SECTION A OF THE PROJECT
The Professional Project is intended to link personal and professional career development with an academic piece of work in the form of a critical literature review. The appreciation of professional, career and personal development should not be underestimated. It should provide evidence to support that development with critical reflection by the student. A series of psychometric tests are available via BlackBoard to support your self-analysis.
The outline of Section A of the project should take the form seen below with supporting evidence shown in the appendices.
Part 1: Who I am as a learner?
• Implications for your learning
• Family & friends to comment
Discuss the implications of the questionnaire findings and show how these relate to how you learn.
Appendix A – VARK, Myers Briggs, Belbin Inventory, Honey and Mumford and other relevant tests/indicators you consider appropriate
Part 2: Implications for career choice
• Lifelong learning
• Transferable skills
• Justify chosen career choice
Discuss how your personality type and learning style affect your choice of career.
Appendix B – curriculum vitae, two job adverts, a standard application form
Appendix C – PowerPoint Presentation
SECTION B OF THE PROJECT -TOPIC SELECTION
Section B(the literature review) requires each student to develop a critical literature review of some business problem/issues relevant to their degree title and career aspirations identified in section A of their professional project.
Students studying for general business and management degrees may choose any area of business of management for further investigation. Students studying for specialist degree such as human resource management or logistic and supply chain management must choose a literature review topic consistent with their degree title.
A small number of electronic examples of recent professional projects (from 2014) which achieved marks of 60% or more will be made available through your eLearning site. The purpose of these electronic projects is to allow you to gauge the required standards for the Professional Project.
Please note that each professional project must be submitted to the University’s electronic plagiarism detection service Turnitin prior to submission.
Any identified cases of academic misconduct will be investigated under the University of Northumbria’s ARNA regulations.
Guidelines for Suitable Questions
In keeping with research generally students should anticipate that their research area/topic/question becomes progressively more focused as their confidence and knowledge of the pertinent literature growths.
This “fine tuning” is to be welcomed as evidence of personal and professional growth within your subject area.
SECTION C OF THE PROJECT – REFLECTIVE STATEMENT
A central element of the project is critical reflection by the student. It is important therefore to produce a reflective statement which will link the two sections (A & B) of the project together. Part of this reflective statement should relate to how you have changed in response to your experiences on the Professional Project.
This is a very important area of the project and should be a considered and well thought out element of the final piece of work. To aid this process of reflection it might be useful to keep a log of your experiences, feelings and skills development as you study towards your degree.
The target length of the professional project is 10,000 words plus or minus 10% (or 1,000 words). Please note that if the word count exceeds the upper 10% (i.e. 11,000 words) limit then a 10% deduction will be made to your provisional mark.
No specific penalty applies to students who are short of the word count target of 10,000 words since they are unlikely to meet fully the modules learning outcomes and will naturally suffer a reduced mark.
The word count does not include abstract, title page, contents page, glossary, tables, figures, illustrations, reference list and appendices.
The use of appropriate referencing represents a critical academic skill that will be assessed through this module. Failure to reference material properly and consistently could leave you open to charges of academic misconduct including plagiarism under the ARNA regulations.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have referenced all secondary material appropriately. There is more on this in section 6 of this handbook.
Structure and Components of the Professional Project
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title – The title should be succinct yet clearly specify the content of the report. This should be descriptive and explicit rather than poetic or implicit. Twelve words is normally the maximum length. It should be agreed and finalised as part of the final draft. It may be different from the original proposed title.
Acknowledgements – The student may wish to thank those people who have been particularly helpful in the preparation of the project. Consideration of persons external to the NBS is particularly appropriate. Facetious acknowledgements are not acceptable.
Abstract – The purpose of the abstract is to summarise the entire project, including a description of the problem, the student’s contributions, and conclusions. Four keywords are required.
Introduction – The purpose of this section is to contextualise the study. This means that the significance or importance of the subject is set out. If there is no apparent importance to the study to any external reader, the topic may not be appropriate. Personal interest may inspire selection of the project topic, but ultimately, its importance to others should be specified. This can often be done by positioning the project in relation to other work that has been published, either as an advancement, continuation, compilation or verification. This part should also tell the reader how the topic will be unfolded and the order of forthcoming material.
Literature Review – A critical review of the current academic (and professional) literature surrounding the question or issue should provide a clear understanding. It should be up-to-date and relevant.
Conclusion – This section explains the relationship between the body of knowledge and the question. It should present the case for the project’s success in meeting its goals, as well as any shortcomings and limitations that apply. It may suggest further work or study needed on the question or issue, as well as ways the new work can be used or applied in other cases. It is not meant to be a summary or restatement of the entire project, which belongs in the abstract. If the student has developed any strong personal opinions about the subject which seem appropriate to relate, this is the place where such content is appropriate.
Appendices – Often the concepts of the study can be clarified in graphic form, or data presented in tabular form. Normally, this material should be entered into the text at or near the place it is referred to in the text. Where such material would be inconvenient to include in the text itself, it can be included in an appendix. As a general rule, if figures, tables, charts or quotes are less than a full page and can be conveniently included in the text, you will want to do so, since reference to appendices is awkward for the reader. All such material, in the text or at the end, should be titled and sequentially numbered. Tabular material which is presented in landscape format should be bound with the top of the table to the spine.
Appendices are labelled alphabetically, although if there is little such material and it is all of a similar nature, it may all be included in one Appendix. Appendices are referenced in text in parentheses (Appendix A) not (see appendix A).
The level of writing must be appropriate to the level of the Bachelor’s degree. Specifically, acute attention should be paid to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and clarity of style. Also, it is the student’s responsibility to edit the text for typing errors, uncover all spelling errors even if the document is, typed by another party. Note that a spell-check programme does not uncover all spelling/grammatical errors, e.g. principal v principle.
Normally, there should be no first person references (i.e. I) in Section B of the project. However the use of “I” is to be expected in Section A.
Pages should be numbered in sequence at the top right hand corner, starting with and including the title page.
Margins and headings: the specifications are 1½” left margin, 1¼” on the other three sides. The page number should be above the top margin line. The right margin should be unjustified (left ragged), since the spacing between words used to make the right margin even inhibits readability greatly, while adding little aesthetically. Headers and footers are to be used with discretion. Please do NOT include your name in any header or footer.
Tables and charts should be numbered in sequence by chapter, e.g. Table 3.1 is the first table in Chapter 3. Each figure should be properly referenced and accompanied by a descriptive title which completely explains the contents of the figure.
It is not acceptable to insert photocopies of tables into the body of the project. Tables should be word processed into the project. In broad terms this principle also applies to diagrams – no photocopies from books etc. There will, of course, be occasions when a photocopy of a table or a diagram is specifically required in order to illustrate points peculiar to the original. Use of such photocopies must be cleared with the supervisor. Similar principles apply to the appendices with regard to tables and diagrams. It is recognised that there will be circumstances (e.g. a project on advertising) where photocopies are necessary.
The project must be word-processed, and final copy must be printed single sided on A4 paper. Spacing may either be set at double or one and a half line spacing. Spacing greater than double spacing is not acceptable. The body of the project should be in Font size 12 (This is written Font Size 12) or similar. Arial is the preferred font face.
REFERENCE SPECIFICATIONS AND FORMAT
You should ensure that:
• Words or phrases taken verbatim from published works are placed in quotation marks and the source acknowledged.
• Quotations take the form of brief relevant extracts (only exceptionally exceeding 100 words in length).
The University has adopted the APA or American Psychological Associations referencing system