Spokane City Council Provides and Manages Public Services for a Population: Business Research Method Assignment, UoM, Mauritius

University University of Mauritius (UoM)
Subject Business Research Method

open university of mauritius

Assignment

Case Study

You are an independent researcher. Write up a research proposal to tender for this research project. Proposals that demonstrate sound theoretical, conceptual frameworks, academic rigor, as well as feasibility and an ethical mindfulness will be selected. Word Limit: 2000 – 2500.

“Call for Research Proposal – Spokane City Council, US”

Spokane City Council provides and manages public services for a population of 1.22 million on behalf of the US government. These services include: refuse waste management, public safety, and fire services, libraries and education, social care, leisure centers and parks, cemeteries, transport, planning, and social care. Members of the population pay a fixed sum annually for the services provided and, in addition, the national government provides an annual budget in order to manage and maintain the given services.

Providing these key services is not without challenges and with greater accountability and scrutiny by the public, focus on quality of service and value for money (even in times of austerity) is critical.

We do attempt to provide high-quality services to the many schools (400, with 165,000 pupils), provide effective maintenance of over 2,000 kilometers of road and manage 300,000 tonnes of waste as part of our role. To achieve this, we rely heavily on our employees (approximately 60,000) and subcontractors (40,000) to maintain these standards.

However, within our existing workforce, we have a high diversity (cultural, gender and age) and it has come to our attention via internal staff satisfaction surveys that workplace bullying is detrimental to the council’s performance and bottom-line. Further external evidence supports this possibility as in the last six months we have received a 20% increase in complaints from the public about our services.

We are aware that increasing complaints and employee dissatisfaction could have severe implications for the reputation of Spokane City Council and could lead to scrutiny from the national government, who provide us with partial funding to provide our services. As such, developing a greater understanding of our diverse workforce becomes crucial to our strategy for 2020/2021. A research grant of $50,000 will be awarded to the successful proposal in order to fulfill the requirements of the proposed research project.

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Guidelines

The Research Proposal

A clearly articulated plan of action, to demonstrate that the student has identified a topic of research, has read about it, formulated a research question and selected an appropriate methodology.

Conventional elements of a research proposal:

1. Introduction to the proposed inquiry
2. Overview of existing literature
3. Research Question
4. Methodology section
5. Analysis
6. Schedule
7. Bibliography

Section 2.8 in your manual (pg. 20) outlines the content of a research proposal.

Constructing a research proposal

Introduction to the proposed inquiry

Research proposals generally begin with an introduction section that describes the research problem and establishes its significance. This section answers the following kinds of questions:

What exactly do you want to study? Why is it worth studying? Does the proposed study have theoretical and/ or practical significance? Does it contribute to a new understanding of a phenomenon?

Review of Literature

For the research proposal, the review of the literature is not as lengthy as in a dissertation. But be careful, it takes time! Here, we are more concerned with the research problem or objective to be situated within the context of other scholarship in the area. The literature review presents a  discussion of the most important research and theoretical work relating to the research problem/objective. The literature review helps the researcher to refine/develop his problem statement.

It ensures that no important variable is overlooked in the process of defining the problem. In sum, with the literature review, one does not run the risk of “reinventing the wheel”; that is wasting effort on trying to rediscover something that is already known. It addresses the following kinds of questions: What have others said about this area(s)? What theories address it and what do these say? What research has been done or not done previously? Are there consistent findings or do past studies disagree? Are there flaws or gaps in the previous research that your study will seek to remedy?

Research Question

Your specific research question(s) or hypotheses should be stated clearly either at the end of the description of the problem/objective or at the end of the review of the literature.

Methodology Section

Here, it describes how you will conduct your study. Regardless of the type of research you plan to do, you need to indicate how you will carry out your study, so that others may judge its viability.

  1. You may consider the subjects of your study considering the type and number you need. Explain your method of selecting your subjects (if a sample, describe the population and how the sample will be drawn).
  2. Discuss the subjects in relation to your research question or hypothesis, to availability and to your research design. That is, you need to identify the subjects and make clear whether they will be available and how you will reach them. Who or what will you study in order to collect data? Is it appropriate to select a sample from a larger pool? If so, how will you do that? How do these subjects relate to your research questions?
  3. Describe the measurement you intend to use and explain why you have selected theses. Questions you should consider are: What are the key variables in your study? How will you define and measure them? Do your definitions and measurements draw on or differ from those of previous research in this area? Your research question should guide you in your selection.
  4. Describe what you plan to actually do and the kind of research you will conduct. Your data collection methods obviously need to be consistent with your research problem, your subjects, and your measurements. Consider: How will you actually collect the data for your study? What kind of study will you conduct (ethnography, case study, experiment, survey, etc)?

Analysis

  1. Describe the kind of analysis you plan to conduct and explain the logic and purpose of your analysis. The kind of analysis you plan will depend on the subjects, measures and data collection as well as on your research question. Whether you are conducting a quantitative or qualitative study, or a combination of some other kind, you need to explain how you will analyze the data you collect.
  2. Consider: How precise a description or explanation of the given phenomenon do you plan to provide? Do you intend to simply describe the and how of a given phenomenon? Do you intend to examine relationships among variables? Do you intend to explain why things are the way they are? What possible explanatory variables will your analysis consider and how will you know if you’ve explained the variables adequately? If you plan to use specific statistical procedures (whether descriptive, inferential, or both) state these.

Schedule

A schedule will outline the various stages of the project along a timeline. You may consider a Gantt chart or a chronological list of procedures you will follow in carrying out your study (data collection, analysis, writing and revising). Work backward from the date you want to complete the project and be realistic about the amount of time that different tasks will take.

Bibliography

Include a bibliography of all sources cited in the research proposal. Double-check your bibliography against the proposal to make sure that all sources appear in both places.

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