • Discussion simply reported data without linkages to the conceptual framework and other literature presented earlier in the Literature Review
  • Comparisons between different sources of data and literature are not provided

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Originally posted 2017-08-07 19:23:15.



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