Typical Structure of Business Research Project
The Structure of a Business Research Project described below provides a general recommended guidance. This should be used in conjunction with the instructions or further guidelines given in the module Handbook.
This should provide cover page details, and a brief title of the project.
Table of Contents
- The contents page should list the different chapters and/or headings together with the page numbers.
- Your contents page should be presented in such a way that the reader can quickly scan the list of headings and locate a particular part of the report.
- You may want to number chapter headings and subheadings in addition to providing page references. Whatever numbering system you use, be sure that it is clear and consistent throughout.
1.0 Introduction/Research Background/Rationale
The introduction sets the scene for the main body of the report. This should provide explanation of the problematic issue, but not limited to the following questions:
- What is the problem and why is it important to carry out research about the chosen topic?
- What specifically are you focusing on in your investigation?
- What is already known about the topic, and any gaps?
- An overview of the research methods to be applied, sources of data and any other relevant background details should be included in your introductory section.
- The research aims and objectives of the project should also be included here.
- Research Aim
- Research Objectives
2.0 Literature Review
- Provide a critical review of existing literature from secondary sources such as books, journal articles, business reports, websites (online based sources) etc.
- Identify and explain some themes relevant to your research area (topic).
- What are the gaps of knowledge in the existing literature and how will your research project address them?
- Remember: that literature review is an ongoing process which should be carried out systematically from the moment you start your research projectand continue throughout the research process.
- All sources used should be acknowledged and correctly referenced in correct Harvard format in both citations and the reference list.
- Is your research methodology qualitative or quantitative? Justify selection of the research methodology.
3.1 Samples (sampling considerations of your data sources/ research participants) should be clearly explained
3.2 Data collection methods (what methods are you using to collect primary data? (e.g interviews, questionnaires, observations, document analyses etc). You may also include data collection procedures.
3.3 Data analysis methods (what methods are you using for analysing your data?)
3.4 Ethical considerations – such as confidentiality and anonymity
3.5 Research Limitations
3.6 Research Work plan: Use a Gantt chart to summary the main research activities and timescales
4.0 Findings and Discussion
- This section should present your results of the investigation using appropriate tools and techniques such as diagrams, graphs and tables in Microsoft Excel and/or Microsoft Word.
- Present your results clearly in a logical order followed by detailed analysis and discussion
- The evidence you have gathered from primary and secondary data should be analysed and discussed with specific reference to the research problem.
- If your discussion section is lengthy you can divide it into section headings. Your points should be grouped and arranged in an order that is logical and easy to follow.
- Use headings and subheadings to create a clear structure for your material.
Conclusion and Recommendations
- This is a brief section providing the conclusion that summarises the overall significance of what has been covered in your project.
- You may want to remind the reader of the most important points that have been made in the project. This should highlight what you consider to be the most central points from your findings.
- However, no new material should be introduced in the conclusion.
- This section should also include recommendations particularly for consideration in future research in the same area of study.
6.0 List of References
- Provide a list of all sources cited in your project, and use correct Harvard format.
- Under this heading you should include all the supporting material which you do not want to include in your main body of the project.
- This might include some additional illustrations tables, graphs, questionnaires, interview guide etc.
- Make sure appendices are correctly cross-referenced in the main body of your project.