In this assignment, you will write a research ‘pre-proposal’ that lays a foundation for the final management project (FMP), or equivalent. You need to decide a topic and structure it into a viable research approach (question, literature, data, analysis) using the skills acquired in this course. The topic should both interest you and be relevant to modern management practice. (‘Management’ can include issues in the public or NGO sectors also). The topic does not have to be the same topic you eventually write the FMP about (research naturally evolves, deepens, and changes course), but it should move you in the general direction. Your submission should include the following components. Word counts are suggestions only.
• A title (sometimes the research question itself)
• Demonstration that the topic and research question(s) are important to modern management practice. Show that the answer to the question is genuinely not known / cannot be easily found. Explain why the question is worth spending 9 months answering. ~300 words.
• A discussion of the main findings of the scientific literature on your topic. To do this, you will need to locate, read, analyze, and summarize about 10 reputable scientific sources. These could be articles or books. Newspaper, magazine, and other popular press sources (Economist, Financial Times) may be useful as background reading, to orient yourself on the main issues, but these should hardly appear at all in your list of sources. This is because they are not scientific sources, and what you are doing here is proposing a scientific project. Your discussion of the scientific literature on your topic should cover the main concepts and theories and/or summarize the empirical findings of prior studies. You should try to show that there genuinely is a ‘gap’ in the literature with respect to your question or topic, that is, that someone could not answer your question simply by reading the literature. If you answer your research question in the process of reviewing the literature (which happens commonly), create a new question that has not been answered. ~600 words.
• Consider the data available to study the topic and/or answer the question and/or if you will need to gather your own data. This could be qualitative or quantitative data, and it could be primary or secondary. Present a sketch of the process by which you will obtain the data (or even better, if the data are already available, show a sample of it). The scientific sources you review are an excellent starting place for deciding what kinds of data are available for addressing your topic and how to obtain the data. ~ 300 words.
• Describe an approach to analyzing the data you gather. This should include how you will organize the data and how you will analyze it. If your approach is more quantitative, explain what your hypotheses are and how you will test them. If your approach is more qualitative, explain the themes or axes that will guide your analysis. If there is a role for software, explain it. On the whole, try to demonstrate a clever method of finding an answer to your question. ~ 600 words.
• A list of the references that you cite in the main text. See the plagiarism and referencing guide on Moodle. Make sure you consistently follow one citation and referencing format or another (different fields have different conventions). Remember that citations happen in the text [Churchill 1944] whereas references happen at the end of the document (or sometimes at the bottom of the page): [Churchill, W. (1898) The Story of the Malakand Field Force. London: Longmans Green]. For more information on Project Management check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management
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