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UCLan Coursework Assessment Brief 2020-21

Module Title: Research and study skills Module Code: MD4058 Level 7

Research Skills Coursework – Research Proposal

This assessment is worth 50% of the overall module mark

PREPARATION FOR THE ASSESSMENT This assessment is based on the seven lectures and seminars that are timetabled for this Semester. Full details are on Blackboard. You are required to use the remainder of the 100 hours self-directed study time to read relevant text books and journal articles as per the reading list in the MIP and using Library resources. The sessions will give you a conceptual grounding in research methodologies as well as practical guidance for the design of a viable research project. Emphasis will be placed on the systematic nature of the research process so that you can see the links between research philosophy, methodology, methods and data analysis. The research proposal is designed to assess your ability to both conduct a search and review of existing literature and design an appropriate research strategy. This research proposal informs the subsequent dissertation module which can be taken in year 2 of the course.

RELEASE DATES AND HAND IN DEADLINE Assessment Release date: January 2021 Assessment Deadline Date and time: Sunday 18th April 2021 at 5pm Please note that this is the latest time you can submit. Your feedback and mark for this assessment will be provided on Blackboard, 15 working days after the deadline date. The University requires students to adhere to submission deadlines for any form of assessment in accordance with the precepts contained in The Student Charter. Your research proposal should:

• Demonstrate your understanding of the research process and design.

• Present your research aim (research question) and objectives.

• Explain how your research is derived from and interrelated to the existing literature.

• Make clear philosophical and methodological underpinnings of the research.

• Provide an outline of data collection methods that could be used in the Dissertation.

• Demonstrate your awareness of research ethics.

• Present a convincing research proposal that is well planned and demonstrated in the timescales.

• Present the awareness of possible limitations of the research proposal.

• Demonstrate independent research that is applied effectively and appropriately using the Harvard Referencing System.

To pass the second assessment, you must achieve a grade of 50% or more.

SUBMISSION DETAILS You must submit your research proposal to Turnitin via Blackboard. The proposal is in the form of an MSWord document, using Mozilla Firefox browser, before the above deadline. The report should be approximately 2000 words. Reports between 1800 and 2200 words are acceptable. A word count should be clearly stated. Format should be: normal margins; size 12 Calibri or Cambria font in black apart from headings; 1.5 line spacing; no decorative formatting should be used; page number should be included.


INSTRUCTIONS Copy the Research Proposal Coversheet Template (see Blackboard) onto the first page of your report. Create a Contents List for the report on the second page. Include all necessary in-text citations and a list of References at the end of the report, using the Harvard Referencing System.

Write an academic research proposal which addresses the following. The word count for each section is


1. Title of the research proposal

2. An introduction to your chosen research area (400 words)

The Introduction should tell the reader what the report is about. It sets the project in its wider context, outlines the structure and signposts the reader to the key points. This is followed by: a. Background to the research (context of the research). This is the section, in which you should justify

why the topic you have chosen is of relevance and importance. You might provide some relevant facts and figures regarding a particular industry – if possible, these should highlight any gaps in the existing body of knowledge. There should not be a significant overlap with the literature review, but appropriate references should be made. This part of your report should contextualise the research and lead the reader logically to the research aim and objectives.

b. Research aim and objectives: Begin this section by clearly stating the aim of your proposed research in one or two sentences (verbs often used are: to investigate; to explore; to compare). Then provide a breakdown of the specific objectives you will undertake in your research in order to meet the aim (there should not be more than four objectives). Be as precise as possible. The objectives should link directly to the research aim and be numbered (i.e. from 1 to 4). Please note that if it is more appropriate to use an overarching research question, followed by a subset of research questions (no more than four), you can do so. It is your personal choice.

3. Literature Review (650 words)

You must identify the main theoretical underpinnings of your work and the key authors in your field of research. You should make references to the key authors and themes from the body of academic literature that is relevant to your researched topic area. It is important to utilise a range of academic sources (such as, journal articles, academic textbooks) and should be appropriately referenced.

4. Methodology: a description and justification of research methods for your study including (650 words): a. Your philosophical position and methodological approach to your study b. Research strategy, including data collection and a justification of their appropriateness c. How you propose to analyse the data you gather d. Any problems you anticipate and how you might overcome them

5. Ethical considerations (200 words): a. How you intend to inform and gain access to the appropriate informants, data, and / or sites for your

study b. How data and informants’ identities are protected


6. Research timescales (50 words)

Either a short paragraph or a table indicating your planned research activity and research milestones. It should demonstrate the viability of your research.

7. Any limitation of your study, for example, design or methods (50 words)

8. List of References (not to be included in the word count) You need to include a reference list at the end of your report and adhere to the Harvard Referencing Style (for in-text referencing and the reference list). All in-text references used in the research proposal must be included in the References list.

HELP AND SUPPORT • For support with this assessment please contact your module seminar group tutor during a class.

• For support with using library resources, please contact SubjectLibrarians@uclan.ac.uk. You will find links to lots of useful resources in the My Library tab on Blackboard.

• If you have not yet made the university aware of any disability, specific learning difficulty, long-term health or mental health condition, please complete a Disclosure Form. The Inclusive Support team will then contact to discuss reasonable adjustments and support relating to any disability. For more information, visit the Inclusive Support site.

• To access mental health and wellbeing support, please complete our online referral form. Alternatively, you can email wellbeing@uclan.ac.uk, call 01772 893020 or visit our UCLan Wellbeing Service pages for more information.

• If you have any other query or require further support you can contact The <i>, The Student Information and Support Centre. For more information, visit the Student Information and Support Centre.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this assessment brief is correct at time of publication. In the unlikely event that any changes are deemed necessary, they will be communicated clearly via e-mail and a new version of this assessment brief will be circulated.