An adequate literature review is required in all research proposals, especially if funding is required. The purpose of the literature review should:
♣ Provide evidence to the faculty research committee that you are well acquainted with past and current research in the field of study.
♣ Prove that the thesis/dissertation will not duplicate past or current research.
♣ Indicate how the intended research relates to similar and past research; in other words, the literature review positions your research within the existing body of knowledge.
Some faculties also require candidates to indicate, from their review of the relevant literature, what related aspects require further research.
The literature review must provide a rationale for the choice of problem, or a theoretical framework for the study, and that too often, this is missing.
In the final report, a much more complete and extensive list of References (all sources cited) or a Bibliography (more comprehensive) will have to be presented than in the initial review.
Too often the literature review does not correspond with the aims of the research. A specific comment of faculty is that many candidates “took the review of literature as a perfunctory task and therefore there was no contribution to or advancement of the intellectual debate”.
References to consult:
♣ Business source complete (EBSCO)
♣ Global Data
♣ CBCA Complete
The above are all available on CUD Electronic Resources
It is important that doctoral candidates consult the international database listed above before registering a title. Consult librarians. They will assist you in searching the various periodical indexes and abstracting and full-text services. Indicate what key words/indexing terms, databases, vendors and search engines you have used. Databases and search engines should not be cited in your list of references
Objectives of the research
Clarify the aims and objectives of the research. Where feasible, objectives should be divided into main and subsidiary objectives, and should be numbered. The Faculty evaluate whether the objectives are well articulated and whether they are realistic and attainable. In writing the proposal, it is important to remain focused on the objectives.
Theoretical Framework and Topic Statement
In this section you are expected to describe in detail the context of the research. You will also highlight the questions that, in your opinion, are important for the field of Leadership and that need answers. In this section you will show a clear understanding of the topic you chose.
Research design and Methodology
This is a cornerstone of the research proposal, and therefore a critically important section. Failure to address it properly can lead to the research proposal’s rejection and even to the rejection of the final report. While you may not be able to give final details of your methodology at the research proposal stage, it is important to give a sound provisional indication so that the evaluator is satisfied that your methodology is relevant and acceptable. Here you will describe the methods you chose to use in order to reach your objective which is to find pertinent answers to the questions you developed in the topic statement. In the case of an empirical project (in which, for example, you would need to give a questionnaire to individuals or companies) you will be required to describe the sample’s characteristics (average age, gender representation, number of employees, questionnaire used, and all other important characteristics). In other words, you will be required to show that you know what you are doing.
Clarify your method of investigation, e.g.:
♣ Personal interviews
♣ Focus groups
♣ Mathematical modelling
♣ Secondary data
Indicate your sampling methodology, e.g.:
♣ Size of sample
♣ Experimental and control groups
♣ Prevention of bias, etc.
Indicate statistical methods and substantiate why you intend using the proposed specific statistical methods. Indicate whether ethics approval is required, and apply for ethics clearance through the faculty ethics committee.
Plan your investigation in phases, setting measurable target dates where feasible.
Significance of the research
Indicate the significance of the research. Why is it important? Whom, or what industry, will it benefit? This is usually vital for funding.
Results and Recommendations
Based upon the critical analysis of your findings you will be required to provide recommendations that, in your opinion, will help improve the field of strategy.
What are the expected outcomes and what do you wish to achieve, e.g.:
♣ A new plant process
♣ A solution to a practical problem
♣ A specific aid to practitioners in a particular field
♣ An instrument of use in the mining industry, etc.
What contribution will this research make to the body of knowledge in the particular field of study?
This is the most important section of your work. You will analyse the results of your study. You will show a clear understanding of the nature and significance of your findings. Your analytical skills will clearly be of central importance to this section of your research.