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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ii

Table of Contents iv

Appendices x

List of Tables xi

List of Figures xvi

List of Abbreviations / Acronyms xvii

Abstract xviii

In one paragraph; between 150 and 250 words only; followed by keywords and word
count (only five chapters excluding acknowledgement, table of contents, references,
and appendices). Emerald’s style of writing an abstract may be a very good start to
have an idea what to write in this section.

MBA thesis: 10,000 to 12,000 words

MPhil thesis: 35,000 to 40,000 words Global practice

PhD thesis: 80,000 to 100,000 words


1.1 Background to the Study 1

Illustrate and discuss world and domestic survey reports, indices, press releases, etc.

How did you choose the topic? What kind of greater historical context does the
research that you are engaged in exist within? You may want to talk about any related
experiments or research that specific people have done in the past, including landmark
research cases which are related to the topic at hand. This gives the reader a sense of
how your research fits into the greater scheme of things, and lets the reader compare
what you are about to present to the research which they may or may not already be
familiar with from leading figures in the history of the field.

1.2 Statement of the Problem [DNA/heart/backbone of your research]

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 Include evidences/references from the last five years. These references should
be taken from impact factor journals from JCR, ABS, ABDC, Scopus-indexed
 Your problem statement should not exceed one and a half page.
 Do not include more than 40 words direct quotations.
 Do not include less than 40 words direct quotations.
 Do not include secondary sources e.g. (as cited in Adil, 2017)
 Do not include any evidence/reference from tertiary sources such as thesis,
research working papers, conference papers, ResearchGate papers, abstracts,
newspapers, etc.
 Clearly specify the theoretical and/or methodological research gap
 Using evidences/references, discuss the research problem/gap w.r.t. your
chosen industry/sector.
 Parenthetical citation style is preferred.
 If your study is in a Pakistani context, use 90% of your scholarly
evidences/references from the same Pakistani context.
 Simply saying you could not find any empirical papers in the Pakistani context
is perhaps acceptable but this would be a very weak argument to initiate a
graduate level research thesis.
 In case of using mediator(s) and/or moderator(s), you must justify logical
reason(s) to support your claim with scholarly evidences/references.
 Each paragraph should start with a logical statement, telling us what the
paragraph is about:
o “Numerous researchers have studied transformational leadership in
Fortune 500 companies (3 x citations).”
 Each citation should be MULTIPLE citations, showing MULTIPLE authors.
Showcase your synthesis.
 Preferably three comprehensive paragraphs as under:
o What we know? “The problem is…”; What do we know about the
o What we don’t know?
o What do researchers want us to know?
 It all needs to narrow down so when someone reads your purpose statement,
they say, “Oh! Of course, we should research this.”
 The last statement should be your PURPOSE STATEMENT that provides a
specific study that addresses a super-narrow sliver (or part) of the problem.
o URL:
o Must read chapter 6 of Creswell (2009) available on my Fileserver at
\\fileserver\...Books\Research Methods\Creswell
o Example:
 Who: “Principals in their first five years in this position”
 Where: “privately-held secondary schools in Pakistan”
 What: “conflict-management approaches”
 When: 2017
 How: “Quantitative study”

The purpose statement may be as under:

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The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the conflict-management
approaches of principals in their first five years in this position at privately-held
secondary schools in Pakistan in 2017.

1.3 Research Question(s)

1.4 Objectives of the Study (in bulleted paragraphs)

1.5 Significance of the Study

1.6 Limitations of the Study

1.7 Delimitations (or scope) of the Study

1.8 Descriptive definition of the key terms

They are abstract and general in nature; drawn from the theoretical literature; prefer

to use parenthetical citation format.

1.9 Organization of the thesis

<In separate paragraph, describe how you have organized each of your chapters>

1.10 Summary of the chapter


2.0 Introduction

2.1 Theoretical background and development of hypotheses

2.1.1 Underpinning theory

2.1.2 Supporting theory (theories)

Writing style: SYNTHESIS format

Refer: Synthesizing -How to write RoRL.pdf

Location: \\fileserver\Teacher's Library\Permanent Faculty\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA
and MPhil Theses\Contribution from Shahnawaz Adil\Documents\Writing a
Problem Statement

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<Discuss related theories as well as the main underpinning theory you are going to
apply on the following research model; must use in-text/parenthetical citations; also
provide a theoretical review of both positive and negative relationships of the two
related variables, if exists>.

2.1.1 Theoretical background of <IV1> and <DV> followed by its H1

2.1.2 Theoretical background of <IV2> and <DV>followed by its H2
2.1.3 Theoretical background of <IV3> and <DV>followed by its H3
2.1.4 Theoretical background of <IV4> and <DV>followed by its H4
…and so on.


(TWO-TAILED) hypotheses solely based on the LR.

2.2 Research Framework (i.e. Hypothesized model of the current study)

Only one diagram showing all IVs, DVs, their relationships through arrowheads, their
individual hypothesis with either +ve or -ve sign within parentheses, above the

These signs (either +ve or -ve) must be DERIVED from the theoretical background
discussed above.

Note: Simply a list of hypotheses in chapter 2 or 3 DOES NOT make any theoretical
and/or empirical sense.

2.3 Review of the Related Studies


At least 40% of the total word count of your five chapters only.

Each review must follow 5 C’s.

Refer 0. Guidelines for writing a Thesis.pdf (from p. 9)
Location: \\fileserver\Teacher's Library\Permanent Faculty\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA
and MPhil Theses\Contribution from Shahnawaz Adil\Documents

Must include classical studies, if any.

In addition, include most recent research papers preferably from the last four to five
years published in A*- or A-ranked journals.

Refer ABDC at

Refer: ABS.pdf (pp. 1-14)

Location: \\fileserver\Teacher's Library\Permanent Faculty\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA

and MPhil Theses\0. List of well reputed journals

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2.4 Summary of the chapter <Must provide a comprehensive summary of the LR>


3.0 Introduction

3.1 Research Design

 This section includes the following 10 sub-sections

 Explain each sub-section with different citations-preferably from books available
 \\fileserver\...\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA and MPhil Theses\Contribution from
Shahnawaz Adil\Documents\Books\Research Methods
 \\fileserver\...\Shahnawaz Adil\RM\What is Research Design.pdf

3.1.1 Research approach (quantitative; qualitative; mixed)

3.1.2 Purpose of the study (descriptive; exploratory; explanatory using hypothesis
testing; case study)
3.1.3 Type of investigation (causal study; correlational study)
3.1.4 Study setting (contrived study setting; non-contrived field study setting)
3.1.5 Unit of analysis (individual; dyads; groups; organization; cultures)
3.1.6 Time horizons (cross-sectional study; longitudinal study)
3.1.7 Operational definition and measurement

There are normally two different writing patterns:

a) In a paragraph format; or
b) In a tabular format

a) In a paragraph Format

This pattern is normally observed in THESES and RESEARCH PAPERS.

Firstly, you need to write the name of your first variable: Operational
definition. <adapted from ___ study; one or two sample items in “ ”> Scale
measurement (five or seven-point Likert-scale) with description 1-strongly
disagree to 7-strongly agree.


Readiness for Change

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In this study, readiness for change is an exogenous variable which refers to the
readiness to the major technological change exhibited by the fulltime
employees having administrative and managerial responsibilities in the
manufacturing companies of Karachi, Pakistan. This construct was measured
by 19 items adapted from Anjani and Dhanapal (2012) in the form of four
dimensions (or sub-scales) as follows: appropriateness (six items),
management support (five items), change efficacy (five items), and personally
beneficial (three items). One sample item from each sub-scale includes “I think
that the organization will benefit from this change,” “Our organization’s top
decision makers have put all their support behind this change effort,” “I do not
anticipate any problem adjusting to the work I will have when this change is
adopted,” respectively. All of these items were rated on a seven-point Likert
scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). There are no
reverse-coded items of this variable. This scale has been used in various
previous studies (e.g. ____; ____; ____) and have demonstrated very good
psychometric properties i.e. Cronbach alpha ____, ____, and ____ respectively.

 Also provide ‘alpha’ of RELATED studies so that you could JUSTIFY why
you are using your chosen scale for a variable.
 Start from THE VARIABLE which is shown on the top left-hand corner of
your research framework. Maintain the sequence…
 Sample item(s) to be provided in double inverted commas.
 Is there any reverse-coded item(s)?
 What is the type of the measuring scale used for each of the variables e.g.
 Use at least five to seven Likert-scale items to measure each variable.

Caution: Total number of the required sample size increases with the
increasing number of items.

b) In a tabular format

This pattern is normally observed in THESES.

Variable Operational Definition Source Items Alpha

Without “ ”
Readiness In this study, readiness for Anjani  Item 1. <mention
for change change is an exogenous and  Item 2. alpha as
variable which refers to the Dhanapal  Item 3. reported
readiness to the major (2012)  Item 4. in the
technological change  Item 5. source
exhibited by the fulltime  Item 6. paper>
employees having  Item 7.

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administrative and
managerial responsibilities in
the manufacturing companies
of Karachi, Pakistan.

Variable Operational Source Items Alpha

2nd variable Source 1 All items Alpha
Source 2 All items Alpha

Variable Operational Source Items Alpha

3rd variable All items

3.1.8 Sampling design Target population

 Population you want to generalize results to. It consists of all people
or things of interests.
 Where is your target audience located? Are they male, female or both?
What is their average age? What are their common interests? What is
their income range? What common values do they share? Etc.
 Invest time and efforts to UNDERSTAND your target audience. It will
help you plan your research study and definitely save money.
 Attitudes, behavior, relationships, qualifications, professions. Every
single detail is INVALUABLE.
 Examples: Neuman (2007, p. 146); Neuman (2014, p. 252) Study population (or accessible) population

 Population you have access to for your study> Sampling frame
 How can you get access to study population?
 A list of cases in a population, or the best approximation of them.
 A sub-set of a target population from which the sample is selected. Sampling technique
 Probability sampling or non-probability sampling

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 Must see Figure 13.4 ‘Choice points in sampling design’ in Sekaran
and Bougie (2016, p. 251). Sample
 Study actually done on.
 Soper, 2018; GPower 3; MacCallum, Browne, & Sugawara, 1996;
Krejcie & Morgan, 1970
 Location: \\fileserver\...\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA and MPhil
Theses\Sample Size Calculation
 Explain your sample size, effect size, a-priori statistical power.
 Note: The sample is drawn from the study population (the accessible
population) not from the target population (unless you have access to
the entire target population.

3.1.9 Data collection methods/procedures

3.1.10 Data analysis techniques

3.2 Pre-testing (face and content validity of the research instrument)

(at least three relevant, experienced, but independent industry experts; attach
evidence in Appendix –B; briefly describe their demographics too).

3.3 Ethical Considerations

3.4 Pilot study (n=50)

3.4.1 Zero-order Pearson correlations

Separately for each variable, only discuss notable things; rests of the tables may
be provided in Appendix –C.

3.4.2 Reliability analysis using Cronbach coefficient alpha

Separately for each variable of your research framework or model IN ONE


S. No. Variable Name No. of Items Alpha

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Notes: If you are using SmartPLS, you can report AVE, CR, and discriminant validity
separately for each variable used in your study.

The main essence of pilot study is to prepare a valid and reliable questionnaire to be
used in the main study in Chapter 4.

3.4 Summary of the chapter


4.0 Introduction

4.2 Data screening

4.2.1 Assessing out-of-the-range values, if any.

4.2.2 Reverse coding, if required. <Also mention in Section 3.1.7>

4.2.3 Missing values analysis <using Expectation Maximization; Little’s MCAR test>

4.2.3 Univariate Outliers

4.2.4 Multivariate outliers

4.3 Main study (n=…)

4.3.1 Composition of data <demographic variables only; in one table only>

4.3.2 Exploratory factor analysis (EFA), if applicable.

4.3.3 Multiple regression analysis, if applicable (simultaneous or stepwise)

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Breusch-Pagan & Koenker (BPK) test.

Instead of simple OLS regression estimates, report heteroscedasticity-

consistent standard error estimators.

4.3.4 Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), if applicable.

4.3.4 Hypothesis testing using either path analysis or SEM

In case of using Smart PLS, you need to justify why you are using this software. For
this, following papers written by SEM authorities may be very useful:

Location: \\fileserver\Teacher's Library\Permanent Faculty\Shahnawaz Adil\MBA

and MPhil Theses\Data Analysis\PLS-SEM

For example,

Hair (2011) PLS-SEM- Indeed a silver bullet (Table 2, p. 144)

Hair et al. (2012) PLS-SEM in marketing research (Table 5, p. 429)

4.4 Discussion

At least four to five pages, separately for each of the significant AND non-significant
hypothesized relationships as illustrated on your research framework.

You may prefer to include sources from previous studies mainly for the inconsistent
results as a support to your research findings; look into your Section 2.3.
Discuss post-hoc statistical power analysis in case if your research findings contradict with
the findings of previous related studies.


5.0 Conclusion

A comprehensive well-written paragraph would suffice the need; don’t repeat or

discuss your findings; look at your research objectives/questions, hypotheses and
major findings and then write using managerial implications.

5.1 Recommendations <for significant or ‘supported’ hypotheses ONLY>

5.2 Directions for future research <include plausible justification with citations>

References Must follow APA version 6.0

According to Sani (2016, pp. 68-69), in documentation systems, the

term “references” or “works cited” refers to the list of sources that you
have cited in your thesis.

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A bibliography, on the other hand, is a list of all materials you consulted
in the process of producing your thesis, including those that ARE NOT
CITED in the thesis itself.

Note: IU requires a reference list in your thesis instead of bibliography.

Great help:

\\fileserver\Teacher's Library\Permanent Faculty\Shahnawaz

Adil\MBA and MPhil Theses\Contribution from Shahnawaz

Appendix –A Questionnaire <the one which was used for the main study>

Appendix –B Evidence of face and content validity

Appendix –C Original screen shots of data analysis tables and diagrams

exactly as produced by the statistical software <avoid unnecessary

Appendix –D Author’s background

<Max two paragraphs with a decent photo on the top-right hand

Compiled and edited by:

M. Shahnawaz Adil
Assistant Professor
Department of Business Administration
IQRA University, Karachi.

Version: 2.1.2

Last updated on: Tuesday, April 3, 2018

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