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Research Methods for Business QB3504

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General Instructions:

Drawing on the individual and group work undertaken throughout the tutorial programme, write a research proposal outlining a study you would like to undertake in the topic area assigned to you at the beginning of the course.

Word Count:  This excludes, Cover Sheet, Table of Contents, References and Appendices. Word count should not be exceeded (an allowance of +/ – 10% of the stated value is allowed).

Please state your word count in the box on the Cover Sheet.

Referencing:  The Harvard Reference Standard should be used for all submission. For guidance on use please see this guide: Harvard Referencing Standard Guide

Figures & Tables: All figures and tables should have a number, clear description and note any source reference(s) used in their creation.

Presentation and Upload of Assignment:

  1. Assignments should be typed using 11-point font size (Arial or Calibri), with 1½ line spacing and a 4 cm margin on the right-hand side of the page. Please set the page size to UK A4. All pages must be numbered.
  2. Assignments should be submitted in either Microsoft Office and/or PDF format (.doc, .docx, .pdf etc.). File names should be kept simple and only contain alphanumeric characters (a-z0-9), spaces and underscores (e.g. Valid_filename_1.doc). Files with other characters such as apostrophes, brackets or commas may not be accessible by markers. 
  3. Please use Harvard Referencing Style for your in-text referencing and your reference lists at the end of each component.
  4. Assignments may be uploaded to My Aberdeen only once; substitutions are not permitted and students should therefore ensure that the version uploaded is their final submission.
  5. When submitting to MyAberdeen? Turnitin please only use your student number as the Submission Title, NOT the title of your proposal .
  6. In addition to submitting your assignment to MyAberdeen you must also submit a hard copy to the Student Hub
  7. Please ensure you include your student number in all submitted assignments and that assignments are paginated. Failure to do this may lead either to a grade not being assigned or being wrongly assigned.
  8. Please ensure you use a title page at the front of your assignment.
  9. If you are experiencing any difficulty in uploading your assignment to MyAberdeen, please email a copy of the assignment and a screenshot of the error message immediately to the Student Hub at:

Finally, please ensure that your work is written in your own words. An assignment cannot be a simple ‘cut and paste’ of material found on the web or in journals or books. Moreover, you must accurately acknowledge the contributions of others (i.e. your work must properly reference quotes, idea etc.). A full list of the references you use (listed alphabetically) must be included at the end of your work


WARNING: Once submitted no substitute assignments will be allowed

Assignment Task:


Drawing on the individual and group work undertaken throughout the tutorial programme, write a research proposal outlining a study you would like to undertake in the topic area assigned to you at the beginning of the course.

Aim of assignment

The overall aim of the assignment is to demonstrate your understanding of the theoretical, methodological and practical issues discussed in this course, and your ability to apply this understanding to a particular research topic.

The assignment builds directly on the series of tutorial exercises on which you had worked, both individually and in your small groups, throughout the course. The proposal specifically requires you to consolidate all different elements of your intended research projects developed during and in-between the tutorials into one coherent and consistent document.

This assignment will be a useful exercise for students going on to do a dissertation, as it develops the key skills you will need for the early stages of your dissertation project.

Outline of assignment

In this assignment you are required to produce a research proposal, which outlines the topic area in which your study is going to be located, the research questions that you intend to address, and the research design and methods that you intend to use. In developing your proposal, you should draw directly on different pieces of work produced during the entire tutorial programme.

Your proposal should be structured and include the following sections:

  1. Title

The title should be concise, written in plain English and convey clearly the topic of your intended study.

  • Introduction

This section should provide an introduction to the broad area of the research and start to indicate the significance of the research in a general way and well as identify what the researcher is hoping to hope to accomplish as well as the desired outcomes.

  • Literature review

This section should summarise key issues covered in the articles provided for your assigned topic area at the beginning of the course. It should provide information on key findings, theoretical approaches and identified gaps in knowledge. Please note that this section should be referenced thoroughly.

  • Research aims and questions

This section should present a clear outline of the main aim of your research and the research questions you intend to address in your study. Please note that your overall aim and research questions need to be grounded in and justified by the overview of the topic area provided in the literature review section.

  • Research design, sampling and access

This section should present a clear statement of your intended research design, identifying your research approach (i.e. inductive, deductive, or both); your methods choice (i.e. mono method, multi methods or mixed methods study); your intended timeframe (i.e. cross sectional or longitudinal). Please note that the exercises you had worked on have already prescribed some aspects of your research design! This section should also present a clear account of the sampling strategy you intend to use in your study and the procedures for securing access to your participants. Specifically, you should provide information on the number of participants, their characteristics, and the selection procedures.

  • Data collection methods

This section should present a clear account of your intended data collections methods. Please note that the exercises you had worked on have already prescribed some aspects of your data collection methods, i.e. you have to use both questionnaire and semi-structured interviews). However, you are allowed to use other methods in addition to those mentioned above. In this section you also need to describe the research instruments that you developed in the course of the tutorial programme. An example of your research instrument (e.g. questionnaire) can be added in an appendix.

  • Data analysis methods

This section should present a clear account of your intended data analysis methods.

  • Research ethics

This section should present a clear and critical discussion of the potential ethical issues related to the topic of your project and its design. You need to consider different ethical problems that might emerge at different stages of your research and suggest how you might deal with them.

  • Limitations of your research

This section should present a critical account of possible limitations of your project, including its design, methods and procedures. In particular, you need to discuss the issues of research quality (i.e. validity, reliability, generalisability) and how it might be compromised in your project.

  1. Time line

This section should present a timeline of your research study. You may wish to describe this and add a Gantt chart. Alternatively, the Gantt chart could be added as an appendix.

  1. References

This section should contain all of your references in alphabetical order and in Harvard style

  1. Appendix

This section should include the following additional material: the screenshots of your online questionnaire, a copy of your interview schedule, a copy of your completed CASS Research Ethics Form.

Word length

The word length for this assignment is 2500 words, excluding references. This means that research proposals are expected to be within a 10% range of this word length. The reference list is not included in the word length.Please indicate the word length on your submitted proposal.


This assignment counts for 40% of your overall mark on this course.

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