Drawing on the individual and group work undertaken throughout the tutorial programme, write a research proposal outlining a study you would like to undertake in the topic area assigned to you at the beginning of the course.
Aim of assessment
The overall aim of the assessment is to demonstrate your understanding of the philosophical, theoretical, methodological and practical issues discussed in this course, and your ability to apply this understanding to a particular research topic.
The assessment builds directly on the series of tutorial exercises on which you had worked, both individually and in your small groups, throughout the course. The proposal specifically requires you to consolidate all different elements of your intended research projects developed during the tutorials into one coherent and consistent document.
This assessment will be a useful exercise for students going on to do a dissertation, as it develops the key skills you will need for the early stages of your dissertation project.
Outline of assessment
In this assessment you are required to produce a research proposal, which outlines the topic area in which your study is going to be located, the research questions that you intend to address, and the research design and methods that you intend to use. In developing your proposal, you should draw directly on different pieces of work produced during the entire tutorial programme.
Your proposal should be structured and include the following sections:
The title should be concise, written in plain English and convey clearly the topic of your intended study.
2. Literature review
This section should summarise and synthesise key issues covered in the articles provided for your assigned topic area, and in other relevant articles which you have identified by yourself. It should provide information on key findings, theoretical approaches and identified gaps in knowledge. It should also provide the rationale for the overall aim of your study, which will be outlined in the following section. Please note that this section should be referenced thoroughly.
3. Research aims and questions
This section should present a clear outline of the main aim of your research and the research questions you intend to address in your study. Please note that your overall aim and research questions need to be grounded in overview of the topic area provided in the literature review section.
4. Research design, sampling and access
This section should present a clear statement of your intended research design, identifying your research approach (i.e. inductive, deductive, or both); your methods choice (i.e. mono method, multi methods or mixed methods study); your intended timeframe (i.e. cross sectional or longitudinal). Please note that the exercises you had worked on have already prescribed some aspects of your research design! This section should also present a clear account of the sampling strategy you intend to use in your study and the procedures for securing access to your participants. Specifically, you should provide information on the number of participants, their characteristics, and the selection procedures.
5. Data collection methods
This section should present a clear account of your intended data collections methods. Please note that the exercises you had worked on have already prescribed some aspects of your data collection methods, i.e. you have to use both questionnaire and semi-structured interviews). However, you are allowed to use other methods in addition to those mentioned above. In this section you also need to describe the research instruments that you developed in the course of the tutorial programme.
6. Data analysis methods
This section should provide a clear account of your intended data analysis methods. You need to describe separately any methods used to analyse your quantitative and qualitative data.
7. Research ethics
This section should present a clear and critical discussion of the potential ethical issues related to the topic of your project and its design. You need to consider different ethical problems that might emerge at different stages of your research, and suggest how you might deal with them.
8. Limitations of your research
This section should present a critical account of possible limitations of your project, including its design, methods and procedures. In particular, you need to discuss the issues of research quality (i.e. validity, reliability, generalisability) and how it might be compromised in your project.
This section should include the following additional material: the screenshots of your online questionnaire, a copy of your interview schedule, a copy of your completed CASS Research Ethics Form.
The word length for this assessment is 2500 words, excluding references. This means that proposals are expected to be within a 10% range of this word length. The reference list is not included in the word length. Please indicate the word length on your submitted proposal.
This assessment is INDIVIDUAL and counts for 40% of your overall mark on this course.
12.00 noon 4th April, 2021, via MyAberdeen. Word Doc format ONLY
The following textbooks include information you will find helpful in developing your methodological reports:
• Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2018) Business Research Methods. Fifth Edition. Oxford University Press. Chapters 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 17, 18, 26 and 27.
• Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R, and Jackson, P. R. (2015) Management and Business Research. Fifth Edition. SAGE. Chapters 4 and 5.
• Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. Six Edition. Pearson. Chapter 2, 5, 6 and 7.
• Smith, M. (2003) Research Methods in Accounting. SAGE. Chapters 2, 4, 5. (This is available as an electronic book via the University Library)
• Gray, D.E. (2014) Doing Research in the Real World. Third Edition. SAGE. Chapters 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
The chapters from your key textbook (the first position on the list above) have all been suggested readings for course lectures, so you should be going over familiar ground here rather than reading these chapters from scratch.
Citing and referencing
Please ensure that you cite and reference material correctly. Those marking your assessment will be looking at this aspect of your work, and lack of precision and consistency will weaken your overall essay. Citing and referencing styles vary. For this course, you are not required to adopt one particular style. However, once you have chosen a style you are required to be consistent in how you cite and reference. Please consult the Citing and Referencing Guides (on MyAberdeen) for further details, and use this as a guide.
The Business School policy on Lateness of submissions can be found on MyAberdeen.
Assessments will be marked using the University’s Common Grading Scale (CGS). Your work will be assessed according to a range of criteria:
• Give clear overview of the articles assigned to your topic area
• Clearly define research aim and questions appropriate for the topic
• Identify and discuss different aspects of research design appropriate for the aim and questions of the intended study
• Give clear account of intended data collection methods
• Develop reliable and valid research instruments, corresponding to the identified research aim and questions
• Give clear account of intended data analysis methods
• Identify and critically discuss ethical issues relevant for the research topic and design
• Critically assess research quality and potential limitations of research design, methods and procedures
• Clearly organise and structure the proposal
• Use consistently clear wring style and follow correct referencing procedures
The ‘Assessment Feedback’ sheet provides further details about these criteria and can be found at the end of this handout and in the Course Handbook.
Submission of assessments
You must submit a paper copy of your assessment, stapled together with a copy of a cover sheet (available on MyAberdeen) into the Level 3 Management Studies box. You must submit a second copy using the Turnitin® software (link available through MyAberdeen). Assessments that are not submitted in this way may not be accepted.
MS3553 RESEARCH METHODS FOR BUSINESS
Excellent Very good Good Pass Weak N.B. These do not correspond directly to CGS scores
Clear overview and synthesis of the reviewed articles; information on key findings, theoretical approaches and identified gaps in knowledge provided Unclear, incoherent overview and synthesis of the reviewed articles; poor or insufficient information on key findings, theoretical approaches and identified gaps in knowledge
Clearly define research aim and questions appropriate for the topic
Research aim and questions clearly defined and internally consistent; clear correspondence between the topic and the identified aim and research questions Research aim and questions poorly formulated and inconsistent
Aim and research questions inappropriate or inadequate for the topic
Identify and discuss different aspects of research design appropriate for the aims and objectives of the project
Different aspects of research design correctly identified and clearly presented
Research design consistent with the suggested aim and questions Unclear, incoherent discussion of research design; important omissions and mistakes
Research design inappropriate for the suggested aim and questions
Give clear account of data collection methods
Clear, coherent, logical discussion and justification of proposed data collection methods Unclear, incoherent discussion and justification of proposed data collection methods
Develop reliable and valid research instruments, corresponding to identified research aims, objectives and questions
Research instruments well-designed and presented
Research instruments directly relevant to research aims, objectives and questions Research instruments poorly designed and presented
Research instruments inadequate to research aims, objectives and questions
Give clear account of data analysis methods
Clear, coherent, logical discussion and justification of proposed data analysis methods Unclear, incoherent discussion and justification of proposed data analysis methods
Identify and critically discuss ethical issues relevant for the research topic and research design
Ethical issues relevant for the research topic clearly identified
Insightful and critical analysis of identified issues
Important omissions in identifying relevant ethical issues
No critical insight or analysis in discussion of relevant issues
Critically assess research quality and potential limitations of research design, methods and procedures
Clear and insightful analysis of research quality and potential limitations Insufficient analysis of research quality and potential limitations
Excellent Very good Good Pass Weak N.B. These do not correspond directly to CGS scores
Clearly organise and structure the report
Clear, coherent structure
Clear subheadings Badly structured, unbalanced, distorted, rambling
No clear sections
Use consistently clear writing style and follow correct referencing procedures
Discussions expressed in good plain English; well-presented and proof-read proposal
A list of accurate references; consistency in referencing style Poorly written; poorly presented; not proof-read
Inadequate or inaccurate references; missing references; inconsistent referencing style
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