Project Proposal

Choose a Project: identify the issue you want to explore and narrow it down to a specific research problem that you will address. You can use the Project Ideas/ suggestions for inspiration. Develop two or three research questions by breaking down the research problem into small parts. Find literature about your Project issue and start writing the literature overview to show that you know what others have already found out about the issue and your research problem. Plan your research methodology, including what data to collect and how to access it. Consider the ethical aspects of the Project, including consent, privacy and confidentiality (and obtain organisational consent for your data collection). Your Project Proposal must cover all the items explained below. The length of the Project Proposal is 1,500 words (plus or minus 10%). The Project Proposal should be written in report format. The key sections of the Project Proposal are similar to the standard report sections (as detailed in the AIB Style Guide). All main Project Proposal sections and sub-sections are numbered. Specific sections customised to the context of the Project Proposal are: Title page – Please include: ? Word count ? Student name ? Student number ? Subject title ? AQF level Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Focus for the study 3. Project related literature summary 4. Planned research methodology 5. Ethical considerations 6. Schedule for completion References Appendices 7.2 Content within each Project Proposal section Title/Topic page State your proposed Project topic title. It should be descriptive of the focus and concise. Refer to Appendix A for examples of Project titles used by previous MBA students. Please include: word count, student name, student number, subject title and AQF level. Introduction This section of the Project Proposal has two parts: Background Provide brief background information about the organisation that is the site of your research. Project research problem Establish the need for your study by describing the problem addressed by your Project and any related issues in the area that you intend to research. Focus for the study This section has three parts: Purpose of research Project Provide a clear and succinct statement of the purpose of your research. Research questions List your research questions. Your research questions (usually ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘why’ or ‘what if’) should number about 4–6 so that the focus of your study is manageable. These research questions should not be so broad that they will demand too many resources, nor should they be so narrow as to be of insufficient substance. Also, they should not be too controversial because of sensitivities that may be aroused as a result of doing the research. Refer to the ‘Goldilocks test’ referred to in the above section entitled ‘How to Choose a Project’. The purpose of your study is to discover the answers to these research questions. Consider carefully what research questions you will ask, as these research questions will drive your data collection and analysis. Significance of the Project Indicate the outcomes you hope to achieve for policy and/or practice in your organisation from this research. Project related literature summary This section has two parts: MBA discipline area of this Project Because the Project should cover a subject area of your degree studies, the connection to the background of your degree studies must first be explained. For example, if you are researching advertising, explain how it is part of the promotion mix. If you are doing research on recruiting in a firm, explain how recruiting fits into the complete Human Resource Management (HRM) function. As indicated above, please note, if you are undertaking your MBA in an area of specialisation, the Project must be on a topic within that specialisation. Review of some literature related to this Project Next, indicate your initial understanding of the Project topic based on a review of the literature. Your review does not have to be extensive for the Proposal; however, you should have done an initial survey of the literature to establish your directions. Planned research methodology This section has two parts: Method Describe the research methodology you plan to use, and why it is the most suitable for answering your particular research questions. This could, for example, be the case research method or the action research method Data collection In order to answer the research questions you will need to collect data. Describe here the secondary data sources you will use. Are there specific published materials that can be used to provide some background and form the foundations of your research? There may be government, trade, industry or workplace resources you can access. Also, explain the primary data you plan to obtain and the data collection methods you will employ such as observation, surveys, interviews and focus groups. What questions will you be asking and which people or organisations will you involve? Ethical considerations This section can be quite short if the risk profile of the Project is ‘no risk’ or ‘low risk’. The section has three or four parts (depending on the risk category of the Project): Demonstrate awareness Demonstrate your understanding that you are required to comply with Australia’s national guidelines about ethical conduct of research. You could do this by referring to these learning materials and/or to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. See: Address standard ethics issues Mention the standard ethics issues relating to research Projects (confidentiality, privacy, basic rights of participants) and what you are doing to manage these issues. You need to explain that, in order to ensure ethical research conduct, you will: ? obtain consent from all participants ? respect any additional requests for privacy and confidentiality identified by individual participants ? store information securely ? de-identify the source of specific pieces of information in the final report. Address additional ethics issues (where relevant) Identify the additional ethics issues specifically relating to your particular Project. Especially if your Project falls in the ‘low risk’ (rather than the ‘no’ or ‘negligible risk’) category, you must highlight the fact that you are aware of the potential for discomfort among your participants. You will have to also explain what you are doing to minimise discomfort. For instance, you may want to enable participants to opt out of the research, to not answer questions, to leave the room or to stop their participation at any time. Also, you may plan to draft your interview questions carefully so that you show sensitivity to the participants in order to minimise discomfort. Use of consent forms Mention that you have obtained consent from the organisation to undertake the Project and append the signed consent form with the Project Proposal. Explain that you will be arranging for each interviewee or respondent to sign the Research Consent Forms (as provided in Appendix C) and that you will include those forms as an appendix to your Project Report. Schedule for completion Identify the tasks involved in the Project and the stages/times for their completion. It is useful to include a schedule or Gantt chart which shows the planned research activities and timelines. Label your chart and provide a title for the diagram (e.g. ‘Figure 1 – Timeline for Project completion’). References List references that you have consulted thus far, and that you have cited in the text of the Project Proposal. Refer to your AIB Style Guide to ensure you have referenced correctly. Appendices Use appendices to display documents that are relevant to your Project Proposal, but would interrupt the flow of your Project Proposal if they were included in the main text. You may include, for example, explanatory information about the background of your study, pilot study material, or questions for interviews.

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