Introduction “Before you start your research you need to have at least some idea of what you want to do. Without being clear about what you are going to research it is difficult to plan how you are going to research it (Saunders et al, 2003).
The quote below illustrates the above points:
This is part of Alice’s conversation with the Cheshire Cat. In this Alice asks the cat (Carroll, 1989:63-4):
‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where, ‘said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,’ said the Cat. (Saunders et al, 2003)
Formulating and clarifying the research topic is the starting point of your research project (Ghauri & Gronhaug, 2002; Smith and Dainty, 1991). Once you are clear about this you will be able to choose the most appropriate research strategy and data collection and analysis techniques. The formulating and clarifying process is time consuming and will probably take you up blind alleys (Saunders and Lewis, 1997). However, without spending time on this stage you are far less likely to achieve a successful project (Raimond, 1993)
Your research proposal must be written and presented in the format outlined below:
Research aim, research questions or hypotheses and objectives
Guidelines Please read carefully or you could end up penalising yourself.
Below are some points to consider for your research proposal.
• Background section: Review of Literature (no more than 2000 words)
– Why is research that you are planning worth the effort?
– Use of academic journals
– Identify your area of research
– Demonstrate your critical engagement with the relevant literature
– Clarify where your proposal fits into the debate in the literature
– Identify gaps in existing literature
– Show a clear link between the previous work that has been done in your field of research interest and the content of your proposal etc
– Identify relevant academic theory, models, frameworks and concepts
• Industry Background (no more than 250 words)
– Place the research into context.
– This should clarify further why the research is being done, under what conditions it is being done and what its impact is hoped to be.
• Research aim, research questions or hypotheses and objectives
– What does this research aim to explore/find out?
– Research questions (no more than two)
– Hypotheses (no more than two)
– Objectives (Minimum 3 & Maximum 4)
• Research Methodology (no more than 1500 words)
– This section will detail how you intend to go about achieving your research objectives
– It will explain your choice of research philosophy
– It will also clarify the methods you will use to collect and analyse the evidence necessary to achieve your research objectives and answer your research question(s)
– It will also clarify where you intend to carry out the research
– It will also detail which sectors of the market you have chosen to research and why you chose these sectors
– It will explain how your research will ensure validity and reliability
– Justify the relationship between your research aim, research questions, research objectives and research methods
– Discuss the appropriateness of triangulation to your research
– This section needs to be very detailed and realistic
– You must produce a detailed schedule that illustrates weekly activities and allows time for unexpected delays
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