Outline major findings and
Topic Area One:
Public Relations and
Topic Area Two:
Define topics to be used
and overview structure
Methodology – 2,000 words
Epistemology, Approach, Methods, Sampling, Analysis Framework
Introduction/Business Case Scenario/Rationale for Research
Use Saunders’ Research Onion to structure the methodology section and
Denscombe’s research checklist to structure the justification of approach.
(Adapted from Saunders, 2007)
• Denscombe, M., (2017), The Good Research Guide: For Small Scale Social
Research Projects, (6th ed), London: OUP
• Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2007), Research Methods for Business
Students, (6th ed.), London: Pearson
• For more information on the Research Onion see Learning Central for:
• Emmanuel, N., (2019), Analysis of Saunders Research Onion,
https://thesismind.com/analysis-of-saunders-research-onion/ retrieved 16 March
• Introduction to research design – what you are hoping to achieve and how, ie
using Saunders Research Onion to structure response.
(Adapted from Saunders & Lewis, 2012)
• Research philosophy – briefly overview the relevant philosophies and state which
one you are following ie positivism or interpretivism.
Research approach – briefly overview the relevant approaches and state which one you
are following, ie inductive or deductive.
• Research strategy – experimental/survey/case study/action research. Overview
each and explain which you are using and why.
• Research method – mono/mixed/multi-method. Quantitative/qualitative/mixed.
Overview each and explain
why you are using it.
• Research tactics – use Denscombe to overview the pros and cons of the different
tactics available – eg surveys/focus groups/semi structured interviews. Identify which
tactic or range of tactics you are using and explain why.
• Keep this simple – remember, do simple things well. Make sure you get more than
30 survey respondents and use Denscombe to explain why this is important.
• Use comparative focus groups, not simply one.
• Use semi structured interviews to give additional insight where possible.
• Research sample – purposive/convenience/snowballing. Overview the different
sampling options available. Identify which one you are using and explain why it is
• Give details of who your sample are and why you are including them.
• Include a table which overviews participants in focus groups or interviews and
outlines their demographics, ie age, gender, income, level of education etc.
• Research Questions – explain what you are going to ask and why.
• How will your questions deliver your research objectives?
• Theme your questions around specific topics and don’t set too many: 10 for a survey,
6 topics or themes for a focus group or interview where the participant may elaborate
more on the content.
• Ask open ended questions unless you want a numerical response.
• Use Likert scale and prioritisation questions where possible.
• Analysis framework – what options are relevant to your methodology? SPSS or
Qualtrics? Correlation analysis or thematic analysis?
• If thematic analysis, what parameters are you using? Grounded theory might help.
• Identify and overview key themes or questions you will be asking and what you hope
• Ethical considerations – how will you ensure you have informed consent for your
• What factors do you need to consider to protect their anonymity?
• What considerations do you need to make in terms of how the data can be used and where it
can be published?
• How will you protect against bias and leading questions in your research design?