Research proposal (3,000 words) 60%
In order to demonstrate your critical engagement with, key concepts and ideas from within the field of applied research methodology, you are required to write a proposal for your dissertation/management report research. Your proposal should be based on a current topic of interest within HRM. Keep in mind also that this is a small-scale research project, therefore you should consider the feasibility of the activities you propose in relation to the resources at your disposal.
It is recommended that you allocate the 3,000 word count as follows: Introduction – 20%; Literature review – 40%; Intended methodology – 40%.
The introduction should provide the rationale for the proposed research study; the background/context for the study, the overall aim (what your study is intended to achieve) and 3-5 specific objectives (what is necessary in order to accomplish your aim). The literature review should locate your proposed study in relation to relevant research and theory. It should provide definitions and concise explanations of key concepts, as appropriate, it should refer to current debates and controversies within the topic area (as relevant to your research aim). Drawing on this review you should indicate the knowledge gap that your research will address, and how this initial review informed the formulation of your research aim. You should explain your intended methodology in relation to the aim and objectives of your study – what data/material do you need to collect in order to achieve these, and how will you access this material? This involves reflecting on your research philosophy, and the research paradigm that fits most appropriately to your aim and objectives. From within this paradigm indicate the main elements of your research strategy and design. Explain how the research methods (e.g. surveys, interviews, focus groups…) that you propose to use will enable to you to achieve your objectives. You should not provide actual questionnaires or interview schedules, but give some indication of the topics you anticipate they will cover. Indicate who your research subjects will be, and why, and the sampling issues involved (as appropriate). Indicate what method/s of analysis you will apply to your data. You should also make reference to practical concerns and issues of access (to organisations and research subjects), as well as research ethics. You should conclude your proposal with an indicative work plan for completion of your research and writing up of your report/dissertation.
To summarise, in your proposal you should:
give a working title for your research study
provide a rationale for your choice of topic, and your research aim
present one research aim, one to two objectives and one to two research questions
drawing on relevant current concepts, research and theory, identify the ‘research gap’ your study will address
locate your proposed study in epistemological terms, informed by the study aim and objectives
specify how you propose to undertake empirical research to address the research gap
include consideration of ethical issues relevant to your proposed research study
conclude with a short work plan, outlining what will be done by what milestone dates (working backwards from the dissertation/report submission deadline),
identify the resources you expect to call on to complete the research project.
provide a reference list using the Harvard system of referencing