Research Methods for Business Management-Full Research Proposal

Word Limit: 2500words Full Research Proposal – Details Guidline along with sample answer attachedMarking Criteria 1. Introduction- Does the introduction inform the reader regarding the research aims, objectives and research questions? 2. Literature review- Does the student critically review at least 6 sources to underpin the study?- Does the literature review demonstrate student’sknowledge of the literature and make a critical link withthe research question to be investigated? 3. Research design and methodology- Does the student provide a detailed rationale of howshe/he intends to achieve the research objectives andframework;- Type of investigation- Data collection method- Sampling method- Accessibility issues- Ethical issues- Data analysis plan- Research limitations 4. Timetable and references – Does the student provide a rational timetable?- Do references correctly applied?
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Task coursework B needs to be a “Research proposal” of 2500 words
it is important that you present an answer that meets all the required assessment criteria.
In order to establish a better understanding on what is required, I have included the following
guidelines for your reference in order to present an answer that adheres to the overall
requirement of task
Structure of task
1. Introduction
You have to introduce the topic and clarify the significance of what you are trying to present.
A brief introduction on the elements covered within the introductory chapter. Research
background to provide the basis for the research
Research problem Research aims Research objectives Research questions Research
significance
Please, provide references. Give academic information.
2. Literature review
This section will demonstrate your knowledge of the literature and make a critical link with
the research question to be investigated.
Students are expected to critically review at least six sources to underpin the study. The
literature should mostly rely on published academic journal articles in the research area.
At the end of the literature review, it is strongly encouraged to develop a ‘conceptual
framework’ to present key variables or constructs derived through the literature review. The
relevant relationships, mediators or moderators identified through the literature review needs
to be graphically presented using this conceptual framework. Ensure all the
variables/constructs used to present the conceptual framework are aptly supported with
literature.
Similarly, it is important that the student sum up the discussion using a summary at the end as
well.
3. Research Design and Methodology
This section should provide a detailed rationale of how you intend to achieve your research
objectives. You are expected to address the following areas:
Type of investigation: Explain clearly whether your research can be classified as an
exploratory, descriptive or hypothesis testing study. You may refer to the lecture notes and
textbook for details on each type and present this section with theoretical supporting.
Data collection method: Explain how you are going to collect the data (e.g. postal
questionnaire, telephone interview, focus group, etc.) and why this fits the purpose of your
research. Attention needs to be paid to justifying the proposed methods.
Sampling method: Explain whether you plan to use a probability or non-probability
sampling design and then propose the specific sampling technique to be used with reasons.
The study participants should be able to offer the right type of information to enable you
address the research problem.
Accessibility issues: What accessibility issues are you likely to encounter when you collect
the data? How are you going to manage the accessibility issues?
Ethical issues: You must briefly discuss any ethical issues that are relevant to your research
topic, participants, and method. Discuss how you are going to deal with the ethical issues.
Data analysis plan: How you intend to analyse the data you will collect? This section must
be consistent with the previous section on data collection method and must be mindful of the
nature of the data collected, whether this is quantitative or qualitative.
Research limitations: Define the limitations of the study that you believe you may encounter
and which could affect the quality, scope, or value of the research.
4. Timetable and References
You may use a Gantt chart or any other method to show how you will use your available time
to complete your proposed research. This will provide an indication of the viability of the
proposal. You will need to justify your plan.
The reference list at this stage need not be lengthy, only sufficient to inform your proposal.
The list must include all the sources that were cited and consulted in writing the research
proposal. You must use the Harvard Style of referencing.
5. Style/Grammar/Presentation
Your proposal should be written according to the module guide requirements, be spelledchecked and grammatically error free.
I hope this has been helpful and informative.
3.0 Produce a final Research Proposal
3.1 Assignment answer process
Step 1
• Introduction (Background of the study)
Step 2
• Literature Review
Step 3
• Research Design and Methodology
Step 4
• Timetable & References
3.2 Outline of the Answer
Format
The below format and structure can be followed when presenting Coursework B.
•
•
•
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Introduction
Literature Review
Research Design and Methodology
Timetable & References
1.0 Introduction (Background of the study)
Candidates are required to provide an introduction to the proposal. To start with, it is suggested to introduce the topic and clarify the significance of what the
candidate is trying to present. A brief background to the chosen industry/organisation can also be provided. This section also covers:
•
Research aim
•
Research objectives
•
Research questions
2.0 Literature Review
Under this section, candidates are expected to consider relevant concepts and theories to explain the chosen research phenomenon. Various sources must be reviewed
to critically analyse and support the arguments brought in. This section will demonstrate candidate’s understanding of the prior established knowledge on the chosen
research domain and make a critical link with the research question to be investigated. The literature should mostly rely on published academic journal articles in the
research area. Upon conducting a literature review, he/she should be able to derive a conceptual framework outlining main hypotheses with sound literature support.
3. 0 Research Design and Methodology
Candidates are expected to portray a clear picture of the research as to how it will be conducted. This section should provide a detailed rationale of how candidates
intend to achieve the research objectives. Therefore, the following areas should be covered under this section.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Type of investigation (Exploratory, descriptive or hypothesis testing)
Data collection method (Postal questionnaire, telephone interview, focus groups)
Sampling method (Sampling category as probability or non-probability sampling and the specific sampling technique falling under the given category)
Accessibility issues
Ethical issues
Research limitations
4.0 Timetable & References
Finally, candidates are expected to provide a plan of how the available time will be allocated to complete the proposed research. A gantt chart or any other method
can be used to show how candidates will use the available time to complete the study. This will provide an indication of the viability of the proposal. Candidates are
suggested to provide justification/s for the proposed time plan as well.
The reference list at this stage needs not be lengthy, only sufficient to inform the proposal. The list must include all the sources that were cited and consulted in
writing the research proposal. The Harvard referencing style must be adapted to cite references.
3.3 Detailed guidelines
Coursework B
The following areas must be covered within the task
A research proposal can be defined as a document produced by the researcher that
provides a description about the proposed research. This provides an outline of the
complete research process. The main purpose of a research proposal is to provide
explanations and justifications about:
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?
?
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Purpose of the research
Selecting the research topic
Research methodology
Data collection methods
Students are expected to develop a research proposal based on their selected topic and
this will help them to gain prior approval for the planned research. This document is of
paramount importance as it will help them to complete the research successfully.
1.0 Introduction (Background of the study)
2.0 Literature Review
3.0 Research Design and Methodology
4.0 Timetable & References
1.0 Introduction Contd…
1.1 Some points to keep in mind when writing an introduction
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1.0 Introduction (Background of the study)
This is an important section in a research proposal, as it reflects what has been
discussed in the rest of the report. The introduction should be compiled in a way that
readers can swiftly become acquainted with great amount of information without
having read it completely.
In order to contexualise the research stance, candidates are required to introduce the
topic and clarify the significance of the research. Since these areas already been
discussed in detail under Coursework A, the discussion under this section should be
very brief and highlight only the key points.
At the beginning of the introduction, a brief explanation about the research should be
provided. Furthermore, the main purpose of an introduction is to explain:
?
?
?
About the research topic
What the research does
Methods that will be used in conducting the research
o
o
o
o
o
o
When writing the introduction, it is important to look at the subject to see what
disciplinary assumptions are posing as challenged, you need to question your
ideas and consider the significances of these ideas. Furthermore, it is essential
to emphasise the main results and limitations.
Your readers expect you to summarise your conclusions in an introduction, as
well as your purposes, methods and main findings.
Always include information which is in the research proposal.
Avoid using the first person “I” or “we.” In addition, whenever possible, choose
active verbs instead of passive ones and use non-evaluative language in your
introduction.
Avoid, if possible, using trade names, acronyms, abbreviations or symbols in
your introduction.
Ease your readers/audience into your topic. Or, in other words, be sensitive to
the needs and knowledge of your audience. What might seem perfectly obvious
to you after working on a longer writing or research project will often be brandnew to your audience.
Write the introduction, immediately after you finish your project as it will help
you to include all the points of the research proposal.
1.0 Introduction Contd…
1.2 Research objectives
In this section of the research proposal, main objectives of conducting the
research are discussed. The number of research objectives to be covered will
depend on the scope of the research. However, it is accepted to include
minimum of three objectives. Research objectives should be in line with the
research topic selected.
The objectives are the base of the research. The following aspects should be
considered.
•
Development of 3 – 4 objectives
•
Objectives should follow a logical sequence
•
Final objective could be to make recommendations
•
Better to start objectives with ‘To’
•
Use proper words such as ‘analyse’, ‘evaluate’, ‘investigate’ etc.
•
Objectives can be detailed out with research questions.
•
Development of hypothesis if relevant
1.0 Introduction Contd…
Furthermore, under this section, students should discuss the research aims, objectives
and questions. For example;
Title: A study of the relationship between employer branding strategies and
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs in multinational hospitality
organisations operating in UK
Research aim
To investigate whether the employer branding and the CSR
directions are convergent and synergistically influence each
other, bringing forth a special contribution to the long-term
development of a powerful hospitality corporation.
To investigate whether the intended organisational image
promoted by hotel corporations concerning employer
branding is similar or dissimilar to the interpretations and
assumptions made by their targeted audience (job
applicants).
Research objectives
To highlight the correlations between the employer branding
and the CSR of multinational hospitality organisations
To investigate the self-presentation trends of these
companies as potential employers, as the intended image
built through external communication, in relationship to the
construed image of potential job applicants’ expectations,
emotions and thoughts associated to the promoted brand.
Research questions
How aware and familiar are potential job applicants, as
targeted readership audience, to the employer branding and
CSR messages posted on the corporate websites of hospitality
organisations which they would like to become members of?
2.0 Literature review
2.0 Literature review Contd…
The literature review is a critical summary of theories and models in relation to the
research topic selected. Mere discussion of theory will not meet the purpose of a
literature review. Hence, the literature review should build sound arguments based
on the literature knowledge and should make a critical link with the situation to be
investigated. Students are expected to critically review at least six sources to
underpin the study. The literature should mostly rely on published academic journal
articles in the research area. This critical activity should produce a conceptual
framework.
Example of literature review
The literature review serves several important functions:
1. This will ensures that you are not “reinventing the wheel”.
2.
This section of the proposal enables you to give credit to people who have laid the
background for your selected research.
3.
It demonstrates your knowledge of the research problem.
4.
It reveals your understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to
your research question.
5.
It shows your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature information.
6.
It indicates your ability to integrate and synthesise the existing literature.
7.
It provides new theoretical insights and assists to develop the conceptual
framework for your research.
8.
It enables readers to think that the proposed research would contribute
significantly to the literature.
Common pitfalls
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o
o
o
o
o
o
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Lacking organisation and structure
Lacking focus, unity and consistency
Being repetitive
Failing to cite influential and most referred papers
Failing to keep up with recent developments
Failing to critically evaluate cited papers
Citing irrelevant or unimportant references
Depending too much on secondary sources
An examination of textbook definitions of business and agricultural
marketing provides the most general guide to theoretical content.
Although there is no generally accepted definition of agricultural
marketing, it is frequently viewed as part of the economic system (Ritson,
1986; Bateman, 1976) and is widely recognised as involving the exchange
process. A typical definition is given by Shepard and Futrell (1982) who
state: ‘ …’. By this definition, agricultural marketing theory focuses on the
workings of the distribution system, and is typically viewed as a process
that begins after produce leaves the farm gate.
Thus production planning is frequently excluded from the marketing
process. … Although there is no universally accepted definition of business
marketing, it is generally accepted that business marketing, like
agricultural marketing, involves the exchange process. For example, Kotler
(1972, p. 12) defines marketing as: ‘…” … (Adapted from McLeay and
Zwart, 1993)
The literature review provides more detail about what others have done in
the area, and what your proposed research would do. You may give main
consideration on the following facts:
• The major issues or schools of thought
• Gaps in the literature
• Research questions and/or hypotheses which are connected carefully to the
literature being reviewed
• Definitions of key terms, provided either when you introduce each idea, or in
a definition sub-section
• Questions arising from the gaps that can be the focus of data collection or
analysis
2.0 Literature review Contd…
Conceptual framework
The literature review should be followed by a conceptual framework.
The conceptual framework of your study—the system of concepts, assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and theories that supports and informs your research—is a
key part of your design (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Robson, 2011). Milesand & Huberman (1994) defined a conceptual framework as a visual or written product, one
that “explains, either graphically or in narrative form, the main things to be studied—the key factors, concepts, or variables—and the presumed relationships
among them.”
Conceptual framework is developed from a set of broad ideas and theories that help a researcher to properly identify the problem, which will be researched.
Conceptual frameworks are usually expressed abstractly through word models, charts and diagrams.
For example, the following extract conceptual framework is draft for a research that tried to identify impact of ‘market orientation’ on business performance using
Laworski and Kohli Model. In order to identify the impact, the researcher looked at both internal antecedents and external antecedents. Finally, he/ she excluded
the ‘external antecedents’ in order to identify the exact contribution of internal antecedents.
As shown above, the researcher has used relevant theories and presented the research graphically with all linkages and relationships.
As an alternative to develop their own conceptual framework, candidates could examine the application of well-known theoretical model to the selected research
topic.
3.0 Research design and methodology
This is a vital section in the research proposal as it should explain in detail how the research
will be carried out. It should also provide a justification for selecting specified methods and a
critical evaluation of the selected method.
The following aspects should be covered under this section of the research proposal:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Type of investigation (Research methodology, research approach, research
strategy, research design)
Data collection method
Sampling method
Accessibility issues
Ethical issues
Research limitations
In this context, candidates could use research onion as a tool to discuss the above areas in
detail.
3.1 Research onion
3.0 Research design and methodology Contd.
When developing the research, candidates can use the research onion which
covers below aspects relevant to a research.
1.

Research Philosophies
Positivism
Realism
Interpretivism
Pragmatism
2.

Research Approaches
Deductive
Inductive
3.

Research Strategies
Experiments
Survey
Case study
Action research
Grounded theory
Ethnography
Archival research
4.

Research Choices
Mono method
Mixed method
Multi-method
5.

Time Horizon
Cross – sectional
Longitudinal
6.

Techniques and Procedures
Data collection and data analysis
It is important to arrange the discussion for each layer as follows:
Source: Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thirnhill 2008
1.
Brief explanation of options available
2.
Select one suitable method/ approach
3.
Provide justifications for the recommendation/selection using
theoretical references.
3.0 Research design and methodology Contd…
3.0 Research design and methodology Contd…
Research approach
Deductive
Inductive
Experimental
In an experimental research, the researcher maintains control over all
factors that may affect the result of the experiment/study
Survey
This includes:
1. Systematic collection of data.
2. Analysis
3. Interpretation
Case study is an in-depth investigation/ study of a particular situation
Students are expected to give an explanation on the research approach
they are proposing for the research. It is essential to provide proper
justifications along with the discussions.
Case studies
Grounded theory
Conclusion is inductively derived from the study of the phenomenon it
represents
Research strategies
Ethnography
This is also known as the research design. The research strategy or the
design can be:
A social science research method. It relies heavily on up-close, personal
experience and possible participation.
Action res …
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