Conducting Evidence Based Research | My Assignment Tutor

University of the West of England Bristol Business School The Bristol MBA Conducting Evidence Based Research (CEBR) Module Handbook Introduction The handbook is a resource for you during the period in which you develop your MBA Independent or client-based Consultancy research project.  It provides you with guidelines on what you can expect to achieve, the processes designed to help you manage and complete your work, the format in which you should produce your written work and information on the assessment process.  Completing the 15 credit Conducting Evidence Based Research (CEBR) module during the MBA Phase will involve around 600 independent study hours of your time.  This includes 24 hours of research methods teaching at the start of the module, after which you are expected to discuss your project individually with the tutors of the module.  The handbook outlines the content and processes involved within research methods classes and subsequent meetings. The module site on Blackboard  holds separate, additional handbook for those students who choose the consultancy dissertation. Module Staff The module is staffed by a module leader and tutors.  The module leader manages the module as a whole, including coordination and overall management of the research methods classes and the subsequent management of the Independent or client-based research project phase including allocation of and liaison with supervisors.  Any queries relating to the module as a whole, including issues arising after CEBR class sessions, should be addressed to the module leader, Dr. Hugo Gaggiotti ([email protected]). Specific queries relating to issues arising during CEBR classes should be addressed to the tutor concerned.  Module Leader and tutor for the Independent research route: Dr Hugo Gaggiotti [email protected] Tutor for the Consultancy based route: Dr Jacqueline Barker (jacq[email protected]) Supervisors: Bristol Business School academic staff – see faculty website for email addresses. Aims of the Module The module aims to enable students to understand the importance of gaining and using knowledge and evidence based inquiry in both desk-based and applied externally engaged forms of dissertations (“field research”, Czarniawska, 2014). Teaching and learning sessions encompass a range of participative activities, such as case studies linked to a range of existing business and market challenges, problem solving activities and group discussion of relevant theories and concepts. Guest speakers from business form an integral part of the teaching and learning on the module. All sessions require preparation in advance by the students and relevant reading and independent learning tasks will be detailed in the module handbook and online. Learning Outcomes for the Module CEBR is designed to equip you with knowledge and skills to collect, produce, critically evaluate, interpret and present relevant data from organisational contexts. During the module you will encouraged to engage with a variety of academic perspectives that inform management research and consultancy and work in teams to debate the merits and drawbacks of different approaches to the gathering, interpretation and presentation of data. You will learn through considering knowledge of different approaches to enquiring, using evidence and presenting academic arguments. CEBR will provide you with an opportunity to explore, in depth, a management issue, a topic or a consultancy case. Your research should aim to develop knowledge and understanding, both theoretical and practical, through choice of a challenging and relevant focus, and through critical review of the literature (review of literature depends on client demands for the consultancy route), data collection and analysis, and theorising and development of management practice.  In researching your chosen topic you will draw upon and develop further the skills and knowledge acquired during the earlier parts of the MBA.  The module will equip you to engage with alternative dissertation routes where you could: undertake research to deepen your knowledge of a particular aspect of business or management; apply appropriate field research approaches in the context of a client-based problem or opportunity; or apply the range of tools associated with development of a new venture plan. We expect you to acquire significant analytical skills mainly through carrying out evidence based or field based research. In order to complete CEBR you will be required to: develop an analysis and synthesis of the relevant academic literature or case studies (review of literature, case studies and other sources depend on client demands for the consultancy route)develop a conceptual framework and research questions that are embedded within the context provided by the literature or the client demandsproduce a formal research designcarry out data collection appropriate to the research or consultancy focuscarry out analysis of your data and present core findings to a mixed audience of clients and academic business researchersdevelop a synthesis of your findingsdevelop the implications of your findings for practice. Working with the evidence based research process will enable you to develop skills in the analysis and synthesis of complex material, to gain a working knowledge of research approaches and methods in business and management research, develop skills in reviewing complex research literature (literature review depends on client demands for the consultancy route) and acquire skills in planning and managing effectively a substantial analytical investigation of an organisational practice, issue or consultancy problem. On successful completion of this module you will be able to: Convince an audience of academics and/or potential clients, by justifying research aims and objectives, of the relevance of conducting evidence based research at senior level (Component A and B)Demonstrate the capacity to work with models and theories that could serve to frame a business or management research (Component A)Justify the use of methodological choices and expertise needed in a evidence based research (Component A)Demonstrate effective oral and written communication of complex ideas and arguments using a range of media (Components A and B)Address ethical concerns that could impede a research project (Component A) Textbooks The recommended textbooks for this module are both available online through UWE library: Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. 2019, Research methods for business students, Eighth edn, Pearson, Boston. Adams, J., Khan, H., Raeside, R. and White, D. (2007). Research methods for graduate business and social science students, Sage: London-Los Angeles. Assessment of CEBR The assessments require students to analyse a real or hypothetical organisation which requires research to solve a management or business issue. Students will choose as their research case either a past or present employer, an organisation targeted by the student for future employment or an organisation which has engaged the student’s interest. The assessment comprises two components. The first component (A) is a Research (independent or client based) Proposal (75%; 2500 words). Students are required to develop the proposal based on an organisational issue set by themselves or their clients. The proposal needs to include: The aims and objectives of the project (eg research question or client issue and expected outputs – where the project will involve working with an organisation, this should set the expectations of the organisation at the correct level)A conceptual framework (eg relevant sources, current debates, relevant sector/managerial function expertise)A justified methodology (eg data gathering, data analysis, style of working with organisation)A completed ethics approval application More guidance on what is required for specific types of project will be provided in the module handbook. In the case of the client-based dissertation, whilst the Business School has a formal process in place for the generation of projects, students will be asked also to source their own projects in the first instance where they have specific areas or business sectors of interest. The second component (component B, 25%) consists in a Project Evaluation (video presentation; 10 minutes). The video presentation needs to be based on your research or consultancy project proposal. This will provide you with the opportunity to present key elements of your proposal and to get feedback that will be of benefit in determining the direction of your final project dissertation. The presentation requires to outline and justify your ideas in respect of particular audiences explaining: why the independent or client based project is relevant for your professional developmentthe capabilities and feasibility to carry on the project including an evaluation of the internal and external factors that could facilitate or impede its completion      Throughout the module delivery opportunities will be taken for formative feedback and continuous feedback via the use of Blackboard and study group Blog activities as applicable. The devised assessment profile is applicable to all delivery approaches i.e., traditional weekly class based activities; block structured and distance learning. Content of the independent or client based research project: See Executive Dissertation and Consultancy Dissertation module handbook Ethical Guidelines and the NHS Students conducting an assignment project within the NHS should ensure that their research project complies with DoH and University Ethical guidelines and procedures.  The DoH guidelines require that research that involves access to NHS staff, patients, unpublished data or premises is subject to formal ethical approval processes within both the NHS and the University.  This is required for primary research and therefore includes research involving interviews, questionnaires or use of unpublished NHS data.  Approval through the formal process is likely to take at least 60 days and require considerable additional work for students.  Therefore should you decide to do research of this nature you should take this into account in your research planning and scheduling for submission.  Note that you do not currently require ethical approval for an assignment that either (a) uses publicly available NHS sources e.g. documents in the public domain, or (b) personal reflections on practice (often referred to as autoethnography).  Approaches to carrying our research of this kind are covered within chapters of Denzin and Lincoln’s Handbook of Qualitative Research (see references) and this is well worth consulting if you plan to do a project of this kind.  (Note that students who are not doing research in an NHS context may also choose to use these approaches to research).   NHS employees who wish to progress to early submission should give strong consideration to using research approaches that do not require submission through the formal Ethical Committee process.  If you have any queries on what kinds of research projects require submission through the Ethical Committee process, or on details of the process, please email Hugo Gaggiotti ([email protected]). Assessment criteria and marking procedure: The University and Faculty guidelines on postgraduate modules apply – please see the University and Faculty handbooks for guidance.  The latter is available through the Faculty’s website – postgraduate student area. Your thesis is marked independently by two internal assessors, one of whom is normally your supervisor, and a final mark is agreed by them.  A sample of Independent or client based research projects is also sent to external examiners as part of our quality management processes. CEBR sessions Aims: To provide you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to research in order to equip yourself to undertake the Independent or client based research project. Teaching and learning approaches: Approaches have been chosen in order to: Provide you with a range of learning methods that ensure you receive appropriate knowledge, work with that knowledge, and apply your understanding to your own research Encourage collaborative learning in a field of work that is often experienced as individual and isolating. The taught element of the module will be delivered through a combination of focused inputs from staff on specific issues and topics, facilitated large group discussions, small group activities and discussions and individual activities.  .  The focus of the sessions will be on enabling you to develop your understanding of the research and consultancy process, and working with practical activities in order that you may commence working on your research proposal and begin the initial steps in developing your research project and thesis.  Key steps in the process: Topic form submission: you are required to submit your topic form to the Module Leader ([email protected]) as soon as you can and no later than one week after finishing the sessionsAllocation of supervisor: after receiving the topic form, the module leader starts the process of allocating a supervisor. This take time as it depends on academic availability and authorisation from Associate head of Departments from each research clustersContact supervisor: as soon as supervisor is allocated, you will receive an email with the confirmation and a request to contact her/him and start to work no later than 72 hoursProposal and presentation submission: submit your research proposal and presentation in time (you need to check with [email protected]) Library Sessions for Masters Phase Students Library sessions are incorporated into the research methods classes for all delivery modes in order to give you the opportunity to update on the library resources with particular reference to those needed to complete your Independent or client based research project.  Should you miss these sessions for unavoidable reasons then you should ensure that you make personal time available to acquaint yourself with library resources. Please ensure that you arrive at the room prior to the start of the sessions in order that we are able to start on time.  The content is expected to include: Library resources to support researchCarrying out a literature review (review literature depends on client demands for the consultancy route)Advanced search techniques and database featuresCurrent awareness servicesPractical ‘hands on’ time for students to explore some of the above, following their own chosen research topic (suggestions will be available for anyone with no topic) The dates and location for students within each delivery mode to be confirmed  at Session One of CEBR classes: Indicative content for CEBR sessions: You will be expected to demonstrate that the creative and innovative dimensions of your Independent or client based research project are balanced by a sound academic and/or practitioner underpinning.  This will require you to demonstrate your ability to conceptualise, research, analyse and creatively evaluate an issue relating to organising, organisations and / or management/consultancy.  The CEBR sessions are a significant resource available to help you to achieve this outcome. In preparing for independent research you will take part in a 24 hours course on doing management research. This has been split into areas of indicative content and for each topic area there are specific chapters to read from texts.  The planned order for sessions is shown on Blackboard in relation to each delivery route but all students will start with the introductory session.  Weekly students should try to pre-read as suggested from the set text in preparation for each week’s classes, and follow up with more detailed reading on the topic.  Block delivery students should try to read as much as is possible of the set text prior to their block classes, and follow this up with more detailed reading of the text and other references. While the topic areas provide a guide as to what we shall cover but we shall try to respond to the needs of the group so it is likely that some topics may receive greater attention than others.  Further depth on specific issues should be pursued by you through further reading from the set text and other sources. Guidance on structure and content of Independent research project (for consultancy projects, please see the specific consultancy dissertation handbook): There is no single format that applies in all cases and you should seek guidance from your supervisor.  Normally the following structure and content will apply: title pagestatement of level of confidentiality (see below)acknowledgementsabstract or management summaryglossary (definitions of abbreviations or technical terms)contents pagelist of tableslist of figureslist of appendicesintroductionreview of relevant literature (independent research only)discussion of research methodology and research designdata collection, analysis and synthesisdiscussion of data and self-critical reflection on the researchconclusions and recommendationsreferences and bibliography in standard format (preferably the Harvard system – see library handout)appendices Title page should contain: full title of Independent or client based research projectfull name (and current qualifications if desired)the statement: ‘Independent or client based research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.A. Management’month and year of submission Confidentiality statement: Three levels apply and we ask that you include the appropriate statement on the page following the title page of your Independent or client based research project: The Independent or client based research project may be made freely available immediately for academic purposes (this includes display in the Library for consultation purposes) Limited confidentiality – the Independent or client based research project may be made freely available after two years for academic purposes (including display in the Library for open consultation) Strictly confidential – the Independent or client based research project is confidential and may be made available only for assessment purposes  (where this statement is made all copies to be returned to the author after the Examination board has agreed the mark). It is your responsibility to ensure that the correct confidentiality statement is included within your Independent or client based research project.  This should appear on the page following the title page.  Where there is no statement requesting full or partial confidentiality it will be assumed that the Independent or client based research project can be made freely available, including display for open consultation in the library). Students should ensure that they retain a full copy of their Independent or client based research project.   You will be notified when your Independent or client based research project is available for collection from BBS Reception – this will take place when the bound copy of the assignment is available and will take place following the announcement of results after the Award Board.  Should you have placed a statement in your Independent or client based research project that it is strictly confidential then both unbound copies of your assignment will also be returned to you. Assignment Marking Criteria: Appendix A Guidelines on preparing your Independent or client based research project It is important to allow adequate time for preparing your final draft.  You should subject each section of your first draft to a process of self-critical reflection and make improvements prior to asking your supervisor to comment on selected sections.   In doing so you should ask yourself the following questions: are the aims and objectives / research questions clear? does the approach used in data collection enable you to meet your aims and objectives? is the Independent or client based research project clearly structured? do you indicate how you have structured the Independent or client based research project? does the abstract reflect the full content of your Independent or client based research project? do you use signposting (previews / overviews of a chapter or section within a chapter) and summarizing (what has been covered / key points emerging from a chapter or section within a chapter) throughout the Independent or client based research project? do you link your literature review to the conceptual framework? (independent research route only) do you link the literature review to the discussion of your research findings? (independent research route only) do you clearly describe your research approach and data collection methods? do your conclusions and recommendations do full justice to your research study? is there material in the appendices that should be within the main body of the Independent or client based research project, and vice versa? does the title reflect the content of the project? is your writing style clear? have you checked for spelling and grammatical mistakes? have you checked your reference list is complete and in an appropriate style? is the format of the Independent or client based research project acceptable to the assessors? have you included a statement of the level of confidentiality where appropriate? Appendix B Guidelines on working with your supervisor: agree at the start mutual expectations agree appropriate spacing, length and style of meetings (how often, how long, face-to-face or a mix of face-to-face and telephone, agenda, work to be sent beforehand and when) agree the next steps in taking forward the ideas developed in your research proposal agree draft timetable for the work and link this to contact with your supervisor agree what work you will send to your supervisor for comments, and how long before meetings this should be sent (and whether your supervisor prefers to receive hard copy or file copy) be aware in developing a plan for contact with your supervisor that he or she has a total of 10 hours  for providing supervision, including the time that he or she will spend on reading your draft work read your own first drafts and improve them through self-critical reflection prior to showing them to your supervisor be aware of the level of independence which you supervisor will expect you to show let your supervisor know if things are not going according to plan and if this affects your original timetable for your Independent or client based research project discuss with your supervisor when you plan to submit your Independent or client based research project and check this again with him or her prior to submission


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