When your project plan has been approved, you will be able to carry out the research project. The required elements of the research report are set out in the diagram below, along with an indication of the length of the respective sections. There is no need for a contents list for the report.
CHAPTER 1 Introduction [around 500 words]
CHAPTER 2 Literature Review [around 1,000 words]
CHAPTER 3 Methodology [around 1,000 words]
CHAPTER 4 Results [around 1,000 words]
CHAPTER 5 Conclusions and Recommendations [around 1,000 words]
CHAPTER 6 Reflections [around 500 words]
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. This chapter should be based on your project plan (Task 1), suitably updated to address any feedback you received on it.
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
The purpose of this chapter is to justify and explain your chosen primary research method. 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.
This chapter should cover the following:
• why you chose your primary data collection 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 you minimised them through a good research design
• sampling – define the population, explain the sampling method and discuss the sample size
• primary data collection instrument – note the main themes, links to the literature, question formats and piloting. A copy of your questionnaire or interview questions should be included as an appendix. This should be annotated with comments on each question so that the reader can see how each of them links to the literature on the topic
- data collection - how you arranged and conducted the survey or interviews
• ethical issues relevant to the research, including how you conducted the research ethically, with particular mention of data storage
Chapter 4. Results
This chapter should set out and analyse the results of the primary research that you conducted. The content of the chapter will vary depending on whether you have used a qualitative approach (e.g. semi-structured interviews with staff or managers) or a quantitative one (e.g. a questionnaire survey of staff). Whatever the method, you will be expected to take an analytical approach when examining the data, including suitable references back to your literature review, and not simply to describe what you found.
Chapter 5. Conclusions and Recommendations
This chapter needs to bring together what you have found out on the subject of your research, taking into account your initial aim and objectives and the findings of your literature review and primary data collection. The conclusions should summarise what you have actually found. The recommendations should set out the actions which you believe the organisation or sector should implement, or at least consider. Recommendations need to be specific, supported by the evidence you have gathered and also ones that look to be realistic and cost-effective for the organisation where you carried out your research.
Chapter 6. Reflections
This chapter should reflect on what you learnt about the research process during your project. Think about the following questions and address one or two of them in your reflections:
• How do you evaluate the success of your research?
• With the benefit of what you now know, would you have modified your original topic in any way?
• Did the research go as you had expected or were there things that surprised you?
• Would you do some elements of the research differently if you had a second chance?
• What are the most important lessons you have learnt from the research project?
You will also need to include the following:
a) Project log-book: you need to have a minimum of four supervision meetings in total with your supervisor over the two terms. After each meeting, you will need to complete an entry in your log-book. Annex 1 comprises a template which you should use. (For students doing the module over one term, you should complete an entry after each discussion of your topic with your module tutor/supervisor, plus at other key stages - e.g. after completing the literature review or the primary research - so that you also have a minimum of four log-book entries in total.)
b) An annotated copy of your questionnaire or interview questions, showing the links to relevant literature It is not necessary to include all of the completed questionnaires or recordings/transcripts of interviews. However, you should keep such materials until after your results for this module have been confirmed, in case there are any questions about the authenticity of your data and you are required to provide evidence to show that you did carry out your primary research.
This provides evidence for LO2, LO3 and LO4
Word count: 5,000 words +/-10%.