Research Internship and Dissertations

The final component of the ITMOC programme, which starts in late May and runs through to the end of the programme in early September, is the dissertation. For this you conduct a substantial piece of research and write a 16,000-word dissertation.

The dissertation represents 60 credits of the overall assessment, and is your chance to bring together and demonstrate all the learning you have acquired throughout the programme. You are supported during the project period by an academic supervisor who you consult for guidance as you develop your ideas and your research.

Forms of dissertation project

Four dissertation pathways are available, each requiring a slightly different, though overlapping, set of research, academic and professional skills. Which type you undertake will depend both on your own interests and the skills you have developed throughout the programme. All forms of dissertation are designed to enhance your analytical, research and professional skills.

Research Internship Dissertation Project

Organisations are increasingly interested in the latest evidence, thinking and insights from research, particularly those companies working in knowledge intensive contexts. A research internship is a research dissertation undertaken in collaboration with a company. Students remain based at Lancaster undertaking primary and secondary research with the company, which helps shape the research and provides access to data in the form of internal experts to interview, company reports and other internal documents. A research internship is not a work internship.

A company can have a new strategic issue or challenge, technological innovation, data-driven or operational trend they are interested in being researched by a group of 2-4 students. Students use the data collected to produce a report – a White Paper – which is presented to the company. The data gathered is also used for the dissertation. Students undertaking a research internship dissertation spend up to two months working with an organisation on a contemporary project. Research internships are part of the programme’s collaboration with a range of UK and overseas companies and consultancies. 

Students on the ITMOC programme have had research internships with Accenture, Deloitte, Informed Solutions, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Upside Energy, with two-thirds of students undertaking this type of dissertation. Research internships focus on a range of contemporary and strategic issues including technology trends and workplace transformation, consulting and the Internet of Things (IOT), cloud infrastructures and job roles, cyber security and SMEs, enterprise software as a service and green data centres. The ITMOC programme also works with smaller and medium-sized companies across the UK.

For more information on company projects, see employer collaboration.

Faculty-proposed Research Dissertation Project

With a faculty-proposed research project dissertation, a student, or group of students, research an issue, trend or topic that is connected to a faculty member’s research interests. The student will often have access to data which has already been gathered by the faculty member, but this type of project can also consist of a more explorative research project. Topics have included Big Data, electronic waste and technologies for development in emerging economies.

Data-driven Research Dissertation Project

This type of dissertation gives you an opportunity to go into depth in an area in which you have developed an interest. You analyse and synthesise existing literature, and explore and assess secondary data (such as published case studies, articles and statistics) in order to present your own detailed analysis and conclusions. You will be expected to demonstrate in your analysis how you have used the concepts and ideas presented to you on the ITMOC programme.

Case Study Dissertation Project

This type of research project centres around a case study or empirical research examining the development and/or use of information and communication technologies, management practices related to technological innovations or organisational implications of new technologies. Typically, you will conduct some primary research by means of interviews and/or questionnaires, though this will depend on the nature and aims of the project.

The outcome is likely to be firstly a consideration of how company, sector or domain specific findings relate to the existing literature on the particular topic, and, secondly, perhaps some suggestions for future practice within the organisation. As with other types of project, in your analysis you will be drawing on the concepts and the latest research presented during the ITMOC programme.