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Individual Research-based Assignment
The assignment is a 4500 word (maximum) individual piece of work in which you are required to design and conduct a small scale quantitative research project utilising a small amount of survey data or other secondary quantitative business relevant data. This needs to be a different project to the original.
Your over-arching goal will be to demonstrate to your reader that you have the knowledge and skills to be able to independently design and complete a piece of quantitative research.
You will discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of your research project and explain what you would do differently in the future.
Suggested elements and indicative word count guidelines for the assignment are as follows:
1. Introduction[500 words]
Description of the topic and the specific research question. Justification of why the research is important and interesting.
2. Literature Review[1250 words]
This should not be a comprehensive review stating everything about the topic, but a brief account of what is needed to be known to understand and appreciate the research project. Hypotheses for testing should be clearly stated and justified from consideration of relevant theory and previous research findings.
3. Methodology[750 words]
You should describe,and briefly justify, your methodology and the methods of data collection and analysis chosen. Relevant design choices such as the sample, methods of data collection, how key constructs and measures were operationalised and ethical issues should be clearly specified.
4. Analysis and Results [500 words]
Present your analysis and results. Use tables as appropriate. State whether the findings support your hypotheses.
5. Discussion [750 words]
You should interpret your results. Explain and summarise your main findings and relate them to your original research question(s) and objectives. Where possible, compare them to the existing literature. Discuss any interesting findings which were not expected. What are the implications of your findings for practice?
6. Reflection[750 words]
Discuss the relative strengths and limitations of your project. What would you do differently for your dissertation?
7. References
You should cite and reference key texts that influenced or informed your work. Include all references cited using Harvard style (reference list is not included in the word count).
Overall word limit:4500words maximum.
Your completed assignment must be uploaded to DUO
no later than 12:00 midday on 12 August 2016.
A penalty will be applied for work uploaded after 12:00 midday as detailed in the Programme Handbook. You must leave sufficient time to fully complete the upload process before the deadline and check that you have received a receipt.
An IDENTICAL paper copy should be placed in the post box outside the Undergraduate Admin Office in the Business School no later than 15:00 (3 pm).Work will not be marked unless this identical paper copy is received.
In terms of research ethics the following points are very important and should be observed:
o The research should not involve work in the NHS or other statutory health care or social care organisation.
o If your research involves gathering primary data from individuals, the people you involve must agree to participate on a voluntary basis and give informed consent to take part.
o Informed consent may be verbal (rather than written).
o Informed consent includes explaining the purpose of the research and what it is to be used for.
o The individuals you gather data from must be older than 18 years of age.
o The research must NOT involve children or vulnerable people. Such involvement may result in a FAIL.
o The research should not cover issues which are sensitive (e.g. sexual activity, drug use) or liable to cause emotional distress.
o In collecting, analysing and presenting your research you should not do anything that may bring Durham University into disrepute.
o Do not use material that is copyrighted (or belongs to someone else unless you have permission).
o If you wish to observe individuals only do so in public spaces where people have a reasonable expectation of being observed.
o If you want to observe in private or semi-public spaces (e.g. pavement cafés, offices) only do so where you have permission.
o Only observe individual people in detail where you have asked for and they have given their consent. In gaining consent tell the individual why you are observing, and what the observation will be used for. If they decline to take part respect their decision and do not observe.
o Do not work or observe in places that expose you to more risk than would be expected as part of daily life.
o Observing covertly (in secret) is not allowed and will result in a FAIL.
o Use of deception is NOT allowed and will result in a FAIL.
o Observation must not involve children or vulnerable people.
o The research must not involve drugs, placebos or other substances (e.g. food substances, alcohol, vitamins, etc) to be administered to the study participants.
o The study must not involve any invasive, intrusive or potentially harmful procedures of any kind.
o The study must not involve collection of tissue samples (including blood) to be obtained from participants.
o The study must not result in pain or more than mild discomfort being experienced by research participants.
o If in doubt consult Dr Nigel van Zwanenberg, Module Lecturer or
Dr Leslie Graham (ARBS II Module Leader)
Assignments should be typed, using 1.5 spacing and an easy-to-read 12-point font. You should use double-sided printing, and ensure that assignments are securely bound.Written assignments and dissertations/business projects must not exceed the word count indicated in the module handbook/assessment brief.
The word count should:
? Include all the text, including title, preface, introduction, in-text citations, quotations, footnotes and any other items not specifically excluded below.
? Exclude diagrams, tables (including tables/lists of contents and figures), equations, executive summary/abstract, acknowledgements, declaration, bibliography/list of references and appendices. However, it is not appropriate to use diagrams or tables merely as a way of circumventing the word limit. If a student uses a table or figure as a means of presenting his/her own words, then this is included in the word count.
Examiners will stop reading once the word limit has been reached, and work beyond this point will not be assessed. Checks of word counts will be carried out on submitted work, including any assignments or dissertations/business projects that appear to be clearly over-length. Checks may take place manually and/or with the aid of the word count provided via an electronic submission. Where a student has intentionally misrepresented their word count, the School may treat this as an offence under Section IV of the General Regulations of the University. Extreme cases may be viewed as dishonest practice under Section IV, 5 (a) (x) of the General Regulations.
Very occasionally it may be appropriate to present, in an appendix, material which does not properly belong in the main body of the assessment but which some students wish to provide for the sake of completeness. Any appendices will not have a role in the assessment – examiners are under no obligation to read appendices and they do not form part of the word count. Material that students wish to be assessed should always be included in the main body of the text.
Guidance on referencing can be found in the programme handbook and on DUO.
Performance in the summative assessment for this module is judged against the following criteria:
• Relevance to question(s)
• Organisation, structure and presentation
• Depth of understanding
• Analysis and discussion
• Use of sources and referencing
• Overall conclusions
Students suspected of plagiarism, either of published work or the work of other students, or of collusion will be dealt with according to School and University guidelines.

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