Research Plan Structure
In preparation for Capstone projects in your final year, and in order to meet the relevant Learning Outcomes for this module (please see Module Guide), this assignment is designed to help you develop the skills involved in planning and designing small-scale research projects in
Management and/or Marketing. With this in mind, the assignment requires you to work through the following process:
• Choosing a topic
• Searching and reviewing literature
• Critically evaluating published research
• Identifying a research question and objective(s)
• Selecting a suitable case study for data collection and analysis
• Identifying any practical, ethical or legal issues in your research
For this assignment, you must write a 1500 word Research Plan focusing on ONE of the topics listed below.
Once you have chosen your topic, you should complete the following seven sections (ideally using the headings and structure suggested):
Topic, Significance and Rationale for Research: In this first section, briefly introduce your chosen research topic, its significance and rationale (if relevant, state the research problem). Also provide an outline (“road map”) for the coursework assignment (i.e. say what you will do, and in
what order). This section should be around 250 words.
Tip: Don’t write this section until you have finished writing the rest of the document – it is always best to write your introduction, and provide a road map, once you know exactly what rest of the document will be saying.
2. Key Terms
List the five best key terms you have used to search for relevant academic literature on your topic. There may be a very large body of published work on your topic, or not very much at all, depending on how emergent the topic is within management and marketing research. Your aim is
to focus, not to try to cover everything, so try not to be too broad. Your key terms may change and you may come across more relevant terms, but list the five that have proven most appropriate in the write-up of your coursework assignment.
3. Annotated Literature Review
This is a ‘mini’ literature review, and could provide the basis for a more thorough review at a later date. Produce a list of FOUR relevant articles in academic journals that focus on your topic. For the annotated review, first give a full Harvard-style reference for each article. Then, for each
article, provide a short summary of what each article is about. This section should not exceed 500 words. We are looking for you to clearly summarize the main focus of each article, and to briefly explain and evaluate its contribution to understanding the topic (What does it tell us/ what does it not tell us? What can we learn about the topic?).
Ideally, you should be able to identify any gaps or avenues for further research as a basis to formulate your research questions and objectives. You do NOT need to compare and contrast each paper, but you may want to identify areas of overlap and similarity, as well as any significant differences in approach.
Tips: Please refer to the “EBS Harvard Referencing Quick Guide” posted on the BE425 Moodle page for guidance in properly formatting your references. A sample annotated review entry with a properly formatted reference and a summary will be posted for you on Moodle as well, so you can see what these are meant to look like. You do not need to have ‘one article for each key word’.
Some articles might focus in depth on just one of your key words, others might address several or even all of your terms. It is useful to find articles that are quite recent and/or have been widely cited. The reference title will not be part of the word limit.
4.Research Question and Objective(s)
Based on the reading that you have done so far, identity ONE research question and objective(s) that you think would provide the basis for an interesting, important and timely contribution to research on your topic. You may have very briefly introduced this question in your introduction. In this section, state again what your question and objective(s) is, and then explain why you have chosen to focus on this particular aspect of the topic (this can be based on the gaps in literature).
Aim for clarity and focus – so only around 100 words for this short section. Ideally, you need to highlight what gaps from the literature/ topic you have reviewed emerge that has not been covered in previous research (what we don’t yet know, or haven’t thought about). It should be clear to the marker/examiner how your question/objective(s) have emerged after reading the articles.
Consumer behaviour/Consumer Psychology
Corporate culture management
Corporate social responsibility
Discrimination in recruitment and selection
Digital Innovation and management
Digital marketing & social media
Environment and sustainability
Gender pay gap
Global value chains
Human Resource Management
Information systems management
International supply chain management
IT innovation and work transformation
Managing voluntary workers
Occupational segregation by gender
Organizational space and architecture
Organizational surveillance and new technologies
SME’s and/or family businesses
Social media and digital marketing
Sustainability/Triple bottom line reporting
Wage policy (fair wages and discrimination)
Whistle-blowing and ethical disclosures
Work-life balance and/or the ‘overwork’ culture
Workforce skill development