The importance of development leadership in small scale enterprise in China
dissertation research outline. Your outline should contain the following elements:
1. Background to dissertation research: This is a broader explanation of your research topic and outlines what is to be done in the dissertation, and why it
should be done (i.e. why this is an important area to investigate) from an academic and/or organisational point of view. This section should include reference to
relevant literature. Provide evidence as to what other research has been done in this area and where your research fits in relation to what has gone before.
2. Research question: This section states what the dissertation will deal with and what it is trying to achieve. This statement may be in the form of a problem
that will be addressed (or solved) and – ideally – a single sentence question that the dissertation will answer. It should be clear and focused and indicate that the
research is doable in the timespan of an MSc dissertation. If relevant, you might add one or more hypotheses that the dissertation will test, or sub-questions that
address different aspects of the main research question.
Time and consideration should be devoted to this section as a well-phrased research question makes the rest of the dissertation that much easier to complete.
Logistically speaking, think of the question being Specific, Measurable (in the broadest sense not necessarily quantitatively), Achievable, Realistic, Timely
(referring here to some sense of originality, or of the research being current/up-to-date, or that it seeks to contribute in some way to a bigger picture).
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3. Overall Research Approach: For this section you should ask: ‘what research approach (or approaches) will best provide me with the data to answer my research
question?’ Think, here, of the bigger research picture within your dissertation, the aim is to show how the parts of the dissertation link together: from initial
research questions to your literature review to your data collection and analysis. This section describes your overall research ‘argument’.
4. Methods and Data: Present here an explanation and justification of the actual research methods that you will use (e.g. surveys or interviews or secondary
document analysis or action research or focus groups, etc.) in order to complete the dissertation. You should also describe the types and sources of data that you will
require to answer your research question. Try to be as detailed as you can be in this area – for example, specify what data will you seek to use (e.g. if you intend
sourcing some documents then name some of the actual documents, state why you are using them, and say how you will access them; if quantitative research is being
conducted then what databases or other sources of numerical data will be used and how will you access these).
Feasibility must also be acknowledged here, in other words, demonstrate that your research is doable within the resources and time available to you over the course of
the dissertation process. You should include references to relevant sections from Research Methods literature here (plenty of sources have been cited in your MGDI73040
5. Chapter Outline. Indicate the likely number of dissertation chapters and their contents. Ideally this should indicate how each chapter contributes to the
overall argument of the dissertation, enabling you to answer the question: “Why is this chapter included in my dissertation?” It should also avoid stating the obvious
“the research methods chapter contains the methods I will use to answer my research questions”).
Some overall advice:
• Give your research a title (for the purposes of this assignment at least). This helps frame the research and indicates to the reader/examiner what to expect as
they read through your work. It looks more considered and professional too. Use the suggestions for how to phrase a research question to help phrase your research
• Aim to use recent sources and literature in your assignment – avoid using dated sources unless such use is justified or relevant to your research topic (e.g.
some academic literature, while old chronologically-speaking, is still considered quite influential, but its use would need to be explained in your outline).
• For the purposes of this assignment, try and be as specific/detailed as you can.
• Take care in how you begin this assignment – write a clear introductory section (i.e. the first few paragraphs) that summarises the assignment, puts your
research into its context (e.g. why this research is being done and where), and describes very briefly what form your research will take. Then follow this by expanding
and elaborating on these points in the rest of the assignment.