Business Research Methodologies

Discover University of Wales Trinity Saint David

 

LEVEL 5

ASSESSMENT SPECIFICATION

 

 

Student name:       Student ID number:  
Programme: BA Business Studies
Module: Business Research Methodologies
Module code: SBLC5003

Contribution to Overall Module Assessment (%):

50%

 

(20 Credit Module)

Lecturer: Roger Telfer Internal Verifier: Chandranna Rayadurg

 

Assignment Title: Business Research Proposal Word count (or equivalent): 2500
Submission deadline: 18/10/2019

Return date of provisional marks & written feedback: tbc
Submission method: All written assessments, where practical and possible, must be submitted via Turnitin unless otherwise instructed by the Lecturer. (Please DO NOT put this assessment specification into Turnitin or it will match many similarities with other students’ submissions.)

Alternative submission method (if applicable):

Late submission of the assessment will result in a late penalty mark. Penalties for late submission: Up to one week late, maximum mark of 40%. Over one week late, 0%. Only the Extenuating Circumstances Panel may approve a change to submission dates.

Academic honesty / referencing: Academic honesty is required. In the main body of your submission you must give credit to authors on whose research and ideas your work is based. Append to your submission a reference list that indicates the books, articles, etc. that you have used, cited or quoted in order to complete this assessment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Outcomes tested

(from module syllabus)

Assessment CriteriaTo achieve each outcome a student must demonstrate the ability to:
1. Understand the scientific process, its application in economics and business, and its utilisation in the problem-solving approach to business and management challenges · Construct a research proposal rooted in the disciplines of research development.
2. Demonstrate the skills necessary to assess and interpret existing research as a prelude to carrying out further investigation · Review the existing literature pertaining to the topic selected for research.
3. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of research designs and their appropriate utilisation in business and economics · Generate and justify a design for the research question selected – to include the method(s) and its/their implementation.
4. Conceptualise a problem; formulate hypotheses and objectives; design a research strategy, collecting, analysing, and interpreting both quantitative and qualitative data, including commonly encountered statistical procedures · Generate research objectives and develop a research strategy encompassing the methods, data collection, analysis and interpretation.
5. Understand the theoretical principles underlying inferential and descriptive statistics and choose the most appropriate statistical analyses, interpret the results, and write up the results accurately and completely · Demonstrate an understanding of both descriptive and inferential statistics within the data analysis procedures.

· Explain and justify the likely means of analysis to be used in the upcoming research.

 

 

 

TASK DESCRIPTION – ASSIGNMENT

 

BACKGROUND / INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

Select a research topic of your choice based on a business issue and design a research proposal for this topic. The topic should be agreed with your Lecturer at least 4 weeks before submission date. This proposal should not exceed 2500 words. (+/- 10%)

 

 

TASK

 

 

 

Based on the selected topic, you are required to:

 

· Develop a research question and an appropriate set of research objectives

· Justify the choice of research topic including the background and context of the research

· Develop a critical literature review of the research topic

· Design a research methodology based on the topic selected. This would require you to develop a research design and justify your choice as appropriate. Your research design should include the following:

 

Research Philosophy (e.g., positivism, interpretivism, realism and/or pragmatism)

Research Approach (inductive or deductive)

Research strategy

· Discuss and justify the data collection methods – type of data, sampling method and target group

· Discuss the data analysis procedure to be adopted

· Discuss the possible ethical issues that need to be considered in this research

· Discuss the methods by which you would ensure that the research was both valid and reliable

· Discuss any possible limitations to this research

· Provide a research plan (timescale)

· Support with relevant references (Harvard format)

 

In your data collection and data analysis section, discuss how you would collect primary data through the use of one or a combination of methods of data collection methods e.g. questionnaire, interview, focus groups, observation, etc., and how you would analyse this data.

 

 

The above requirements are indicated as the required areas of focus for you to articulate your individual responses. The submission of your work for assessment should be organised and clearly structured in the order outlined below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested Structure – Research Proposal

 

 

1. Research Proposal Title – Reflect as accurately as possible the content of your chosen topic.

 

2. Abstract – This is a brief statement of what you are intending to research. It should be no more than 150 words. This also needs, in brief, to describe the proposal content.

 

3. Introduction

· Relevance of the proposed research to Business research

· Place the proposed study in context

· Justification of the chosen topic

· Value of this research

· Research Question and Research Objectives

(The research question would normally be one overall question, but, exceptionally, a small number (up to 3) question(s) that the research process will address.

Research objectives (usually 4-5 different research objectives) must be clear statements that identify what the research process seeks to achieve.

Both the research question(s) and research objectives must relate to the literature review)

4. Literature Review

· Clear and precise knowledge that relates to the research topic.

· Explains how the proposal relates to the academic debate which has been identified as part of the literature review.

· Demonstrates a link between previous work and current work that has been done in your field of research interest.

· Highlights in the literature review where your research question(s)/objectives came from.

· Concludes with a Conceptual (or Theoretical) Framework.

5. Method

 

This has to relate to the research questions and research objectives and shows how they will be achieved.

 

Your method consists of the following parts:

 

(1) Research design – relates to the research onion (philosophies, approaches, strategies, choices, time horizon). You are expected to make strong justifications in support of your chosen research design.

(2) Data collection – relates to the last phase of the research – the techniques and procedures. Identify how specifically the data will be collected (i.e. questionnaire, focus group, etc…). You are expected to provide the advantages and disadvantages of the various data collection methods and select the most appropriate data collection method(s).

(3) Data analysis – although no data is collected, an indication of the types of analysis to be conducted and how it might be presented is expected.

 

(Your chosen method (1) Research design and (2) Data collection must relate to the purpose of your study.)

 

(3) Ethics considerations

(4) Validity and Reliability issues

(5) Resource Requirements and

(6) A Time plan – perhaps in the form of a Gantt chart

 

 

6. References

 

7. Appendix (if required)

 

 

LENGTH REQUIRED

 

 

2500 +/- 10%. Any deviation from this will be penalised.

 

 

FORMATTING AND LAYOUT

 

 

Please note the following when completing your written assignment:

1. Writing: Written in English in an appropriate business/academic style

1. Focus: Focus only on the tasks set in the assignment.

1. Length: see above

1. Formatting: Typed on A4 paper in Calibri font 12 with at least 2.5 centimetre space at each edge, double spaced and pages numbered.

1. Document format:

Ensure a clear title, course, and name or ID number is on a cover sheet and a Reference List using Harvard Referencing throughout is also provided.

1. Research: Research should use reliable and relevant sources of information e.g. academic books and journals that have been peer reviewed. The research should be extensive.

 

 

The use of a range of information sources is expected – academic books, peer reviewed journal articles, professional articles, press releases and newspaper articles, reliable statistics, company annual reports and other company information.

 

 

 

Further Information

 

The instructions below will provide you with some more, hopefully helpful, advice

 

Research Proposal Title: The title is to create interest and reflect seriousness and relevance. Avoid vague and sweeping phrases covering broad areas of subjects. Endeavour to be clear, specific and precise. Remember that a title, brief as it may be, needs to be faithful to the contents of the research.

 

Abstract: This is a brief statement of what you are intending to research. It should be no more than 1-2 paragraphs. This needs to describe the proposal content. Think of this as an executive summary.

 

Introduction: You need to define the problem. Evidence of analytical thinking, argument analysis, theory application, and data management analysis is required as part of research. Remember to emphasis:

· Relevance of the Proposed Research to Business Research

· Place the proposed study in context

· Justification of the chosen topic

· Value of this research

 

Research question and objectives: This is to form the heart of the research proposal, creating interest and raising queries while serving to discipline and monitor thinking. Good research questions should be clear, specific, and answerable. The research objectives will comprise a general statement on the purpose, intention, or desire outcome of your research project. Please remember:

· There must be 1 research question (exceptionally up to 3) and an appropriate set of objectives

· The research questions and objectives are linked to your Literature review.

 

Literature review: This is designed to situate your research project in a scholarly tradition, acknowledging the contributions made by other scholars and/or practitioners while highlighting the innovative approach of your project, which is expected to shed a new light on the subject or fill a gap in the available literature on it. A critical survey (or critique) of the literature in the research area will also help you define or single out a major work, theory or school of thought you could use or build. (A conceptual or theoretical framework)

 

Research method(s) used: This is to inform the reader how you intend to proceed regarding data (based on what you need, where the data are located, how to get them, what to do with them). The two main methodologies in this connection are Qualitative and Quantitative.

 

Your method consists of two parts:

 

1. Research design – relates to the “research onion” (philosophies, approaches, strategies, choices, time horizon). You are expected to make strong justifications in support of your chosen research design. The “Onion” framework, designed by Saunders at al (2015) will be introduced during the course lectures.

2. Data collection and analysis – relates to the last phase of the research (techniques and procedures). Identify how specifically the data will be collected (i.e. questionnaire, focus group, etc…). You are expected to provide the advantages and disadvantages of the various data collection methods and select the most appropriate data collection method(s). For data analysis, you need to discuss whether or not you will use descriptive or inferential statistics….or both. Also you need to consider which software might be used for the analysis.

 

 

Note that aspects of ethics, validity and reliability must be addressed, either in the course of your writing or in a separate headed section. Also your research proposal must include a time plan for the actual research to be undertaken.

 

It is also likely that your work will have its limitations. It is necessary for you to identify and briefly discuss this aspect.

 

 

More general advice on approaching the assignment:

 

1. Identify the key terms and requirements for a Research Proposal

2. Use the Marking Criteria to understand the expectations of the reader.

3. Create an outline of your assignment.

4. Use your Research and Referencing to support and justify all your points

5. Use Evidence to support your proposed research design and methodology

 

Your assignment should include in-text citations and be supported with a full List of References. You are expected to use the Harvard Referencing Style.

 

Please remember that when you submit your assignment, you need to include your name, student ID (also as a footer) and the title of your assignment.

 

 

 

 

 

marking criteria and Student FEEDBACK

This section details the assessment criteria. The extent to which these are demonstrated by you determines your mark. The marks available for each criterion are shown. Lecturers use a similar format to comment on the achievement of the task(s), including those areas in which you have performed well and areas that would benefit from development/improvement.

 

Common Assessment Criteria Applied Marks available Marks

Awarded

1. Research-informed Literature

Extent of research and/or own reading, selection of credible sources, application of appropriate referencing conventions.

   
Students are expected to critically review the relevant literature pertaining to their selected research topic and specific research question. This Literature should be derived from credible and current sources. Harvard Referencing conventions are expected to be followed.

Similarly, the Research Methodologies and methods aspects of the work should be supported by appropriate literature.

 

 

 

20  
     
2. Knowledge and Understanding of Subject

Extent of knowledge and understanding of concepts and underlying principles associated with the discipline.

   
Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the main models and theories pertaining to the selected research topic.

Similarly, the Research Methodologies and methods aspects of the work will demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of its main academic features.

 

 

 

30  
     
3. Analysis

Analysis, evaluation and synthesis; logic, argument and judgement; analytical reflection; organisation of ideas and evidence

   
Students are expected to organise the material in the Research proposal such that it contains analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In this context, in the Literature Review, schools of thought may be identified, key themes outlined, and other means of demonstrating good organisation of the material demonstrated. Throughout the work, justification for choices made will be apparent.

 

 

 

25  
     
4. Practical Application and Deployment

Deployment of methods, materials, tools and techniques; application of concepts; formulation of innovative and creative solutions to solve problems.

   
Students are expected, in this aspect of the work, to relate what has been learned in the Literature Review to the actual undertaking of the forthcoming research, primarily through the development of a conceptual (or theoretical) framework.

Practical and justifiable recommendations relating to methodology and method should be evident.

 

 

15  
     
5. Skills for Professional Practice

Attributes in professional practice: individual and collaborative working; deployment of appropriate media; presentation and organisation.

10  
Students are expected to communicate and present the Proposal effectively, understandable to both specialists and non-specialists alike. This criterion includes the structure of the work and the standard of English used. It also includes an ability to work at an individual level.

 

 

 

   
TOTAL 100  

 

 

Assignment Mark (Assessment marks are subject to ratification at the Exam Board. These comments and marks are to give feedback on module work and are for guidance only until they are confirmed. ) Late Submission Penalties (tick if appropriate) %

 

 

 

GUIDANCE FOR Students IN THE COMPLETION OF TASKS

 

 

NOTE: The guidance offered below is linked to the five common assessment criteria above.

 

1. Research-informed Literature

Your work must be informed and supported by scholarly material that is relevant to and focused on the task(s) set. You should provide evidence that you have accessed a wide range of sources, which may be academic, governmental and industrial; these sources may include academic journal articles, textbooks, current news articles, organisational documents, and websites. You should consider the credibility of your sources; academic journals are normally highly credible sources while websites require careful consideration/selection and should be used sparingly. Any sources you use should be current and up-to-date, mostly published within the last five years or so, though seminal/important works in the field may be older. You must provide evidence of your research/own reading throughout your work, using in-text citations in the main body of your work and a reference list that is alphabetical at the end of your work. Please use the Harvard referencing system.

 

2. Knowledge and Understanding of Subject

Your work must demonstrate the growing extent of your knowledge and understanding of concepts and underlying principles associated with the subject area. Knowledge relates to the facts, information and skills you have acquired through your learning. You demonstrate your understanding by interpreting the meaning of the facts and information (knowledge). This means that you need to select and include in your work the concepts, techniques, models, theories, etc. appropriate to the task(s) set. You should be able to explain the theories, concepts, etc. meaningfully to show your understanding. Your mark/grade will also depend upon the extent to which you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding; ideally each should be complete and detailed, with comprehensive coverage.

 

3. Analysis

Your work must contain evidence of logical, analytical thinking, evaluation and synthesis. For example, to examine and break information down into parts, make inferences, compile, compare and contrast information. This means not just describing What? but also justifying: Why? How? When? Who? Where? At all times, you must provide justification for your arguments and judgements. Evidence that you have reflected upon the ideas of others within the subject area is crucial to you providing a reasoned and informed debate within your work. Furthermore, you should provide evidence that you are able to make sound judgements and convincing arguments using data and concepts. Sound, valid conclusions are necessary and must be derived from the content of your work. There should be no new information presented within your conclusion. Where relevant, alternative solutions and recommendations may be proposed.

 

4. Practical Application and Deployment

You should be able to demonstrate how the subject-related concepts and ideas relate to real world situations or a particular context. How do they work in practice? You will deploy models, methods, techniques, and/or theories, in that context, to assess current situations, perhaps to formulate plans or solutions to solve problems, some of which may be innovative and creative. This is likely to involve, for instance, the use of real world examples and cases, the application of a model within an organisation and/or benchmarking one organisation against others based on stated criteria. You should show awareness of the limitations of concepts and theories when applied in particular contexts.

 

5. Skills for Professional Practice

Your work must provide evidence of the attributes expected in professional practice. This includes demonstrating your individual initiative and/or collaborative working. You must communicate effectively in a suitable format, which may be written and/or oral, for example, essay, management report, presentation. Work should be coherent and well-structured in presentation and organisation.

 

 

 

UNDERGRADUATE – COMMON ASSESSMENT AND MARKING CRITERIA

  OUTRIGHT FAIL UNSATISFACTORY SATISFACTORY GOOD VERY GOOD EXCELLENT EXCEPTIONAL
Assessment Criteria 0-29% 30-39%* 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
1. Research-informed Literature

Extent of research and/or own reading, selection of credible sources, application of appropriate referencing conventions

Little or no evidence of reading.

Views and findings unsupported and non-authoritative.

Referencing conventions largely ignored.

Poor evidence of reading and/or of reliance on inappropriate sources, and/or indiscriminate use of sources.

Referencing conventions used inconsistently.

References to a limited range of mostly relevant sources. Some omissions and minor errors.

Referencing conventions evident though not always applied consistently.

Inclusion of a range of research-informed literature, including sources retrieved independently. Referencing conventions mostly consistently applied. Inclusion of a wide range of research-informed literature, including sources retrieved independently.

Selection of relevant and credible sources. Very good use of referencing conventions, consistently applied.

A comprehensive range of research informed literature embedded in the work. Excellent selection of relevant and credible sources. High-level referencing skills, consistently applied. Outstanding knowledge of research-informed literature embedded in the work. Outstanding selection of relevant and credible sources. High-level referencing skills consistently and professionally applied.
2. Knowledge and Understanding of Subject

Extent of knowledge and understanding of concepts and underlying principles associated with the discipline.

Major gaps in knowledge and understanding of material at this level. Substantial inaccuracies. Gaps in knowledge, with only superficial understanding. Some significant inaccuracies. Evidence of basic knowledge and understanding of the relevant concepts and underlying principles. Knowledge is accurate with a good understanding of the field of study. Knowledge is extensive. Exhibits understanding of the breadth and depth of established views. Excellent knowledge and understanding of the main concepts and key theories. Clear awareness of challenges to established views and the limitations of the knowledge base. Highly detailed knowledge and understanding of the main theories/concepts, and a critical awareness of the ambiguities and limitations of knowledge.
3. Analysis

Analysis, evaluation and synthesis; logic, argument and judgement; analytical reflection; organisation of ideas and evidence

Unsubstantiated generalisations, made without use of any credible evidence. Lack of logic, leading to unsupportable/ missing conclusions. Lack of any attempt to analyse, synthesise or evaluate. Some evidence of analytical intellectual skills, but for the most part descriptive. Ideas/findings sometimes illogical and contradictory. Generalised statements made with scant evidence. Conclusions lack relevance. Evidence of some logical, analytical thinking and some attempts to synthesise, albeit with some weaknesses.

Some evidence to support findings/ views, but evidence not consistently interpreted.

Some relevant conclusions and recommendations, where relevant

Evidence of some logical, analytical thinking and synthesis. Can analyse new and/or abstract data and situations without guidance.

An emerging awareness of different stances and ability to use evidence to support the argument.

Valid conclusions and recommendations, where relevant

Sound, logical, analytical thinking; synthesis and evaluation. Ability to devise and sustain persuasive arguments, and to review the reliability, validity & significance of evidence. Ability to communicate ideas and evidence accurately and convincingly.

Sound, convincing conclusions / recommendations.

Thoroughly logical work, supported by evaluated evidence. High quality analysis, developed independently or through effective collaboration.

Ability to investigate contradictory information and identify reasons for contradictions.

Strong, persuasive, conclusions, justifiable recommendations.

Exceptional work; judiciously selected and evaluated evidence. Very high quality analysis, developed independently or through effective collaboration.

Ability to investigate contradictory information and identify reasons for contradictions.

Highly persuasive conclusions

4. Practical Application and Deployment

Effective deployment of appropriate methods, materials, tools and techniques; extent of skill demonstrated in the application of concepts to a variety of processes and/or contexts; formulation of innovative and creative solutions to solve problems.

Limited or no use of methods, materials, tools and/or techniques.

Little or no appreciation of the context of the application.

Rudimentary application of methods, materials, tools and/or techniques but without consideration and competence. Flawed appreciation of the context of the application.

 

 

An adequate awareness and mostly appropriate application of well established methods, materials, tools and/or techniques.

Basic appreciation of the context of the application.

 

A good and appropriate application of standard methods, materials, tools and/or techniques.

Good appreciation of the context of the application, with some use of examples, where relevant.

 

A very good application of a range of methods, materials, tools and/or techniques.

Very good consideration of the context of the application, with perceptive use of examples, where relevant.

Evidence of some innovation and creativity.

An advanced application of a range of methods, materials, tools and/or techniques.

The context of the application is well considered, with extensive use of relevant examples.

Application and deployment extend beyond established conventions. Innovation and creativity evident throughout.

Outstanding levels of application and deployment skills. Assimilation and development of cutting edge processes and techniques.
5. Skills for Professional Practice

Demonstrates attributes expected in professional practice including: individual initiative and collaborative working; deployment of appropriate media to communicate (including written and oral); clarity and effectiveness in presentation and organisation.

Communication media is inappropriate or misapplied.

Little or no evidence of autonomy in the completion of tasks.

Work is poorly structured and/or largely incoherent.

Media is poorly designed and/or not suitable for the audience.

Poor independent or collaborative initiative.

Work lacks structure, organisation, and/or coherence

Can communicate in a suitable format but with some room for improvement.

Can work as part of a team, but with limited involvement in group activities.

Work lacks coherence in places and could be better structured.

Can communicate effectively in a suitable format, but may have minor errors.

Can work effectively as part of a team, with clear contribution to group activities.

Mostly coherent work and is in a suitable structure.

Can communicate well, confidently and consistently in a suitable format.

Can work very well as part of a team, with very good contribution to group activities.

Work is coherent and fluent and is well structured and organised.

Can communicate professionally and, confidently in a suitable format.

Can work professionally within a team, showing leadership skills as appropriate, managing conflict and meeting obligations.

Work is coherent, very fluent and is presented professionally.

Can communicate with an exceptionally high level of professionalism.

Can work exceptionally well and professionally within a team, showing advanced leadership skills.

Work is exceptionally coherent, very fluent and is presented professionally.

 

Student Self Evaluation Form
Student name:   Student number:  
Programme:   Year of programme  
Assignment Title:  

This section repeats in brief the common assessment criteria detailed on previous pages. The extent to which these are demonstrated by you determines your mark. Using these criteria, tick the box that best indicates the level of achievement you feel you have achieved with regard to each of them. Please note that this self-assessment is used as a developmental tool only and has no impact on the way in which your work will be marked.

Common Assessment Criteria Applied Level of Achievement
   

REFER

 

3rd

 

2:2

 

2:1

 

1st

 

1st

  OUTRIGHT FAIL UNSATISFACTORY SATISFACTORY GOOD VERY GOOD EXCELLENT EXCEPTIONAL
1. Research-informed Literature

 

0-29% 30-39% 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
               
2. Knowledge and Understanding of Subject 0-29% 30-39% 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
               
3. Analysis

 

0-29% 30-39% 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
               
4. Practical Application and Deployment

 

0-29% 30-39% 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
               
5. Skills for Professional Practice

 

0-29% 30-39% 40-49% 50-59% 60-69% 70-79% 80-100%
               

 

PLEASE COMMENT ON AREAS IN WHICH YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE PERFORMED WELL PLEASE COMMENT ON AREAS you feel that you need TO DEVELOP
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student’s Name   Date  
Student’s Signature  

 

 

 

1

 

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