HRM507 – Research Methods

Assessment item 4
Quantitative – Research Plan
Value: 40%
Due date: 26-May-2017
Return date: 19-Jun-2017
Length: 2500 words
Submission method options
Alternative submission method
Identify a business problem and the associated dependent variable which is of interest and perform the following tasks.

1. Briefly describe the context and/or organisational background for the business problem.
2. Conduct a brief literature review which employs at least five articles which does the following:
(a) Identifies how to most appropriately measure the dependent variable of interest, document and comment on its validity and reliability properties.
(b) Identify at least two other variables (independent, mediating or moderating) which are hypothesized to influence or explain the dependent variable of interest, document and comment on their validity and reliability properties.
3. List the specific hypotheses relating the dependent variable to the other variables. Draw an accompanying diagram illustrating the conceptual model. Briefly outline the theory which underpins these hypotheses and the conceptual model.
4. Develop and justify an appropriate questionnaire which can be used to generate the data to test the proposed conceptual model. Explicitly consider other control and demographic variables which may impact on the employed framework.
5. Using the proposed quantitative method develop a research plan.

The research plan should address, at least, the following, choices must be justified:
• What is the population of interest and what sampling frame will be used? How will sampling be conducted? What is the target sample size?
• How will the data be collected, mail survey, on-line distribution, face-to-face? Motivate your choice.
• How do you propose to analyse the data?
• What are the ethical implications of your research, and how will they be addressed?

This assignment is designed to address how the researcher would plan a quantitative research methodology to investigate a business problem. The capacity to know how to measure variables, specify and justify hypotheses, develop an questionnaire, identify a sampling design and choose an appropriate data collection mode is critical for conducting successful quantitative business research. This task will help you achieve the learning objectives with regard to: identify a business opportunity for research; synthesise literature; apply appropriate methods; plan and design a research project; identify and justify appropriate quantitative research methodologies; and discuss ethical issues for business research.

Marking criteria

Marking criterion
Backgound outline and identification of key variables and description of measurement properties
Demonstrates clear understanding of the differences between dependent and other variables; the identification, description and measurement of variables is sophisticated and parsimonious, with no gaps in logic or depth of coverage. Clear background outline.
All variables are correctly identified, specified and measured. Some gaps in accuracy and/or logic or parsimony. Some lack of clarity for background outline.
Variables are unclear, poorly specified and there are several weaknesses in measurement. Poor outline of background.
Hypotheses, conceptual framework and justification
A clear, comprehensive conceptual framework is developed, with detailed justification provided. Hypotheses flow logically from the framework, with no gaps in the relationship between the conceptual framework and the hypotheses
A clear conceptual framework is developed, but there are gaps in the justification of this framework and/or in the specification of hypotheses that explore the conceptual framework
Poor articulation of a conceptual framework for the study; limited or weak justification of the framework. Hypotheses are loosely or poorly connected to the conceptual framework
Questionnaire with justification
The questionnaire demonstrates a strong understanding of the techniques and principles of design, and these are fully explored in the justification provided
Some gaps in the design of the questionnaire and/or in the justification provided
Poorly designed questionnaire, with significant gaps in the justification provided for the design
Description of sampling design, mode of data collection and research plan
Sampling design, data collection and the research plan demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of principles and techniques, with no gaps in logic or coverage of methodological issues
Some gaps evident in sampling design and/or data collection and/or research planning. The study can be delivered satisfactorily, but there are likely to be limitations in the efficacy of the results obtained
Poor description of sampling design and/or data collection mode/s. The research plan demonstrates several weaknesses in the ability to complete the research study satisfactorily
Written expression and presentation
Quality of written expression and presentation conforms fully to academic standards relating to clarity of expression, syntax, grammar and punctuation. No gaps in referencing technique using the APA 6 referencing system
Some gaps evident in the quality of written expression and presentation. Further work needed in report writing technique, including correct referencing
Poor ability in report writing, with several gaps in the quality of written expression and presentation
Creativity and originality of ideas
The report demonstrates a high level of original thinking and creativity in the formulation of the conceptual framework for the study, the research questions, and the methods used and the research plan
The report satisfactorily addresses the task and there is some evidence of original and creative thinking. However, for the most part, the report applies existing conceptual frames and associated methods
Little or no evidence of original and creative thinking
A written report is required as part of the requirements of the assignment. A natural format for a response is to use the four tasks (listed under assignment task) as section headings (appropriately reduced and modified) for the written report.

The report should follow all the standard academic requirements for presentation including an appropriate list of cited references.

You need to appropriately reference all the articles you employ in developing your report. Please use the APA style, information can be found at the CSU Referencing website at

In preparing the assignment the following conditions must be followed.
1. No actual research involving the collection of primary data from human participants should be performed, i.e., interviews, observation, focus groups, surveys, ..etc.
2. Identities of the organisation and its employees should not be disclosed in the assignment. This means removing any information in the assignment which could potentially identify the organisation and its employees.
3. The assignment should not contain any private and/or commercial-in-confidence information which is not available publicly.

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