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You need to choose a topic for your assignments within the general subject area of equality and diversity in the workplace.

 

Course

HND Business

Academic Year

2019 - 2020

Unit Number & Unit Title

Unit 11: Research Project

Assignment Title

Research proposal and report

Date issued

23.09.2019

 

Formative Submission Deadline

Summative Submission Deadline

     


ASSIGNMENT BRIEF AND GUIDANCE

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 equality and diversity in the workplace.  Equality in this context means ensuring that everybody has the same access to the same opportunities without any discrimination.  For example, people are not rejected for a job, denied promotion, given less important work, awarded lower performance appraisal marks or treated in any other way that is unfair because of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability etc.  Diversity in this context means placing valuing on and respecting people’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills and experiences and using these differences to create a productive and effective workforce. Background material can be found in the document Research Project Theme 2019, which is on the Moodle page for this module.

Pearson suggest that the range of topics students could cover includes the following areas; we have added some comments to expand on each idea:

  • Behaviours that support equality and diversity in the workplace (e.g. if an organisation runs diversity workshops or programmes relating to equality at work, what do staff think about them and their usefulness?)
  • Managing cultural diversity in the workplace (e.g. how do employees from different backgrounds find working together? What are the benefits and problems?)
  • Gender equality in leadership and management (often referred to as a ‘glass ceiling’, are there apparently invisible barriers to women – or other groups, such as ethnic minorities, progressing to senior positions?)
  • Workplace discrimination (e.g. do people from an ethnic minority experience specific forms of discrimination?)
  • The work-life balance and enrichment experiences (e.g. do women experience more problems balancing their work/career with family and social life because they are expected to do more around the home, looking after children, etc?)

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. A key factor to consider is whether you can get access to a suitable business/organisation.  Think about the place where you work, or places you have worked before and have good contacts.  What issues around equality/diversity might be relevant?

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 LO1 and LO3

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

Submission Format

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.

 

Task 2

The research report must be based on your earlier research proposal.  Chapters 1 to 3 should be an updated version of your previous work, taking into account the feedback you received and your increased knowledge of the subject as the research has developed. The research report should then go on to explain how you did your primary research, to analyse your findings and to set out your conclusions, recommendations and reflections.

Title Page

CHAPTER 1   Introduction [around 500 words]

CHAPTER 2   Literature Review [around 1,000 words]

CHAPTER 3   Methodology Justification [250-500 words]

CHAPTER 4   Methodology Explanation [around 1,000 words]

CHAPTER 5   Results [around 1,000 words]

CHAPTER 6   Conclusions and Recommendations [around 750 words]

CHAPTER 7   Reflections [around 500 words]

References

Annexes, including a blank version of your primary data collection instrument and your research ethics approval form

Chapter 4.  Methodology Explanation

This chapter should explain the primary data collection and analysis techniques that you used when doing your primary research.   The chapter needs to be clearly structured and the following model is suggested:

  • Access – how you gained access to the organisation or why consent was not needed
  • Sampling – define the population, explain the sampling method and discuss the sample size
  • Primary data collection instrument – a copy of your questionnaire or interview questions should be included as an annex.  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 administration (e.g. how you went about conducting your questionnaire survey or your interviews)
  • Data analysis approach
  • Ethical issues relevant to the research – refer to and annex the research ethics approval form

Chapter 5. 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 6.  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 7.  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?

Ensure that there is a clear structure to your reflection, do not try to summarise the whole research process and

 

This provides evidence for LO2, LO3 and LO4

Word count: Word count: 5,000 words, +/-10%, excluding the research ethics approval form.

Submission Format

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.

 

The current Assignment Brief covers the following Learning Outcomes

Grading Criteria

Learning Outcomes

Pass

Merit

Distinction

Task No.

Evidence

LO1 Examine appropriate research methodologies and approaches as part of the research process

 

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.

LO1 and LO2

 

D1 Critically evaluate

research methodologies

and processes in

application to a business

research project to justify

chosen research

methods and analysis.

Task 1

Proposal identifies a realistic topic relevant to equality/diversity, which is well justified and with a clear aim and objectives. Should avoid clichéd generalities and instead focus on the specific topic.

Evaluative literature review, based on good relevant materials and a clear structure.

Method is suitable and justification shows a good understanding of research methods, as applied to the specific topic. Should not cover research philosophy, ‘research onion’ etc.

Must be based on student’s own proposed research topic, to be completed later.

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.

Task 2, Chs 4-6

Must include primary research.

Must meet minimum sample sizes – 4 for interviews, c30 for survey.

Data is well presented and clearly analysed, not just presented and described.

Conclusions/recommendations are realistic and based on the evidence presented, but need not be interesting or original.

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.

Tasks 1 and 2

Must follow the structure, approximate word count and expected content set out in the brief. Should not be structured around the LOs.

 

Assignment is professionally presented, correctly referenced using the Harvard style and uses good, academic English.

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.

 

Task 2, Ch 7

Thoughtful reflection on the research process and the lessons the student has learned.

Needs to look credible and specific to the student’s own research.

Self-criticism is encouraged – if it sounds credible, the student should be rewarded for it.

Should have a clear structure.

Reflection should not be about the content of the module, but the student’s own research work and management of their work over the two assignments.

 

Student Achievements and Assessor Feedback

Student achievement and Assessor feedback for both formative and summative submissions will be recorded within Grademark Turnitin via Moodle and will be available for students to view as notified on Turnitin. Please use exclusively the grade classification below.  

Assessment Grading Scale

Grade Classification

Numeric Value (on Grademark)

Grade Listed As

Distinction

75

D

Merit

65

M

Pass

45

P

Unclassified/ Referred

35

U

Alleged Academic Misconduct

0

SP

 

 

Student submission and declaration

The following declaration will be inserted in the Turnitin link for both formative and summative submissions:

‘I certify that by submitting the work for this assessment on Moodle (and via Turnitin) it is my own work and all research sources are fully acknowledged using the Harvard system of references. I certify that there are no personal or mitigating circumstances that have affected my work.’

By submitting such document, you acknowledge that your work is your own, and abides by the DGHE code of conduct, and Pearson regulations.

Please note that in case of academic malpractice DGHE reserves the right to decline to accept the work for assessment purposes, and/or conduct an investigation, which might result in an oral presentation, oral or written exam, or any other appropriate form of examination. Further information can be found in the academic integrity and misconduct policy, the assessment policy, and the student handbook.

 ANNEX 1.  ETHICAL ISSUES FORM

Section 1: Basic Details

Project title:

Student name:

Student ID number:

Programme:

School:

Intended research start date:

Intended research end date:

Section 2: Project Summary

Please highlight all research methods that you plan to use as part of your project:

• Interviews:

• Questionnaires:

• Observations:

• Use of Personal Records:

• Data Analysis:

• Action Research:

• Focus Groups:

• Other (please specify):

Section 3: Participants

Please answer the following questions, giving full details where necessary.

Will your research involve human participants?

Who are the participants? Highlight all that apply:

Ages 12-16    Young People aged 17–18    Adults

How will participants be recruited (identified and approached)?

Describe the processes you will use to inform participants about what you are doing:

How will you obtain consent from participants? Will this be written? How will it be made clear to participants that they may withdraw consent to participate at any time?

Studies involving questionnaires: Will participants be given the option of omitting questions they do not wish to answer?  Yes: No

If No please explain why below and ensure that you cover any ethical issues arising from this

Studies involving observation: Confirm whether participants will be asked for their informed consent to be observed. Yes: No

Will you debrief participants at the end of their participation (i.e. give them a brief explanation of the study)? Yes: No

Will participants be given information about the findings of your study? (This could be a brief summary of your findings in general)  Yes: No

Section 4: Data Storage and Security

Confirm that all personal data will be stored and processed in compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998)

Yes: No

Who will have access to the data and personal information?

During the research:

Where will the data be stored?

Will mobile devices such as USB storage and laptops be used?   Yes: No

If yes, please provide further details:

After the research:

Where will the data be stored?

How long will the data and records be kept for and in what format?

Will data be kept for use by other researchers?  Yes: No

If yes, please provide further details:

Section 5: Ethical Issues

Are there any particular features of your proposed work which may raise ethical concerns? If so, please outline how you will deal with these:

It is important that you demonstrate your awareness of potential risks that may arise as a result of your research. Please consider/address all issues that may apply. Ethical concerns may include, but are not limited to the following:

• Informed consent.

• Potentially vulnerable participants.

• Sensitive topics.

• Risks to participants and/or researchers.

• Confidentiality/anonymity.

• Disclosures/limits to confidentiality.

• Data storage and security, both during and after the research (including transfer, sharing, encryption, protection).

• Reporting.

• Dissemination and use of your findings


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