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Business Research Project Brief and Proposal: Tips and Guidelines

Defining the Research Problem

What is the question you want to answer? What do you want to learn how to do? What do you want to find out?

 1. Define your research problem or question. This can be stated as a research question, objectives or hypothesis.


2. Provide a literature review giving the background and conceptualisation of your proposed area of study. This would provide existing knowledge and benchmarks by which your data can be judged.


3. Consider and define your research methodology and research process. Demonstrate understanding of the pitfalls and limitations of the methods chosen and ethical issues that might arise.


4. Draw points (1–3, above) together into a research proposal for agreement with your supervisor.


5. Conduct your research as outlined in your proposal. Keep track of your findings as you work.


6. Carry out your research and analyse your findings in relation to your original research question. Draw conclusions.


7. Communicate the outcomes of your research project to the identified audience.


8. Reflect on the success of your research project and your performance at the end of the project with the inclusion of a project evaluation and recommendations.

You should meet individually with your supervisor to monitor the research project and ensure it is progressing in an appropriate direction and at a pace which will enable you to meet the assessment requirements. The supervisor will authenticate the work as your own, which can be done by regular monitoring of progress and conducting interim reviews.


The project must be based on the theme below and must be related to your specific pathway of study, unless you are on the general business pathway. 


The research project proposal will form the basis of your project. You must agree and sign off your research proposal with your supervisor before embarking on your project.

You must complete the research project in order to complete your work for this unit. Group work is not appropriate for this project. Your work must be individual.


You are required to submit a cover sheet with details of programme name, module name, assignment title, tutor name, student name, student number, submission date, number of attempt.


A word limit of 4,000 – 6,000 words would be appropriate at this level.


You will need to reflect on the success of your research project and your performance at the end of the project with the inclusion of a project evaluation and recommendations.

Conducting a Literature Review


The research project can take the following forms:


? Dissertation.

? Feasibility study.

? Investigation/fieldwork.

1  Examine appropriate research methodologies and approaches as part of the research process. 

2  Conduct and analyse research relevant to a business research project. 

3  Communicate the outcomes of a research project to identified stakeholders. 

4  Reflect on the application of research methodologies and concepts.

The aim of this unit is to offer you the opportunity to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study. The unit enables you to demonstrate the capacity and ability to identify a research theme, to develop research aims, objectives and outcomes, and to present the outcomes of such research in both written and verbal formats. The unit also encourages you to reflect on your engagement in the research process, during which recommendations for future and personal development are key learning points.


You should read this information before starting to define and work through your research brief. You should refer to these instructions as you complete work for this unit.


• Consider the development of a methodical and valid research proposal as the foundation for the project.


• Choose a topic of personal interest in a specialism. The topic chosen should allow a sufficient and suitable degree of research through the existence of adequate background materials.


• A good project proposal title should meet the following criteria

o The proposal is one that has an existing body of literature or source material that can be reviewed.

o The proposal extends a current line of learning that will lend itself to further rigorous exploration.


• Decide on appropriate research methods and select an appropriate sample.


• Ensure that your proposal is ethical, reliable and valid. An ethics form must be submitted prior to completion of research as part of the research proposal.


• Agree your research proposal with your supervisor before beginning your research.


• Conduct your research as outlined in the proposal agreed with your supervisor.


• Carry out your research, analyse your research findings and draw conclusions. Apply both qualitative and quantitative research methods to evaluate data collected from primary research.


• Communicate your research outcomes in a manner appropriate to your audience.


• You will be asked to reflect on the success of your research project and evaluate the problems/ issues encountered.


Selecting Research Methods

• You must complete the research project in order to complete your work for this unit.


You will choose your own research project based on the theme below.

Equality is relevant in all workplaces, regardless of whether the business employs two people or two hundred people, irrespective of whether they work remotely, in an office, a warehouse or on a shop floor. It is about ensuring that everybody has the same access to the same opportunities without any discrimination. Diversity takes into account differences between people and groups of people, by placing a positive value on those differences. A diverse and inclusive work place values people’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and experiences, and uses these differences to create a productive and effective workforce. Managing both equality and diversity is equally important as it impacts on all the employees working in an organisation. Business cases have proven that biases and discrimination within the workplace can impede business growth and productivity and therefore, many businesses look beyond any legal considerations and policies to effectively promote equality and diversity to improve productivity, opportunity, and competitiveness.

You are to choose their own research topic for this unit. Strong research projects are those with clear, well focused and defined objectives. A central skill in selecting a research objective is the ability to select a suitable and focused research objective. One of the best ways to do this is to put it in the form of a question. Students should be encouraged by tutors to discuss a variety of topics related to the theme to generate ideas for a good research objective.

The range of topics discussed could cover the following:

•Behaviours that support equality and diversity in the workplace

•Managing cultural diversity in the workplace

•Gender equality in leadership and management

•Workplace discrimination

•The work-life balance and enrichment experiences

The research objective should allow for students to broaden their understanding and widen their perspectives by being able to explore, argue, prove, and disprove a particular objective. They should be feasible, novel, ethical, relevant and ultimately of interest to you.  Templates are provided for both the research proposal and ethics form.

It is important to recognise that project work is reliant on gathering information/data that can be analysed. The scale of the project means that there must be time for both primary and secondary research. An advised model would be to use secondary research to provide a context for the students to conduct and interpret primary data collection. The project could then yield data that could be compared with the findings of secondary research information.


In assessing the project, the assessor should be able to see a rationale for the project title, an identification of controversial aspects of the title and of the relevant literature/data sources. This will be based primarily on the student’s research proposal. Student research should outline the literature/theories that supports the identified research objective/s and include critical evaluation of central arguments paying attention to whether or not the arguments are logically valid. Throughout their research students should be aware of the importance of clear and consistent use of language and the use of a consistent reference system. Engagement in reflective study of the research process should be evident, with students explaining how their ideas have developed, the significance of results and what they have learnt about the methodology of research. Well edited, focused writing and presentation, where the key decisions, developments, lines of argument and salient research are explained succinctly, is preferable to unstructured writing and presentation where little attempt to select or edit material has been made.


It is important to recognise that there are many different formats that a student could use to present their work and it is important that students think carefully about the suitability of the format in relation to the target audience. Both verbal and written forms of communication should be appropriate to the audience, both in terms of the nature and level of material they use and also in terms of length. Students should be guided to produce research that gives a succinct account of the main arguments or developments from their project. If a verbal presentation is the chosen format, the question and answer session should address issues raised by the presentation, but also give students an opportunity to review their work.


You are to submit as evidence for the unit in addition to their project findings, the research proposal and ethics form. The research proposal sets out the plan for how the students will achieve the intended research objective and shows whether the objective will be feasible, ethical and achievable in the time scale. It sets out how secondary research supports the research objective, how the research will be conducted, how the research will be evaluated. Students will need to gain ethical approval before commencing their research, this will be discussed with the tutor during the research proposal.

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