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Applied Research Methods

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Essay title: Applied Research Methods


Assignment Brief


The assignment is designed to assess each one of the course learning outcomes identified on page v of the course guide. It requires a brief literature review to arrive at a research question. The literature review should be used to identify key authors in the field and their main contributions. The emphasis here is on actually doing a literature review. A literature review of around 400 words will provide a sufficient basis for a research question.

Next, you should consider ontological and epistemological assumptions in the light of the research question. If a positivist approach is chosen and is appropriate, then the methodology should normally be deductive, the data quantitative, the research instrument a questionnaire (which is basically generated from the literature), and the data analysis methods are statistical methods including hypothesis testing procedures. If a phenomenological approach is adopted, then the appropriate methodology is inductive, data is mainly qualitative, data collection is based on interviews and/or observations, and you should use qualitative data collection methods. Whichever methodology you choose, the key point is consistency. You may base your assignment on a case study, if appropriate.

There is no requirement for actual data collection. The assignment should be written / presented in the format of a research report. You should be able, on the basis of this research plan, to actually carry out independent research in business and management.

Assignment Task

Mergers and acquisitions are important business / management activities. Suppose you wish to carry out an investigation into the causes and consequences of these activities with a view to focus on a particular research question of interest. For this purpose, you are asked to prepare a research report of no more than 3,000 words outlining and justifying fully how you intent to carry out this investigation.

Your report should include:

1. a brief academic literature review, including strategic management and operational management literature to arrive at a research question;

2. explanation and justification of the methodology to be used, including methods of data collection, types of data (both qualitative and/or quantitative) to be used;

3. an explanation of methods of data analysis (both qualitative and/or quantitative);

4. the ethical issues to be observed;

5. the limitations of your research.

This assignment is to be submitted both in hard copy and on a CD-Rom to your Study Centre by Friday 14th September 2007.

Assessment Criteria

The assignment will be assessed on the following criteria:

1. Evidence of background reading and relevance of academic literature to the question posed. Please note: you need to provide a brief literature review on the strategic and operational management issues relating to the topic in order to generate a research question;

2. Appropriate use of an approved referencing system

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