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Designing a Research Proposal: Business Issue-Based Study

Learning Outcomes

LO1: Understand the scientific process, its application in economics and business, and its utilisation in the problem-solving approach to business and management challenges.

LO2: Demonstrate the skills necessary to assess and interpret existing research as a prelude to carrying out further investigation

LO3: Critically describe, comprehend and discuss the role, principles, function and application of research design within both academic and/or applied business contexts

LO4: Understand, critically comprehend different research strategies and be able to apply with insight appropriate research methodologies to differing types of research problems, hypotheses, or fields of investigation

LO5: Conceptualise and formulate a research project, including the formation of a hypothesis; the identification of field and evidence; the identification of research methodological approaches; the carrying out of a sustained piece of research, and the forming of conclusions while evaluating and applying the outcomes of research to a context/problem or issue

LO6: Demonstrate and apply the researching skills and project management skills which are required and which are necessary to carrying out a successful and sustained piece of individual work which may be applicable to academic and/or business contexts

Select a research topic of your choice based on a business issue and design a research proposal for this topic. The topic should be agreed with your Lecturer at least 4 weeks before submission date. This proposal should not exceed 3000 words. 

Based on the selected topic, you are required to:

1.Develop a research question and an appropriate set of research objectives

2.Justify the choice of research topic including the background and context of the research

3.Develop a critical literature review of the research topic

4.Design a research methodology based on the topic selected. This would require you to develop a research design and justify your choice as appropriate.

Your research design should include the following:

Research Philosophy (e.g., positivism, interpretivism, realism and/or pragmatism)
Research Approach (inductive or deductive)
Research strategy

5.Discuss and justify the data collection methods – type of data, sampling method and target group
6.Discuss the data analysis procedure to be adopted
7.Discuss the possible ethical issues that need to be considered in this research 
8.Discuss the methods by which you would ensure that the research was both valid and reliable
9.Discuss any possible limitations to this research
10.Provide a research plan (timescale)
11.Support with relevant references (Harvard format)

In your data collection and data analysis section, if appropriate,discuss how you would collect primary data through the use of one or a combination of methods of data collection methods e.g. questionnaire, interview, focus groups, observation, etc., and how you would analyse this data. 

The above requirements are indicated as the required areas of focus for you to articulate your individual responses. The submission of your work for assessment should be organised and clearly structured in the order outlined below.

This section details the assessment criteria. The extent to which these are demonstrated by you determines your mark. The marks available for each criterion are shown. Lecturers use a similar format to comment on the achievement of the task(s), including those areas in which you have performed well and areas that would benefit from development/improvement

Common Assessment Criteria Applied

Marks available



1. Research-informed Literature

Extent of research and/or own reading, selection of credible sources, application of appropriate referencing conventions.


Students are expected to critically review the relevant literature pertaining to their selected research topic and specific research question. This Literature should be derived from credible and current sources. Harvard Referencing conventions are expected to be followed.

Similarly the Research Methodologies and methods aspects of the work should be supported by appropriate literature.

2. Knowledge and Understanding of Subject

Extent of knowledge and understanding of concepts and underlying principles associated with the discipline.


Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the main models and theories pertaining to the selected research topic.

Similarly, the Research Methodologies and methods aspects of the work will demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of its main academic features.

3. Analysis

Analysis, evaluation and synthesis; logic, argument and judgement; analytical reflection; organisation of ideas and evidence


Students are expected to organise the material in the Research proposal such that it contains analysis, synthesis and evaluation. In this context, in the Literature Review, schools of thought may be identified, key themes outlined, and other means of demonstrating good organisation of the material demonstrated. Throughout the work, justification for choices made will be apparent.

4. Practical Application and Deployment

Deployment of methods, materials, tools and techniques; application of concepts; formulation of innovative and creative solutions to solve problems.


Students are expected, in this aspect of the work, to relate what has been learned in the Literature Review to the actual undertaking of the forthcoming research, primarily through the development of a conceptual (or theoretical) framework.

Practical and justifiable recommendations relating to methodology and method should be evident.

5. Skills for Professional Practice

Attributes in professional practice: individual and collaborative working; deployment of appropriate media; presentation and organisation.


Students are expected to communicate and present the Proposal effectively, understandable to both specialists and non-specialists alike. This criterion includes the structure of the work and the standard of English used. It also includes an ability to work at an individual level.




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