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(2000 – Please use Template provided)
You must outline an empirical research project within your Structured Research Proposal. Please do not suggest you will conduct a desk based study (i.e one that does not involve data collection) as this will not meet the Module Learning Outcomes.
The Structured Research Proposal must be on your intended dissertation research. Many students choose a specific aspect of one of the topics from previous modules, but this is not obligatory. Remember you should have a clear and concise overarching research question, and three or four smaller aims and objectives that will help you realise it.
You must ensure that your Structured Research Proposal provides a concise ‘mini’ literature review in the ‘Previous Research Findings’ section to demonstrate your critical understanding of the subject area and previous research on this topic. You should try to briefly discuss at least three previous pieces of relevant research. Also note you may have to draw on comparative literature if your topic has not been widely addressed. It would be incredibly rare for their to be no literature at all on your subject matter area.
You should emphasise how you intend to answer whatever research question you formulate – you should, therefore, devote most of your answer to theoretical and methodological issues. Please do not make the mistake of attempting to carry out a piece of research and answer the research question. You do not have ethical approval to engage in any data collection or approach/engage with any potential participants. Rather, you should provide a detailed and feasible account of what you would need to do and why, in order to answer your research question.
Although you will take into account time and money when you are designing your research project, this does not mean they should shape your choice of design. Very few projects incur any financial costs and and the vast majority of students complete their dissertations within the time frame. This is a relatively small scale dissertation project, so you need to approach it accordingly. No methodology is necessarily ruled out, but it may be scaled back or take some thought. It is very important that the method of data collection you use is appropriate to answer the research question you outline. You must be able to justify your choice of approach based on your reading of research methods literature – do not choose a method simply because you like it or think it will be easy. Also consider carefully the issue of access – how likely is it that either companies or individuals are going to let you see documents/data or speak to them about sensitive or controversial topics? For instance, gaining access to information about fraud within an organisation is extremely difficult – it is unlikely that permission will be given. In others cases it may take a long time to gain access and this would means it is not plausible within the time frame you have for a dissertation.
Do ensure that you demonstrate your understanding of social science research methods by providing supporting evidence from the research methods published literature. This is very important; you need to support and justify your chosen method and tools by referring to the academic literature. It is highly unlikely you will attain a passing grade without doing so.
You must ensure that you demonstrate ethical awareness and give sufficient thought to any ethical issues. It is unheard of for research of any kind not to have any ethical issues, and even more so when it concerns of crime, risk and security.
Do remember that, as with all assignments, you should pay careful attention to your use of language and grammar, sources and with your referencing. Your work should have references throughout.


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