MANUAL FOR PROJECT PROPOSAL AND PROJECT REPORT OF
COMMONWEALTH MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (AIOU)
COMMONWEALTH MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (AIOU)
ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY ISLAMABAD
The Project Handbook has been prepared with a view to equipe our Commonwealth MBA and MPA students with some basic and necessary information on writing a research proposal and final project report. This will assist the students in thinking through many aspects of crafting implementing and defending the research project. It is our attempt to share some of many ideas that have surfaced in the past that definitely make the task of completion of research so much easier. We have tried to give some suggestions on the following: selection of a topic, developing a project statement, writing Literature Review, Research Design, Data Analysis, Conclusion and Findings, Bibliography and such other necessary components.
Guidelines of a research report have been provided on the format and style of the project and specimens have been annexed for guidance. We hope that all given information will help you in choosing the project title, and conducting research work.
With this in mind enjoy the manual. We hope it will help you to finish your research in good shape.
This master level Research Project Manual is designed for all Commonwealth Master of Business Administration / Public Administration students. The students will be required to conduct a research study in the academic field of the chosen area after completion of the course work for (COL EMBA/MPA).
The research project carries a weight of (06) credits and is an integral part of Commonwealth MBA/MPA Programme. After successful completion of required courses and research project (code 5598) each student will receive COL MBA / MPA degree. This manual has been developed to provide broad guidelines to the students and help them in preparing their project synopsis and final report.
The university hopes that after following these guidelines the students of this prestigious programme will be in a position to write an excellent research report and create a value addition for them.
Research Proposal and Final Report
The mission of Allama Iqbal Open University is to deliver the collaborative Master of Commonwealth MBA / MPA degree in such a way that can provide the students with latest managerial skill and capabilities. The program aims at delivering high quality theoretical and practical knowledge.
All research reports normally use the same format. It does not matter whether you are doing a customer satisfaction research, employee’s opinion survey, research on impact of globalization research or a marketing research. All have the same basic structure and format. The difference will be in the contents.
The distinguishing feature of research is an original contribution to the existing body of knowledge. Thus the final research report for the project course (code 5598) is a document whose purpose is to prove that the student has made an original contribution to the existing knowledge.
The research report must highlight the following important aspects:
- Student has identified a worthwhile question or problem, relating to the generic discipline of Management Sciences (Business or Public Administration as per his or her enrolment)
- S/he has solved the problem or answered the question(s) raised during research
- Their contribution to knowledge lies in their findings.
It has been observed that the students enrolled in the project course do not get the approval of topic and proposal / synopsis from the programme management office, Allama Iqbal Open University campus Islamabad before starting their research. Therefore, at the outset, students of final semester of COL MBA/MPA are required to (i) To select the research topic in consultation with the Supervisor provided by their approved study centre (ii) To develop and submit a research proposal / synopsis to the department for approval / acceptance prior to starting their research.
WHAT IS RESEARCH
Research is an ORGANIZED and SYSTEMATIC way of FINDING ANSWERS to QUESTIONS or solutions of problems.
1) Systematic: because there is a definite set of procedures and steps which the students/researchers will follow. There are certain things in the research process which are always done in order to get the most accurate results.
2) Organized: in that there is a structure or method in going about doing research. It is a planned procedure, not a spontaneous one. It is focused and limited to a specific scope.
3) Questions: are central to research. If there is no question, then the answer is of no use. Research is focused on relevant, useful, and important questions. Without a question, research has no focus, drive, or purpose.
4) Finding Answers: is the end of all research. Whether it is the result after a testing hypothesis or answer to a simple question, research is successful when we find solutions answers. Sometimes the answer is no, but it is still an answer.
The research process
- Preliminary Data gathering (Preliminary Data gathering about situation i.e. broad problem area)
- Problem definition
- Literature Review & Theoretical framework (variables identified)
- Research design
- Data collection ,analysis and interpretation
- Report writing
- Report presentation
- Decision making
Identifying a Project/Research Topic
Research begins with defining a topic in which a student may be interested and willing to put effort. Research topic should relate to the subject whom the students have studied in their programme (Management Sciences, Business or Public Administration). The three significant characteristics of a research topic/problem are that is should be significant, researchable and new or add a new angle to established facts. Some important elements of selecting a topic are as under:
- First you select a problem/topic in a general area that is related to the area of your expertise and interest. Second step is to narrow down the general problem area to make it specific, and researchable.
- Formulate a research topic in order to achieve your objective.
- The selected topic should be in a field in which there is real need for the research.
- Must keep in mind why the research is important and to whom.
- Students need to describe the research context clearly.
- Access to the data must be ensured about the topic prior to its finalization.
- The topic should be open to methods of research.
While thinking about research topic:
- Discuss ideas with colleagues
- Browse the literature, especially journals
- Discuss ideas with your supervisor – he/she is an expert within the discipline and can help you decide on an appropriate topic
Setting the topic in context
When placing your topic in context it is often useful to think about the following:
- What is the scope of the topic?
- What is the purpose of the research?
- Who are the intended audience?
- What is the time period?
- What is the geographical coverage?
- What are the relevant/related disciplines?
Some More Tips for Problem Formulation
RESEARCH PAPER TOPIC IDEAS
Try to pick a topic that you are interested in. You are going to have a lot of research and experimentation ahead of you so it helps to produce good science if you have enthusiasm in what you are doing. Find a broad topic and do a little preliminary work, perhaps making a shortlist of possible areas of interest.
- Be realistic. If you have difficulty with transport then there is no point picking a project in some far-flung, inaccessible area. You may have to go back to resample or clarify your data. For a field study that requires lots of walking or climbing you need to be reasonably fit. If you are not very good at approaching strangers then avoid a subject that requires you to ask people to fill in questionnaires. Play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.
- With the above in mind, check out the facilities your department offers. For example, some departments offer help with statistics or using computer programs.
- Take into account the amount of time and resources you have. It is better to pick a focused topic and be thorough than to try and perform some complex research that you struggle to finish. Your topic must be broad enough to ensure that you have enough data but narrow enough to maximize your time and resources.
- Try and be a little different; if a large number of students research the same topics then there could be a lot of people fighting over one copy of a book or journal.
- Will you need help? For some areas of research you may need to ask the help of friends to take samples. An example is psychology where you need to tempt people to answer your questions or perform your tests. What measures will you need to entice people? Asking favors, bribery or threats? Try to ensure that you have thought about this before you start.
- Remember that people are there to help you. If you not sure of where to start, often the most difficult part, do not be afraid to ask questions from those more knowledgeable in the subject. It is common to feel a little nervous and overwhelmed before starting on a long project but that will pass. Remember that the reputation of your supervisor and department is judged by how well you perform in your research paper so they will try their best to guide you.
Types of Business research
This research is conducted to solve a current problem faced by the organization in the work setting, demanding a timely solution.
Basic research (fundamental, pure)
Following are the characteristics of basic research:
- It is to generate a body of knowledge by trying to comprehend how certain problems that occur in organizations can be solved.
- The findings of such research contribute to the building of knowledge in the various functional areas of business.
Selection of Study
The students are advised to choose some current issue faced by the organization in which they are going to conduct their research. Here are some examples of Applied and basic research issues, the preference should be given to the applied research.
Applied Research topics
- Causes of low productivity of employees of Fazal Steel mills Islamabad
- The possible measures to make the budgetary control system of NHA effective
- Human Resource practices to ensure Job Satisfaction in Askari Bank limited with Special emphasis on performance appraisal.
- The Impact of Compensation, Training & Development on the organisational Commitment of Employees of PTCL
Basic Research Topics
- Effective measures to stop bankruptcy.
- Implications of the theories of Scientific School of Management in 21st century.
- TQM / Is It Effective In Reaching Quality Goals?
- Management of the Interview and Hiring Function
- Employee Stock Ownership Plans
How to Develop Project Proposal / Synopsis
The aim of the project proposal must be to ensure that:
- There is a need for the research and it’s significant and important.
- Student is contributing something original in the research report.
- The topic is feasible in terms of the availability of data.
- The topic must match with the academic field i.e. MBA / MPA.
- Research can be completed within the expected time period.
The project proposal helps you focus your research aim, clarify its importance and the need, describe the methods, identify problems and plan alternatives. Preparing a project proposal is an important part of your research. Following key elements must be included in the project proposal:
Chapter 1 Introduction
- Introduction of study along with its origin, history, Background, and rationale of the study
- Broad problem area:
- Area in which researcher has find some specific problem to carry out his research
- Statement of the Problem
- Objectives of the Study
- Significance of the Study
Chapter 2 Literature review
- Distribute this chapter according to heading and sub-heading
- Research Hypothesis
Chapter 3 Research Methodology
- Research Design
- Population of the Study
- Sampling Techniques
- Sample Size
- Research Tools
- Data Collection
Chapter 4 Data Analysis and Interpretation (Tools and Techniques)
Chapter 5 Conclusion
Bibliography / References
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