MSc Management of Projects (MoP) Group of Programmes 2020/21
PROJECT MANAGEMENT RESEARCH METHODS (MACE 60050) PMRM Coursework A: Critical Analysis of Academic Journal Papers (70% Unit)
Submission Deadline: 18:00 FRIDAY 16th April 2021 (Week 8)
Coursework Aim The purpose of “PMRM Coursework A” is to assess each student’s ability to:
Conduct a literature search – finding and selecting relevant, appropriate academic sources;
Summarise and critically evaluate a selection of academic journal papers and draw appropriate conclusions;
Correctly reference academic sources of information using Harvard referencing. In addition, through background reading to support the preparation of the coursework, students are expected to develop relevant knowledge of the published academic literature relevant to their allocated dissertation topic.
Coursework A must be based on your allocated dissertation topic, or one part of that topic. You will be informed of your dissertation topic and dissertation supervisor early in Semester 2.
In this assignment, you must first define the focus and scope of your mini-literature review in your referenced introduction to the topic. You must describe your methodology for searching and selecting appropriate academic literature sources (peer reviewed journal papers).
You must select, read, summarise and critically analyse a carefully chosen set of three academic journal papers that are relevant to your dissertation topic, comparing each of these “core papers” with each other and with related academic papers.
Finally, using your analysis you must draw insights and present appropriate conclusions from critiquing your selection of three “core papers” and other supporting literature.
In Coursework B, which is submitted later and separately after Coursework A, you will be required to create an outline proposal for your dissertation project, based on your allocated topic area and background reading.
Summary of Contents and Page Allocation for Coursework The Coursework is divided into required content sections, each with a set page limit. Please note that marks will not be awarded for any content on pages exceeding the maximum number of pages stipulated for each section. You must comply exactly with the presentation and formatting instructions described in this briefing document. The requirements for each section are outlined below:
Page 1 Introduction: Focus, Context and Scope 10 Marks Page 2 Methodology: Strategy for Literature Search and Selection 10 Marks
Pages 3-7 (5 pages)
Critique of Core Paper 1: Summary, Critical Analysis & Conclusions 60 Marks
Critique of Core Paper 2: Summary, Critical Analysis & Conclusions
Critique of Core Paper 3: Summary, Critical Analysis & Conclusions
Page 8 Discussion and Overall Conclusions 20 Marks
Page 9 + Harvard style Reference lists: (1) References for 3 Core papers, (2) List of additional references cited in your coursework
TOTAL 100 Marks
Preparatory Work – Selecting Three Peer-Reviewed Journal Papers for Analysis Coursework A requires a detailed analysis of a set of three academic journal papers. These three “core papers” must be relevant to your allocated dissertation topic, and should be in some way related so as to form a coherent mini review of the literature on a specific subject. Core papers must be peer reviewed journal articles (not conference papers or books). Using any other types of sources will result in zero marks being awarded for that part of the assignment. PLEASE NOTE THAT “PROCEDIA” PUBLICATIONS ARE COMPILATIONS OF CONFERENCE PAPERS SO MAY NOT BE CHOSEN AS CORE PAPERS. (THESE ARE PEER-REVIEWED, BUT ARE NOT FULL JOURNAL ARTICLES). “HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW” ARTICLES ARE ALSO NOT ELIGIBLE AS CORE PAPERS. First you must choose three “core papers” to critique. This selection process requires researching the literature and spending substantial time carrying out background reading about your topic before selecting core papers.
You are required to draw conclusions from your analysis of the literature presented in this coursework so,
when selecting which three journal papers to review in detail, it makes sense to select papers that are in
some way related rather than focusing on completely different and unrelated aspects of the topic. You
should only draw up your shortlist of review papers after reading through a wide selection of papers.
You may find it easier to comment on research studies that have involved primary data collection rather
than being purely “review articles”. Choosing papers describing different research methods or approaches
can sometimes be useful to show different perspectives, but this depends on your own project area.
If your dissertation topic focuses on one very specific case (e.g. “lessons learned from the sinking of the
Titanic”), then your Coursework A mini-literature review may examine the theory more generally and
consider other similar cases or scenarios. This will help you to put your dissertation topic into context.
Remember that each core paper should be compared with other papers as part of your critique, so you
would normally cite 10 or more papers in total about your chosen topic to carry out your whole review.
Marks are awarded for quality rather than quantity so make sure all the sources you cite are relevant to
your review. The same “supporting paper” can be used in more than one core paper reviews if you wish.
Part of the purpose of reading the literature is to discover what aspects of your topic are already well researched and well documented and to identify where there are still gaps in knowledge that would benefit from new research. You will have many alternatives to consider and there is no single “right” choice of journal papers to include in your review, but you must justify your own choice of core papers to review as part of your coursework.
Section 1: Introduction: Review Focus, Context and Scope (1 page maximum, 10 marks)
Your introductory section describes and justifies the main focus and context of your study of the academic literature for Coursework A, citing academic references for all facts stated. You must provide enough information to ensure your mini- review will make sense and be meaningful to someone who is unfamiliar with this specific topic. There is no restriction on the type of source or number of references that you may cite in this section. You must describe the scope of your mini-literature review and explain the reasoning for your choice of scope. ‘Scope’ defines the chosen boundaries of your review – for example, which academic theories, time period, industry sector, or geographical areas are included or excluded from this study of the literature. As part of your description, you should explain and justify why you have chosen this particular area to focus on. If your dissertation topic is broad (and many papers are published about your topic), then your ‘Mini-literature review’ might have a tighter focus and address only one aspect or part of your allocated dissertation topic. For example, if your dissertation concerned ‘Sustainable Construction’, the scope of your mini-review could be restricted to researching applications of BREEAM and BIM for environmental improvement in the UK construction industry over the last 10 years.
Section 2: Methodology – Search and Selection Strategy (1 page maximum, 10 marks)
In this section you should explain the search strategy used to find appropriate academic journal papers for this coursework assignment. This section must include the following aspects and as part of your discussion you must justify your choices as well as describing your literature search methods:
i. Selection of appropriate key words/phrases and description of why these are relevant to your topic; ii. Search engines/tools used, or library databases or other electronic resources searched and an
explanation of why these are appropriate to your particular search; iii. Strategy and Criteria used to select appropriate literature sources. For example, how did you judge
their importance and relevance? On what basis did you choose or reject papers for this assignment?
Section 3: Critical Analysis of Three Academic Journal Papers (5 pages in total, 60 marks in total) You must summarise each of the three chosen “core” papers demonstrating “critical engagement”. Critical engagement means that you are actively engaging with what you are reading and with the way in which you report the information you have gathered to the reader. Your critical review of each paper must be structured as follows, including all five sections listed below for every core paper that you review, showing sub-headings if you wish. Each review should be approximately the same length and should also reference supporting academic literature sources.
a. Title/Reference: The Full Harvard Reference of the Academic Journal Paper must be the Title for each review.
b. Justification for Selection: Comment briefly on your reasons for selecting this particular paper for review as
one of your “core” journal papers. From all the papers available about this topic, why did you select this one?
c. Summary (of Context, Method, Results and Conclusions): Briefly explain the purpose, context and scope of
the paper and the topic area that it addresses. Describe the particular issue that the study addresses and the
research methods used to generate and analyse the data. Summarise the main findings and conclusions as
documented in the paper.
d. Critique and Comparison with related papers: This section should examine each research study and address
questions such as: Does the study achieve its aim? Examining the methodology, why was this approach
selected? Is the methodology similar to that which others researchers in this field have used and do these
conclusions agree or disagree with other work in this area? Are the findings justified and/or valid in your
view and how well did these relate to the authors’ aim and objectives? Was the evidence the authors used to
back up their findings robust? You should compare the core paper with at least one additional academic
source (supporting literature), and ideally more, to draw out relevant insights and different points of view.
e. Conclusions: You should end your review of each core paper with a few sentences summarising the
conclusions that you have drawn from critical analysis of this research paper. This must go further than
simply summarising the conclusions that are stated in the research paper itself.
Section 4: Discussion and Overall Conclusions (1 page maximum, 20 marks)
In the discussion and conclusions section you must summarise your findings from analysing the literature then draw together the findings from the analysis of all three papers, plus supporting material, to draw out deeper insights and comment on the application to your area of research. You should aim to use the whole page to explain the conclusions you have drawn from conducting this review of the literature. No new sources (references) can be introduced in the conclusions section but you can reference any sources that you have already cited.
a) Short Summary: First, summarise your conclusions from each of your three core paper reviews.
b) Further Insights: Discuss what conclusions you have you been able to deduce from reviewing all
the data together, about the topic itself or about research in this subject area, drawing together all
three paper reviews and comparisons with each other and with other supporting literature.
c) Suggested Application(s): In what ways could this study of the literature have potential uses or
consequences for professional practice in Project Management? Explain your thinking.
d) Proposed Future Research: How could this study of the academic literature be useful in guiding
the planning of future research in this subject area? Explain your thinking.
Harvard Reference Lists
Two Reference lists are required, in Harvard format, on one or more pages at the end of your coursework report. You must provide a full Harvard reference for all of the sources cited (not just the url/weblink). These must be presented as two separate lists on the References page using Harvard Referencing.
1. List of Core Paper References (three in total)
2. List of Additional References (supporting literature cited in the introduction and paper reviews)
Coursework Instructions on Presentation and Formatting The coursework must be presented, structured and written following the instructions below. You must clearly communicate your meaning whilst being careful to avoid directly replicating any of the source text.
Text must be written in formal academic English using the third person. Use font Calibri 11 and margins must all be 2cm wide (including the header and footer). Use single line spacing. Large blocks of text should be avoided – divide the content into separate paragraphs and use subheadings. Apply careful editing to avoid spelling, grammar, syntax and other errors. A good standard of written English is particularly important in this coursework, as you will only be awarded marks if your assessor can clearly understand the points that you are making. Check your spelling and keep sentences short and simply structured if you are concerned about your correct use of grammar and syntax. You must not plagiarise from the papers you are reviewing. This means that any direct quotes must be enclosed in “ “ marks and other content that you use from your source papers must be written entirely in your own words. Any material that is pasted directly from source papers and is not enclosed in “ “ marks will be penalised as poor academic practice, even if the paragraph cites the source as a reference.
Coursework A Submission
The submission must be made through the MACE 60050 Project Management Research Methods unit on Blackboard before the deadline date and time shown in the coursework header. Late submissions will receive a marks penalty, so you are strongly advised to submit early. The submission time recorded is when submission is
completed, not when you click “submit”. Click on the Assessment tab and read the Turnitin Submission Instructions for more information. You must complete the Turnitin Assignment Declaration to confirm this is your own work before you can upload your file.
Please either use the PMRM Discussion Board in Blackboard or speak to your lecturer at the end of any Semester
2 PMRM lectures if you have any questions about this coursework assignment.