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Part 1. A research proposal identifying the topic you plan to research and including a rationale for the research, an aim and supporting objectives, a short literature review and a justification of your intended primary research method.

The purpose of this item is to offer you the chance to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study. The valuation enables you to prove that you can classify a suitable research topic, develop a research aim and objectives, carry out both secondary and primary research and present the consequences of your research in a clear and convincing way. The assessment also encourages you to reproduce on your engagement in the research process, with reflections on what you learned for your future personal development.

ASSIGNMENT BRIEF AND GUIDANCE:

Submission Format

Part 1.  A research proposal identifying the topic you plan to research and including a rationale for the research, an aim and supporting objectives, a short literature review and a justification of your intended primary research method.

Part 2. A research report which builds on your proposal and sets out how you conducted the primary research, analyses the data you collected, sets out your overall conclusions and recommendations and then reflects on what you learnt from the project.

Purpose of this assessment

The aim of this unit is to offer you the opportunity to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study. The assessment enables you to demonstrate that you can identify a suitable research topic, develop a research aim and objectives, carry out both secondary and primary research and present the outcomes of your research in a clear and convincing way. The assessment also encourages you to reflect on your engagement in the research process, with reflections on what you learned for your future personal development.

Scenario

Choosing a topic

You need to choose a topic for your assignments within the general subject area of globalisation.  Background material can be found in the document Research Project Theme 2018, which is on the Moodle page for this module.

Pearson suggest that the range of topics students could cover includes the following:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of a global business environment
  • How globalisation can drive business success
  • The benefits and the risks of offshoring and outsourcing
  • The interrelationship between global business and global politics and the challenges that can create
  • The different strategies employed by businesses to enter emerging markets
  • Competing with multinational companies and survival strategies for local companies in emerging markets
  • The impact of globalisation on the corporate structures of large multinational companies and the major challenges they face.

Before you do a lot of work on this assignment, you should discuss your ideas for a topic with the module tutor and ensure that he agrees that the topic is a suitable one. One key factor to consider if whether you can get access to a suitable business/organisation – some of the topics suggested by Pearson really need such access if you are to gather primary data.  If you cannot get access to a suitable organisation, you need to think about a research topic that can be carried out by gathering data from actual or potential customers or members of the public – for example, to assess their views on the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation or to do market research relevant to a UK company seeking to enter a foreign market (or a foreign company looking to expand into the UK). 

The research topic must be focussed on a problem/issue (or opportunity) for a specific organisation or sector, or a specific issue/problem relevant to globalisation more generally.  And the intended audience for your research report is the senior management of that organisation.

You should not choose an organisation/sector and subject where everything is proceeding satisfactorily, as this would not lead to an interesting and analytical piece of research.  This is an absolutely fundamental point and it is important that the introduction to the proposal sets out clearly what the problem/issue/opportunity is, with strong supporting evidence. 

Identifying a specific problem/issue/opportunity as the focus of the research should also help you to start developing an effective conceptual framework for the research, as illustrated below.  If the problem (or issue or opportunity) is not clearly formulated at the start of the research, the later parts of the conceptual framework will be hard to formulate and the value of the research will be unclear.

The proposed research should involve primary data collection – in other words, data that you will collect yourself. You should choose a topic that it would be realistic for a student to do in the time available.  You are not expected to propose a topic that would require a large research team or take years to complete! 

As your research proposal will include a short literature review, it is also important to consider whether there is enough academic literature on the chosen subject.

You are strongly recommended to propose only one method of collecting your primary data – e.g. a questionnaire survey or semi-structured interviews, not both.

Task 1

You are required to produce a research proposal with the following sections:

Title Page

CHAPTER 1         Introduction [around 500 words]

CHAPTER 2         Literature Review [around 1,000 words]

CHAPTER 3         Methodology Justification [250-500 words]

References

ANNEX 1            Research ethics approval form

Chapter 1. Introduction

In the introduction you should introduce the reader to the background to the study and the nature of the problem/issue/opportunity. It should therefore set the study in context explaining why this study is important. The main focus of the justification should be on why the research would be useful to the specific organisation to the wider sector.  But you could also mention the academic interest of the topic – for example, how it would fill a gap in the literature.  The aim and objectives should be stated clearly in this chapter.

Chapter 2.  Literature Review

You are expected to provide a critical review of the existing literature on the research area being investigated.  Key factors to take into account are:

•          You cannot read every book and article on your chosen topic.  Nevertheless your review should indicate that you have studied some good quality academic work in the field, including journal articles reporting relevant empirical research and/or credible stories from specialist or general news sites. 

•          The literature review should be relevant to your research aim and objectives. It should also inform your choice of methodology (e.g. you should consider what primary research methods previous researchers have used and consider whether this suggests you should propose the same method or a different one, or variations in your approach to build on what others have done).

•          Critically reviewing past research is essential. You cannot just describe what you have read, with each article summarised in turn.  The material needs to be organised into relevant themes/topics.

•          The literature must be up-to-date.  You should be looking to use plenty of recent literature (not older than five years).

Chapter 3.  Methodology Justification

The purpose of this chapter is to explain briefly what your primary research method will be and then to justify why you chose that method.  In other words, what are the advantages of the proposed method in your specific case and, where there are potential disadvantages of the method, why are these not so important or how do you plan to minimise them through a good research design.

Annex 1.  Research ethics approval form

A version of this form is at Annex 1.  You will need to complete this form and attach it as an annex to your assignment.  

This provides evidence for P1, P2 and P5

Word count: 2,000 words, +/-10%, excluding the research ethics approval form.


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