A Research Project is an independent piece of work in which you formulate the question(s) to be addressed, with guidance from your supervisor. It intends to provide you with an opportunity to further your intellectual and personal development by undertaking a significant academic project.
It can be defined as a scholarly inquiry into a problem or issue, involving a systematic approach to the gathering and analysis of information/data, leading to the production of a high standard and well-structured report.
The purpose of a Project is to develop and apply students‟ research skills which may form the basis of professional research practice, academically and otherwise. More specifically, stress will be laid upon skills of:
- Identification of a field of study;
- Formulation of research questions;
- Problem solving;
- Data collection and analysis;
- Inference (assumption, conclusion, conjecture, consequences, deduction, etc.);
- Proof (confirmation, substantiate);
- Dissemination (broadcasting, publication),and
The Project is one element of your degree where you have certain level of freedom to select what to study or investigate. It can be one of the most valuable learning experiences you could ever go through.
The two basic types of skills required from any researcher are:
Core skills and abilities
There are a common core of skills and attitudes which all researchers should possess. A researcher should be able to apply these skills in different situations with different topics and problems.
Ability to integrate theory and method
An understanding of the inter-relationship between theory, method and research design, practical skills and particular methods, the knowledge base of the subject and methodological foundations.
Why are you doing a Project?
The purpose of the Project is to develop and apply students‟ research skills which may form the basis of professional research practice in a wide range of areas in the business discipline – with a special reference to the international market and businesses.
Hence, research in the form of a Project is intended to help you to find solutions and answers to a question after a thorough study and analysis of related theories and evidence. This process not only enhances your understanding of different theories, it also allows you to examine and/or test these theories in an applied and a practical way.
Doing a research is a craft skill, which is why the basic educational process that takes place is that of learning by doing.
The main aims and objectives of a Research Project. The main aim of the Project is:
- To test a student’s performance against the educational objectives of breadth, depth, and synthesis in the field;
- To train students in the recognition, formulation, execution, and writing-up of a specific project;
- To give students experience of working independently on a single medium size project under staff supervision.
The major purpose of a Project/research is to:
- Provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to devise, select and use a range of methodologies appropriate to the chosen project;
- Allow you to show the application of the skills of data collection, critical analysis and concept synthesis necessary for the formation of defensible conclusions and/or recommendations;
- Allow you the opportunity to demonstrate an ability to draw appropriate conclusions argued from the evidence presented;
- Provide a forum in which you may demonstrate the skills of structuring and presenting a balanced, informed, complete, clear and concise written argument.
Different types of research
Research has traditionally been classified into two types: pure and applied. Pure research supplies the theories, and an applied research uses and tests-out these theories. In reality, such a classification tends to be too rigid and restrictive. There are three basic types of research:
- Explanatory research, which aims to tackle a new problem, issue, topic about which little is known.
- Testing – out research, which tries to find the limits of previously proposed generalisations. The amount of testing-out to be done is endless and continuous because in this way we are able to improve the existing generalised theory or idea.
- Problem – solving research, which focuses on a particular problem and uses a wide range of intellectual resources to solve this problem.
The role of the supervisor
Supervisors play an important role in guiding and supporting students. They are expected to:
- Assign some directed reading as appropriate;
- Stimulate and enthuse you;
- Provide a steady stream of interaction of ideas and guidance;
- Help you develop a suitable methodology;
- Help you draw up your individual detailed project plan;
- Encourage you to produce an in-depth literature survey chapter at an early stage;
- Stay in contact with you at regular intervals;
- Monitor your progress so as to ensure targets are met on time;
- Indicate deficiencies in drafts of the project;
- Approve the final draft;
- Examine the submitted Project, together with a second examiner and an external examiner.
You should be in regular contact with your supervisor, throughout the project. The frequency of the contact with your supervisor is up to you to decide but the recommendation is at least once per month. You must take the initiative: the frequency of your meeting with your supervisor and the responsibility of successfully completing the Project on time remains solely with you.
You are expected to keep a record of your meetings with your supervisor by filling in the online contact sheet (available on WebCT Project site, or on paper).
Things that any research project must have:
- The ability to develop a purposeful, feasible and manageable dissertation and to frame concise, meaningful questions;
- The ability to choose and apply a clear and appropriate methodology for the project;
- An awareness of the subtleties of the subject area and the ability to handle complex issues;
- An ability to see both the “big picture” and significant details;
- Evidence that the relevant literature has been read, digested and appropriately made use of;
- Some evidence of the ability to think independently and critically (i.e. originality);
- Evidence that work has been done carefully, that proper attention has been given to detail, that the subject has been treated comprehensively (i.e. thoroughness);
- A systematic, logical and appropriate structure for the dissertation;
- Evidence that the dissertation is indeed the work of the person who submitted it;
- Compliance with the formal requirement set by the University.
Things that any research project should NOT have:
- Use your own personal experience – “anecdotal evidence” – unless it is treated in a rigorous manner;
- Use the words “I think‟ or “I believe‟;
- Stray outside your discipline and subject area;
- Use poor English;
- Disregard the University’s regulations;
- Be submitted late.
Source: Business School, University of Greenwich