You need to set out a clear statement of the issue or problem and describe your aims in investigating it. You should also set out your reasons for selecting this particular issue/problem and what you anticipate gaining from the project.
The starting point must be a broad subject area - for example, labour turnover, training and development, etc. or even a sub-theme within them such as retention of staff in the hotel industry. Whether you have an idea at this stage or not, you need to determine the broad subject area in which either:
(a) your proposed issue or problem is located; or
(b) you have an interest and would like to find a topic for investigation.
Identifying the broad subject area is important, as you need to locate the final topic chosen in its academic and practical context. This provides the framework within which the issue or problem exists, and you will have to map this framework as part of your literature review. As you undertake your literature review, you need to be thinking constantly about the topic, which you will, or might, investigate. If you do not have a specific topic at this stage, give some preliminary thought to what it might be. Do not be afraid changing your focus as your reading continues. This is the process of homing in on exactly what you want to investigate. However, make sure that you do this in consultation with your supervisor.
For research to be effective it must have a purpose. You have to define that purpose clearly within the dissertation in terms of stating your aims. You should usually formulate an overall aim (e.g. what you want to find out) and more specific objectives (e.g. the key issues that you will be exploring in order to achieve your aim).
Once you have fixed on a specific issue or problem, ask yourself what you want to achieve - for example:
- Come up with some practical solutions;
- test a particular hypothesis or assertion;
This will lead you on to a consideration of appropriate enquiry methods and, may, perhaps, cause you to re-define the aims or even the definition of the issue/problem itself, in the light of what is realistic and achievable within the context of the project.