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Management Research Challenge Assessment Answers Online

Management Research Challenge Assessment Solutions

 

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Introduction

The Management Research Challenge (MRC) is the culmination of your Masters programme. It is a multifaceted research-based project that draws on your academic learning from the programme and demonstrates your practical skills and understanding of the investigation process as applied to management and business.

You will identify and investigate a significant problem, issue or opportunity and present actionable recommendations. The MRC requires a thorough and critical understanding of current thinking – this includes the literature and practice, as well as the appropriate design and implementation of a research methodology for data collection and analysis. You can choose to do the project on your own or in a group of between two and four members.

Depending on the issue or research question, you may look at one organisation or industry, or a combination of organisations or industries. The MRC is an opportunity to select a major question or a subject area that is significant to you, and which can boost your skills, knowledge base and career prospects.

In the MRC, you are required to show mastery in both the knowledge and practice of the topic area within which your chosen problem or issue is located. You will be expected to demonstrate mastery through:

  • a review of the knowledge and practice in your chosen topic area
  • an empirical investigation of the problem or issue
  • conclusions and recommendations grounded in appropriate evidence
  • a reflection on your theoretical, practical and personal learning from conducting the MRC

 

MRC aims and structure

Once your proposal is accepted by the supervisor, you will be able to conduct the study leading to your MRC. You can develop your research questions and read around the issue as soon as you have your proposal agreed. However, you can’t start collecting data until you have received ethical clearance.

 

You will have three options for the format and structure of your MRC:

  • an Applied Project in the form of:
    • an individual option (Integrated Business Project) or
    • a group option (Capstone Project) or
  • an Academic Project in the form of a Dissertation (an individual option)

 

All three options share a common path for conducting research or evidence-based projects:

  • A real and/or emergent issue or opportunity in an organisation, or a gap in practice or theory identified in the literature and in current thinking.
  • A clear and focused research question(s) and objectives.
  • A plan on how to gather and analyse relevant information and evidence.
  • Reasoned conclusions and recommendations that inform practice or contribute to knowledge.

 

MRC overview

Based on these key elements, the three options include the same final structure (word counts in the table are indicative). Please also refer to the assessment criteria in Appendix 1 and 2 in conjunction with Table 1.

 

Table 1 Structure of the MRC, including indicative word count

 

1. Introduction (ca. 1,500 words) Introduction to the context based on a discussion of an initial exploration of the issue, to include:•   What is the context and what are the drivers for doing the project/dissertation based on your initial exploration for the proposal?•   Why is researching this important – for you/for the organisation/for the literature?•   The research focus (question) and objectives.

•   The objectives of the ‘sponsor’ (if relevant) and how they will be managed.

•   An outline of the report’s contents.

2. Review of knowledge and practice(ca. 4,000 words) An integrated review of the issue in order to:•   Explore the issue in-depth.•   Apply and integrate relevant literature to practice, enhancing knowledge of the issue in a critical and evaluative way. This offers opportunities to develop and enhance knowledge and understanding of, for example: best practice; opportunities for adding value and change; potential actionable solutions; addressing a gap in the literature.•   Gain a greater understanding of the issues from multiple perspectives to help enhance exploration of practice within the fieldwork.
3. Methodology (ca. 2,000 words) Discussion around the fieldwork process and justification, to include:•   The method or method(s) chosen and why.•   The relationship between the methods if appropriate.•   The sampling approach.

•   The administration of the methods.

•   The preparation of the data for analysis.

•   The potential methodological limitations.

•   Using literature to help justify decisions made around the fieldwork process.

•   Linking back to the exploration of the issue to inform the fieldwork.

4. Data analysis (ca. 5,000 words) •    Justify the adequacy of the analysis by drawing on both literature and (where appropriate) practice, to the focus of the investigation and the methodology chosen.•    An in-depth analysis of the evidence (fieldwork) collected framed around the key research questions.•    Linking between different elements of the results and/or methods (if appropriate).•    Blend the literature through the discussion to enhance evaluation and analysis.
5. Conclusions and recommendations (ca. 1,500 words) Draw together the evidence, to include:•    Summary of the key findings.•    Critical and analytical discussion that links key findings from the fieldwork to key theoretical views from the review of knowledge and practice.•    Pulling together the overall analysis to underpin the final set of recommendations for action.

•    Ensuring the recommended option is fully justified and key implementation issues are considered.

•    Identifying potential limitations of the overall study and/or further research.

6. Reflection(ca. 1,000 words) Clear consideration of personal or group learning, reflecting on the objectives set at the start of the MRC and the MBA.

 

Despite the common structure and key points in each section, there are a few differences and similarities between the Applied Project (individual Integrated Business Project and group Capstone Project) and the Dissertation (as shown in Table 2).

 

Table 2 Differences and similarities between the Applied Project and the Dissertation

 

Sections Applied Project (individual and group) Dissertation
  1. Introduction  An evidence-based project that addresses a business problem or opportunity.  An evidence-based project that usually addresses a business problem but specifically contributes to a gap in literature.
1.  Introduction2.  Review of knowledge and practice   Research questions will be formulated and the student will explain how the research questions will be investigated (i.e. research methods).
    

 

2. Review of knowledge and practice

 Includes a review of current thinking(e.g. theory from academic journal articles, insights from practitioner publications and other relevant sources).
 May use these sources, plus evidence of relevant best practice, to shed light on and to help define the business problem.   Uses these sources to define a gap in the existing literature.
 There are no restrictions in terms of the literature sources that students need to usebut it is recommended that they use a range of literature sources (including older to more recent ones).
In the ‘review of knowledge and practice’ section, the student integrates the discussion of current thinking with a discussion of the implications that this current thinking has for the business problem. In other words, use theory and best practice to dig beneath the surface of the issue and explain the business problem. In the ‘review of knowledge and practice’ section, the student conducts a critical analysis of the literature in order to gain insights that can lead to the development of a conceptual framework or model. This will subsequently be explored or tested.
3.  Methodology4.  Data analysis5.  Conclusions and recommendations Data collection, data analysis, findings, conclusions and recommendations are all expected.All research questions should be addressed.
5. Conclusions and recommendations Findings should be evaluated in the light of the current thinking explored earlier. Conclusions and recommendations should relate directly to the business problem identified. Findings should be evaluated in the light of existing theory. Contribution to theory (as well as practice) should be highlighted.
6. Reflection Reflection

 

Appendix 1 Assessment criteria for Management Research Challenge proposals

 

The assessment of the proposal will have two possible outcomes – ‘P’ (proceed) or ‘R’ (resubmit) – it is not intended that the assessment of the Management Research Challenge (MRC) proposal carry a grade.

In order to proceed, the proposal must be judged feasible overall in terms of addressing the requirements for a Masters-level piece of work and in terms of what you intend to do and how. If you are given a ‘proceed’ you will be asked to address any issues noted by your supervisor that, based on their experience and academic judgement, are possible to address as part of the investigation process.

If you are required to resubmit your proposal you will be given feedback on the issues to address within the new submission.

 

P (proceed) R (resubmit)
The management issue and its context The context and setting for the issue is clearly described and understood.The overall aims and scope make sense in the context and are clearly defined.The importance of the investigation is logical to the context and clearly identified. The context of the problem is ambiguous or unclear. Insufficient or unclear focus on context within the discussion.The scope and aims are unclear and/or not logical to the discussion of the context.The importance of the investigation is not fully considered or is unclear.
Research questions and objectives The focus of the investigation (research question) is clearly stated and appropriate to the context discussed.The research objectives are clearly stated and support the research question or focus. The focus of the investigation (research question) is not clear and/or is not logical to the context discussed.The research question is too broad or unfocused.
The research question and objectives clearly link to the overall proposal, particularly in terms of the literature identified and discussed, and the proposed design of the fieldwork. No objectives are stated or they do not link to the research question and/or context.The research question and objectives are poorly linked to the discussion in the proposal overall, particularly to the literature identified and/or the design of the fieldwork.
Personal development objectives Your personal development and the development of your knowledge and skills related to the MRC and/or the overall investigation process are clearly considered and addressed.There is an indication of how your development objectives might be achieved. There is little or no consideration of your personal development or the development of your knowledge and skills related to the MRC and/or the overall investigation process.Your personal development objectives are unrealistic or unlikely to be achieved through the experience of the investigation.There is no consideration of how the experience of the investigation might contribute to your development objectives.
Review of current knowledge and practice There is a clear discussion that draws on literature relevant to the focus of the research (research question) and objectives.There is a clear demonstration of how reading around the literature has informed your thinking about the issue and the context and contributed to the overall focus.There is a clear demonstration of how the literature has contributed to your understanding of the topic(s) to develop the design of the investigation. The discussion of the theory is unfocused.There is a lack of clarity regarding the relationship between the literature and either the context to the project, the focus of the investigation (research questions) or objectives.The use of literature is limited to a description of what has been read or takes a bullet-point approach.There is no consideration of how the literature has contributed to your understanding of the topic to inform the overall design of the investigation.
Proposed methodology and design of the investigation The overall design of the investigation is both appropriate and feasible in relation to the context and stated focus of the investigation.The intended method(s) are clearly stated and discussed. The overall design of the investigation is not clear or is inappropriate or not feasible to the context and focus of the investigation.The intended method(s) are not clearly stated and discussed.
The discussion demonstrates basic understanding of the relevant research approaches as considered in the learning material. The discussion does not show good basic understanding of the chosen approach and/or the relevant learning material.
Basic details are given in order to assess feasibility in terms of: Basic details are omitted or poorly articulated in terms of:
•   The method(s), including their administration and application and, if appropriate, the relationship between different methods. •   The method(s), including their administration and application and, if appropriate, the relationship between different methods.
•   The sample, including basic sample size(s), how they are to be chosen, and the relationship between chosen sample(s) and the investigation focus. •   The sample, including basic sample size(s), how they are to be chosen, and the relationship between chosen sample(s) and the investigation focus.
•   A brief indication of the proposed method of analysis and that it is consistent with the proposed fieldwork approach(es). •   The proposed method of analysis or its consistency with the proposed fieldwork approach(es).
Managing your MRC There is clear evidence that you have considered how the project will be managed, including a timeplan indicating major milestones and an acknowledgement of turnaround times for supervisor support. This may be presented in any format in the appendices.The time plan and activities are appropriate to the chosen approach and the context of the investigation. There is little or no evidence of how the investigation will be managed and/or the time plan is omitted.The time plan is not clear or is unrealistic.There is no consideration of supervisor support or turnaround times included in the plan.
Managing key stakeholders There is an explicit consideration of stakeholder expectations and relationships.Where applicable, there is a clear consideration of the expectations and objectives of any sponsor or sponsoring organisation, including how these will be managed and met through the investigation process. There is little or no consideration of how key stakeholder expectations and relationships will be managed.Where applicable, there has been little or no consideration of the expectations and objectives of any sponsor or sponsoring organisation, including how these will be managed and met through the investigation process.
Risks Known risks that may impact on the progress or quality of the investigation are clearly stated and contingencies are considered (this may require some contingencies to be included in the time plan). Any risks that might impact on the progress or quality of the investigation (particularly those that are evident from the discussion of the investigation approach) have not been clearly considered and contingencies have not been included.

 

Appendix 2 Assessment criteria for the Management Research Challenge: Applied Project (individual option – Integrated Business Project; group option – Capstone) and Dissertation

 

Content ‘Well above expected standard’ ‘Above expected standard’ ‘Expected standard’ ‘Below expected standard’
Introduction The practical and theoretical factors relating to the context of the issue are coherent and rigorous and offer thoughtful consideration of contributing factors that link to the issue, problem or opportunity.For Dissertation only: The practical and theoretical factors relating to the context of the issue clearly contribute to a gap in the literature. They are coherent and rigorous and offer thoughtful consideration of contributing factors that link to the issue, problem or opportunity.The issue, problem or opportunity is explicitly considered within the context of the discussion.Personal objectives are relevant and how they are achieved A comprehensive discussion of the practical and theoretical context is presented.For Dissertation only: A comprehensive discussion of the practical and theoretical context and how the dissertation contributes to a gap in the literature is presented.The issue, problem or opportunity is identified and its relationship with the context is clear.Personal objectives and how they will be achieved through undertaking the investigation are considered.

The outline of the report structure and key content is considered and is sound in terms of the requirements of the MRC.

The context for the MRC is discussed in a general way and may focus on either the practical or theoretical context only.For Dissertation only: The context for the MRC is discussed in a general way and the discussion on how the dissertation contributes to a gap in the literature is not explicit.The links with the context and the issue, problem or opportunity lack clarity and substance.The importance of the issue, problem or opportunity is unclear or poorly articulated.

Personal objectives are provided with some discussion as to how they link to the project.

Limited discussion of the structure and content. Only the

There is limited or unclear discussion of the context.For Dissertation only: There is very limited or unclear discussion on how the dissertation contributes to a gap in the literature.The issue, problem or opportunity is not discussed, is unclear or does not link to the context discussed.There is limited or no discussion of the importance of the problem.

Personal objectives are omitted, limited, poorly constructed, too general or they cannot be achieved by the investigation.

The discussion around the structure of the report and key content is missing or poorly thought out, or the structure

through undertaking the investigation is considered.The outline of the structure and key content is logical to the expectations of the MRC.The research question and research objectives are grounded in the context discussed. research question or research objectives are stated, or they lack clarity in linking to the discussion of context. does not relate to the expectations of the MRC.The research question or research objectives (if applicable) are poorly articulated or do not link to the context and discussion.
Review of knowledge and practice There is a wide-ranging selection of literature that is relevant to the research question and context.For Dissertation only: There is an articulate, critical evaluation and analysis of different theoretical views and key concepts that demonstrate excellent understanding of theoretical perspectives and their relationship to practice.There is an articulate, critical evaluation and analysis of different key concepts and best practices that demonstrate There is a good range of literature used that links to the research question and context.For Dissertation only: There is evidence of some critical evaluation and analysis of key theoretical views and concepts, which demonstrate a good level of understanding of theoretical perspectives and their relationship to practice.There is evidence of some critical evaluation and analysis of key concepts, which demonstrates a good level of understanding of theoretical Relevant literature with some evidence of links to the research question and context is used in the review.For Dissertation only: There is evidence of an attempt to be critical, evaluative and analytical of theoretical views and concepts, which demonstrates some understanding of theoretical perspectives and their relationship to practice but overall the overall discussion is descriptive.There is evidence of an attempt to be critical, evaluative and Only a limited range of literature that either tenuously links to the research question and context or has few links.For Dissertation only: There is limited or no evidence of identifying, critically evaluating or analysing key theoretical views and concepts.There is limited or no evidence of identifying, critically evaluating or analysing key concepts and best practices.
excellent understanding of theoretical perspectives and their relationship to practice and to inform the business problem.There is strong justification for the perspectives that underpin the research question and fieldwork. perspectives and their relationship to practice and to inform the business problem.There is good justification for theoretical perspectives that underpin the research question and fieldwork. analytical of key concepts, which demonstrates some understanding of theoretical perspectives and their relationship to practice and to inform the business problem, but the overall discussion is descriptive.There is some justification for the theoretical perspectives that underpin the research question and context. There is a descriptive discussion of the literature that only indicates what has been read.There is no evidence of the use of literature to support the discussion and form a basis for the fieldwork.There is little or no demonstration of an understanding of relevant theory and its relationship to practice, or there is an over- reliance on one area or type of literature.There is a lack of clarity about the relevant theoretical perspectives that underpin the research objectives (if stated in this chapter) and context.
Methodology An excellent understanding of the key principles of research is demonstrated through the discussion, evaluation and justification of the methods A good understanding of the key principles of research is demonstrated through the discussion, evaluation and justification of the methods A basic understanding of the key principles of research is demonstrated through the discussion, evaluation and justification of the methods A lack of understanding of the key principles of research is demonstrated through the discussion, evaluation and justification of the methods
considered and the sampling approach chosen.The MRC demonstrates a good understanding of research design issues relating to the practical constraints and context of the research, which is justified by drawing on relevant methodology literature.There is an appropriate and effective approach to, and administration of, the implementation of the method(s). considered and the sampling approach chosen.The MRC demonstrates appropriate understanding of research design issues relating to the practical constraints and context of the research, which is justified by drawing on relevant methodology literature.There is an organised approach to the administration of the implementation of the method(s). considered and the sampling approach chosen.The MRC demonstrates some understanding of research design issues relating to the practical constraints and context of the research, which is justified by drawing on relevant methodology literature.There is only basic organisation in terms of administration of the implementation of the method(s). considered and the sampling approach chosen.The MRC demonstrates little or no understanding of research design issues relating to the practical constraints and context of the research.There is little or no evidence of any organisation in terms of administration of the implementation of the method(s).
Data analysis There is a well-developed approach to preparing and presenting the data that is appropriate to the method(s) used.There is evidence of a depth of analysis of the data presented that demonstrates a critical interpretation appropriate to the focus of the investigation. There is a good approach to the preparation and presentation of the data that is appropriate to the method(s) used.There is a good level of analysis of the data presented that demonstrates a critical interpretation appropriate to the focus of the investigation.There is evidence of selective use of data that allows analysis The general approach to the preparation and presentation shows some understanding of its appropriateness to the method(s) used.There is evidence of an attempt to develop an analysis of the data and interpretation that is appropriate to the focus of the investigation but overall the discussion is descriptive. There is little or no preparation, and presentation shows some understanding of its appropriateness to the method(s) used.There is little or no attempt to develop an appropriate analysis of the data in relation to the focus of the investigation.
There is good selective use of data that allows analysis and synthesis of the evidence and its relevance to the overall investigation.There is good linking between different elements of the results and/or methods (if appropriate). and synthesis of the evidence and its relevance to the overall investigation.There is evidence of an attempt to develop links between different elements of the results and/or methods (if appropriate). There is only limited evidence of a selective use of data that allows analysis and synthesis of the evidence and its relevance to the overall investigation.There is only limited evidence of an attempt to develop links between different elements of the results and/or methods (if appropriate). Overall the discussion is descriptive rather than analytical.There is little or no selective use of data that allows analysis and synthesis of the evidence and its relevance to the overall investigation.There is little or no evidence of an attempt to develop links between different elements of the results and/or methods (if appropriate).
Conclusions and recommendations There is a well-developed critical and analytical discussion that links key findings from the fieldwork to key theoretical views to inform the business problem.For Dissertation only: There is a well-developed, critical and analytical discussion that links key findings from the fieldwork to key literature to inform the business problem. There is an attempt to develop a critical or analytical discussion that links elements of the findings from fieldwork to the key theoretical views to inform the business problem.For Dissertation only: There is an attempt to develop a critical or analytical discussion that links elements of the findings from fieldwork to the key literature. The discussion linking the findings from fieldwork to the key theoretical views to inform the business problem is mainly descriptive.For Dissertation only: The discussion linking the findings from fieldwork to the key literature is mainly descriptive.The discussion has only a limited logical flow from the previous analysis. There is little or no linking of the fieldwork findings to theory to inform the business problem within the discussion.For Dissertation only: There is little or no linking of the fieldwork findings to theory within the discussion.The discussion does not flow logically from the previous analysis.
The discussion has a good logical flow from the previous analysis.The recommendations and conclusions link to the investigation and are strongly supported by the analysis and findings.There is clear evidence that the research question and objectives are addressed.The analysis provides strong justification for the conclusions and recommendations.

The recommendations are feasible and have strong potential to be actionable.

Limitations are considered and robustly justified.

The discussion has a logical flow from the previous analysis.The recommendations and conclusions link to the investigation and are supported by the analysis and findings.There is evidence that the research question and objectives are addressed.The analysis provides good justification for the conclusions and recommendations.

The recommendations have potential to be actionable.

Limitations are considered and justified.

Personal learning objectives are reviewed and there is justification for those that are satisfied through the MRC process.

The recommendations and conclusions link to the investigation and there is some support in the overall discussion.There is some evidence that the research question and objectives are addressed.The analysis provides some justification for the conclusions and recommendations.The recommendations have some limited potential to be actionable.

Limitations are considered and justified.

There is little or no linking of the recommendations and conclusions to the overall discussion of the investigation.There is little or no evidence that the research question and objectives are addressed.The analysis provides little or no justification for the conclusions and recommendations.The recommendations have little or no potential to be actionable.

Little or no consideration of the limitations.

Reflection There is a coherent reflection of group or personal learning from the MRC process and any future development needs are identified. Group or personal learning objectives are reviewed and there is justification for those that are satisfied through the MRC process. Some reflection of group or personal learning objectives is described and assessed. There is little or no consideration of group or personal learning objectives and whether they were addressed through the MRC process.
Presentation, structure and referencing The written and visual presentation is excellent.The Harvard referencing system is used correctly and references are complete.The structure is logical and flows, with headings and subheadings used in the main sections of the report, and figure and table numbers.All material is properly edited and complete. The written and visual presentation is good.The Harvard referencing system is used correctly and references are complete.The structure is good and includes a basic use of main headings, and figure and table numbers.All material is properly edited and complete. The written and visual presentation is acceptable.The Harvard referencing system is used correctly and references are complete.The report follows a basic structure with chapter headings.All material is properly edited and complete. The written and visual presentation is poor.Visuals or written material are difficult to read or follow.The Harvard referencing system is not used correctly and/or references are incomplete or inconsistent.There is a lack of clarity in the structure and headings.

There are issues with editing or the work is incomplete.

 

Appendix 3 Assessment criteria for the Management Research Challenge: Individual reflection of the group option – Capstone

 

Content ‘Well above expected standard’ ‘Above expected standard’ ‘Expected standard’ ‘Below expected standard’
Individual’s personal development objectives There is a coherent reflection of personal learning from the MRC process and any future development needs are identified. Personal learning objectives are reviewed and there is justification for those that are satisfied through the MRC process. Some reflection of personal learning objectives is described and assessed. There is little or no consideration of personal learning objectives and whether they were addressed through the MRC process.
The benefits and issues deriving from the group process and learning Highly reflective and evaluative approach to the experience of the group process, decision- making and learning, including the implications for your own collaboration skills. Clear reflective and evaluative approach to the experience of the group process, decision- making and learning, including the implications for your own collaboration skills. Some evidence of a reflective and evaluative approach to some extent, to the experience of the group process,decision-making and learning, including the implications for your own collaboration skills but may be lacking detail or clarity in places. Little or no reflective and/or evaluative approach to the experience of the group process, decision-making and learning, including the implications for your own collaboration skills.
Engagement with the research process Effective reflection of the MRC experience and where improvements might be made to the process and methods undertaken. Good level of reflection of the MRC experience and where improvements might be made to the process and methods undertaken. Some level of reflection of the MRC experience and where improvements might be made to the process and methods undertaken. Little or unclear reflection of the MRC experience and where improvements might be made to the process and methods undertaken.
Implications to the individual’s organisation or context Draws insightful conclusions and implications that are thoroughly grounded in in-depth analysis of the practical situation. Draws appropriate conclusions that are well grounded in analysis of the practical situation. Draws conclusions grounded in analysis of the practical situation. Failure to draw conclusions and/or conclusions that are not grounded in analysis.

 

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