Research Methods Literature Search
Task Details and Instructions:
Conduct a literature search of 1500 words (+10%), which should:
1. Identify the appropriate theories, concepts and models that will underpin a critical and analytical reviewing the literature to be undertaken.
2. Highlights the key themes that were identified in the research problems statement.
3. Outline how key literatures will be used to inform the writing of the literature review.
In carrying out the above tasks, students must conduct appropriate research and utilise relevant concepts, models, theories and practical examples to underpin and support their work. All sources should be acknowledged and referencing should strictly follow the Harvard Referencing System. Students can only use a maximum of three websites in total. Use of more than three websites will be penalised. A word count must appear at the end of the assignment.
Size of Submission : The word limit is 1500 words (+10%).
The task requires you to
identify the appropriate theories, concepts and models that will underpin a critical and analytical review of the literature to be undertaken
you should consider
using search databases, journal articles, etc to identify relevant theories, concepts and models that will help you to critically and analytically review your chosen topic
The task requires you to
highlight the key themes that were identified in the research problem statement
The task requires you to:
outline how key literatures will be used to inform the writing of the literature review
you should consider
how many different literature review chapters you will have and what literature will be used where
whether the literature will be cited/quoted (primary) or used as background material (supplementary)
if cited/quoted, it goes in the References Section
if used as supplementary literature, it goes in the bibliography
– in carrying out the above tasks, you must conduct appropriate research and utilise relevant concepts, models, theories and practical examples to underpin and support your work
– all sources should be acknowledged and referencing should strictly follow the Harvard Referencing System
– word limit is 1500 words (+10%)
– word count must appear at the end of the assignment
– there is no specific penalty for an overlong submission
– the markers will only consider work up to the agreed limit of word length (+10%)
appendices are not included in the word limit
NOTES FROM THE TUTOR:
include problem statement and research question
break your topic into segments. up to date information at least 20 references . try to limit books and go more to journal articles. books published within last 5 years.
• Harvard (2007); Lahlafi (2007)
– journals (cont)
• important to look at articles in peer reviewed journals
• have passed scrutiny by those working in the same field
– governmental or organisational reports
• relevant reports can often be found on government websites
– dissertations and theses
• recent research can be found in theses held by university libraries
– conference proceedings
• research findings may have been presented at conferences
Layout of the Literature Search Briefing Paper
The first assignment counts towards 25% of the overall unit grade. The following outline should be used as a guide.
Literature Search Layout
1-Title of Proposed Research Study
3-The Research Topic and Problem Statemen
4-The Research Question or Hypothesis
5-The Literature Search
6-Using the Literature Search Material
8-References and Bibliography
Each of the above will be discussed.
1.0: Title of Proposed Research Study This should state the title of the proposed topic that you intend to research for your dissertation. Don’t forget, once you have completed the literature search and spoken to your Supervisor, this may change. For example:
“The title of the proposed research is ‘The Influence of Employee Engagement on Radical Change Implementation Programmes.”
2.0: Introduction This should include a very brief statement outlining what the assignment is about. For example:
“The aim of this assignment is to undertake a literature search for the above topic, in order to prepare for writing the literature review. Following this, the researcher will critique the key literatures that will be used to underpin the review.”
3.0: The Research Topic and Problem Statement This section should include an outline of your research topic, including the problem statement. Remember, the statement describes the background to the topic you intend to research. It should lead from the topic and provide sufficient detail to formulate the research question. For example:
“Theorists such as Gagliargi (1986) suggest that most organisations experience problems with implementing organisational change programmes, primarily because employees are not appropriately engaged with them. According to Peters (2009) radical change, which involves the total overhaul of the existing culture, is the most resisted type of change programme a firm, along with its internal stakeholders, can experience. Thus, engaging employees in such a major organisational change initiative is vital to ensure its short, medium and long term success.”
4.0: The Research Question or Hypothesis Following the problem statement, state the research question or hypothesis here. Remember, the type of question used should correspond with the methodology you intend to follow. For instance, a qualitative study should utilise a research question and a quantitative study a hypothesis. For example:
“In view of the above problem statement, the research question adopted for this study is: ‘how does employee engagement influence the implementation of radical organisational change in XYZ Company?’”
5.0: The Literature Search In this section, outline that you will be undertaking a search of the literature underpinning the research topic and problem statement. In order to do this, break down the key themes that are included in the problem statement. The easiest way to do this is to draw a mind map. Figure 2 uses the problem statement as outlined in example 3.0 above.
Figure 2: Problem Statement Mind Map
As Figure 2 demonstrates, drawing the mind map will give you an indication of the type of topics and literature (journal articles, books, conference papers, etc) you need to search for. The example given below starts with the topic of employee engagement. So, use this as your first topic.
5.1: Topic 1: Employee Engagement In this section, outline that you will be conducting the literature search starting with the first topic, as identified in the mind map. You can include all your searches in tables, to keep them neat and concise. You must label your tables sequentially, though. See the example below.
You could source five articles or associated resources for each topic (such as books, etc), but critique the ones you feel would be most pertinent to the literature review. For example:
“The report ‘Engaging for Success’ was written by MacLeod and Clarke (2009) and commissioned by the then Labour Government on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Critically, it outlines the challenges managers and organisations face in engaging their employees to contribute to organisational change programmes. In addition, it contains relevant concepts, models and theories that are pertinent to the research topic, such as engaging leadership by Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2007) and the drivers of employee engagement by McBain (2007). Overall, this report is considered key to writing a critical and analytical literature review.”
6.0: Using the Literature Search Material
In this section, outline how many literature review chapters you are likely to need and which literature you would use and where. For example:
“Having identified the key literatures, as highlighted in Table 5.1, the research study will adopt the following chapters for the literature review:
Chapter 1: Employee Engagement This will include the psychological contract and commitment.
Chapter 2: Organisational Change This will include organisational and cultural change, types of change and resistance to change.
Chapter 3: The Influence of Employee Engagement on Organisational Change. This chapter will pull Chapters 1 and 2 together.”
7.0: Conclusions Write a summary of your literature search here. You can conclude what you found from conducting the search and any lessons learned for when you start your dissertation journey.
8.0: References and Bibliography Ensure you complete your references and bibliography appropriately, according to the Harvard Referencing System. List all the material sourced in the literature search here.
Notes: Completing the assignment this way will ensure that you address each of the tasks as outlined in the assignment brief and Unit Handbook.
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