Research Proposal Form

We are ecstatic that you’re considering our Guildhall School of Business and Law to complete your Business and Management PhD. Below you’ll find a research proposal template to guide you through the application process.

We strongly recommend that you consult a relevant Research Methods textbook and the guidance available on the London Met website to support your writing and planning.

You will need to complete the following sections

A1. Justification and Context Setting

Summary of research topic; rationale for and importance of issues investigated with reference to relevant literature; theory and/or practice context, gaps in current research and how this research project will address them.

A2. Aims, Objectives and Scope of the Study

Statements of intent and direction of the research (Aims); Statements of intended outcomes (Set doable/focused objectives); Scope of the study.

B1. Literature Review

Overview of the history of the topic (including key theories) and relevant, key literature sources; outline and evaluate key debates and major issues in the literature.

B2. Research Questions, Conceptual framework, Propositions or Hypotheses

Based on the literature review, describe your research question, develop tentative conceptual framework/ working model, research propositions (for qualitative research) and/or hypotheses (for quantitative research).

C1. Research Philosophy, Research Approach and Strategy

Outline and justification of the ontological and epistemological assumptions underpinning the research project.

Justification of research approach (to theory development) and research strategy.

  • Research approach- Explain whether the research adopts inductive, deductive or abductive research approach
  • Research strategy- Explain whether your research adopts qualitative, quantitative or mixed research strategy

C2. Research Design

Describe whether you intend to conduct exploratory or conclusive (descriptive and explanatory/causal) research, and whether your research adopts cross-sectional or longitudinal design.

C3. Approach to Sampling

Describe how your sample/participants will be selected and justify why this is appropriate for your research project. Define the sample frame, sample element, sampling unit, extent and time; Consider issues of access. Outline and justify your choice of sampling techniques (e.g. non-probability sampling- purposive, snowball, etc.) or probability sampling (simple random sampling, stratified, etc.).   

C4. Methods of data collection and analysis

Details and justification of methods to be used to collect data. E.g. in-depth interview, focus groups, survey, etc. Briefly explain your research questionnaire design and pilot test procedure.

Details and justification of methods of qualitative/ quantitative data analysis.  

  • Explain key components of qualitative data analysis: data collection, data condensation, data display, data verification
  • Alternative approaches of qualitative data analysis- e.g. thematic analysis, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), conversation analysis, discourse analysis, etc. Example of qualitative data analysis software- Nvivo
  • Examples of quantitative data analysis: multiple regression analysis, discriminant and logit analysis, structural equation modelling (SEM), path analysis, etcetera
  • Example of software: Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS)

C5. Evaluation of chosen methods and potential limitations

Consider quality criteria such as validity, reliability, credibility and transferability.

Explain how you intend to address reliability and validity issues in your research including triangulation techniques employed.

Example of reliability  and validity test in qualitative research- reliability (inter-coder reliability test, interview/case study protocol, etc.) construct validity (participant validation, using multiple source of evidence, establishing chain of evidence, etc.), internal validity (pattern matching, explanation building, addressing rival explanations, etc.), external validity (e.g. replication logic, analytical generalisation, etc.).

Example of reliability and validity tests in quantitative research.

  • Reliability test- stability and internal consistency test using cronbach’s alpha
  • Validity test- content (face) validity, predictive validity, concurrent validity, convergent validity, discriminant validity

C6. Ethical considerations

Outline key potential ethical issues and any risks that arise during your research project.

D1. Work Schedule

Timetable for completing the research including tasks and timescales presented in Gantt chart.

D2. References

A full list of all references used in this proposal using Harvard Referencing Style.