1. Theresearchmustbefocusedonabusinessormanagementproblem/issue (oropportunity)foraspecificorganisation. Theintroductiontotheresearch report needsto presentsomegoodsupporting evidenceofthis(e.g. ifthe researchisaboutstaff absenteeism,whatistheabsenteeismratein thechosen organisation?how doesitcomparewiththesectoraverage?hasitbeen increasing?what problems/costshaveresulted?).
2. Theresearchreport mustincludeprimary data(i.e.datathatyouhavecollected andanalysed). Itisstrongly recommendedthatyouuseeither aquestionnaire survey orsemi-structuredinterviews. Ifcarryingoutaquestionnairesurvey,the minimumnumberofcompletedquestionnairestobeanalysedshouldbe20,but itwouldbepreferabletocollect more– 40- 60wouldbegood. Ifdoingsemi- structured interviews,theresearchshouldbe based on atleastfourinterviews, eachlastingaround15-20minutes.Primary datacanbecollectedfromstaff and/ormanagerswithinanorganisation,ifyouhaveaccess,orfromcustomers ofanorganisation(asurveydoesnotrequiretheorganisation’spermissionifit is carried outonthepavementoutsidethepremises).
3. Thereshouldbeenoughacademicliteratureonthechosensubjecttoallowyou to produceagoodliterature review.
4. Thetopicshould beonethatisrealistictocompletewithinthetimeavailable.As ageneralrule,itisbettertochooseatopicthatlooksnarrowratherthanone thatlooks very broad. Youshould also avoidcombiningtwo differentsubjects in onepiece ofresearch.
Furtheradvicewillbeprovidedinclass,alongwithanopportunity todiscussyour proposedtopicwithfellowstudents.IMPORTANT: You should also agreethetopicandbroad approachwith themoduletutor beforecommencingyour research.
PART ONE – THE RESEARCH PROPOSAL
You can’t go straight into starting a research project, without first having thought about what you want to research, you need to carry out a RESEARCH PROPOSAL.
A good proposal will demonstrate that you have a clear vision of what you want to investigate, why is this an interesting topic? How will you approach the research question? what are the expected outcomes?
The research proposal is an important document and if well designed can be valuable in forming an outline of your research project. It is the starting point for your proposed research and is an important way to focus and define your research plans
You will work on this with your tutor, in class, and as part of your own, independent study. You will use the attached template, which guides you through the key areas of what is expected within your research proposal.
Your tutor will help you in class and also help each other to think of areas of study.
You will be given all the theory in class, and then you will be given the individual time, in class, to start to work on the Research Proposal, looking at as many potential ideas that you can.
This is such an important part of your work, and this will be placed in the APPENDIX of your main research project report, to support your reasons WHY you chose this topic.
The recommended word count for this is on your template and this needs to be
submittedby the 13th October2014 as a paper copy to your tutor and on My Page
The sooner you get your proposal approved, then the sooner you can start to work with your mentor and act on the work you have completed in your proposal. 13thOctober 2014 is the DEADLINE date for this to be submitted in PERSON to your tutor, who will then go through it andsit with you to make changes/look at alternatives and/or approve it for you to start.
PART TWO – THE RESEARCH REPORT
Format and indicative contentof theresearch report
Research reportsgenerallyfollowa standardformat, witheachchapter having a specific purpose. Youare expectedtofollowthis approach:
1Introduction–thischaptershouldintroducetheproblem,issueoropportunity thatisthefocusoftheresearch. Itneedstoprovidesomeevidencetoshow whythis topic has beenchosenandwhytheresearchis potentially goingto help the organisation. Backgroundonthechosenorganisationshould bekept short, relevantandfactual. Youshouldindicatehow theresearchwasplannedand annex tothereporta tableshowing howyoubrokethework downintostages and thekey considerationsrelevanttoeachstage. Thechaptershouldendwith
aresearch aim,objectives or researchquestions.
[LO 1:AC 1.1, 1.2, 1.4&1.5]
2. Literaturereview–thischaptershouldincludeareview ofrelevantbooksand articlesonthesubject. Itisnotnecessary tolookatawiderangeofsources; relevanceandademonstrationthatyouunderstandthe material aremore important.
Theliterature reviewhas twomainpurposes:
a) tofind outwhatother peoplehavewrittenonthesubjectthatis directlyrelevant inaddressingyourresearchtopic(e.g. goodpracticeideas forreducing absenteeism atwork);
b) togiveyouideasabouthowtoconductyourprimaryresearch,includingthe mainquestionstoask(e.g.byidentifyingamodelusedinpreviousresearch thatcouldbeused,perhaps withsomemodifications,inyour primaryresearch).
[LO2:AC1.3, 2.2 and LO3:AC 3.1&3.2]
3.Methodology–thischaptershouldbrieflyexplainwhyyouchoseyourprimarydata collection method and then outline the main stages you went through incollectingandanalysingthedata.
4.Results–thischapter needstosetouttheresultsandalsoanalysethem. The approach takenwilldependonwhethertheprimary researchuses aquantitative or qualitativemethod. Analysing quantitativedatadoesnotrequire youtouse complex statisticaltechniques,althoughyouwillneedto be abletouse percentages andcreate andinterpretcharts,cross-tabulationsetc.
[LO2:AC2.2&2.3 and LO3:AC 3.1&3.2]
5. Conclusions andrecommendations–theconclusions needtoset outwhat you foundinyour research,comparedwiththe originalresearch aim, objectives, questions etc. Therecommendations follow onfromthis andshouldsetout2-4 specificideasfortheorganisationtoconsider,basedontheevidenceyouhave
collectedfrom theliteratureandyour primaryresearch.
This part is the presentation of ALL your results and workand will form the final part of this unit’s Learning outcome 4, basedontheoverallstructureandcoherenceoftheresearch report, includingreferencing ofsources usingtheHarvard referencingsystem.
DEADLINE FOR THE RESEARCH PROJECT REPORT: An electronic copy by the 09th March2015 VIA MYPAGE PORTAL.
EXTRA Student Guidelines:
There isnomaximum or minimumword limit,butas anindicationtheresearchreport is expectedto be around5,000wordslong,excludingannexes andthelist ofreferences.
Thismightbe broken down asfollows:
2. LiteratureReview: 1000 words
3. Methods: 1,000words
4. Results:1,200words(longer if usingsemi-structuredinterviews)
5. Conclusionsandrecommendations: 1,000words
Appendixshouldbeusedfor necessarysupportinginformation. Theseshouldinclude theprojectplan anda blank copyofthequestionnaire or semi-structuredquestions (These will NOT be counted as part of the Word Count). There isnoneedforan executivesummary.
•Use diagramsandtablesoffigureswhereappropriateandreference theirsource
•Use 12pointonTimesNewRomanor Arial script
•Completethetitlepage andsign thestatementof authenticity
BREAKDOWN OF THE LEARNING OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR THIS UNIT:
Onsuccessfulcompletionof thisunitalearnerwill: Assessmentcriteria for pass
Understandhowto formulate aresearch specification 1.1 formulate and record possible research projectoutlinespecifications
1.2 identifythe factors that contribute to the process ofresearch projectselection
1.3 undertake acriticalreviewofkeyreferences
1.4 producearesearch projectspecification
1.5provideanappropriateplanandprocedures for the agreedresearchspecification
Beabletoimplementthe researchprojectwithinagreed procedures and to
2.1matchresourcesefficientlytotheresearch question orhypothesis
2.2 undertake the proposed research investigation in accordance with the agreed specification and procedures
2.3 record and collate relevant data where appropriate
Beableto evaluatethe research outcomes 3.1 use appropriate research evaluation techniques
3.2 interpret and analyse the results in terms of the originalresearchspecification
3.3 make recommendations and justify areas for furtherconsideration
Beableto present the research outcomes 4.1 usean agreed format and appropriate media to present the outcomes of the research toanaudience.
GradeDescriptors –UNIT8– Research Project
GRADEDESCRIPTORS INDICATIVECHARACTERISTICS YOUR CHECKLIST….THIS IS YOUR SPACE TO SEE IF YOU HAVE MET THE CRITERIA WITHIN YOUR WORK.
MERIT: What does this mean?
M1Identifyandapplystrategiestofind appropriatesolutions • Relevanttheoriesandtechniqueshave beenapplied in all areas of the project, from the research proposal to the contents of the report.
• Effectivejudgmentshavebeenmade throughout the analysis of results and conclusions.
• Aneffectiveapproachtostudyand researchhasbeenused in the report and demonstrated through the methodology and results.
methods/techniques • Arangeofmethodsandtechniqueshasbeenapplied through research methods and justified in the methodology.
• Arangeofsourcesof informationused and fully identified using the CORRECT bibliography layout and Full Harvard referencing used, where applicable.
• Complexinformation/datahavebeen synthesizedandprocessed
Findings • Logicalandcoherentargumentshave beenpresented
beenused within the report itself, through diagrams/charts and other means of visual representation.
• Itis appropriateforfamiliarandunfamiliar audiences
DISTINCTION: What does this mean?
Thinking • Synthesishasbeenusedtogenerateandjustifyvalidconclusions through the recommendations and conclusion of the report
• Thevalidityofresultshasbeenjudged.Criticismofapproachhastakenplace through methodology.
• Realisticimprovementshavebeen proposedthrough the recommendations that have been proposed.
• Capacityforinnovationandcreativethoughthasbeenused within the project, that will allow the reader to see the journey of your through process from the start to finish.
organisingactivities • Autonomy/independencedemonstrated through the independent study rime required for this level of project work
• Substantialactivities/projectsor investigationshavebeenplanned, managedandorganised as seen through the overall content of the report. Look closely at the research proposal, research itself and the literature review. This will demonstrate the depth of the activity that has had to take place, for a successful research project.
D3 demonstrate convergent/lateral/ creative thinking • Unique ideas have been generate for the proposals and creative thinking has taken place during the conclusions
• self-evaluation has taken place when discussing changes that could have been made to the project
• convergent and lateral thinking have been applied in the findings section of the report
• innovation and creative thought have been applied during the findings and conclusion of the report