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This piece of work assesses your ability to design and present a convincing rationale for a research proposal for your dissertation.  Your proposal must be based on primary research, i.e. you will collect and analyse the evidence yourself through fieldwork, so that you can compare your own analysis of the findings with those discussed in publications by academic authors who investigated other phenomena to which your own may be related in some way.  It should include the following components:

TITLE: please provide a working title for your research proposal.  Just below the title, summarize what it is about in 15 words or less.  Please can you also identify your course title, i.e. MA Events Marketing Management, MA Music Industry Management, or MA (International) Sport Management.

There should be a succinct general introduction (about 250 words).

i) Preliminary Review of the Literature (about 750 words)

Before you explain your proposal in any depth, you must explain its context with reference to the academic literature, especially Refereed Journal Articles.  Thus, your research proposal must be informed by theory, ideally questions that arise from a current debate to which you can contribute:

•    Consider the Refereed Journal Articles that have some relevance to your chosen subject or phenomenon and your research aims and questions set out below (ii).  What subject field(s) and/or discipline(s) (e.g. anthropology, cultural geography, economic history) do they draw from?  If there is nothing specific on ‘your’ subject/ phenomenon (iii below), you must consider what has been published on related topics and broader areas of scholarship.  For example, if there is nothing specific in the academic literature about ‘the branding of backpacker hostels’, you might consider what research on branding other types of accommodation, attractions, retail outlets and so on, and make it clear in your proposal what might be similar to/different.
•    Select at least FIVE key Refereed Journal Articles. Summarize the main arguments and findings of the authors to which you refer and assess their work briefly but critically.  Are these sources wide ranging (e.g. multidisciplinary) or narrow, how recently were they published?  Please note that in addition to these 5 RJAs, there may be useful textbooks, government reports and statistics and other sources, e.g. articles in professional and trade magazines. These may reflect current issues and problems, but you refer to any of these additional sources you must treat their content critically, and remember that they do not count as RJAs.
•    Can you identify one or more underlying theory, model or concept?  Is there a debate to which you can contribute your evidence?  If so, is it a well established or relatively new debate?

ii) Gap in the Literature, Research Aim(s) and Questions Arising (about 250 words)

•    Identify a gap in the current literature that you have read so far.  Now set out the main aim (s) of your proposed research (maximum 50 words for the aim(s)).  Now set out your initial research questions. These must be ‘researchable’, that is it must be feasible for you to find answers when you do your data collection and analysis.

iii) Phenomenon, Aims, Scope and Research Philosophy (about 500 words)

•    Now explain in more detail, the main subject or ‘phenomenon’ that you propose to investigate.
•    What is your particular contribution to understanding and knowledge of this subject or phenomenon going to be?  Is it going to be specific to one geographical location (e.g. country, region, site)?  Or a particular activity?  Will it investigate one particular population, or type of organization?  Will it investigate the current situation or development over a longer period?
•    Will your approach be based on an ‘interpretive’ or ‘positivist’ epistemology?  Will you collect and analyze qualitative or quantitative data, or both?  Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of your approach in relation to the nature of your research questions.

iv) Strategy for Proposed Methodology (about 750 words)

•    Now explain in more detail.  What survey methods might be used to investigate the phenomenon and answer your research questions?  Comment critically on their appropriateness with regard to data collection.  How might the data be analyzed and drawn together as findings in answer to your research questions in ii) above?  Please make sure that your discussion draws from the research methods literature for this module (pp. 9-12 below) and the techniques and methodologies you have been using and discussing in class.
•    Now select and justify ONE or more research instrument that you would be able to use in your dissertation to carry out the survey, reflecting on its practicality for you to carry out (e.g. on-site intercept survey and self completed questionnaire administered at an event, with 300 usable responses; one to one depth interviews carried out with 20 musicians or athletes).  Comment critically on its strengths and weaknesses. For example, will the survey sample be representative of the population that you want to investigate?  How can you be sure that respondents are telling you the ‘whole truth’?
•    Can you develop any ‘triangulation’ the use of two or more methods or techniques to ‘ask the same question’ and cross-check the validity of the data collected?

v)  Research Timescale, Resource Requirements and Draft Survey Instrument (Appendix)

•    Append a table setting out an appropriate research timescale and an estimated of any resources you will need (and will therefore have to buy or borrow from someone!), e.g. voice recorder, laptop, maps, clipboards.
•    Please make a first attempt at drafting your proposed research instrument. For example, if it is a self-completed questionnaire, show what questions you might ask and how you might set it out.  If it is an in-depth semi-structured interview or focus group, set out the checklist of questions for the interviewer or facilitator.

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