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Explanation of the research proposal Essay

# central research question: Research questions steer the student’s research, and the central research question should reflect the subject of research in a concise way.

# theoretical (desk) research questions:

Questions should reflect relevant theoretical concepts that apply to the topic under research by the student, i.e. from marketing, finance, business environment. The theoretical framework should be taken into account when formulating theoretical research questions. New theories will receive extra points!

Students can improve the structure and categorize the questions under themes (categories), such as: * Strategic management (Competitive Grid, BCG, Ansoff, Abel, 5-forces, competitive strategy, PLC, PEST, SWOT, etc), * Marketing (4Ps, positioning, targeting, branding, CRM, branding, etc). * Operations & SCM (process strategy, SCM, inventory management, lean systems, forecast & demand driven systems, resource planning , and others). * International business (FDI, strategy & organization of int’l business, entry models, barriers to trade, etc).

* Finance & accounting.

The choice of topics also depends on how broad or narrow the student wants the research topic to be.

# empirical (field) research questions: Students should think about what they want to find out by doing field research, and formulate research questions about these issues. They will need to identify the populations that they want to research and formulate research questions for each of these populations. One way to structure empirical research questions is using the research populations at categories. What is it you want to learn from these populations? But, formulate research questions, not questionnaire or interview questions!

Research objectives: Objectives should reflect briefly what the student wants to achieve by the research project.


Interpretivism – the view that all knowledge is a matter of interpretation. From the book: “A People’s History of the United States”, Howard Zinn: “But there is no such thing as a pure fact, innocent of interpretation. Behind every fact presented to the world – by a teacher, a writer, anyone – is a judgment. The judgment that has been made is that this fact is important, and that other facts, omitted, are not important.”

* Positivism: 1 + 1 = 2
* Interpretivism: 1 + 1 = 3
# research approach: deductive/inductive:

* Deductive is applying theories in desk research;
* Inductive is developing theories, or new insights, by doing field research.
# cross-sectional/longitudinal/exploratory/ descriptive/explanatory studies. * Cross-sectional means studying the here and now.

* Longitudinal means studying developments over time by doing * exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory studies.

Research strategy

# Desk research:
* Theoretical research questions drive desk-research.
* IP-8 is an academic assignment and presenting issues in a theoretical context is a requirement. * IP-8 requires students to apply theories and models to a ‘real life’ business problem and to organize proprietary original field research.
* Desk-research

Desk research is done to answer the theoretical research questions and includes selecting and studying the theories and information relevant to the research topic. Students should explain how they will collect quantitative and qualitative data by doing internet, database and literature research. # quantitative secondary data: examples of texts, authors should be given. * # qualitative secondary data: Specific sources should be presented. * # internet research: Specific sources should be presented. Use of school databases is expected. * # literature research: Use of school library sources is expected.

* Theoretical framework

* Area – field – topic: when selecting the theories that apply to the research topic, students will describe the theoretical framework of their research topic. In the theoretical framework allows students to broaden or narrow down their subject of research. * # The area is the broader context, such as strategic management, marketing, finance, or logistics; * # The field is more narrow, such as for example competitive strategy, customer service, flow strategies of production and distribution, financial performance measurement, etc, depending on the topic of research. * # The topic is usually the central research question.

* # primary – secondary – tertiary sources of secondary data: Specific sources should be presented. * # secondary data: document/survey based (CBS): Specific sources should be presented. * # referencing method: IBMS referencing method should be used.


Empirical research questions drive field-research.

# case-study: When students work with a sponsor, the research is often called a case study, because they do research that applies to a particular case, the sponsor. The sponsor company provides access to empirical data. # research populations: sampling frames:

Students should do the following when they organize their field research: # formulate empirical research questions that will be answered by doing field research, # choose the research populations that can answer these questions, and possibly get a sampling frame (a list with names or items in the
population), # select the research methods (interviews, surveys, observations) for each of the research populations that will be used to extract the information, # then select the sampling method (probability, or non-probability sampling) for each of the research populations. # observations/interviews/survey with questionnaires: Student should explain briefly why methods are chosen for each of the research populations.

Sampling method for each of the research populations:

# probability sampling (simple-random/ systematic/stratified-random/cluster sampling): Student should explain briefly which sampling methods have been chosen for each of the research populations and why. # non-probability sampling (quota/purposive/ snowball/self-selecting/convenience sampling): Student should explain briefly which sampling methods have been chosen for each of the research populations and why. # sample size: Student should explain why sample sizes haven been set, and how. # reliability/validity: Student should reflect on the consistency and representativeness of potential findings from the research populations that have been identified, and the truthfulness of potential findings.

Empirical framework

# environment of field research: Sponsor company provides access to empirical data. Student should briefly describe the environment of their field research, the sponsor company, and the research populations. # research populations (sources of primary data): Students describe the research populations of their field research which may consist of the sponsor company, representatives of departments, experts, customers, suppliers, competitors, etc. In the empirical framework more detailed information is provided about the research methods, observations, the type of the interviews and the questionnaires used in the survey (if applicable), and the type of data that is expected to be collected.

Note: There is redundancy in some of the issues presented in the checklist under field research, research populations, sampling, and empirical environment. Students may refer to earlier parts. # observations: Observation is systematically observing people and/or processes. Observation might be an option for students doing a case study, but is often difficult to organize. # interviews: fully structured/semi-structured/ unstructured: Student should provide details about the type of interviews for each of the research populations. # surveys: self-administered/ interviewer administered questionnaires: Student should provide details about the type of surveys for each of the research populations. # opinion/behavior/attribute data: Student should provide details about the types of data will be collected from each of the research populations.

Time table: Is time-table realistic and meeting deadlines?

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