Due Date: 26 July 2020
Learning outcomes assessed:
1. analyse formal research project phases;
2. create a professional level research question/hypothesis;
3. conduct a critical research literature review to support a formal research project;
4. critically analyse research methods and select an appropriate research methodology to address a specific research question;
5. create a formal research proposal;
6. analyse ethical issues in a proposed formal research project; 7. create a formal ethics approval application.
Students will identify an area to research, formulate research questions/hypotheses, conduct a literature review, select a methodological approach and create both research approval and ethics approval application documents for an extended field, dissertation or thesis project.
Assessment Weighting: 55% Word Count: 3000 (+ or – 10%)
(Does not include table of contents, figures and tables, references, and appendices).
Students are expected to clearly identify key issues/problems/challenges/opportunities that the practitioners are facing or need to explore from the perspective of applied research. Most importantly, you need to support your arguments with valid reference and justify the phenomenon you are trying to explain/understand. Also important are your research questions and objectives. You need to explain and justify how you will achieve the understanding of your research problem through these objectives and provide recommendations with sound analysis and compelling evidence (i.e., theories, frameworks, variables etc.). You are encouraged to review the governing theory/theories underlying your theoretical or conceptual framework. Key measurement instruments (questions) for measuring your selected variables should be clearly identified with their sources. Your proposed methodology should clearly establish your unit of analysis, population and how you intend to choose your sample from the population. You need to demonstrate that you are aware of the pros and cons of your proposed methodology and why you believe that it is preferable to alternatives. See the marking rubric for more details.
Your report will demonstrate both academic and professional standards. As a minimum standard, you are expected to provide research background, problem statement, research questions/objectives, significance of study, selected theory/framework/variables and proposed methodology. Appropriate literature should be provided to support your arguments.
Please research extensively and support your work with valid materials. Your depth of research is further demonstrated by your use of in-text referencing which will support your argument, and eliminates concerns regarding plagiarism, using the APA referencing Style.
Information is expected to be gathered from a wide range of sources including: Journals, Industry reports, Business magazines, Newspaper articles as well as company websites and company annual reports.
Additional Notes on Report Submission
• All submissions should be 1.5 spaced. Allow a minimum of 25mm (1”) on left, right, top and bottom margins. All pages should be numbered. You can use either Arial or Times New Roman type font size 12.
• Print on only one side of the page;
• Be consistent in your formatting for things such as headings, subheadings, numbering, and in the way graphs and tables are presented;
• All tables and figures need to be numbered and labelled and referred to as such in the text before they appear in the report.
• Use APA 6.0 referencing style.
• Do not use first person language, e.g., “I” and “we” and avoid colloquialisms and clichés in business research.
• Rewrite your report until it is clear and interesting. The first draft never works. Proofread to eliminate obvious errors.
o Even better, ask someone else to proofread. Correctness and accuracy in spelling, grammar and punctuation are expected.
Plagiarism and copying from others without proper referencing/citation is considered a prohibited practice and will be penalised severely.
You must submit your literature review electronically through Turnitin (www.turnitin.com) before the deadline, and its hard copy to the submissions box (in I block) at your earliest convenience.
NOTE: Assignments which are submitted after the due date and time will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available per working day late, up to a maximum of five working days. Assignments submitted after five working days will be graded with zero marks.
You can select any contemporary business-related topic you like.
General discussion of any of the topics selected should be narrowed down to the discussion of a problem/opportunity of applied character (dealing with a specific business decision for a specific organisation/industry). In other words, you may start with the topic discussion at a broad level (e.g. existing literature on your topic, general trends), but later you must connect this discussion with a specific phenomenon (e.g. high staff turnover in an organisation/specific industry).
You can discuss an organisation/industry that you are currently working for or have worked for in the past. It could be an organisation/industry in which you are interested and may wish to approach, or you may know someone who works in an organisation/industry with whom you can discuss issues from the topic. Your research must have a New Zealand Context.
If you decide to consider a large organisation with numerous branches, you need to focus only on a particular branch/department.
Based on your literature review, you are expected to develop three research questions (or hypotheses) for your study.
This assignment is done individually. It is your responsibility to ensure you submit work that is your own and that any work/idea that is not your own is correctly paraphrased and/or cited.
Cover Page and Research Title
Introduction (500 words, 26% of the mark) In this section, you need to present the following:
• Background of the study o Using the funnel approach, present the organisation/industry considered.
• Problem Statement o Define the problem/opportunity being addressed in a way that's clear and precise. In general, a problem statement will outline the negative points of the current situation and explain why this research matters to the practitioners. What is already known about your topic? What is missing?
• Research Questions and Objectives o Present your research questions / hypothesis & objectives.
Please develop your research questions and objectives based on the selected framework/models/variables that will provide alternative solutions to the practical challenges. This section should explain the research question (Qualitative, Quantitative or Mixed Method).
• Significance of Study o Explain why your topic is important and why you have selected it. This section should justify how the proposed research will address issues of importance to both academics and practitioners. What contribution will the investigation make? To whom? How? Why?
• Scope and Limitation of Study o Identify the scope of the review — what aspects of the topic will be discussed/excluded from discussion
o Establish salient points that will be covered by the means of the research o How would your research findings be communicated back to the interested parties or participants?
Literature review (1500 words, 35% of the mark) In the literature review, you need to:
• Proceed from the general, wider view of the research under review to the specific problem (Funnel Approach):
a) Identify major concepts and influential studies in relation to your topic (underpinning theories).
b) Discuss at least 15 sources relevant to your topic. When discussing these sources, focus on areas of agreement, disagreements, tensions and contentious issues related to your topic. Explain how sources mentioned are related to the problem/opportunity of a particular organisation.
c) Provide insight into the relation between the studies discussed and your topic.
d) In your discussion of the literature, show your reader where your research questions fit in as a result of the findings from your literature review.
Methodology and Methods (800 words, 20% of the mark)
Explain your methodology to conduct the research and how you intend to collect the required data to obtain the stated objectives.
• Briefly discuss your philosophical approach to the research design and explain why you have used this approach.
• What sampling technique(s) will you use and why?
• How many participants will be involved and why? How will you recruit participants?
• Where will you conduct the research?
• What method(s) of data collection will you use and why?
• What method(s) of data analysis will you use and why?
• How long would this research take?
Conclusion (200 words, 4%)
• Provide a summary of the most salient points from all previous sections o Point out how your findings from the literature can help the organisation address problems/opportunities identified through the proposed methodology.
• Indicate who the potential users of the study findings could be, and how the study might be used to improve the organisation(s), group(s), or sector.
Ethics Application form - see below (not included in the word count, submitted only in the hard copy) (10% of the mark)
• Use multiple, relevant and current scholarly articles and sources.
• Use a minimum of 15 articles.
• Reference style is consistent with APA 6 format.
For this literature review, you need to include justifications which are based on academically recognised articles. Your main source of information will be in:
• Academic Books
• Journal Publications
• Business Magazines
• Industry reports
• Statistical reports
For guidance on report writing see:
Academic writing for international students of business