AIM: this assignment assesses the learning outcomes of the research methods module. To this end, you are asked to devise a research project, to conduct pilot research, and to analyse your results on one of the following topics;
Issues relating to the “student experience” at the college such as climate survey, reading habits of students, performance rating of students, student assessment preference.
Students impressions of the university brand
A study of customer satisfaction with special reference to services of any company set up in Oman
Any appropriate topic agreed with your module tutor
Please note that the total word count excludes appendices. Appendices contain supporting information and for this assignment little supporting information should be needed beyond that identified in the tasks or guidelines. The recommended (approximate) number of words for each part of the assignment gives guidance on the required extent of analysis (i.e. approximates to the marks allocated to a task).
The assignment should be appropriately presented in numbered sections and sources of information must be Harvard referenced.
The assignment is to be completed individually.
Complete the following seven task:
1. Give your research a title and develop one research question or research objective.(50 words)
2. Undertake a short literature review. Summarise any theory and evidence research objective.
3. Briefly explain your research philosophy, approach and strategy. In particular, comment on what makes your research positivist, phenomenological or a hybrid of both. (250 words). In approach whether you have used an inductive or deductive approach. In strategy, whether you have used ethnography, grounded theory or survey strategy in inductive approach. State the reason for
Your choice of philosophy, approach and strategy.
4. Complete the faculty ethical approval process for your proposed research using the fast track ethical approval form. The research must be approved by one of the module tutors before undertaking any primary research. Attach the approved from (and mandatory additional documents) to the assignment as an appendix. Briefly reflect on the ethical implications of your research. (100 words).
5. Answer either part (a) or part (b). (300 words plus questionnaire/interview schedule))
a. Design and implement an effective questionnaire (no more than five questions) to research the question/objective that you specified in task 1. Your questions capable of generating qualitative data. Then explain and evaluate the purpose and design of at least two non-trivial questions. (Your maximum pilot sample size should be 10 respondents.) Attach a blank copy of your questionnaire as an appendix.
b. Design and implement an effective schedule for a semi-structured interview (with five potential questions) to research the question/objective that you specified in task 1. Your schedule should contain one or two (and on more) closed question capable of generating quantitative data. Then explain and evaluate the purpose of at least two non-trivial questions. Comment briefly on what you could not discover from a semi-structured interview that you could not discover from a questionnaire. (Your maximum pilot sample size should be 6 respondents.) Attach a blank copy of your semi structured interview schedule as an appendix.
6. Analyse your results in relation to your research objective/question and attach the raw data collected in an appendix (350 words).l
a. Analyse the qualitative data from your pilot research. Briefly summaries and analyse the key themes and issues arising from your responses.
b. Analyse the qualitative data from your pilot research. Give a summary and brief analyse of the results for each question.
7. Evaluate your research in terms of the lessons learn from the pilot appropriateness of the research instrument in relation to the research strategy outlined in task 3, the reliability and validity of your results, etc. (200 words).
Comments on each task:
Tasks 1, 2 and 3 will test student’s ability to design a research project.
Task 1 distinguish between the broad aim of your research and specific research questions/objectives. One objective/question is sufficient to show that you understand this distinction and to inform the rest of the assignment.
Task 2 gather and process a more relevant critical review of literature (i.e. that you know how to use different sources, relate your project to debates and disagreements and identify knowledge gaps that provide a rationale for your research objective/question) for this task, you are required to do enough additional readings to identify four five relevant non-trivial references for use in the literature review (try to include a mix of newspaper/magazine articles, web sites, and academic journals.).
Task 3 explain your research strategy and methodology in terms of an appropriate selection from the range of concepts introduced in the lecture course: e.g.positivist/phenomenological research; deductive/inductive approaches; theory-testing/theory-building; quantitative data; research sample frame / sample size and so forth.
You will need to think carefully about both your research question/objective and your research philosophy/strategy/approach, as these will influence your choice of research technique in task 5.
Task 4 you need to ensure that you understand and have learned how to comply with Staffordshire university’s procedures for ensuring that proposed research complies with prevailing ethical standards.
Task 5design a research instrument to implement your chosen research methodology and so answer your question/meet your objective. Five questions are sufficient to demonstrate that you understand how to design a survey questionnaire or a schedule for a semi-structured interview. However, it is not feasible for you to implement the full-scale project. Accordingly, you are required to implement only the pilot research with a small pilot sample size of 10 (for a questionnaire) or 6 (for an interview). The purpose of a pilot is to ensure that your research instrument is capable of generating valid data, and that the collection and analysis systems are appropriate, before embarking on the full research.
In research methodology the researcher has to state clearly what research design, sampling technique, tool used for analysis and sample size they have adopted in their research study.
Task 6 present and then analyse both quantitative and qualitative results. The balance between quantitative and qualitative analysis will depend on whether your research instrument was a survey quantitative or an interview schedule: for the former, the main emphasis will be quantitative; for the latter, qualitative. However, all answers must contain at least some analyses of both types with emphasis of its data diagrammatic representation like pie chart or bar chart.
Task 7 demonstrates the ability to reflect critically upon the strengths and weaknesses of your research strategy, methodology and research instrument in terns of theory and in light of lessons learned during the pilot datacollection and analysis phases of the research.
Assessment criteria/weightings/marking scheme:
To achieve a ،pass، grade
To obtain a pass grade you need to demonstrate some understanding of the relevant concepts and techniques in designing a research project.
To achieve higher grades
Refer to the faculty of business and law grade point criteria definition.