By April 20, 2018Academic Papers




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The assessment for this module is a 3000 words (+/- 10%) research proposal which will prepare you for the last stage of the programme (research project). This research proposal must be submitted via Turnitin by May 2nd, 2018 (Week 32).

The research proposal is a plan for how you would conduct research around a Digital Marketing related topic. Although the module runs for 11 weeks it is essential that you have a good idea of your research topic by the fourth week of teaching as many activities on the module are linked to you knowing your intended research topic.

Having a clear and consistent research topic will not only help you develop a good research plan, it will also facilitate greatly the work to be undertaken during research stages (data collection, analysis, writing up your project, etc.). A strong research plan is the ideal foundation to complete your dissertation competently and within the established timeframe. 

Given the limited amount of time to complete your course (your research project must be submitted by the end of summer 2018) we highly recommend that your master’s final research is further developed from your proposal. However, you do not necessarily have to choose that topic in your final research project.  


The issues to address may be those such as:

1.     Introduction: (recommended length: 1-1.5 pages)

       Organisational/Topic Background and Problem Outline: What is the background to the organisation/problem/topic?

You must give an overview of the current state of the issue/topic and what problem in particular you are going to address within your research.

There may be also an agency, manager, client, or even a supervisor who will be a recipient of your research proposal. You should provide an organizational/business background and context.

NOTE: you can use non-academic sources, such as newspaper articles.

       Research Question and Justification: Your focus general research question. It must be relevant, specific and feasible. You can have 1 or 2 sub-questions.

You must explain the aim (aims) of your study and justify why the question is worth researching. For example:

o   Academic justification: gasp in the existing academic research, contribution to knowledge.

o   Business justification: benefits for the organisation/industry you have chosen to study.

o   Personal justification: benefits for you.

       Objectives: What you will have to do to answer the research question. You must provide a list of objectives (4-6). They should be as SMART as possible and cover the different stages of the research process.

2.     Literature Review: (recommended length: 2 pages)

       Short review of the current relevant literature in a discursive style.

       You must refer to ACADEMIC journal articles and up to date textbooks.

       Do NOT describe the literature. Critically analyse the literature and discuss your issue/problem with reference to the current body of research.

       To be critical you need to contrast the different views on your topic.

       You should highlight the links between the existing literature and your own project.

       You need to show development of research questions and have a summary.

       Use of at least 30-40 quality references is expected.

3.     Methodology: (recommended length: 2 pages)

       You must define:

o   Research Philosophy (positivism, interpretivism, pragmatism?).

o   Research Approach (deductive or inductive?).

o   Research Strategy (survey, critical incident technique, ethnography?).

       You must consider whether there is a sound methodology for your research. For example, is there a sound methodological approach for sampling the population, what will be the form for questioning, interviews, group discussions, projective techniques or actions by the researcher.

       This section requires a short literature review of methods with a rationale for the work, linked to your objectives.

4.     Method (recipe approach – relate to project plan): (recommended length: 2 pages)

       In this section, proposed procedures (protocols) are formally reported.

       You must define:

o   Research Strategy (in detail).

§  Method

§  Secondary/Primary Data

§  Population and samples (when applicable)

o   Data Collection System

§  Survey/Interview/Focus group procedures.

o   Data Analysis System.

§  SPSS/NVivo.

       For example, in a quantitative research you should consider:

o   How will the population of interest be sampled? What will be the size of the sample and what method(s) of sampling will be used? You should provide a comprehensive outline of your sampling frame.

o   Questionnaire? If a questionnaire is to be used, what was the rationale for this, what type of approach will be used?

o   Questioning (Interviews). What will be the nature of the questions and the aim of the questioning?

       For example, in a qualitative research:

o   Target groups to interview/documents to evaluate with protocols should be outlined (i.e.: structured or semi-structured interviews?).

o   The use of themes, beyond them being established can be outlined here.

o   Data collection, editing and coding?

o   If document/interview/focus group data – a description of how the data editing, coding and analysis will be accomplished, is required.

5.     Other:

       This section normally includes information regarding access and ethics.

       Also, procedures may be outlined for resource implications, financial or project management evaluations or ethics.

       Any other foreseen issues can be highlighted here.

6.     Time and Project Management (Action Plan):

       You should provide a rationale/commentary for the time-tabling of the project/dissertation.

       The timescales should be realistic with target dates incorporated.

       If necessary and if an issue, costings for each stage of the project should be incorporated if they are relevant.

       Recommended length: ½ page.

7.     Suitability of Researcher for the Research:

       Is the project/dissertation free from personality clashes and/or discriminatory influences? Is the Research new and relevant? Do your profile/circumstances match the research?

8.     References:

       You should provide references and (if necessary) bibliography using the Harvard Referencing System (articles should predominate).

       A typical list may contain 30-50 references (predominantly for literature review and methodology).

9.     Appendices: 

       This section should contain a Project Plan and any protocols you intend to use.

       You MUST also include your Ethical Considerations – via a LJMU Ethical Approval form.

       Any other necessary material is included here.

       The appendices are NOT included on the word count.






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