Reference no: EM132233700 , Length: word count:16000
On successful completion of this module you will be able to:
• negotiate and re-define, if necessary, the purpose and scope of a research project;
• undertake systematic search and review of relevant published theoretical and research-based literature relating to the research project;
• identify, critically evaluate and adopt research methods and intervention strategies that are appropriate and relevant to a specific task or to a research problem;
• establish the planning requirements of a project taking into consideration the management of ethical issues;
• schedule and prepare detailed plans;
• analyse data and relate those findings to the existing state of knowledge of the area studied;
• write a complete, well-structured and clearly argued academic dissertation dealing with the purpose and rationale of the study; the state of existing knowledge; choice of methodology and use an appropriate research design; the findings and ways in which they add to knowledge; and the implications of those conclusions.
Instructions for assessment
1: Dissertation research proposal (max. 3,000 words)
An MBA/MSc dissertation should report an investigation of a business or management related research question which:
• reflects the strategic management or international focus of the programme;
• is based on current research literature and current concerns;
• contributes to developing business practice and new knowledge.
The dissertation may be linked to a particular organisation to which you have access, but this is not essential. Whilst most dissertations are likely to involve the collection of primary data, any combination of primary and secondary data may be used. Your research proposal must take these requirements into account.
Prepare a research proposal on a theme relevant to the strategic management focus of the programme. The proposal should include detailed research objectives, a literature review and bibliography, research strategy and methods, and an outline of the methods of analysis, using pilot survey or simulated data. The research proposal will be completed by the beginning of the summer term, to allow formal assessment and to carry forward discussion with your supervisor regarding your project.
You should make good use of the learning and development opportunities provide by the Management Research Methods module (particularly the private study undertaken) and the discussion(s) with your appointed supervisor.
Format of the research proposal
Your research proposal should include the following:
Include a fully descriptive TITLE for the business research to be investigated. The title and scope of the proposal should have a strategic emphasis. This means that the research objectives should include a consideration of how the resolution of the problem affects the future development and direction of the organisation(s) concerned (investigation) and/or of other similar organisations. It may also include wider considerations in terms of sector, geographic or national policy implications.
• Section 1: INTRODUCTION and CONTEXT (ca. 300-500 words)
This sections should introduce the RESEARCH PROBLEM to be investigated; provide an explanation of why the problem is important and/or interesting (including brief references to relevant literature, both academic and business/ professional); provide an explanation of the research context or organisational background, and your access for data collection; provide a discussion of the SPECIFIC RESEARCH OBJECTIVES/QUESTIONS to be investigated.
• Section 2: LITERATURE REVIEW (ca. 800-1,200 words)
Outlining the results of the literature search you have carried out and identifying relevant theory/ theories. This must go beyond textbook material. Extensive use of academic journals is more essential and important for your conceptual framework.
You will already have done this for the first assignment Management Research Methods. You may use some of that material but you need to present it here much more briefly, to avoid exceeding the overall maximum word count.
• Section 3: INVESTIGATIVE APPROACH and METHODS (ca. 800-1,200 words)
This should cover the following areas, as appropriate:
1. what data (evidence/ information) you aim to obtain in relation to your research question/
2. what are the sources for such data/ evidence/ information;
3. how you will obtain such data/ evidence/ information;
4. how you will analyse such data/ evidence/ information;
5. your approach to sampling;
6. specific data collection techniques and procedures, including where appropriate draft questionnaire, interview schedule, etc. (put as appendices, not included in word count);
7. brief justification of your choices, expressed in terms of key issues in social research philosophy.
You may use material that you have presented in the second assignment for Management Research Methods but must present much more briefly here.
• Section 4: ETHICAL ISSUES (ca. 100-500 words)
Give a brief discussion of the ethical issues that arise in respect of your proposed investigation.
• Section 5: TIME PLAN and RESOURCES (ca. 100-500 words)
An outline TIME PLAN for carrying out the research (this may be presented in the form of a table or a Gantt chart,) and a brief discussion of the RESOURCES involved. You need to demonstrate that your project is feasible and that you are in a position to manage it effectively.
• Section 6: BIBLIOGRAPHY (not included in word count)
A single list should be given, obeying the standard rules HARVARD REFERENCING STYLE for bibliographical details, including web sites, blogs or other digital materials. Refer to the library resources for more information (NB do not put URL for journal articles accessed via the web but published in print form).
• APPENDICES (not included in word count)
Full use should be made of appendices to provide supporting evidence e.g. sample documents from the organisation(s) involved, questionnaires, interview outlines, samples of secondary data etc. However, you must not use appendices to present key information as a ruse to exceed the word count.
Each of the assessment categories is elaborated below in the form of a checklist of questions. Please study the checklist of questions as you prepare relevant sections of your dissertation, and especially when you are editing the penultimate and final drafts of your dissertation.
• INTRODUCTION, CONTEXT, RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
o Is the research topic or problem clearly stated and shown to be worth investigating?
o Has appropriate background information been provided with special terms and concepts defined?
o Are the research objectives (research questions or hypotheses) clear, relevant, coherent and achievable?
o Do objectives etc. go beyond mere description, i.e. do they involve explanation, comparison, criticism or evaluation?
• LITERATURE REVIEW
o Has a comprehensive range of RELEVANT literature been used to discuss relevant concepts, models and theories?
o Are the sources used up to date, and of sufficient academic weight?
o Does the dissertation give evidence of a critical attitude towards source material?
o Are the key themes and issues surrounding the research questions clearly drawn from the literature?
o Have sources been acknowledged and cited fairly and properly, in accordance with the Harvard format? Is the references listing at the end of the dissertation complete and in the Harvard format?
• RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
o Is there a clear rationale for the research design and methodology adopted?
o Are the research methods fully described and the advantages and disadvantages of chosen methods discussed?
o Are any constraints or limitations identified?
o Are the relevant research instruments (e.g. blank questionnaire, interview questions etc.) included in the appendices? Are the research instruments well designed with all questions etc. relevant to research objectives?
o Are sampling methods described in detail? I.e. who the respondents are, how many there are and how they were selected?
o Are data analysis methods discussed?
o Is there evidence of care and accuracy in the data collection process? Are reliability and validity issues addressed?
o Has the methodology been critically evaluated in retrospect?
• RESULTS, ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF FINDINGS
o Is all data presented relevant to aims and objectives?
o Is the analysis thorough and appropriate to the data collected? E.g.:
- FOR QUESTIONNAIRES: Do the appendices contain a data matrix, and details of statistical analysis undertaken? Is statistical analysis correctly performed and interpreted?
- FOR INTERVIEWS, FOCUS GROUPS etc.: Do the appendices contain data collected and analysed such as interview transcripts? Has qualitative data been systematically analysed?
- FOR DOCUMENT, ARCHIVE AND OTHER SECONDARY DATA: Has the validity and reliability of the sources been addressed? Has quantitative or qualitative data been systematically analysed?
o Are the findings presented clearly and interestingly for the reader, with useful tables and charts embedded in the text and with the appendices being used appropriately for bulky and/or less interesting/essential data?
o Have the findings been discussed and evaluated?
o Have the finding of the primary research been compared and contrasted with findings, theories, models and concepts derived from the literature review?
• CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
o Have the research objectives (research questions) been reviewed and addressed?
o Do the conclusions and recommendations follow on from the findings? Are they well- grounded in the evidence and arguments presented?
o Has the relevance of the conclusions for management been discussed?
o Are the conclusions and recommendations discussed in context and are they more widely applicable?
• PRESENTATION, STRUCTURE AND WRITING
o Is the overall style and presentation of the dissertation in accordance with that specified in the Assessment Brief, i.e. cover pages, title page, word count, spacing, chapter and section headings, pagination, appropriate font, font size and font style (bold, italics, etc.).
o Is the title concise and appropriate?
o Is the executive summary a concise (no more than 300 words) summary of the main aims, methodology, findings and conclusions?
o Are acknowledgements made as appropriate?
o Is the contents page clear, concise and logically numbered? Are appendices, tables and figures numbered and listed in the contents page?
o Are all appendices referred to in the text?
o Is the writing clear and in an appropriate academic style?
o Is the standard of written English acceptable? Has the dissertation been spelling and grammar checked?