Research Proposal Pro-Forma

Maximum of 4,000 words excluding References. Pass mark is 50%.

Student name and registration number

For example: John Bloggs, 12345678

 

Programme title and mode of attendance

For example: MSc International Business Management Full-Time

 

Title of the research project

For example, ”Supply Chain Systems in the Food Industry: the feasibility of advanced global models in India”

 

Introduction

This section should set out the business context and any existing strategic issues, demonstrating to the reader the relevance of the study. In this section you are expected to describe aims and objectives for the investigation, and to identify specific research questions.

 

Literature Review

This section provides a critical review of the literature related to the issue you are investigating. This means that you should demonstrate your ability to identify and to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the theories or schools of thought relevant to your topic. You should also demonstrate your ability to identify how your study may contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

This section should conclude with the articulation of a conceptual framework, that is, a comprehensive synthesis of the analytical models and concepts which you will use to help you answer your research questions. Typically a conceptual framework explains the importance of certain concepts and their interconnections. The conceptual framework will help you identify what problem dimensions need to be examined, or what ‘measurable’ concepts may constitute evidence to support your argument. It will therefore help you determine the nature of the data to be collected.

 

Methodology

This section should include:

·         a clear reference to your ‘observable concepts’ or research variables, encapsulated by your conceptual framework.

·         the identification of the relevant evidence and associated data sources to support your argument and help you achieve your research objectives.

·         a choice of method(s) for data collection. By identifying your data sources you should then have a fairly clear idea of the methods appropriate to collecting data from these sources.

·         a choice of method(s) for data analysis. By identifying your data sources and data collection method(s) you should then have a fairly clear idea of the methods appropriate to analysing data from these sources.

When identifying the sources of evidence or data, and when planning the data collection, you may decide that you will collect most of the data yourself (primary data), or you may decide that you will use mostly data collected by second parties (secondary data). Also, you may decide to investigate or research an issue with a specific organisation in mind – a client organisation – rather than a generic organisation. Indicate in this section your dissertation orientation:

·         Empirically-based – mostly primary data collected in a specific organisation(s) but with a view to drawing conclusions for organisations generally (that is with a generic organisation in mind)

·         Library-based – mostly secondary data, with a generic organisation in mind

·         Consultancy-based – typically a mix of primary and secondary data collected in one specific organisation mainly with a view to drawing conclusions for this specific organisation  (that is with a client organisation in mind)

 

Ethics

 Discuss any ethical issues arising from the proposed research and ways to address these issues. Please take into account the University Academic Ethical Framework and the University Ethics Check Form, both included in this handbook.

 

References

Include in this section the details of all sources referenced in the body of your Research Proposal. MMUBS Executive has introduced a standard Harvard referencing style for all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School. You should use this standard.

A document is available from the Library providing instruction on applying the MMUBS Harvard referencing standard to your work – this includes detailed instruction on how to cite from and reference different sources. In addition, please see the guidance provided in the Study Skills section.

MS Word End Note software can help you manage your database of references, and help you apply the MMUBS Harvard referencing standard to your work.

 

 

 

 

Ethics Check Form

 

 

Name of Applicant:                                                                                                                  

 

Division:                                                                                                                                  

 

Name of Supervisor:                                                                                                                

 

Title of Dissertation:                                                                                                                 

 

 

Does the project require the approval of any external agency?    YES/NO  (delete as appropriate)

 

If YES has approval been granted by the external agency?         YES/NO  (delete as appropriate)

 

 

Statement by Applicant

 

I confirm that to the best of my knowledge I have made known all relevant information and I undertake to inform my supervisor of any such information which subsequently becomes available whether before or after the research has begun.

 

Signature of Applicant:                                                                          Date:                           

 

 

 

Statement by Supervisor (please sign the relevant statement)

Approval for the above named proposal is GRANTED

I confirm that there are NO ethical issues requiring further consideration.

(Any subsequent changes to the nature of the project will require a review of the ethical considerations)

 

Signature of Supervisor:                                                                                    Date: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­                          

 

 

Approval for the above named proposal is NOT GRANTED

I confirm that there are ethical issues requiring further consideration and will refer the project proposal to the appropriate Committee **

 

Signature of Supervisor:                                                                                    Date:                           

 

**    For work forming part of an MMU taught programme– refer to Faculty Academic Standards Committee

**    For work forming part of an MMU research programme  – refer to Faculty Research Degree Committee

**    For PhD by published work – refer to Research Degree Committee

**    For any other work – refer to appropriate Faculty/Department Committee or line manager

Ethics Check Form: Notes for Guidance

 

Before completing the Ethics Check Form the person undertaking the activity should consider the following questions:

 

 

YES

NO

 N/A

1

Is the size of sample proposed for any group enquiry larger than justifiably necessary?

 

 

 

 

2

Will any lines of enquiry cause undue distress or be impertinent?

 

 

 

   

 

3

Has any relationship between the researcher(s) and the participant(s), other than that required by the academic activity, been declared?

 

 

 

 

4

Have the participants been made fully aware of the true nature and purpose of the study?

 

If NO is there satisfactory justification (such as the likelihood of the end results being affected) for withholding such information? (Details to be provided to the person approving the proposal).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Have the participants given their explicit consent?

 

If NO is there satisfactory justification for not obtaining consent? (Details to be provided to the person approving the proposal).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Have the participants been informed at the outset that they can withdraw themselves and their data from the academic activity at any time?

 

 

 

 

7

Are due processes in place to ensure that the rights of those participants who may be unable to assess the implications of the proposed work are safeguarded?

 

 

 

 

8

Have any risks to the researcher(s), the participant(s) or the University been assessed?

 

If YES to any of the above is the risk outweighed by the value of the academic activity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

If any academic activity is concerned with studies on activities which themselves raise questions of legality is there a persuasive rationale which demonstrates to the satisfaction of the University  that:

 

i  the risk to the University in terms of external (and internal) perceptions of the worthiness of the work has been assessed and is deemed acceptable;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ii   arrangements are in place which safeguard the

interests of the researcher(s) being supervised in pursuit of the academic activity objectives;

 

 

 

 

 

iii special arrangements have been made for the security of related documentation and artefacts.

 

 

 

 


RESEARCH PROPOSAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA (pass mark 50%)                 STUDENT NAME:                                             MARK:

CRITERIA

Learning Outcomes

FAIL

PASS

PASS WITH MERIT

PASS WITH DISTINCTION

0 - 45

45 – 49 (MARGINAL)

50 - 59

60 - 69

70 - 79

80 - 100

1.

Identify the macro and micro organisational contexts for the dissertation and the objectives of the research. This should be in the light of a client’s briefing if applicable.

 

The organizational context and current issues are not identified leading to no clear research objectives.

The organizational context and current issues are partially identified, leading to objectives that are inappropriate or imprecise.

The organizational context and current issues are sufficiently identified and expressed, but lacks clarity in some areas, leading to an adequate but somewhat loose identification of research objectives.

The organizational context and current issues are clearly identified and scoped, leading to the identification of appropriate research objectives.

      

The organizational context and current issues are unambiguously identified, scoped and prioritized, leading to well framed research objectives.

The organizational context and current issues identified are theoretically grounded. Factual data are well used to iterate the business scenario that leads to precisely framed research objectives.

 

Additional feedback comments from the supervisor in relation to learning outcome 1.

 

2.

Critically review and synthesize the relevant literature on the subject area in order to construct a conceptual framework to underpin the research.

 

There is an insufficient range of literature considered. This impairs the analysis and integration of concepts, models and theories that might lead to a conceptual framework to underpin the research.

There is a sufficient range of literature considered, but the analysis and integration of concepts, models and theories are fragmented and do not lead to a clear conceptual framework to underpin the research.

 

There is a sufficient range of literature considered, and some attempt at analysis and integration, but lacking in critical focus towards a clear conceptual framework to underpin the research.

There is an adequate range of literature considered. Analysis and integration of concepts, models and theories have an adequate critical focus, leading to a substantiated conceptual framework to underpin the research.

 

 

An extensive range of literature is considered. Good analysis and integration of concepts, models and theories with substantial critical content.  The conceptual framework underpinning the research is well argued for.

Very good application and critique of concepts with evidence of breadth and depth of literature reviewed and integrated, leading to a sound conceptual framework and a theoretically well grounded investigation.

 

Additional feedback comments from the supervisor in relation to learning outcome 2.

 

3.

Identify the nature of relevant evidence and associated data sources to support the research objectives.

 

There is insufficient identifiable evidence to corroborate the argument and the conclusions. Fieldwork or secondary data is non existent or very little.

Sufficient relevant sources of evidence are identified but the data collection (primary or secondary) is not sufficiently informed by the conceptual framework underpinning the research.

 

Sufficient relevant sources of evidence are identified and the data collection (primary or secondary) is sufficiently informed by the conceptual framework underpinning the research.

An adequate range of relevant sources of evidence are identified. The data collection (primary or secondary) is clearly informed by the conceptual framework underpinning the research.

A wide range of relevant sources of evidence are identified. The data collection (primary or secondary) is clearly and largely informed by the conceptual framework underpinning the research.

 

A wide range of very relevant sources of evidence are identified. The data collection (primary or secondary) is clearly and very thoroughly informed by the conceptual framework underpinning the research.

Additional feedback comments from the supervisor in relation to learning outcome 3.

 

4.

Apply an appropriate methodology for collecting and for analysing primary data with due regard to ethical considerations.

 

Critically discuss the methodology used for secondary data where applicable

 

There is no or very little awareness of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable). No method, justified or recognized in the research methods literature, has been applied. No or very little consideration of ethical issues.

There is sufficient awareness of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable). Research methods are applied but its choice and appropriateness are not sufficiently justified. Sufficient  consideration of ethical issues.

There is sufficient awareness of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable). Research methods are applied, and its choice and appropriateness are sufficiently justified.

Justification for the chosen consultancy approaches (if applicable) is limited.

Sufficient  consideration of ethical issues.

There is a clear understanding of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable). There is a competent use of research methods, and its choice and appropriateness are adequately justified. There is a review of and adequate justification for the chosen consultancy approaches (if applicable). Clear understanding  of ethical issues and associated contingency plan.

 

There is a very clear understanding of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable).

There is a competent and thorough use of research methods, and its choice and appropriateness are well justified. There is a thorough review of and well argued choice of consultancy approaches (if applicable).  Clear understanding  of ethical issues and of how to tackle those during and after the research project.

 

There is an excellent understanding of currently recognized research methodologies and methods, and of consultancy approaches (if applicable). There is an excellent use of appropriate (even innovative) methods, and a very robust justification of the methodology / methods employed and of the consultancy approaches taken (if applicable).

Excellent understanding  of ethical issues and of how to tackle those during and after the research project.

 

Additional feedback comments from the supervisor in relation to learning outcome 4.