Research Proposal


The Marketing Research course assessment is based solely (100%) upon one piece of individual coursework, a project-based portfolio. Its main objective is to expose you to the critical issues, and decisions involved in the process of marketing research. It is a structured collection of evidence and critical reflection, or analysis designed to support, and document your learning, and development towards the intended learning outcomes (ILOs) or competences of the course. This assessment will play an important part in designing, and prosecuting the research contained in your dissertations, as you will be required to set out several component parts demonstrating your learning. It is therefore very important that the portfolio shows evidence not only of what will be done (descriptions), but also why it will be done (evidence-based justifications), in the way that it reflects the rationale of the whole project, at each and every stage.


The portfolio is presented in 2 main parts:


Part 1: Research Proposal (2500 words)


Your research proposal should be structured featuring:


  1. An introduction section (Discussing the background of the assigned topic, and why it is of interest both theoretically (intended academic/theoretical contributions), and practically (intended managerial/practical implications for relevant stakeholders), outlining the research aim, questions/objectives of this research project, research setting/context, and the structure of the proposal);


  1. A critical literature review section (Positioning your research aim, questions/objectives in the broader literature, outlining the gap in knowledge you want to close, defining key terms/concepts, and identifying if there are academic debates surrounding these, evaluating key theories, models and concepts, and setting relevant hypotheses (the number of hypotheses you set depends on the key concepts you have reviewed);


  1. A methodology section (Pursuing a mixed-methods approach: a qualitative and a quantitative phase, justifying your choice of methodology, justifying your research philosophy, research design, logic of research, process of research, time horizon, and purpose of the research, the order and sequence of qualitative and quantitative phases/studies, research instruments and their design (interview guide and questionnaire based on your key concepts), sampling (including the sampling criteria and proposed sample sizes), and data analysis, critically addressing the following questions: what are the strengths and weaknesses of your approach/technique and research design in comparison to other relevant approaches/techniques and research designs? What are your sampling techniques, and how are you going to recruit participants/respondents? How will you prepare your data and analyse your data? Which techniques will you use? And, why have you considered these as appropriate for your assigned research project? What is the scope? For example, is your research bounded by time, geography, participant/respondent characteristics, or any other relevant parameters? What are the limitations of the research design? For example, the quality of the evidence, sampling, and any other constraints… What measures are you going to undertake to ensure rigour/quality? What are the ethical implications?)



Part 2: Appendices (excluded from the word-count)

  1. Your interview Guide
  2. Your Questionnaire

References should be enclosed following Harvard referencing guidelines at the end of your portfolio.

Please note that…

  1. You are assigned to topics, rather than being asked to come up with your own topics, in order to firstly, ensure that the topics have significant academic/theoretical contributions, managerial/practical implications, secondly, to ensure that there is a gap in knowledge concerning the topics, and thirdly, to ensure that the topics are suitable for a mixed-methods design. You will be allowed to choose your own dissertation topics, only after undertaking both core and elective courses, and, thus, after being introduced to various subjects, topics, issues, and paths entailed in the whole MSc in International Strategic Marketing programme.
  2. You can choose any country, industry, sector, etc. as the context/setting of your research in this assessment, provided that there are legitimate reasons for your choices, and that you critically justify them in your portfolio.
  3. You can enclose further relevant tables/charts/appendices/diagrams/figures/exhibits/pictures, should you wish so. As stated in the first page, these are excluded from the word-count.
  4. You do not need to collect any data for this assessment, and conduct any analysis, as this is a proposal.



Assigned Research Project Topics

Topic 2: The consequences of gender-role stereotypes portrayed in adverts on the way consumers perceive brands…

  • Some concepts to begin with (you can use other relevant concepts if you wish so): Brand Gender, Brand Engagement, Brand Love, Brand Hate, Brand Respect, Brand Equity, etc.


Intended Learning Outcomes being assessed

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Clearly identify various research designs, and explain the differences between exploratory, descriptive, and causal research designs.
  • Analyse the nature, and scope of secondary, and primary data and be able to collect, analyse, and assess secondary, and primary data for specific research purposes.
  • Differentiate between situations that call for qualitative, and situations that call for quantitative research.
  • Explain the differences between qualitative, and quantitative marketing research in terms of the objectives, sampling, data collection, and analysis.
  • Select the most appropriate qualitative research methods (e.g., focus-groups, in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews, etc.) based on the purpose of the research problem.
  • Apply a range of survey, scale, and questionnaire techniques in order to effectively conduct a survey.
  • Recognise, and recommend the best sampling technique for different situations, and defend that recommendation.
  • Explain the nature of descriptive statistics, and other methods of data analysis (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA, correlation analysis, etc.)
  • Effectively write a marketing research proposal.


Assessment criteria

The portfolio will be assessed using the coursework rubric (see below):

Coursework Rubric

Criteria Excellent Very Good Good Satisfactory Weak
The extent to which the student has contextualised the assigned topic with respect to similar/related research work, justified the research setting/context, and has critically discussed relevant theories, models and concepts, thus, has engaged with the credible, relevant and up-to-date literature.          
The level of insight and analysis (as opposed to description) that effective literature review can bring to explaining the gap in knowledge this research aims to fill, and its value.          
The level of clarity in articulating the research to be undertaken in terms of its intended contributions to knowledge (theoretical/academic contributions), as well as its relevance and importance to business/management concerns (taking into account multiple relevant stakeholders).          
The level of coherence/clarity, and explanation of how overall research aims, objectives/questions, and hypotheses for the assigned research project are developed, and the importance of research philosophy in underpinning these.          
The extent to which the student has discussed, and justified the mixed-methods research design, research philosophy, logic of research, process of research, time horizon, and purpose of the research, as well as the order, and sequence of qualitative, and quantitative phases/studies vis-à-vis other potential options.          
The level of proficiency in designing the interview guide, and questionnaire.          
The extent to which appropriate methodological tools, and techniques for data collection, sampling (including sampling criteria and proposed sample sizes), data preparation and analyses have been selected from the set of potential options.          
The extent to which different measures to ensure rigour, and quality are discussed.          
The level of critical reflection upon a range of potential limitations/constraints.          
The level of critical reflection upon ethical implications.          
The level of technical proficiency in writing, including use of appropriate references.          


Referencing and bibliography

You should reference your sources appropriately and list these in a bibliography.  The bibliography is excluded from your word limit.  You should use the ‘Harvard’ referencing system, as detailed below for written coursework.

In the text, use the following referencing conventions:

  • Smith (1999) argues that…. or
  • It has been argued that……. (Smith, 1999).
  • If you use a direct quote, use quotation marks and cite the page number as well as the author and date, i.e. (Smith, 1999, p. 4).
  • If you have two items by the same author in the same year, refer to one as ‘a’ and the other as ‘b’, i.e. Smith (1999a) and Smith (1999b).

For more information, please refer to the University Library webpage.