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Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the chosen research topic and its research background.

MANM386 Research Methods – Assignment Briefing

  • Assessment name: Research Proposal
  • Assessment type: Individual Academic Report - Summative
  • Word count: 2,500 words Maximum
  • Weighting: 100%
  • Hand out date: Lecture/Seminar 1 in Week 1
  • Submission time and date: 4pm on Wednesday 8th December 2021 via Surrey Learn

Assignment Objectives

This assignment is designed to enable students to demonstrate their breadth and depth of understanding of both the theories of research methods and application of the theoretical knowledge to research problems in their subject context. This assignment requires writing a research proposal in which students will identify their area of research, develop research questions to be answered or hypotheses to be tested, conduct literature review, and select the appropriate research methods to answer the research questions. Students will need to draw on the latest academic research and industry trends to demonstrate the relevance of their research topic

Students may choose any topic that is relevant to their study programme and develop their individual research proposal. This research proposal may be used as the basis for their programme dissertation, but this is not essential i.e. a student can choose a different topic for their dissertation. No data collection is required or envisaged within this module.

The assessment strategy consists of formative and summative assessments. Only the summative assessment contributes towards the final grade of each student for this module. A formative assessment strategy is used to help students gradually build up their knowledge and skills, and obtain on-going feedback to help them improve their research proposal.

Assignment Requirements

1. This assignment should be a maximum length of 2500 words (abstract, tables, graphs, reference list and appendices excluded), word-processed, 1.5 line spaced using 12 point, Arial font

2. Use one inch (about 2.5 cm) margins as a minimum to right and left.

3. Use Harvard Style citation and referencing.

4. The structure of the research proposal is suggested as below:

  • Abstract (max 150 words)
  • Table of Content
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Conclusion
  • References

5. This is a non-prescriptive example of a good Research Proposal. A good research proposal:

  • Includes an Abstract at the beginning, outlining research topic, objectives and research method
  • Defines precisely its topic and research objectives
  • Outlines the relevant context
  • Critically reviews available literature, focusing on research methods used by other scholars
  • Identifies data needs and sources to meet its research objectives
  • Presents and justifies the research method
  • Acknowledges any weaknesses of the selected research method
  • Categorises and manages relevant ethical challenges

6. Late submissions will be subject to a penalty for each day after the submission deadline as outlined in the PGT Handbook.

7. Plagiarism: Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism are totally unacceptable in the University of Surrey and will be penalised accordingly. All sources of information must be fully referenced using the Harvard system; please run your assignment through Turnitin before the final submission and update your references as necessary. Additionally, outsourcing assignment writing is considered plagiarism. For full details on academic misconduct definitions and guidance please see the link below: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/officestudentcomplaints-appeals-and-regulation/academic-misconduct.

Formative Feedback and Writing Resources

The University offers online resources, drop-in tutorials and workshops regarding academic writing and referencing. Please visit https://www.surrey.ac.uk/studentsupport/study/academic-skills-and-development for details.

Training workshops regarding library resources, literature search, referencing, and research ethics will be offered in Week 2 and Week 9.

A library Q & A session will be offered in Week 10.

Research ideas of your research proposal are encouraged to be posted on the discussion board on Surrey Learn by Week 4 seminar in order to get formative feedback.

Practices and activities regarding how to write each part of a research proposal will be offered during seminars. Student consultations, Q & A and formative feedback will be available during seminars throughout the semester.

Marking Criteria


  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the chosen research topic and its research background.
  • Provide strong rationale for the research by justifying the significance of the research topic and identifying the research gaps.
  • Clearly outline the research objectives and appropriate research questions.
  • Demonstrate the originality, theoretical contribution and expected practical implications of the research preproposal.
  • Evidence of extensive reading.
  • Appreciation of relevant industry trends. 25% Literature Review
  • Demonstrate a thorough and in-depth theoretical understanding about the research topic and relevant concepts/variables
  • Provide a comprehensive review of relevant 25% 4 literature.
  • Critical discussion and synthesis of the literature.
  • Identify the theory/theories that can be used as theoretical foundation of the research, and elaborate how it can be applied in the present research • Strong and solid hypothesis development and appropriate hypothesis statements (for quantitative study only)
  • Appropriate depth of analysis and evidence of extensive reading. Methodology
  • Clear and well-articulated academic rationale for methodology and research approach.
  • Appropriateness and feasibility of methodology to answer the research questions/objectives.
  • Appropriate details of research design and methods used.
  • Appropriate details of research instrument (e.g., measurements of key variables, experimental manipulations, questions to be asked in interviews)
  • Clearly outline and justify the sampling strategy.
  • Clear and feasible plan on data collection and data analysis.
  • Demonstrate rigor of methodology by discussing reliability and validity issues.
  • Consideration of ethical issues and limitations of the research methodology. 35% Organisation and Structure
  • The research proposal has a clear structure, and a coherent storyline.
  • There is a clear line of argumentation, with quality, logical and convincing arguments.
  • Information and ideas are presented in a clear, accurate and logical manner. 10% Presentation
  • Appropriate and consistent format of writing (e.g., font size, font color, font type, line space, indent, headings and sub-headings, title page, page number etc.)
  • Accurate citation and referencing format in Harvard Style, with a relevant and up-to5% 5 date list of references.
  • Appropriate use of academic English
  • Appropriate use of graphs, figures and tables.

The assignment will be marked by the lecturers and experienced GTAs. A sample of assignments will be second-marked. Second-marking ensures that marking is fair and consistent. In case of marker discrepancy, marks are discussed on an individual basis. Students can expect to have their assignments returned within three weeks. The Grade Descriptors (Module Handbook p.20) will be used to assess all submissions.

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