ASSIGNMENT A: INDIVIDUAL ESSAY You have been approached by The Social Impact Team to conduct a qualitative research project to explore perceptions and practices of UOL students pertaining to an area of social responsibility and/or sustainability whilst studying at the University of Leicester. The case study is available on Blackboard. You are expected to utilise 1 or 2 qualitative methods to gain an in-depth understanding of a research area you have identified. You must then present the analysis and interpretation of the findings in a 2000-words essay. Your research should address ONE of the following research areas or you may suggest your own:
• Gender differences in choosing CSR profession
• Gender differences in eco-consumption
• Relationship to Nature
• Disposal of Coffee Cups
• Reducing Carbon Footprint
1. RATIONALE FOR RESEARCH TOPIC
• Which Research topic did you choose? Why did you choose this topic?
• Why is this topic important for the Social Impact Team
• Which UN Goal did this research address?
You may want to support your rationale with a brief review of existing literature/ study (5-10 references. Some topic may not have previous studies).
This can be academic study/journal articles Credible sources such as News, documentary (e.g. BBC etc,_The Social Impact Team report (on Blackboard) • What are the areas and/or gaps that are of priority for research? Why?
Is it because it is under-research or there is no existing study? Is it because existing literature still haven’t fully understand the scope of the research? Is it because existing research look at a different sample? Is it because existing research is outdated? 2. RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES (NOT INCLUDED IN THE WORDCOUNT)
• SMART and clear aim and objectives • One broad aim • Followed by specific objectives (not more than 6) • See Lecture 2 on how to construct SMART objectives • Objectives should inform be specific, state clearly what it intends to do, identify the target sample and where possible the scope of study (geographically, academic year). • Remember these are the objectives that you ‘ACTUALLY’ conducted research on. • List in Bullet Points in logical sequence which objectives come first, second…) 3. EVALUATION OF RESEARCH DESIGN • YOU MUST JUSTIFY YOUR METHODOLOGICAL CHOICES (WHY WHY WHY) IN RELATION TO THE TOPIC • Research Philosophy and Theory • Sampling Plan • Evaluation of Data Collection methods • Explanation of the Data Collection Process
• Data Analysis Process 3.1 RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY • Which research philosophy does your research employ? Positivistic/Interpretive? Why? • Is your research inductive or deductive? • Is your research exploratory or conclusive? Why? • Is it a longitudinal or cross sectional study? Why? You need to justify the above in relation to your topic E.g. As this research concerning recycling requires the exploration of personalised meanings pertaining to perceptions of environmental consciousness, interpretive research is therefore deemed suitable for
the study as it allows for an ontological exploration of knowledge, that is subjective and socially constructed (Hudson and Ozanne, 1993). In keeping with the interpretive paradigm, this research is inductive in nature……. 3.2. SAMPLING PLAN • Who is your target population? • Are you using probability or non-probability sampling? WHY?
• What specific sampling techniques would you use? E.g. judgment, convenient, quota, snowball, random, systematic, stratified, cluster? WHY • What is your sampling criteria – i.e. what criteria would you use to recruit
your participants? –e.g. current recycling behaviour? Demographics – THIS MUST BE SUPPORTED BY GOOD JUSTIFICATION– E.G. DID PREVIOUS RESEARCH STIPULATE THIS CRITERIA TO BE IMPORTANT? IS
THIS CRUCIAL FOR THE CLIENT’S PROBLEM DEFINITION • How are you going to access/recruit them?
• What is your intended sample size? How many people did you interview and/or observe? 3.3 EVALUATION OF THE DATA COLLECTION METHODS • What qualitative data collection methods did you (actually) use? Why • Focus Group • In-depth Interviews • Ethnography (this includes participant observation, visual methods) • Did you use single method/mixed methods? Why? 3.3. EVALUATION OF THE DATA COLLECTION METHODS • WHY HAVE YOU/YOUR GROUP CHOSEN THIS/THESE METHODS? RATIONALE RATIONALE RATIONALE • How did your methods help you to address your research objectives? • What are the merits and limitations of using these methods in the context of your study • If you use mixed methods, how did the two methods complement each other?
• How many focus groups, interviews, participant observations? • MAKE SURE YOU USE ACADEMIC REFERENCES (text book, journal articles – see readinglist) to substantiate your arguments 3.4. RESEARCH PROCEDURE • Explain the process you went through when conducting your interview/Observation.
• How did you construct your nterview guide? What type of interviews did you conduct (e.g. structured, unstructured, semi-structured)? • What techniques (if any) did you employed (e.g. photography, diaries etc.)?
• How long (duration) is the interview? Where did the interview take place? Why? • Why have you chosen a particular venue? If you use focus group, how did you divide the participants into specific groupings? Is it a homogenous (participants share same charactericstics) or heterogenous group (mix characteristics)? • Where did the observation take place? How long did you observe your participants? What did you observe? Is the observation covert/overt? • What type of observation did you employ (complete participant, participant as observer, observer as participant, complete observer – See Lecture 9). Why? • How did you capture your ethnographic data? Fieldnote, Diary? Photo? 3.5 . EVALUATION OF DATA ANALYSIS (INDIVIDUAL) • Brief Rationale and procedure of data analysis. • What steps did you follow when analysing your data (e.g. how did you transcribe your data? • Did you reflect on your pre-conceptions? Did you conduct close reading? • How do you develop key themes? • How did you conduct coding? Did you code your data manually? • How do you interpret your data? 3.5 EVALUATION OF DATA
ANALYSIS When justifying your methods of analysis, consider the below • How do you move from simply describing your data to interpreting your data? For example: • Did you consider how participants use language to create an
account/narratives surrounding the topic? • How do you ensure that your interpretations represent the voices
of your participants and not your own biases? How do you deal with pre-conceptions • How did you triangulate your interpretation with previous studies that explore the topic? 4) RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS (APP 1000 WORDS) • Present your key themes – what common themes emerge. • Given limited wordcount, you only need to present 2-3 themes. • For each key themes, provide an explanation of what the theme is about. Where appropriate synthesise that with previous studies/literature (drawn from journal articles, periodicals, secondary sources)
• Illustrate your key themes with excerpts from the interview. • Please note the excerpt is NOT INCLUDED IN THE WORDCOUNT • Present accounts that are common across all participants. Then present accounts that contradicts this common account if any. Substantiate contradictory accounts with excerpts from the interview. • Synthesize your interpretations with the background literature • How has your findings (or what your participants said) support
or negate previous literature? Why? Assignment Brief In this assessment, you will work on a live project in which you will carry out a market research project for an actual client, The Social Impact Team. The Social Impact Team is a strategic arm of the University of Leicester, who play a significant role in developing, enhancing and delivering the institution’s sustainable and social responsibility agenda. The Social Impact Team has particularly highlighted the need to enhance their engagement with the student body and graduates of UOL, with the view of engendering long lasting socially responsible practices and impact among these stakeholders. You are expected to design and conduct a qualitative research in response to the client’s brief, which can be found in the document below. In this project, you are expected to utilise 1 or 2 qualitative methods to gain an in-depth understanding of a research area identified by the client. You must then explain your research method and process; justify your methodology as well as present the analysis of your findings in a 3000-words essay. Your research must address ONE of the following research areas as stipulated by the client: a) Disposal of Coffee Cups One of the key issues The Social Impact Team face is the management of disposed coffee cups. At present, apart from the plastic lid and cardboard sleeve, coffee cups used on campus cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, coffee cups are found to be inappropriately disposed of by users as it was
mixed in with recyclable waste. At other times the recyclable lid and sleeve were disposed of with non-recyclable waste. This poses a challenge for the Social Impact Team to promote appropriate practices of coffee cup disposal
and to reduce the use of coffee cup through the adoption of re-usable coffee cups/flasks. The Social Impact Team would like to explore current practices of coffee cup disposal on campus among UOL students? Do students know that you can’t recycle the actual coffee cup, but can recycle the plastic lid and cardboard sleeve? How can the Social Impact Team encourage more students to buy re-useable coffee cups/flasks? BACKGROUND The Social Impact Team is a strategic arm of the University of Leicester, who play a significant role in developing, enhancing and delivering the institution’s sustainable and social responsibility agenda. As a global university, our vision is to enhance our position as an “an engaged and socially aware institution, renowned for producing graduates with
the skills and knowledge that not only allow them to succeed, but also to enrich and sustain the world”. (Source: Social Impact Strategy ( https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/estates/environment/Strategy/social-impact-strategy ) Our team engages, monitor and audit the operational practices of the university, ensuring that they are run in a way that efficiently minimises its impact on the environment. More recently, The Social Impact Team has widened its remit to include social responsibility alongside its sustainable programmes. Our plans and policies include waste management, travel, sustainable procurement, energy efficiency and biodiversity. The Social Impact Strategy adopted by the team is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals . As such, we endeavour to “maximise our positive impact by producing research and graduates who will help to deliver these goals in whatever corner of the globe they inhabit and whatever career and life choices they make” ( https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/estates/environment/news/2017-news/who-are-the-social-impact-team ) INDICATIVE RESEARCH AREAS We aim to commission a preliminary research project to explore UOL student’s perceptions and engagement with ONE area of sustainable and social responsibility agenda as identified by the Social Impact Team. You may choose to develop and conduct a market research project on ONE of the suggested area below: a) Disposal of Coffee Cups One of the key issues The Social Impact Team face is the management of
disposed coffee cups. At present, apart from the plastic lid and cardboard sleeve, coffee cups used on campus cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, coffee cups are found to be inappropriately disposed of by users as it was mixed in with recyclable waste. At other times the recyclable lid and sleeve were disposed of with non-recyclable waste. This poses a challenge for the Social Impact Team to promote appropriate practices of coffee cup disposal and to reduce the use of coffee cup through the adoption of re-usable coffee cups/flasks. The Social Impact Team would like to explore current practices of coffee cup disposal on campus among UOL students? Do students know that you can’t recycle the actual coffee cup, but can recycle the plastic lid and cardboard sleeve? How can the Social Impact Team encourage more students to buy re-useable coffee cups/flasks? PREFERRED RESEARCH DESIGN AND SCOPE
We would like you to conduct a QUALITATIVE Research to address ONE of the above research areas. While we believe that there is a need to conduct a larger study with various stakeholders, we are keen to commence the project with a small, preliminary study. In particular, we would like to concentrate on the student body at UOL since they make up a large proportion of the university community. We believe that a qualitative approach will enable us to gain in depth insights into our student’s perceptions and current practices. This commission is intended to be a
preliminary phase. We are open to suggestion for a followed up quantitative research at a later stage once the preliminary study is completed. The primary target sample should include both undergraduate and postgraduate
students who are currently studying on campus at the University of Leicester.