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Develop a set of project goals that will serve as metrics for demonstrating project success.

Contents

Welcome to the module......................................................................................................... 4

About this module.................................................................................................................. 4

Module Aim.......................................................................................................................... 4

Assessed Learning Outcomes.......................................................................................... 4

Summary of Module Content............................................................................................ 5

Module Administration........................................................................................................... 5

The Process............................................................................................................................. 6

Choosing your topic........................................................................................................... 6

Rationale for the choice of topic ideas....................................................................... 6

The topic........................................................................................................................... 6

The client organisation.................................................................................................. 6

Preparing and agreeing your proposal........................................................................... 7

The Proposal Outline..................................................................................................... 7

The Proposal Form......................................................................................................... 8

Roles and Responsibilities................................................................................................. 10

General Structure of the Communication project........................................................... 12

Key Dates.............................................................................................................................. 12

Appendix 1: The Proposal Form........................................................................................ 15

Appendix 2: Communication project Assessment Feedback Form (First Marker).... 16

Welcome to the module

Welcome to the Business Project Consultancy module. This module forms the content for your MBA programme. You will be working with a supervisor to develop your research idea into a final consultancy project. I hope that you will find the module interesting and challenging.

About this module

This project is designed to allow the participants to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of materials covered on MBA programme and as a real life learning experience for participants. At the end of the projects participants have to present their results to the company representatives and to the academic community.

Module Aim

The module aims to:

  1. provide the participants with critical and analytical skills in gathering, interpreting information and identifying significant business issues in order to gain applied consulting project experience while providing a valuable service to the business community.
  2. enable participants to undertake independent business research in which they apply appropriate knowledge and tools of analysis.
  3. provide to the participants interpersonal and transferable skills through oral and writing communication, negotiation, problem solving, time management and self-motivation and creativity

Assessed Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop a set of project goals that will serve as metrics for demonstrating project success.
  2. Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  3. Reveal knowledge of the significance of research consultancy or project methodologies and their applications.
  4. Practically apply established techniques of research and enquiry to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  5. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
  6. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Summary of Module Content

Syllabus coverage will vary from participant to participant, and will be determined on the basis of a combination of both student and staff research interests.  Students will be assigned a dissertation tutor who will provide guidance through the research process from research aims through to conclusions and further research. 

Your supervisor will offer you advice on the choice of research topic and methodology. You will have the opportunity to discuss problems and queries with your supervisor during regular meetings, but these represent only a fraction of the time that you must spend on this communication project. Your supervisor will be able to offer you regular informal feedback on your progress.

You are expected to choose your own project topics. The programme gives an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to diagnose and investigate a real life, complex issue. You are required to locate your work within the body of contemporary knowledge, to collect and analyze data, to derive supportable conclusions and, if possible, to make practical and actionable recommendations for change, improvement or enhancement of current practice. Sometimes students conduct research in their own places of work and thus at the end of their study are able to provide an academic explanation to a real-life business concern/ issue.

Module Administration

The Programme Manager is responsible for the overall management of the module, in particular the administrative tasks of allocating supervisors, tracking the progress of students through the module, liaison with individual supervisors regarding assessment of communication projects, and contact with external examiners.

You will be allocated a supervisor who will guide you through the research process. Your supervisor will offer you advice on the choice of research topic and methodology. You will have the opportunity to discuss problems and queries with your Supervisor, but it is YOUR responsibility to carry out all stages of the research and writing up of your communication project as also to create a Power Point presentation in order to present your work to the Supervisor.

The Process

Choosing your topic

Rationale for the choice of topic ideas

The topic that you choose should be interesting or of particular value to you. The research process should be a learning exercise for you AND a contribution to the resolution of problems facing an organization (if appropriate).

You will need to spend some considerable time reading texts, articles, and gathering Internet information. At times you will encounter problems which will take time and energy to resolve. Consequently, you are more likely to remain motivated and enthusiastic if the topic has value and interest. Develop a set of project goals that will serve as metrics for demonstrating project success.

The topic

Once you have decided on an area of potential or interest, the next stage is to assess the feasibility of the project. This will involve carrying out a basic search to assess what previous work has been carried out. You will then need to consider if the research itself is feasible in terms of both content and within the time available.

The project could be conducted in association with an organization. It will enable you to investigate and discover aspects of an organization which can be used for both your own and the organization’s development. You will be able to make an impression on the management team by demonstrating your ability to research an issue and make recommendations, which will enable organizational development.

The client organization

You might be fortunate enough to have contacts in organizations who might allow you access for your research. It is important to discuss this with the Programme Manager and/or supervisor. Provide the participants with critical and analytical skills in gathering, interpreting information and identifying significant business issues in order to gain applied consulting project experience while providing a valuable service to the business community.

Before discussing your project with an organization, you should be clear about your aim and objectives of the study and have a proposal for your methodology - approaching the organization with a vague or woolly idea will be less productive. You will need to consider questions such as: How are you going to collect the data? Which staff is involved? What are the timescales? What are the logistics of the research? What data are already available and accessible to you? What will the organization gain from the project, and why might they want to help you? Finally you must also discuss the issue of confidentiality – of the existing data and of the final report. Should the client wish that elements or all of the report are not for public consumption, the University has a strict system for ensuring the safety of confidential projects.

Preparing and agreeing your proposal

The Proposal Outline

You have already created a proposal for your final communication project at the module GBCA549 “Research Methods for Business and Consultancy”. This proposal indicates you whether the line of study you were planning was feasible or not, and gave to your supervisor the opportunity to offer you constructive feedback. Please note that this proposal is not mandatory to use it for your project as is, but you could improve it according to your supervisors’ instructions.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Programme Manager

The Programme Manager is responsible for the effective operation of the programme, and is required to undertake the following specific activities in relation to the communication project:

  • receiving the students’ project proposals;
  • providing initial feedback to the student about the feasibility of the proposed project topic; or where appropriate, selecting an appropriate member of academic staff to act as advisor to the student whose proposal requires further discussion prior to approval of the proposal;
  • through discussions with your project Supervisor and the student, monitoring the progress of each student’s communication project;

The project Supervisor

In the following section are some guidelines, which are designed to help you manage the relationship between student and Supervisor successfully.

  • Make an initial appointment with your Supervisor as soon as you are provided with contact details. The Supervisor will not necessarily contact you.
  • At this first meeting you are advised to gauge your Supervisor`s expectations regarding liaison and rate of progress, and to negotiate a mutually acceptable schedule of supervision.
  • At the initial meeting, the Supervisor may suggest amendments to your project proposal. Do not be disheartened if this happens; it does not mean your proposal was a bad idea. It is quite likely that the Supervisor can foresee practical difficulties with the development of the research, and wants to spare you the frustration of wasting time as a result of defining the scope of your research unrealistically.
  • After this, the length and frequency of meetings will largely be determined by what you have agreed. As a rough guide, most successful supervisions consist of monthly meetings on average, with peaks in the early stages of the research.
  • It is important that you keep the Supervisor informed of your research progress, and that you let them know of any particularly intrusive work commitments which might impact on your proposed time scale for completing the work.
  • Most Supervisors are happy to provide written or oral feedback on your written work as it progresses. If you want them to comment at a pre-arranged meeting, you must ensure that the Supervisor is given your written work well in advance so they have time to go through it. Lecturers do have other commitments, apart from your supervision.
  • Your Supervisor will advise you on appropriate literature sources and methods appropriate for your research. It is important, however, that your final submission is unequivocally your own work. All research/literature sources must be acknowledged, and you must not expect your Supervisor to re-write your work for you.
  • Your project should make a discernible contribution to the current state of knowledge in your research area. In order to produce a successful project, therefore, you should be guided first and foremost by your Supervisor. However, we are well aware that it is often the case that an organization you work with on the project might expect something in return. It might be necessary to produce a shorter more directly practicable report for the benefit of the organization.

You - The Student

You are ultimately responsible for the completion of the project. The work must be your own, and you must not expect the Supervisor to undertake a major role in writing or editing your work. In addition, you are required to:

  • identify broad aims and specific objectives for their project;
  • ascertain  the  organizational  feasibility  of  conducting  the  required research;
  • in conjunction with the Programme Manager, establish that the area you wish to research in your project can be supervised within the University;
  • establish that you will have the necessary access to data required for the project; Develop a set of project goals that will serve as metrics for demonstrating project success.
  • incorporate into your project appropriate research methods, identified in the research module, and justify their use;
  • carry out the necessary primary or secondary data collection activities;
  • undertake an appropriate review of relevant literature;
  • write the project in accordance with the guidelines laid down in this handbook;
    • comply with the administrative and academic requirements established by the University;
    • inform both your Supervisor and Programme Manager if you encounter problems such that completion of the project by the specified date is jeopardized.
    • prepare a Power Point presentation (maximum of 30 slides) in order to present to your supervisor your project.
    • create a PowerPoint presentation that lasts no more than 20 minutes.

General Structure of the Business Project

What a good project should look like:

The following information is a general overview of the structure and contents of a project and additionally, summarizes what should be demonstrated by the project, by you as a writer and by the project itself. Total net length of the project (minimum 10.000 words, maximum 15.000 words, ± 10%)

Cover

This should include a display of student name, student registration number and supervisor

Title Page

This should contain all that is on the cover plus project title, year and named degree (i.e. MBA).

Statement of Confidentiality

If your work is to remain confidential, this must be stated on the very first page of your project.

Acknowledgements

Thank anybody you think deserves it

Abstract or executive summary

Single page of A4 providing overview of project

Indicative Table of Contents

List(s) of Tables/Figures etc

List of Appendices

Introduction

Put the project into its context.

Why you are doing it, whom you are doing it for, where you are doing your research. Include aim and objectives.

The topic that you choose should be interesting or of particular value to you. The research process should be a learning exercise for you AND a contribution to the resolution of problems facing an organization or a market!

Market Overview

In the market overview you should describe the market. It is a critical analysis of the market. It is not, however a summary of anything written in the topic area, but a critical analysis of the existing secondary research of the market. Guidance on referencing style is based on applying Harvard Referencing. Provide the participants with critical and analytical skills in gathering, interpreting information and identifying significant business issues in order to gain applied consulting project experience while providing a valuable service to the business community.

Market Audit

You should describe all the internal and external factors affecting the company/product/industry that you analyze.

Objectives

You should describe the objectives according to the above analysis.

Methodology

How you are going to conduct your research, and why have you chosen these particular methods

Findings

These should include both primary and secondary data, qualitative and quantitative findings, and data derived from organizational sources. If there are findings that substantiate or refute what you have learned from the secondary data, you must draw attention to this in your discussion.

Analysis

This is perhaps the most important part. This is where you must analyze your data and draw conclusions from it whilst keeping a clear focus on your market search and what this suggested you might discover through your research. It is totally inadequate merely to summarise your findings.

Conclusions and Recommendations

List of References

These are mentioned in the text. Use the Harvard style

Bibliography

Use the Harvard system again. These are sources which might be of interest to the reader but which are not mentioned in the text.

Appendices

Any additional material should be placed here. They must be referred to in the main body of your project.

LAYOUT REQUIREMENTS

These should be followed strictly.

The project should be word processed, with one and a half spacing, in Arial 12 point. Headings should be 14 point bold.

General Structure of the presentation

What a good presentation should look like:

You should also prepare a Power Point presentation (maximum of 30 slides) in order to present to your supervisor your project that lasts no more than 20 minutes.

  • you may add more to the PowerPoint presentation than what is required to make the presentation more interesting (e.g. Backgrounds, charts, more slides, animations or any other PowerPoint function may be added).
  • the structure of the presentation should also follow the structure of the project (please see above).

Key Dates

Your final submission date will be: TBA. You have also to submit your work on Turnit-in. Do not jeopardize your study by missing the deadline

Appendix 1: Project Assessment Feedback Form (First Marker)

MBA Project Assessment Feedback Form

Student Name:                                             Reg No:

Supervisor:

Please use the table below to feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the communication project.

Introduction

Provides a clear research problem of appropriate and sufficient depth.

Clear reference is made to an appropriate research question and set of objectives.

Mark out of 10:

Comments:

Market overview and market audit

Provides in-depth coverage of the analysis of the market

Provides a critical assessment of the internal and external environment

Shows relevance of the market analysis to the issue in question.

The majority of the market analysis is from appropriate sources and is relatively current.

Mark out of 20:

Comments:

Methodology

Identifies and provides a critical assessment of the methodology employed, ethical considerations and limitations there of.

Clear justification for research design choices including paradigm, approach, and data collection and analysis.

Provides a detailed account of the proposed data collection and analysis process.

Mark out of 20:

Comments:

Data Presentation and Analysis

Provides a clear and logical presentation and analysis of relevant data.

Data are analyzed using a recognized technique(s) consistent with the relevant field of Business and Management research.

Clear development between findings and the argument presented in the analysis. Develop a set of project goals that will serve as metrics for demonstrating project success.

Mark out of 20:

Comments:

Discussion and Conclusions

Explains the relationships between the findings and the relevant literature (if this occurs in the findings and analysis chapter – indicate that this is the case and mark this aspect out of 10).

Summarizes the key findings in a concise manner and draws appropriate conclusions.

Highlights the limitations of the research and opportunities for development.

Mark out of 20:

Comments:

Communication and Presentation

Demonstrates full and complete referencing in the correct format.

Presents a logically developed argument.

Correctly presented as a professional document.

Demonstrates good use of English.

 

Mark out of 10:

Comments:

 

Overall comments:

 

 

Mark:

%

 

Supervisor’s name and signature:

 

Date:

 

         

Appendix 2: Presentation Assessment Feedback Form (First Marker)

Presentation Feedback Form

 

 

Comments

Final Mark

Students’ presentation skills and answers to questions of the audience (individual mark)

  • Fluency
  • Quality of voice
  • Appropriate pace
  • Eye contact
  • Appropriate body language
  • Appropriate and accurate grammar and vocabulary
  • Handled confidently audience’s questions

 

 

 

15%

 

 

Clear objectives and integration on the projects’ concepts 

20%

 

 

Critical thinking and analysis (use of theory, hypotheses formation etc)

30%

 

 

Justification of presented views (methodology, analysis, research instrument etc)

20%

 

 

Structure and layout of the presentation References, range of sources

15%

 

 

 

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