THE RESEARCH DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
The proposal is a plan for how you will conduct your research. It reflects your thinking at the time of writing the proposal. The proposal is assessed and accounts for 10% of the dissertation module marks. This assessment is intended to give you feedback and assist you in focusing your research and to help you get started. Submission of your proposal is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have clear objectives and that you are familiar with relevant literature that will guide your work.
It is anticipated that in certain circumstances your initial ideas may not be possible. You should make every effort to identify barriers to conducting your research using the checklist presented earlier. However, if you do have to change your topic or approach to conducting your research you should consult your dissertation tutor. If changes are required it is a good discipline to draw up a new proposal and project plan. You should seek feedback but your mark for the original proposal will be the relevant one for examining purposes
The maximum word count for your proposal is 1,000 words. This work is not wasted as much of it can be incorporated into your dissertation. The word limit does not include your bibliography (list of relevant books, journal articles, official information sources etc. that you have identified to help with your research to provide an academic underpinning). Appendices are also excluded from the word count.
The expected content of the proposal is:
1. Title – should be brief but give a clear indication of the subject of your investigation.
2. An introduction explaining your broad interest in the topic (why the research is worthwhile). If you are conducting a client based investigation you should provide a rationale or background to the problem.
3. Aim and objectives (what you are trying to achieve).
4. A preliminary review of relevant literature. The purpose of this review is to show how current understanding and thinking inform your topic. Your literature review should include what you intend to cover in terms of theories, models and concepts and discuss the relevance of these to the aim and objectives of your dissertation. This section should conclude with the identification of a conceptual framework that will guide the conduct of your research. From this framework it should be possible to identify the types of data that you will need to collect.
5. Your research methodology – how you will collect and analyse your data. Your research objectives and the conceptual model you have identified should inform this section. You should discuss validity, reliability, generalization and resource intensiveness of your approach. You should also indicate what you think the research outcomes are likely to be.
6. Potential ethical issues – does your research topic or design draw on or create any sensitive topics? Is there any possible harm or risk for yourself or your participants due to the research objectives or research design? If yes, how do you intend to deal with this? Will you provide confidentiality and/or anonymity? If yes, how do you intend to do this?
7. A project plan. This should indicate the key tasks that you will undertake and their timing; identify milestones and the critical path. You should demonstrate that you could complete your dissertation by the deadline.
8. Your bibliography (remember this is not included in the word count).
9. Any appendices that you need to include (again these are not part of the word count).If you have worked with a potential supervisor in developing your proposal or have already identified a preferred tutor, then please indicate their name in the comments text box when submitting your proposal.
ASSESSMENT OF YOUR RESEARCH DISSERTATION PROPOSAL
The following criteria are used to assess your proposal:
1. The length of the proposal is appropriate (not more than 1,000 words)
2. The anticipated content is present (see previous section).
3. The topic proposed is relevant to business and is original in context or objectives.
4. There is a clear statement of your aim and objectives and the outcome(s), output(s) of your research is (are) apparent. It should also be evident that if you achieve all of your objectives then the aim of your research will have been accomplished.
5. The preliminary literature review should have identified relevant literature and an appropriate conceptual framework to guide the investigation.
6. The method proposed is: consistent with aims and objectives of your research and covers the main stages of: plan; collect data; analyse and interpret; report findings and produce conclusions and recommendations.
7. The sources of information proposed are viable and consistent with the aims and objectives set out in your proposal as well as your proposed research method.
8. Potential ethical issues have been considered and discussed adequately.
9. The depth and scope of the proposed research is appropriate – doable within the timescale (as evidenced by your project plan) and has enough academic challenge to be worthy of an MSc dissertation (this facet should have been agreed with your project tutor in advance of submission of your proposal).