Module Title: Business Research Methods
Module Code: 7BUSS002W
Semester 2, 2019/2020
Word count:3,000 -3,500 words maximum (excluding references and title page).
Please refer to the front inside cover for the assessment deadline.
Topic/Title of your Project proposal:
The Project Proposal is based on the research topic you submitted on the Project Topic Form (PTF).
Structure and Contents of your Project Proposal:
The Project Proposal is an outline of your intended project, providing information on what, why, how conceptually and how practically is your research idea. It will effectively be an introduction, a literature review and will include an outline of your research method/methodology.
The purpose is to show the reader you have managed to arrange your broad Project research ideas into a logical account of research intention; and that these plans are justifiable and achievable. It requires you to think clearly about your research objectives, research methods and relevant literature.
Proposals should comprise the following areas:
– Introduction/context/research area/main research question
– Literature review
– Research questions/objectives or hypotheses
– Research design (methodology and methods)
– Data collection and analysis
– Conclusion/limitations, including identification of contingency plans, where relevant; and resource requirements
– Timeline/Gantt chart
– WBS student research ethics consideration form (via VRE)
i. Title of your Project Proposal: Reflect as accurately as possible the content of your proposal
ii. Introduction to the research: context-background
This section should describe the area you will be investigating and explain the rationale and the context for your research plans. Explain why you are interested in the research topic, and why it is worthwhile. You should provide sufficient background information on the issues you want to research for the reader to be able to understand the rest of your Project as well as its value. If you focus on an organisation you should provide enough organisational information to put your research plans into context.
iii. Review of the literature
This should be presented under a separate heading. Through this review, you show that you have acquired knowledge about the literature that relates to your research area and identify the research/gaps, which your research relates to. It is not intended as a near-finished comprehensive critical analysis of the literature at this stage. In the Project Proposal, provide an identification of themes from academic and other relevant recent and/or historically important literature, which acts as the basis for your intended study and, most importantly, clarify where your intended study fits into this debate.
It is important that you include key relevant literature, with references to key texts and especially refereed journal articles (RJA). Normally we would expect 10-12 references of RJAs at least.
iv. Specific research questions
Here or at the end of the literature review section, clarify the link between the previous research done in your field of interest, and your research focus.
Specific research questions: this may be one overall question or a number of key questions that the research will address. If suitable, you could add research objectives which make it clear to the reader exactly what is being planned by the proposed research: identifying what is to be analysed, and to what purpose. Your questions and objectives should provide sufficient scope for a project of this size, but also be achievable within the resources available to you. They should not be vague or too general and should be leading to observable outcomes.
The research questions and objectives will be used by the reader to judge the rest of your proposal, so make sure that your proposed research design, data collection and analysis fit with these.
If relevant and suitable, the research questions could be formulated as hypotheses.
Please refer to:
– Punch (2006) for more guidance on hypotheses.
– Blooms’ taxonomy of verbs to identify more ‘masters’ level’ active verbs you
could use as part of your research questions.
v. Research design, methodology, and method
This refers to an overall view of the methodology, design and methods chosen to answer your research questions and achieve your research objectives, as well as a justification of these choices.
– Provide information and justification for the methodology and research design you propose. Methodology refers to the broad approach you plan to take – issues such as positivism or interpretivism; inductive or deductive; qualitative or quantitative or mixed methods; etc. You also need to outline and justify your research design: for instance, case study; cross-sectional survey; action research; ethnographic study, etc. If relevant, it should also detail particular areas your research will focus on, such as sectors of industry, regions, organizations and the characteristics of your research population.
– Data/information requirements: Identify from your research questions, objectives or hypothesis, what main data or information you will need to acquire to be able to answer these. If no empirical data is needed, make this clear.
vi. Data collection and analysis
Provide details of the way in which you intend to collect the data: for instance, investigation of secondary data, interviews, focus groups, observation, document analysis, or a combination, and the way you intend to analyse the data.
It is essential to explain why you have chosen this approach, and reflect upon whether this is the most ‘effective’ way to answer your research questions.
Be as precise as possible. For instance: regarding secondary data, specify the exact data sources you intend to use; for questionnaires specify the distribution, population, sample size, likely response rate; for interviews specify interview population, intended interview duration and way of analysis, etcetera. Refer to ethical good practice such as referring to the use of consent forms and participant info sheets when relevant.
vii. Reflecting on resources
Reflect on data availability and provide clear information on access to the data collected/used. Have you made sure all necessary data is available to you? If relevant, do you have the agreement of essential people to use certain data or conduct interviews? Is your Project agreed with the organisation you focus on if this is necessary? Is your survey response rate likely to be satisfactory?
Reflect on time resources: a rough schedule of the tasks to complete between the submission of the Project Proposal and the submission of the Project, through a GANTT chart.
Other resources you may want to reflect on may include skills or software necessary to collect or analyse data.
viii. Conclusion, limitations, including an identification of contingency plans, where relevant.
Conclusion includes a brief overview of expected outcomes.
If access to (parts of) the data is still uncertain, reflect on possible alternative ways to collect data to answer the research question.
ix. WBS student research ethics consideration form
Online arrangements for the ethics consideration process for PG students, via the Virtual Research Environment (VRE, part of Intranet). To submit an ethics application, you shouldgo to https://research.westminster.ac.uk.
You will be asked to enter the name of your supervisor when submitting an ethics application. Upon submission, the application is sent to your supervisor. Further information is available on Blackboard.
x. List of references
All references should be in Harvard standard, both in text and in the final referencing list.