Your assignment is to develop a proposal for a research study that can be executed by you in three
months. A research proposal can be understood as “a statement of what the researcher is going to
investigate, why, and the method to be followed (the how) in answering the questions posed.” It is,
in other words, a plan for research which explains what you will do and justifies why you have
chosen your particular approach. This means that you will NOT actually collect data, you will NOT
analyze data, and you will NOT have any results to report.
Research proposals are written for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common are to request
funding for a research project from a funder, to obtain approval to begin one’s dissertation research
and to obtain ethics clearance before beginning data collection. You will have to write a proposal for
your own MSc dissertation in the spring semester.
The purpose of this coursework is to evaluate your learning by testing your ability to apply the
knowledge you have gained to the design of a meaningful and viable research study. Moreover, the
coursework is also designed to encourage you to begin thinking about your dissertation research.
The study may be on any topic of your choosing as long as it is somehow related to the MSc IM
program. In other words, any topic related to any of the modules offered in the MSc IM program,
either in Semester 1 or 2, (such as international management, strategy, marketing, entrepreneurship,
supply chains, and human resource management) is acceptable. In terms of methods, you can
propose to use either qualitative methods or quantitative methods – the choice is yours.
In your proposal, you should draw on the module readings as well as materials from lecture to
illustrate and support your arguments. For instance, aim to illustrate your arguments in support of
your data collection and sampling strategies with examples of academic research practice, not only
from the assigned readings, but also other studies published in academic journals or books. The
assigned readings will not provide sufficient material to support all your choices. Thus, you are
expected to show reading beyond these and reference additional articles that are relevant to your
Keep in mind that you should not present as your own the words, the work, or the ideas of
someone else without proper acknowledgement (via the use of references). Plagiarism, cheating or
any other form of academic misconduct is unacceptable and will be penalized. Note that if you copy
and paste text from another author’s work, and do not put it between quotation marks, you would
be committing academic misconduct, even if you add a reference to the source, or replace a certain
proportion of the words.
Please keep the following in mind as you are developing your coursework (please also see the list of
assessment criteria for this coursework in a separate document).
– Your proposal should clearly present your research questions, and include a literature review,
and a methods section.
– You need to clearly explain how you will collect your data and justify why you have chosen
– You need to describe your data sources and why these data sources are appropriate for your
– You need to discuss in depth your sampling, that is, describe what type of sampling
approach you will employ and where and from whom will you collect data (e.g., categories of
organizations or individuals, and how many in each category) and your sample size. All your
choices should be clearly justified.
– You need to discuss how you plan to gain access.
– You need to discuss any potential ethical issues and how you will address them (e.g., how
you will protect respondents’ identities).
– You do NOT need to discuss how the data will be analyzed (as data analysis is only partially
covered in our module).
– You do NOT need to include a timeline or budget.
If your research methods contain quantitative methods, for the quantitative part, please keep the
following in mind in addition to the above as you design your research.
– You need to develop research hypotheses based on theory and prior studies.
– You need to indicate what your dependent, independent and control variables are, how you
plan to measure them and why these are appropriate for your study.
A few things mentioned in the module outline that you should also keep in mind:“The coursework should provide a persuasive argument for the logical connection of the
various parts of the research proposal. In other words, it is essential that you make explicit to
the reader the coherent logic that connects each part of the proposal to its other parts: the
research topic (or purpose), the research question(s), your data collection and sampling
In addition, you are expected to show why your research topic and question(s) are important,
for both theoretical and practical reasons. However, you may choose to emphasize one more
than the other. Your proposal should include a concise literature review, to ground or justify
the research questions theoretically. To justify the study on practical grounds, you should
show how your research connects to a problem of practice in the real world or how your
results could be used to inform and improve future practice.
In your proposal, you should draw on the module readings as well as materials from lecture,
but also go beyond these, to illustrate and support your arguments. For instance, it is highly
desirable that you illustrate your arguments in support of your data collection and sampling
strategies with examples of academic research practice, not only from the assigned readings,
but also other studies published in academic journals or books. Finally, it would also be
helpful to clarify which paradigm or philosophical stance underlies your proposal.” Please submit an electronic copy of your coursework on Moodle before the deadline shown in
the module outline. Your coursework should be word processed, double-spaced, in Times New
Roman, 12-point font and fully referenced. The American Psychological Association (APA) citation
style, the most commonly used in the social sciences, is recommended, but you may use any
academic citation style you choose (as long as you are consistent throughout the entire coursework).