|1. Understand how to select a research question|
|1.1 select a research question|
|1.2 explain the factors that contribute to the process of successful research question selection|
|1.3 justify their choice of research question|
|2. Be able to conduct a literature review|
|2.1 conduct research to find literature relevant to the research question|
|2.2 undertake a critical review of the key literature for inclusion in a research proposal|
|2.3 conduct research to find literature relevant to the research question|
|3. Understand techniques used to interpret data in a research proposal|
|3.1 evaluate techniques for use with quantitative data in a research proposal|
|3.2 evaluate techniques for use with qualitative data in a research proposal|
|4. Be able to choose the appropriate methodology to research the question|
|4.1 evaluate appropriate research methodologies in terms of the research question|
|4.2 choose an appropriate methodology in terms of the research question|
|4.3 justify the methodology selected in terms of the research question|
|5. Be able to present the findings of a research proposal|
|5.1 record findings on a research question, literature review and methodology in an agreed format|
|5.2 summarise the findings using suitable methods|
|5.3 present the findings using suitable methods|
|5.4 critically analyse the findings|
|Notes on exactly what must be done to succeed in the assessment are written below, then followed by a reminder of the content of the module, organised according to the assessment criteria above.
Assessment Criteria Notes
Evidence for this unit should be generated through a written report, demonstrating a sound understanding of research methods and protocol. The report should show evidence of secondary research through a critical review of the relevant key literature relating to the selected research question. It should also show primary research through the selection of a new research question, and then by selecting the appropriate research methodology for this question and evaluating and justifying its use. Crucially, research needs to be focused on meeting its objectives and the outcomes need to be credible. The research question needs to be well-thought-out, appropriate, unique and researched and planned thoroughly.
Learners will need to demonstrate the ability to work independently and provide evidence of an individual approach in their finished work. Learners will require close supervision and organised tutor support in order to design a research question/hypothesis which is realistic, achievable and economically viable within the scope of the unit. Tutor approval should be sought before learners begin the research.
For 1.1, learners select an individual research question. Learners should adopt a critical and realistic approach in this selection exercise and gain tutor support before progressing further.
For 1.2 and 1.3, learners must explain the factors that contribute to the process of successful research question selection and justify their choice of research question. This will require careful planning and preparation in relation to the selected research question as well as consideration of alternative questions before final selection.
For 2.1, learners need to conduct research to find literature relevant to their research question. The literature review should be comprehensive and thorough. It should include all key material and show an understanding of the concepts in the material and their relevance to the current question. Learners should be selective and disregard irrelevant material.
For 2.2, learners must undertake a critical review of the key literature for inclusion in their research proposal. The review should be critical and consider the validity, credibility and esteem in which material is held as well as its use by other researchers, and its relevance to the current research question.
For 3.1 and 3.2, learners need to evaluate techniques for use with quantitative and qualitative data in their research proposal. This requires understanding of both types of data and the relevant techniques, and an evaluation of their appropriateness to the research question.
For 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3, learners need to evaluate appropriate research methodologies in terms of their research question, choose an appropriate methodology and justify the selected methodology in terms of the research. This needs to include a thorough evaluation of all methodologies, with clear reference to the research question, from selection through to justification.
For 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4, learners must record their findings on the research question, literature review and methodology in an agreed format, summarising, presenting and critically analysing them in the process. The presentation must be appropriate in format and content. It must also be professional and show in-depth knowledge and understanding of the research, its context and a critical analysis of its success and findings.
It is possible to assess work orally, with learners explaining and describing things to the assessor in discussion, in group work or a presentation. If oral assessments are used, then the work must be directly attributable to the individual learner and, in this unit, needs to be backed up by a written report. The assessor must provide a signed statement that includes detail of the oral evidence presented and how it is aligned to the criteria.
Unit Content – linked to Assessment Criteria
1. Understand how to select a research question
Research question: definition; suitability; skills and knowledge to be gained; aims; objectives; terms of reference; duration; rationale for selection; methodology for data collection and analysis; type of research eg qualitative, quantitative, systematic, original; methodology; resources; statistical analyses; validity; reliability; control of variables; literature review; implications eg resources; ethical issues
Action plan: rationale for research question or hypothesis; task dates; review dates; monitoring/reviewing process; strategy
Preparation: identifying ideas/topics/areas of investigation; research question(s); scope and feasibility; hypothesis; literature search; agreeing the process; targets; milestones; action plan; timetable and procedure; monitoring and revision
Methodology: literature search eg library, internet, sector data sources; pure and applied research, developmental, longitudinal, survey, case study; research and development; concepts and theories; terminology; validity and reliability
2. Be able to conduct a literature review
Secondary research: books; journals; papers; conferences; library search; use of IT; internet; media
Evaluation of literature: credibility; validity; reliability; frequency of references and esteem in which publications are held; use and acceptance by others
3. Understand techniques used to interpret data in a research proposal
Qualitative data analysis: interpreting transcripts and records, coding techniques, categorisation, relationships, trends, processes, use of computers; presentation of data and information
Quantitative data analysis: coding/values, manual/electronic methods, specialist software; presentation of data eg bar/pie charts, graphs, statistical tables; comparison of variables, trends, forecasting
4. Be able to choose the appropriate methodology to research the question
Research methodologies: intervention, non-intervention, action research
Implement: according to research design and method; test research question/ hypotheses; considering test validity; reliability
Methodology for quantitative data: questionnaires (type, layout, questions, distribution, original research data); interviews (selecting interviewees, bias, verification of data, time, place, style, preparation, format, recording); surveys
Methodology for qualitative data: case study; observation; interviews
Data collection: selection of appropriate tools for data collection; types eg qualitative, quantitative; systematic recording; methodological problems eg bias, variables and control of variables, validity and reliability
Data analysis and interpretation: qualitative and quantitative data analysis – interpreting transcripts; coding techniques; specialist software; statistical tables; comparison of variables; trends; forecasting
5. Be able to present the findings of a research proposal
Presentation: eg formal written format, by viva voce or oral presentation, diagrammatic or graphical figures
Methodology: presentation eg IT, audio, visual aids, time, pace; delivery critique of the methods used in the study, recommendations, eg using the findings, recommendations for the future, areas for future research
Evaluation: planning, objectives, focus, benefits, difficulties; an overview of the success or failure of the research project planning, aims and objectives, evidence and findings, validity, reliability, benefits, difficulties, conclusion(s)
Future consideration: significance of research investigation; application of research results; implications; limitations of the investigation; improvements; recommendations for the future, areas for future research
Criteria: purpose, editing, format, sequencing success, critical analysis, discussion of evidence and findings
Format: professional delivery format appropriate to the audience; use of appropriate media
This Assignment is based upon the Pearson Edexcel Strategic Management and Leadership from August 2010 Programme Specification found at http://www.lcbuk.org/pdf/Edexcel_level7_SML.pdf