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Writing a Written Research Proposal for MSc Dissertation or Business Plan

Lerning Outcomes

For this individual essay, you are expected to write the research proposal for your MSc Dissertation or Business Plan. The latter can be a comprehensive business plan (CBP), international marketing plan (IMP) or international business plan (IBP). The research proposal is a projection of or idea of what you intend to pursue later at the dissertation stage (after the examinations). You can choose a topic following your interests, however the topic chosen should relate directly to your programme of studies.

For example, if you study on the MSc International Marketing and Entrepreneurship, the topic emphasized should be on an international marketing and/or entrepreneurship issue although you will be able to use knowledge from other areas such as on logistics and supply chain management, international business, and other disciplines as appropriate for your topic.

The research proposal serves to successfully complete a Masters level dissertation or a business/marketing plan. You will also:

• Understand different methods of investigation, data collection, and statistical analysis
• Identify appropriate secondary sources of information, and access several publicly available databases
• Critique the research methodology of published papers
• Select appropriate methods for the design, collection, and analysis of statistical data.


You will link your topic briefly to your master’s programme:

-The focus of your study and how it is placed in a research context in terms of your discipline.

(E.g. international marketing - customer relationships - branding - India to China - service sector).

Rational for the research

Justification for the dissertation research: Given what is already known on the specific topic, what is the knowledge gap that deserves a study? For an applied research project that does not address a knowledge gap in the literature, please establish the strategic importance of the concerned practical problem to an organisation or a population:

Significance of the study: Why do you believe the proposed study is important? (e.g. the research problem is of strategic importance to an organisation, or potential impact on the society).

The objectives and scope of the research

Research aim: Overarching statement on what the study aims to achieve in one or two sentences:

Research questions: What is the research question or questions? The research question or questions should directly address the identified knowledge gap or practical problem.

Research objectives: List at least two or three specific objectives. E.g. to find out what enables or hinders a circular economy, etc.
If necessary, provide additional information to define the scope. For example, the context of the study is the UK, or this study only considers the perspective of consumers and excludes other stakeholders, etc.

Literature review

In relation to your disciplinary area, in general (e.g. consumer behaviour, supply chain management, etc.)
In relation to your chosen topic, more specifically (e.g. brand management)
What others have studied on the most relevant topics in a same context or different contexts, and what are their key findings?


Describe your methodology, data collection procedures, data analysis methods, and justify each of them briefly. The justification should be related to the nature of your research and your research questions/objectives.

Main data collection and analysis techniques

Describe how you will collect and analyse data. You should explain if you will use primary or secondary data or both.

Quantitative: e.g. questionnaire survey + correlation analysis

Qualitative: e.g. interviews + thematic analysis

Mixed methods: e.g. questionnaire survey and interviews.

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