Assignment The research proposal You are to submit a proposal of maximum of 2,000 words. The research proposal sets out the plan for how you will achieve the intended research objective and shows whether the objective will be feasible, ethical and achievable in the time scale. It sets out how secondary research supports the research objective, how the research will be conducted, how the research will be evaluated. You will need to gain ethical approval before commencing your research and you will discuss it with tutor during the research proposal. Choosing a research topic You are to choose a research topic for this unit based on the set theme: Equality and Diversity in the Workplace. Strong research projects are those with clear, well focused and defined objectives. A central skill in selecting a research objective is the ability to select a suitable and focused research objective. One of the best ways to do this is to put it in the form of a question. Students should engage with their tutors to discuss a variety of topics related to the theme to generate ideas for a good research objective. The range of topics discussed could cover the following: • Behaviours that support equality and diversity in the workplace • Managing cultural diversity in the workplace • Gender equality in leadership and management • Workplace discrimination • The work-life balance and enrichment experiences Please bear in mind these are not research topics but ideas from which topics can be formulated. The research objective should allow for students to broaden their understanding and widen their perspectives by being able to explore, argue, prove, and disprove a particular objective.
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Guidance on writing the proposal We do not expect the proposal to be perfect at this stage, nor do we expect you to stick to it very closely as your ideas will almost certainly change once you start to study, but we do expect you to write it as follows; 1. Introduction/ background to the research area (500 words) Title or working title of research project (in the form of a research question or hypothesis) Research aim and objectives State the rationale or reasons for choosing the topic explaining why it is of academic and or practical importance 2. Literature review (800 words) Write a short literature review, indicating the importance of previous related research or investigated literature and how your own research question might make a useful contribution to the area 3. Methodology (500 words) • Explain and justify your research approach (qualitative, quantitative or mixed approach) • State and justify your research techniques (interviews, questionnaire, case studies, modelling etc.) • Explain your suggested data collection method, indicating sources and associated difficulties • Explain your approach to analysing the data you will collect. 4. Timeline of research activities (200 words) • Present an appropriate and realistic table of activities and duration. 5. Provide a list of all references and bibliography. You will submit your proposal as a formative at the end of week 10. All drafts must be submitted on the Research Project module page on the link provided for Formative submission. Failure to submit your proposal before proceeding onto the research would require further explanation to justify your understanding and rationale to your approach.
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The Research Upon successfully completing the research proposal, you are to carry out the research and analyse the findings using suitable analytical techniques for a business research project, including the consideration of access and ethical issues. You will write a report of about 4000 words to present your findings and a personal reflection of the outcome, the research process, the challenges you encountered, and the lessons learnt during this process. Guidance on writing the report A good report should have a clear structure and format. The following is a recommended format for writing a research report. 1. Executive summary Give a summary of the whole report, outline the purpose, research method, findings, main conclusions and recommendations (Mainly uses past tense). 2. Methodology Explain very briefly how the research was done and outline how the data was collected. 3. Results/Findings Presents findings of the research, facts only – no interpretation, Use graphic form (eg. tables & graphs). 4. Discussion Presents an interpretation and evaluation of the results, draw together different aspects of the findings, findings of other studies and refer to literature. 5. Conclusion Brief statement of what you personally conclude after your analysis 6. Recommendations Suggest suitable changes/solutions/further research. 7. Reflection Statement on your experience- key questions for reflection could be; was the research successful, did you achieve the objectives, were you able to follow the research methodology, what have you learnt and what would you change if you are to do it again. 8. References – all references used. 9. Appendices – Attachments of additional information (eg. surveys, questionnaires, glossary etc). Source: Adapted from RMIT University (2007)
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Submitting your assignment You are to submit as evidence for this unit a 4000-word written report about your research. The report should contain an executive summary, methodology, findings, discussion, conclusion, recommendation and a personal reflection. In addition to this, you are also to submit the research proposal and ethics form of maximum 2000 words as an appendix to the report. You are strongly advice to follow the guidance contained in this brief. Also ensure you check your work for similarity match before submitting the final work. Please note once the assignment is submitted it is final, you will not be able to make any change to it. Academic Misconduct’ Statement: ‘Academic Misconduct’ is a term used to describe a deliberate attempt by a student to take unfair advantage over other students to undermine the quality, standards and credibility of the programmes and qualifications offer by UKCBC. Academic Misconduct includes plagiarism; collusion; falsification; replication; cheating; bribery; and impersonation. A student suspected of Academic Misconduct will be investigated by the College and appropriate action will be taken. Contract Cheating’ Statement: ‘Contract Cheating’ is defined by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) as occurring when, “a third party completes work for a student who then submits it to an education provider as their own, where such input is not permitted.” Such third-party companies have become known as ‘essay mills’, and it is the responsibility of students to avoid contact and association with such third party companies throughout their entire period of study. A student suspected of Contract Cheating will be investigated by the College and appropriate action will be taken.
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Assessment criteria Pass Merit Distinction LO1 Examine appropriate research methodologies and approaches as part of the research process. D1 Critically evaluate research methodologies and processes in application to a business research project to justify chosen research methods and analysis. P1 Produce a research proposal that clearly defines a research question or hypothesis, supported by a literature review. P2 Examine appropriate research methods and approaches to primary and secondary research. M1 Evaluate different research approaches and methodology and make justifications for the choice of methods selected based on philosophical/ theoretical frameworks. LO2 Conduct and analyse research relevant for a business research project. P3 Conduct primary and secondary research using appropriate methods for a business research project that consider costs, access and ethical issues. P4 Apply appropriate analytical tools, analyse research findings and data. M2 Discuss merits, limitations and pitfalls of approaches to data collection and analysis. LO3 Communicate the outcomes of a research project to identified stakeholders. P5 Communicate research outcomes in an appropriate manner for the intended audience. M3 Communicate coherently outcomes to the intended audience, demonstrating how outcomes meet set research objectives. D2 Communicate critical analysis of the outcomes and make valid, justified recommendations. LO4 Reflect on the application of research methodologies and concepts. P6 Reflect on the effectiveness of research methods applied for meeting objectives of the business research project. P7 Consider alternative research methodologies and lessons learnt in view of the outcomes. M4 Demonstrate reflection and engagement in the resource process leading to recommended actions for future improvement. D3 Demonstrate critical reflection and insight that results in recommended actions for improvements and future research considerations.
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Glossary of commonly used academic words. Account for Give reasons for: explain why something happens. Analyse Examine something in very close detail and from several angles. Identify the important points and chief features, and understand their relationships. Argue Present a case for and against a proposal or statement and present your own opinion at the end. Compare Show how two or more things are similar. Contrast Look at two or more things and draw out differences. State whether the differences are significant. Critically evaluate Weigh arguments for and against something, assess the strength of evidence on both sides. Define Give the exact meaning of. Describe Give a detailed account of the main features or characteristics … Discuss Write about the most important characteristics of something. Give arguments for and against, look at it from a variety of perspectives.
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Distinguish Identify the differences between two items. Evaluate Assess the worth or usefulness of something. Use evidence to support your opinion. Examine Look at something in detail. You may be expected to ‘critically evaluate’ it as well. Explain Make it clear why something happens or why it is the way it is. Identify Recognise name and briefly describe something. Illustrate Use examples to further explain or justify something. Could be visual or verbal. Interpret Explain the meaning or significance of information or data that you are presenting. Justify Provide evidence that supports an argument or idea. Outline Give only the main points, show only the main structure. Prove Present evidence in a logical structure to support an argument for a point of view. Relate (Two meanings) 1. Show how ideas / theories/ events etc are linked or connected. 2. Tell a story. Explain something in a narrative fashion.
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Review Survey and comment on the key aspects of something or a range of things. State Give the main features clearly and simply. Summarise Draw out the main points, omitting detail and examples. To what extent… How far is something true, or contributes to a final outcome. Also how far is it not true? In academic writing the answer is usually somewhere in the middle. Trace Describe the development of something; follow the order of different stages in an event or process. Adapted from Cottrell.S.(2003) The Study Skills Handbook. Basingstoke. Palgrave.
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