Recent Question/Assignment

MSc Finance – Banking and Risk Management
EC6009: Research Methods Assignment #2
PRELIMINARY REPORT
WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY REPORT?
A preliminary report is a specific type of research paper that focuses on published literature on a given topic, in the context of identified research questions/objectives and the data required to address them.
It includes, but extends beyond, a review of related literature to also indicate familiarity with the dataset and proposed methods to be used in completing the research paper.
Writing a literature review is a way of developing critical thinking skills. It is more than just a summary of the literature, instead it is a critical evaluation of relevant concepts, theories, methods, data and findings of other researchers.
It achieves this by presenting analysis, patterns, and critiques of individual articles, chapters (and other sources) across the body of literature as a whole. You may classify and critically analyze research by making a comparison between several different studies and by emphasizing how these studies and their comparison relate to your own research question(s) and objective(s).
A literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and book-chapters, relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, providing a description, summary, and critical evaluation of each work. The purpose is to offer an overview of significant literature published on a topic that critically analyzes a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.
Someone reading a literature review should gain an understanding of trends, issues, unresolved questions, controversies, and the importance of the scholarly knowledge related to a specific research topic.
Your work should be organized in a logical manner that should draw attention to similarities and differences across the reviewed literature. According to Brightwell and Shaw (1997: 98) the goal in the body of a literature review is to show the relationships between research completed by other researchers, as well as evaluating the body of previous research. The evaluation can consider if e.g. Researcher Y’s theory is more convincing than Researcher X’s? Did Researcher X build on the work of Researcher Y?). How your own study builds on this work, by identifying gaps that may be filled, is made clear.
THE PROCESS OF WRITING A LITERATURE REVIEW
Find several articles that deal with your research topic; it may be helpful to review the reference lists of one of the initial scholarly sources that you encounter and compare it to the reference lists of other sources on the topic. If the same sources are listed within several of these reference lists, they are probably fundamental, credible sources that will aid you in your review.
Your goals in reading the sources are to accomplish two things:
A. Defining your research problem (examples: finding a gap in research conducted to date – questions that have not yet addressed a particular geography that interests you, continuing previous research that has not yet addressed a related issue to others in the literature, etc)
B. Reading and evaluating significant works that are relevant to your research problem
C. Understanding the methods used by other researchers to generate their findings (both data and methods).
You will be conducting goals A, B and C simultaneously because the three form a related pattern. As you read related sources (Steps B and C), you define and re-define your problem, and as you (re-)define your problem (Step A) you will more easily be able to decide what material is relevant enough to be worthy of reading (Steps B and C).
Evaluation requires that you
? determine which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic, comes from reliable sources, and relates to your question in particular. This means some of what you will read will not appear in the final version of your Literature Review once you decided it is not central or useful.
? analyse components and patterns in the literature, discussing the overall findings, critiquing the literature, selecting the methods and data to be used in your study.
USING REVIEW QUESTIONS over and over again …
It is often useful to focus a literature review by means of review questions.
At the early stages of your research the questions might be quite broad. As you become more familiar with your topic you can begin to ask more specific and detailed questions. The following list of questions, adapted from Hart (1998) provide a useful starting point:
1. What is the topic of interest?
2. What are the origins and definitions of the topic?
3. What are major issues and debates about the topic?
4. What are the key sources?
5. What are the key concepts, models, perspectives, theories?
6. What are the epistemological and ontological grounds for the discipline?
7. What are the main questions and problems that have been addressed to date?
8. What methods/datasets have been used to study these questions and problems?
9. How has knowledge in the topic been structured and organized? (key themes)
10. How have approaches to these questions increased our understanding and knowledge?
Review: http://www.restore.ac.uk/logicofenquiry/logicofenquiry/gst/literature/Pages/Genericque stionstobeaddressedinaliteraturereview.html
And, as you review each article/chapter keep notes on the main points e.g. fill out the following for each reference integrating the above questions, as preferred.
REVIEW OF each paper/report/book chapter
this paper?
FORMAT OR STRUCTURE OF A PRELIMINARY REPORT
? Introduction
The introduction should provide the reader with the background information for the proposed research. Its purpose is to set out for the readers what research is being undertaken, why it is important/relevant and how it is related to other research. This section:
• Defines or identifies the general topic, issue, or area of concern, providing an appropriate context for reviewing the literature;
• Points out overall trends (or conflicts) in what has been published about the topic in theory, methods, evidence, and conclusions; and gaps in research;
• Establishes reasons for reviewing the literature; explain the criteria to be used in analysing and comparing literature and the organisation of the review (sequence); and, when necessary, state why certain literature is or is not included (scope).
? Main Body (Exact title will arise from your research area)
The review of the literature provides the background and context for the research problem. It shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study being reported and serves to establish the need for the research. It provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study, as well as a benchmark for comparing the results of your study with other findings.
Your review relates your study to the larger, ongoing dialogue in the literature about the research area. You should discuss the recent literature covering your research area and show how you will add to this knowledge. That is, it will delineate the ‘jumping-off place’ for your study. How will your study refine, revise, or extend what is already known?
To organize the text, the following format offers one indicative suggestion:
• Group research studies and other types of literature (reviews, theoretical articles, case studies, etc.) according to common denominators such as qualitative versus quantitative approaches, dataset used, conclusions of authors, specific purpose or objective, chronology, etc.
• Summarize individual studies with the appropriate amount of detail that you think is merited according to its importance in the literature (remember length denotes significance: if your reader sees 10% of the discussion is devoted to one theme in the research, they can assume it is not a central theme for your study). In assessing each source (article, chapter etc.), consideration should be given to:
1. Origin:
What are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence (e.g. primary data, case studies, and statistics)?
2. Objectivity:
Is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Are contrary data or points of view considered to support the author's view-point?
3. Persuasiveness:
Which of the author's points are most/least convincing?
4. Value:
Are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the topic?
? Data Description
The data sources for the data selected in the analysis should be identified – and links provided as appropriate; sample data may be provided in Appendices. A description of any data used should be provided on a variable, by variable basis. This can take the format of descriptive statistics, and/or graphs where full sources are provided (data sources should be listed in the references, as appropriate).
? Conclusion
• Summarises the major contributions of significant articles to your general research problem;
• Evaluates the current state of knowledge reviewed, pointing out gaps in research (themes/methods), inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues relevant for future study;
• Indicates how the research question(s) is/are to be addressed using the selected data;
• Finishes by providing some insights into the relationship between the issues identified in the review of literature (theories, methods and data) and your research problem/question/objective.
__________
THREE EXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE FORMATS FOR THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR REVIEW
FORMAT A
I. Introduction
II. Theoretical Literature
a. First issue is summarised and discussed;
b. Second issue is summarised and discussed (relationship to issue one identified);
c. Third issue is summarised and discussed (relationship to issues one and/or two identified).
III. Empirical Literature
a. First issue is summarised and discussed;
b. Second issue is summarised and discussed (relationship to issue one identified);
c. Third issue is summarised and discussed (relationship to issues one and/or two identified).
IV. Data Description
V. Conclusion/Summary
FORMAT B
I. Introduction
II. Literature review
a. First key issue is summarized and discussed (theory & empirical).
b. Second key issue is summarized and discussed (theory & empirical).
c. Third key issue is summarized and discussed (theory & empirical)..
III. Data Description
IV. Conclusion/Summary
FORMAT C
I. Introduction
II. Similarities
a. First similarity across research is discussed.
b. Second similarity across research is discussed.
c. Third similarity across research is discussed.
III. Differences
a. First difference between research is discussed
b. Second difference between research is discussed
c. Third difference between research is discussed
IV. Data Description
V. Conclusion/Summary
Preliminary Report
Include Cover Page:
• Title of the research o You will be able to revise your title during the course of your research. It is likely that you will choose to revise the title as your work progresses and you refine your ideas and the focus of the research.
• Author name & Student number
• Programme of Study – Masters programme
• Word count: MAXIMUM 3,500 WORDS (excluding cover page and references, and any appendices)
• Submission Date
• Supervisor Name
• Module details i.e. EC6009 Research Methods
• No page number to be included on cover page
Include Table of Contents:
• If figures are used in the Review insert a Table of Figures
• If tables are uses in the Review, insert a Table of Tables.
• Page numbers begin from i onwards
Introduction begins on p.1.
CHECKLIST
1. Once you begin reviewing, make an entry into your research notes with complete bibliographical information on each article/source and include comments for each element that you are (potentially) going to include in the review.
2. Compare articles by evaluating the similarities and differences among them. This will be the initial stage in the formulation of your review.
3. Include consideration of data-sources and variables used in other studies. Do not assume that you will be able to access to the same data – this needs to be verified.
4. Decide which organizational pattern and format are best for the topic/questions/ objective you identify as emerging from your review of literature.
5. Construct an appropriate outline for the preliminary report.
6. Organise and write the body of your report according to the appropriate format: e.g.
topical or chronological.
a. A topical review is appropriate where previous research is divided into segments with each one representing a theme/element of some larger issue. You begin by describing the characteristics of research shared by several studies and then analyse their similarities and differences.
7. Write a conclusion that reconciles similarities and differences on the topic and reemphasises the criteria used to arrive at this conclusion. The criteria are the main headings that organise the similarities or differences across the articles/sources you include.
8. Write an introduction that introduces the topic, reveals your research problem and arranges key issues.
9. Re-draft and re-draft and re-draft and re-draft.
10. Check over the final draft again and again for grammar and punctuation errors.
Unforced errors should be removed out of respect for
a. your reader and
b. yourself i.e. the efforts you put into presenting a document that reasonably represents your organized thinking.
PRELIMINARY REPORT Grading Rubric
WORDCOUNT: 3,500 [max]
CATEGORY MARK
INTRO:
• Clear RQ? Context/ Motivation/Audience?
• Outline of contents? /10
RELATIONSHIP TO PREVIOUS WORK – (concepts, theory, questions/objectives/approaches/methods/findings)
• Critical review of previous research? /40
COMPETENCE IN HANDLING OF DATA SELECTED FOR THIS RESEARCH
• Sourcing, preparing data?
• Descriptive Statistics, graphs & visualizations, explanation? /30
CONCLUSION
• Clear how research builds on previous concepts/ theory? methods/findings & data? /10
PRESENTATION/REFS
• Spelling & grammar?
• Refs complete & consistent?
• Page numbers properly used? /10
TOTAL
Late penalty? X/100