Your first step is to develop an initial proposal called a high level design document (HLD) which provides a basic review of a proposed topic and research question. You have two options for the focus of your thesis:
– Field research – field research involves the collection of primary data or information that is new in an organisational setting. The data is collected through surveys, interview and questionnaires designed specifically for the purpose of addressing a research question or hypothesis.
– Consulting project – a consulting project is an action-research based study conducted in a business setting to deliver a set of recommendations and/or deliverable project.
Before submitting your HLD it will be important for you to have conducted a basic search of the literature pertaining to your area of study to explore the background information for your study. Indeed, it is often the case that through this review of the literature, you will modify your thinking a few times before formally submitting the HLD. Your HLD will be the initial document submitted to your thesis advisor for review, agreement and modification. The HLD must be approved by your advisor before proceeding to the next stage, your formal thesis proposal.
The HLD should consist of the following items:
• Purpose: a concise statement of intent of your study and/or hypothesis for your intended field research or consulting project. (no more than two paragraphs)
• Background: a brief overview of the relevant literature that informs and/or supports the purpose and the viability of problem statement/hypothesis related to your project. (no more than one page) The literature review is at this stage is a cursory exploration of the literature to demonstrate the viability of your topic and problem statement/hypothesis. A comprehensive literature review will be required for your formal proposal.
• Project or study details: a brief outline of the goal (s), scope and intended outcomes of your project or study. This should be in bullet point format. (no more than one page)
• Deliverable: a statement of your initial project or study deliverable. You may have two or three ideas. Please present all ideas (no more than one page)
• Business partner: a review of the proposed business, sponsor and agreed outcomes (if any to date)
• Limitations and Obstacles: a statement of known problems you may face in the delivery of your study or project
• Proposed Time-line: your proposed time-line to completion
The total HLD should comprise no more than five pages, submitted in APA format and be a polished presentation.
Upon completion of the HLD, you are requested to identify a thesis advisor. The HLD is the initial document submitted to your advisor for review. You may go through two or three iterations with your advisor before final approval of the HLD. Your advisor will also provide you with feedback on what is required for your project proposal.
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