The topic needs to be selected within the field of MBA
The course is Strategic Business Plan
Proposal is used to describe the background of the project, elaborate the theme, direction and research method of the project, and list the plan of the article (gantt chart and timeline).
8.0 RESEARCH METHODS
These guidelines address postgraduate students who have completed course
requirements and assumed to have sufficient background experience of high-level
engagement activities like recognizing, relating, applying, generating, reflecting and
theorizing issues. It is an ultimate period in our academic life when we feel confident
at embarking on independent research.
It cannot be overemphasized that we must enjoy the experience of research process
and not look at it as an academic chore.
To enable such a desired behaviour, these guidelines consider the research process
in terms of the skills and knowledge needed to develop independent and critical
styles of thinking in order to evaluate and use research as well as to conduct fresh
The guidelines should be viewed as briefs which the Research Supervisors are expected
to exemplify based on their own experience as well as expertise.
8.1 Chapter 1 – Introduction
INTRODUCE the subject or problem to be studied. This might require the
identification of key managerial concerns, theories, laws and governmental rulings,
critical incidents or social changes, and current environmental issues, that make the
subject critical, relevant and worthy of managerial or research attention.
• To inform the Reader (stylistically – forthright, direct, and brief / concise),
• The first sentence should begin with `This Study was intended
to’….’ And immediately tell the Reader the nature of the study for the
reader’s interest and desire to read on.
8.1.1 The Research Problem
What is the statement of the problem? The statement of the problem or problem
statement should follow logically from what has been set forth in the background of
the problem by defining the specific research need providing impetus for the
study, a need not met through previous research. Present a clear and precise
statement of the central question of research, formulated to address the need.
8.1.2 The Purpose of the Study
What is the purpose of the study? What are the RESEARCH QUESTION (S) of
the study? What are the specific objective (s) of the study? Define the specific
research objective (s) that would answer the research Question (s) of the study.
8.1.3 The Rationale of the Study:
1. Why in a general sense?
2. One or two brief references to previous research or theories critical in structuring
this study to support and understand the rationale.
3. The importance of the study for the reader to know, to fully appreciate the need
for the study – and its significance.
4. Own professional experience that stimulated the study or aroused interest in the
area of research.
5. The Need for the Study – will deal with valid questions or professional concerns
to provide data leading to an answer – reference to literature helpful and
8.1.4 The Significance of the Study:
1. Clearly describe the significance of the study.
2. Justify why the subject requires attention.
3. Identify key contributions of the research that can be achieved.
4. Highlight the contributions that the study seeks to achieve towards – management
practices; theoretical and methodological applications; governmental procedures,
policies and laws; nation building.
8.1.5 The Scope of the Study:
1. Break general research problem down to specific sub problems
2. Major analysis of the data exposed as one of sub problems
3. Identify the dimensions / population of the subject that you plan to study.
4. Discussion on issues such as types of data the subjects or sources of information
utilised, the time period involved and the geographic locations covered in the research
may be discussed in this section.
5. What aspects of the subject do you intend to study? What are the key questions to
8.1.6 Definition of Terms
Define the terms used in the study that are not usually encountered by readers, generally.
If the study focuses on only one institution or company then a short background history
of it should be included in this chapter.
A synopsis of the contents of the chapter that leads to the introduction of the
8.2 Chapter 2 – Literature Review
1. Identify the appropriate academic and / or professional fields
2. Evaluate and critique the literature – challenge the assumptions
3. Be highly selective and include only those aspects of the research literature and
non-research or conceptual literature that are relevant to developing the foundation
of the current study.
4. Each major previous study is discussed in a separate paragraph (s) with the findings
summarised collectively – same as with non-research or conceptual literature by
authorities who hold similar views.
5. A review of literature should read as a synthesis, written by someone who has
read all of the literature and so is able to look across it all, select the highlights,
and synthesise these into a totally integrated section in the context of the current
study, for further use when writing the discussion of the results and conclusions.
8.2.1 History of Research:
Provide a brief history of the empirical research on the subject. Pioneering studies,
thrust of prior research on the subject i.e. which issues have received attention, theories
explored, viewpoints expressed, and research methods typically used.
8.2.2 Review of Key Studies
1. Identify and summarise the key empirical studies that have a bearing on the
2. Provide a tabular summary of the subjects, issues studied, research methods used
and other pertinent details relating to the studies.
3. Summarise the findings of the studies.
8.2.3 Evaluation of Key Studies:
1. Evaluate the findings of the studies in the light of your concerns.
2. What has been accomplished and what remains to be done?
3. How do you intend to use the experience of these studies in your research?
A synopsis of the contents of the hypotheses / research questions and the
rationale derived from the researcher’s experience and from the readings of
research and conceptual literatures should be stated effectively at the
conclusion of the review of literature chapter that leads on to the following chapter.
8.3 Chapter 3 – Theoretical Framework and Research Methodology
THEORETICAL / CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK – using material from the previous
chapter, produce the working definitions of the main concepts you will use in your study.
If possible, form them into a conceptual framework of theories or hypotheses to be
8.3.1 Research Methodology
1. Discuss the nature of the questions you are asking and choose an appropriate
methodological stance for answering them.
2. Justify the research methods you are using.
3. Describe the practical and technical aspects of conducting the research.
8.3.2 Theoretical Framework
Identify the various variables investigated in the study. Illustrate how the
variables interact with each other as hypothesised in the research by the aid of
diagram (s) (if possible).
8.3.3 Research Approach
Describe the approach adopted in the study, justification for
using the approach and issues related to adopting the approach.
8.3.4 Research Subjects
1. Provide details about the population and sample used.
2. What sectors of the labour force, industry or groups is the sample drawn?
3. What are the characteristics of the population sample?
4. What are the strong points and limitations of the sample?
5. What is the justification of choosing the sample?
6. Can the findings be generalised to the population?
1. Describe the questionnaire used in the study
2. Background of the questionnaire
3. Is it original? If any items are taken from existing questionnaire, identify the
4. Describe the question categories
5. Describe the scaling methods used and state the reasons for choosing them
6. Issues on validity and reliability
7. Pilot test to check the clarity and appropriateness of the survey questionnaire prior
to the actual conduct of the actual survey.
8.3.6 Administration of the Questionnaire
1. Describe how the questionnaire was administered
2. Discuss problems encountered, if any, that affected the results relating to sample
characteristics and their potential impact on reliability and validity of the data.
3. Ensure that in collecting the data, individual respondents / organization were duly
briefed and made aware of the ethical practices including ensuring the
confidentiality of the information gathered and data protection, voluntary and non
– monetary inducement to participate in the intended research. Full consent of
participations by individual respondents is solicited without any form of coercion.
8.3.7 Statistical Methods
1. Discuss the selected Descriptive and Inferential Statistical methods [as in the
SPSS] used in analysing the results. Having selected the variables for your study,
you assume that they would either help to define your problem (dependent
variable/s) and its different components or that they were contributory factors to
your problem (independent variable).
2. The purpose of data analysis is to identify whether these assumptions were correct
or not, and to highlight possible new views on the problem under study.
3. The ultimate purpose of analysis is to answer the research questions outlined in
the objectives with your data.
1. A synopsis of the contents of what has been written about in the Theoretical /
Conceptual Framework and Research Methodology used.
2. The description of the sample used.
3. Descriptive data and the instrument used.
4. The design of the study and the way data were collected.
5. The way data were analysed – assumptions and limitations of the study.
8.4 Chapter 4 – Data Presentation, Analysis and Findings
1. Describe what you found out and what it means.
2. Refer back to the Literature Review and your Theoretical/ Conceptual
3. Present the Data in the form of tables, figures, charts or other illustrations as
needed and sequenced in terms of the research questions or hypotheses tested.
4. Discuss your findings in terms of what the data actually means in terms of each
segment or cell of data gathered.
State the findings as concretely as possible in terms of each segment or cell of
data gathered to answer the research questions and hypotheses.
8.5 Chapter 5 – Conclusions and Recommendations
1. As an introduction to the chapter, Summarise [recapitulate] the argument of the
dissertation in terms of what you attempted to find out and what you
accomplished i.e. address the research questions / hypothesis(es).
2. The final chapter is entitled `Conclusions and Recommendations’. Conclusions
here mean that for each of the findings that address the research questions and
hypotheses, the researcher draws a conclusion.
3. Recommendations mean that for each Conclusion, the researcher suggests a
a. Discussion: Discuss the findings of Study in terms of the main Research
Questions and Hypotheses as well as the Title of the Research and relate the findings
to the Literature Review. In addition, try to explain the significance and non-
significance of the results using available theory, data and facts as well as the
validity and reliability of the findings and
arguments in the dissertation as a whole.
b. Implications: What are the substantive implications of the experience for –
Management, unions and other interest groups; for public policy; Nation building. –
The Methodological or procedural implications of the experience for other
c. Limitations of Research: Describe the possible limitations faced in the study
especially from the methodological perspective.
d. Suggestions for Further or Additional Research: Provide concrete suggestions
for FURTHER RESEARCH in the field or additional research (if possible) in the
research methodological areas encountered in the study The researcher’s last
Recommendation will be Suggestions for Further
e. The FINAL CONCLUSION to the chapter addresses the TITLE of the Research as
the title reflects the whole study. Discuss how the objectives and research questions
of the study have been met with the research.
f. Highlight the key findings, implications, etc. that the research has revealed.