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Purpose and format

The purpose of the research proposal is as a planning tool for the investigation. The research proposal should be no longer that 500 words and if you exceed this limit your teacher or the moderator must take the first 500 words into account.

Important

The research proposal is written in future tense and must have the following elements:

Research question

The rationale for study

Methodology, including:

Areas of the syllabus to be covered

Sources of information

People and organisations to be approached

Methods to collect data and reasons for choosing them

The order of activities and timescale of the project

Anticipated difficulties

Action plan

Research proposal details and examples

Research question

This is the title of your investigation. An example would be:

What financial or non-financial motivational tools can the company implement in order to improve the quality of their product?

The rationale for study

This includes the rationale for the investigation. Why have you chosen this topic and for what reason? An example would be:

Company X was set up in 2014, but it is now facing bankrupcy. This is because it is producing defective products. A lack of motivation among workers is considered to be the main cause. Company X is a B2B business, so it is really important to build a good relationship with their main customers, such as Company Y and Company Z. However, the defective products have worsened customer loyalty. To avoid bankrupcy, the business must reduce the amount of defective products by evaluating ways to motivate employees.

Proposed methodology

Your IA should also include a list of areas of the syllabus to be covered. What aspects of the topic will be considered? For example, ‘I will look at/consider… to see how…’ 

For example:

Financial and non-financial motivation tools would be taken into consideration. To analyse the business’s past and current position, financial accounts will be used. Comparisons will also be made to analyse the changes in financial position. A positioning map will be used to understand the employees’ perspective to the working environment. The current communication network will be analysed and then better communication networks will be recommended. The motivation theories of the main competitors will be justified in order to make a comparison.

Areas of syllabus to be covered

1.2 Objectives

2.2 Organisational structure and communication

2.3 Leadership and management

2.4 Motivation

2.5 Corporate culture

3.3 Financial accounts

5.3 Quality assurance

It also will cover possible sources of information. What methods will be used to obtain information? Why were these particular methods chosen? What are the advantages and possible disadvantages of these methods?

In the example below, it mentions primary research such as interviews, surveys, and observations. Secondary research is also considered, such as the company’s financial accounts and other documents.

In regards to organisations and individuals to be approached, consider the following questions:

Who will you give your questionnaire/survey to?

Do you have useful contacts? What is their role?

Do you think it will be difficult to obtain information from a certain group?

Who do you think will be the most useful person to approach?

What information do you hope to obtain from these people?

An example of ‘possible sources of information’ would be:

Primary research

Interview with the founder/CEO of Company X to identify current business communication networks and potential reasons why she thinks employees are not motivated

Questionaire for managers about stress levels and employee happiness within the company to evaluate if managers are aware of demotivation

Interviews with selected employees to dicuss problems and potential solutions

Observations of the company to see working conditions for employees

Survey current employees to evaluate reasons for demotivation

Secondary research

Mission statement and other company documents to see if they meet those goals

Organisational chart to analyse Company X’s strengths and weaknesses of the organisational structure in order to recommend an improvement

Anticipated difficulties

You need to discuss the difficulties you are anticipating. These can go in a table of problems and solutions. You should include the following: 

What problems do you anticipate?

Language barrier

Busy working hours for employees

Bias in interviews

Honesty in questionaires and surveys

How do you plan to overcome these problems?

Do you expect any confidentiality/sensitivity issues and how will you solve those?

Do you expect any bias to be present in proposed interviews? (e.g. if the CEO of a company is a relative and forces employees to participate in a survey)

Action plan

The action plan is the evidence of your planning and can be modified at any stage of the investigation. The timeline of the action plan can be represented as a Gantt chart with a table allowing a note of modifications made. The action plan outlines the order of the activities and the timescale of the research project.

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