Assignment 1 – Interim Research Paper
This element of assessment comprises the submission of a Interim Research Paper that provides an introduction to the research methodology, the theoretical framework and the literature review for the study area.
What is an Interim Research Paper?
Full details of the contents of the Interim Research paper are shown in Appendix 5 of this document. The main constituents of the paper are an interim literature review and preliminary research methodology which reflects the extent of the work undertaken by you at this stage of the dissertation.
The Interim Research Paper should be seen as a complete submission and not as an introduction to the main Dissertation submission. The research question should be clearly identified, as well as the aims and objectives. The typical components of the Interim Research Paper, as shown in Appendix 5 are:
Always remember that this is a “stand alone” exercise and, even though you should be able to transfer most of the contents to your final submission, no reference to this should be made on the paper.
Interim Literature Review
The literature review should demonstrate that you have a comprehensive knowledge of the research, theoretical and empirical, that relates to your proposed area of research.
A literature review is NOT merely a summary of other people’s work. It is a critical look at the existing research in a particular area/topic. Of course this will mean that you do summarise some of the relevant research in your chosen topic. However, you must EVALUATE this research. This will include detailing how the research is related and its relevance to your dissertation. You must not simply provide a description of individual research. To maximise your grade you must select the important aspects of the research (e.g. the methodology) and clearly indicate how it relates to the other relevant studies (e.g. What other methodologies have been used? How are they similar? How are they different?). A good review must provide the theoretical context for your research.
How to write a good review
By undertaking a review of your chosen topic you will of course enlarge your knowledge. You should also improve and demonstrate your skills in information seeking and critically appraising the relevant research.
The idea of the literature review is not to provide a summary of all the published work that relates to your research, but a survey of the most relevant and significant work. A good review must:
In general, students should make sure that the following questions are answered:
In a theoretical framework you would include an outline of existing theories which are closely related to your research topic. You should make clear how your research relates to existing theories. How are ‘research questions’ in the field framed? How does your own research relate to such framings? You should make your own theoretical assumptions and allegiances as explicit as possible.
Interim/Preliminary Research Methodology
Start by explaining the paradigm and approach on which the paper is based, and then identify your research methodology.
Your discussion of methodology should be linked to this theoretical framework. At this stage you do not have to describe the methodology to be used in great detail, but you should justify its use over other methodologies. For example, you could explain the reasons for using:
You could also explain how you are proposing to:
Always be aware that for this exercise you are not required to obtain primary data.
Please note. For both submissions the hard copy and the electronic copy via Turnitin should be submitted by the deadline to avoid penalties. The hard copy will be used to establish the penalty points.
The Interim Research Paper (Interim Submission) is a formal submission, which will be assessed in accordance with the criteria outlined in the Module Outline. The mark allocated for this submission will have a weighting of 25% of the overall module mark. Provided your Interim Research Paper is of adequate standard, it will be perfectly acceptable to include most of the content in your final submission.
The Interim Submission will be expected to be around 4,000 words in length (10% tolerance accepted) and should incorporate the following elements:
The 3 compulsory tutorials to be held prior to the submission of the Interim Research Paper will not be assessed but, as they are essential to ensure the smooth progression of the work, attendance will be recorded, and non-attendance will be penalised.
Appendix 3 contains the attendance record sheet that should be signed by the Supervisor after each compulsory tutorial and attached to the Interim Submission.
The compulsory tutorials are informal, and the arrangements should be initiated by the student.
Full paper template for interim research paper:
Your paper title here
Monty Sutisna1 and Lee Ruddock1
1School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, M5 4WT, United Kingdom
Email: M.Sutrisna@xxxxxxxxxx; L.Ruddock@xxxxxxxxx
The abstract of your paper should be written in a single paragraph within 300 words limit. A good abstract should give a brief overview of the paper including the background and/or rationale, the research methodology, and the findings from the research at its current stage. It is also a good practice to explain how the findings from the research can help or at least useful in solving problems or minimising gaps in the specific area/field/communities/industry.
Up to 5 keywords should be provided in alphabetical order separated by commas (should be the same as your Topic Approval Form)
The introduction section should provide an overview of the paper as well as its background and context. Starting from general to provide the ‘big picture’ moving down to specifics, this section should provide a rationale that justifies the research, i.e. why there is a necessity to conduct a research on this particular subject. This can be done by providing evidences of problems that needs solution and/or identified knowledge gap in a specific domain, level, geographical location, society, sector, industry, and so on supported by key references. As the response, a clear research agenda can be described specifying research aim and objectives in order to clarify the purpose of conducting the investigation.
Following this, the author needs to describe in general how the research can be or had been done to satisfy the aim and objectives, i.e. a brief discussion on the research methodology. This should highlight the research design, data collection methods and data analysis conducted or to be conducted in the research. Research limitations, scopes and boundaries should be explained as well to manage the expectations of the readers/audience.
The findings of the research at this stage have to be outlined here emphasizing on the originality and general contributions of the investigation and preferably specific contributions of this paper. It is also a good practice to clarify who exactly will or expected to benefit from such investigation. This should be closely linked to the research rationale, aim and objectives.
Similar to the background and context discussed in the introduction section, the literature review should flow from general to specific. There is no strict set of rules that prescribes the numbers of references that should be presented. However, as a rule of thumbs, every claims or important statement in the paper should be supported by at least one reference (can be academic or more industry related articles). References should be reasonably recent, key references and seminal works relevant to the field of study should be included.
The referencing system used should be the Harvard system. There are several variances in styles that can be adopted, however for consistency, the following style should be applied in writing the interim research paper: (Sutrisna and Ruddock, 2009), (Ruddock et al., 2008; Sutrisna et al., 2008).
Even though it is called the literature review section, the actual title of the section 2 does not have to be “Literature Review”. It can be other titles that might better represent the content of this section.
Starting from section 2 onwards (except for section 6 References), nesting subsections can be added whenever necessary by selecting Heading 2 or heading 3 as appropriate. In order to format the numbering, right-click on the subsection title, choose Bullets and Numbering, select customize and choose the appropriate level and start at as appropriate.
The Level of Sub-section Nesting
Authors are not advised to use more than three levels of subsections’ nesting. The use of too many nesting levels will reduce clarity and may be confusing for the readers of the article.
The research methodology should clearly discuss the framework, approach and/or the research design, data collection, and data analysis to be adopted in the research. One of the most important issues to be discussed here is the appropriateness of the selected methodology, i.e. the justification of why this particular methodology (consists of research approaches, tools, and so on), is the most appropriate choice compared to other alternatives. This is the opportunity for the authors to demonstrate their awareness and understanding (appropriate for the level of study) of the research tools commonly used in their field and how this knowledge is used to inform them in constructing a robust methodology to tackle the research problems/questions.
Some papers present very early stages of the research. This should not prevent the author to discuss potential research methodology that can be adapted based on the nature of the research problems/questions identified or type of data expected at this stage. Research is iterative in nature and researchers continuously modify their research methodology in light of new information and changes in circumstances.
Findings and Discussion
In this section, authors should discuss all the findings emerging from conducting the investigation so far. Even for early stages of research (e.g. the paper may only aim to report an initial literature study), what have been synthesized from the literature should be discussed. This may be done by highlighting the similarities and/or differences from a variety of literature sources on the issues being investigated and the contextual nature of the similarities/differences (such as geographical locations, culture or many other factors that may influence the discussion in those different literature sources).
Conclusion and Further Research
In this section, the author should summarize the whole discussion presented in this paper. This can be done by briefly reminding the reader about the origin of the investigation and how the research has been designed and conducted, followed by the findings so far and who can benefit from the results. However, repetition (cut and paste) from previous sections of this paper should be avoided. Thus this section should provide a holistic view that summarizes those items rather than repetitively describing them as before. New materials should not be introduced in this section, except for the further research as explained below.
The summary should then followed by flagging potential of further research emerging from the investigation. For ongoing research this may include the next stages of the research that will be conducted by the researcher to complete the research.
Ideally, this section should demonstrate the contribution of the research and also this paper (as summarised) as well as inspiring other researchers to further develop the body of knowledge in the relevant field.
In some cases, it is necessary for the author to acknowledge that this paper is a part of a larger research project. If no acknowledgement is necessary, this section should be deleted from the paper.