The following are some general points to consider before completing the proposal form.
You need to explain the general problem area, why the topic is important, the intended approach of your investigation, limitations and key assumptions, and contributions to be made by your project.
Students are sometimes tempted to begin working on primary or secondary data collection before they have completed the reading of books, theses and articles, which have a bearing on their subject. The literature search will serve a number of purposes. Firstly, it enables you to acquire an adequate grasp of the theories and methods of analysis in a field of enquiry; second, it strengthens your background knowledge; and third, it usually provides a broad conspectus of what data sources are available and have been used by previous researchers. The literature search will also give you a sense of the increasing or decreasing relevance of the topic to organisations and to managers, and to a degree therefore the benefit or otherwise of pursuing your topic.
One of the most important elements of planning your project is to ensure that you will have adequate access to the relevant material; this needs to be established clearly at an early stage. You will need to anticipate at the planning stage what problems you might encounter with data collection – primary or secondary.
Although it is not possible at the outset to envisage the exact form and content of the written report, you should attempt a preliminary plan. At this stage, this will be a “map” with a few major landmarks on it. The plan should not be undervalued, since it provides a basic shape for the written report. You should attempt to give details of each chapter in this plan. It is also the basis upon which the Programme Manager or Project Supervisor assesses the viability and relevance of your proposal. The above information needs to be considered when completing the documentation which is explained in the next part.
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