Chapter 2 Introduction
Maybe you have already gained some experience in doing research, for example in your bachelor studies, or as part of your work.
The challenge in conducting academic research at masters level, is that it is multi-faceted.
The types of activities are:
- Finding and reviewing literature on your research topic;
- Designing a research project that will answer your research questions;
- Collecting relevant data from one or more sources;
- Analyzing the data, statistically or otherwise, and
- Writing up and presenting your findings.
Some researchers are strong on some parts but weak on others.
We do not require perfection. But we do require high quality.
Going through all stages of the research project, with the guidance of your supervisor, is a learning process.
The journey is hard at times, but in the end your thesis is considered an academic publication, and we want you to be proud of what you have achieved!
Probably the biggest challenge is, where to begin?
- What will be your topic?
- And once you have selected a topic, what are the questions that you want to answer, and how?
In the first chapter of the book, you will find several views on the nature and scope of business research.
Since a study in business administration derives its relevance from its application to real-life situations, an MBA typically falls in the grey area between applied research and basic research.
The focus of applied research is on finding solutions to problems, and on improving (y)our understanding of existing theories of management.
Applied research that makes use of existing theories, often leads to amendments or refinements of these theories. That is, the applied research feeds back to basic research.
In the early stages of your research, you will feel like you are running around in circles.
You start with an idea for a research topic. Then, after reading literature on the topic, you will revise or refine your idea. And start reading again with a clearer focus ...
A thesis research/project typically consists of two main stages.
The first stage is the research proposal.
Once the research proposal has been approved, you can start with the data collection, analysis and write-up (including conclusions and recommendations).
Stage 1, the research proposal consists of he first three chapters of the commonly used five-chapter structure:
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- An introduction to the topic.
- The research questions that you want to answer (and/or hypotheses that you want to test).
- A note on why the research is of academic and/or professional relevance.
- Chapter 2: Literature
- A review of relevant literature on the topic.
- Chapter 3: Methodology
The methodology is at the core of your research. Here, you define how you are going to do the research. What data will be collected, and how?
Your data should allow you to answer your research questions. In the research proposal, you will also provide answers to the questions when and how much. Is it feasible to conduct the research within the given time-frame (say, 3-6 months for a typical master thesis)? And do you have the resources to collect and analyze the data?
In stage 2 you collect and analyze the data, and write the conclusions.
- Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings
- Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
This video gives a nice overview of the elements of writing a thesis.