UIN writing your research proposal
One of the key assessment requirements of the Level 5 HRM programme is to plan a small-scale research project to investigate an HR-related issue in your organisation.
A research proposal should be able to convince other people that you have a worthwhile research project, that you have the background knowledge and skills to conduct the research effectively, and that you have a workable action plan to get everything done. A research proposal should contain all the key elements involved in the research process, from identifying the issue to be investigated, right down to how you analyse and communicate your findings. It should include sufficient information for readers to evaluate the proposed research and, from a practical point of view, it may be needed to persuade your organisation to allow you time and possibly financial resources to do the research.
This document sets out what you need to include in your research proposal and suggests a structure to use so that you can be sure that you’ve included all the information needed to meet the assessment criteria for the HRM programme. We’ve included some suggestions as well to help you deliver a professional and clear proposal document that you would be proud to present to your Board of Directors as well as your facilitator!
At the end of this document is a handy guide giving you an indication of what your facilitator / marker will be looking for when they are marking your work.
- Cover Page
The cover page should clearly state the title of your proposed project. The title should be short, sharp and should explain in a nutshell what your research is all about. Try to avoid vague titles such as: “Induction” or “Pay and benefits at ABC Corp” – these are too general and don’t really give any clues about what, specifically, your research is going to focus on. You can write the title either as a statement or a question. Here are some examples of appropriate research titles:
- Getting what you pay for: analysing the relationship between reward and employee performance at XYZ organisation
- The impact of self-managed team working on communication and working relationships across the organisation
- Evaluating the potential benefits of introducing coaching and mentoring initiatives
- Contents Page
This is useful as it helps readers to locate the information they are looking for easily and quickly. It’s a standard feature of research and business proposals.
An introduction at the beginning of your proposal sets the scene for your research and gives readers an idea of the context of your organisation. It will also help your facilitator to gauge the size and scope of your project and understand the context in which you are working. Include a brief description of:
- what your organisation does
- sector / industry, if relevant to the research topic
- the size of your organisation including the number of employees, sites etc.
- your role within the organisation
The introduction is not included in the word count, but should be brief – no more than one paragraph / half a page.
- Purpose and scope of the planned research
Discussion of the issue
Here, you should specify concisely the HR issue you are planning to investigate and explain how you came to identify it. For example, if your research is about reviewing the induction process, you might have identified that this is a problem because you’ve noticed a high proportion of new recruits leaving within the first three months of their employment and exit interviews with them indicate that they are leaving the company because they don’t feel they have settled in well to the organisation.
To get you started, complete these sentences:
- The topic for this research project will be….
- This research needs to be done because….
Research aims and objectives
Your proposed research project must have a clear aim – in other words, what is the overall purpose of the project; what do you hope to achieve by doing it? It must also have SMART objectives. Using the example given earlier, this might be:
“To review the induction currently provided to employees at ABC organisation and identify improvements.”
Then list the objectives of the research making sure that they are specific and measurable. Three to five clear objectives should be listed. For example:
- to evaluate the current induction offered to employees in terms of satisfaction among existing staff
- to identify alternatives to the current induction and calculate associated costs
- to make recommendations to senior management based on the findings
- to ensure that any changes recommended comply with legislation and good practice
- Benefits to the organisation
You should describe the benefits that your research is likely to bring to the organisation; how will this research make a difference and add value to current HR practices? Focus on strategic aspects rather than operational.
You need to consider who might have an interest in the research you’re proposing to carry out, and for each stakeholder group you identify, what are their particular needs / expectations / agendas? How will they benefit from your research?
- Proposed methodology
In this section you need to outline what information you need to gather in order to address the issue you’ve identified, and explain the different ways you intend to obtain it. You need to include both primary and secondary methods (at least two of each) in this section and for every method you are proposing to use, you need to give reasons to justify your choice and evaluate the method.
When providing your evaluation (advantages and disadvantages) ensure you are critiquing the primary research method (e.g. data analysis, questionnaire, interview, focus group etc.) or secondary research type (e.g. benchmarking report, academic journal, practitioner focused journal etc.) rather than the content of the research itself.
You could provide this information as text, or in the form of a table as per the template.
- Resources Required
You need to consider what resources and support you require in order to conduct the above investigation. The resources you need to consider include costs, data access, equipment and time demands/constraints. For example, you need to:
- calculate the approximate number of hours you will need to conduct the investigation
- calculate the cost of your time
- identify what other resources you need and the costs that will be incurred
- consider whose support you need within the organisation – this could be in relation to your time, or gaining permission to interview employees etc.
- Problems/issues anticipated/how will you overcome them?
You also need to describe any problems or issues that you can anticipate arising during your investigation and for each one you identify; consider how you will overcome or avoid it altogether. This could be done in the form of a table, for the sake of clarity.
- Action Plan
The last piece of information you need to include is a clear, time-scaled action plan which lists all the various steps you will need to take in order to conduct your research. Don’t forget to go beyond the research activities themselves and include analysis of your results, writing them up and disseminating your findings.
You should ensure that the time-scales for each activity are realistic and manageable. You could do this in the form of a written table, or a Gantt chart, like the one below.
Lay out your proposal neatly using headings and subheadings, bullet points and so on to ensure it both looks professional and is easy to read.
You may have noticed the words “concise”, “clear” and “brief” occurring quite frequently throughout this document – there is a set word count for the proposal, and it’s important that you make sure that you don’t waste words by being overly detailed or including information which doesn’t directly contribute to the proposal.
You should proof read through your work to check for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. It might also be helpful to ask a friend or colleague to read through it as well.
Lastly – the table below gives you some clues as to what your facilitator / marker will be looking for when they are reviewing your research proposal.
|Criteria||What your facilitator will be looking for…|
|1.1 Summarise the stages of the research process and compare different data collection methods.
|Clear identification of the information required, how this will be obtained and justification given choice of primary methods.
Clear identification of problems/issues that might arise. How these might be overcome
Clear identification of information and resources required, e.g. financial, time, equipment, and data access issues.
A realistic, time scaled, end-to-end project plan including all stages of the research process. This will include justification of the area for investigation, a relevant literature review, data collection/analysis and report writing/distribution.
|2.1 Identify an area of HR practice for investigation.||A clear and concise explanation of the purpose of the proposed research, with clearly stated and relevant objectives.
Reasons for the undertaking the topic are clearly stated, with justification.
Benefits/ways the research will add value are clearly outlined.
|2.2 Conduct a critical review of different information sources relevant to the chosen area of HR/business practice.||An explanation of primary and secondary research including a clear differentiation between them.
Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of at least two different methods of obtaining information to investigate the issue under review, including quantitative and qualitative methods.
Evaluation of the quality of data from three at least two different published sources, such as academic, professional, industry and company material.
|4.1 Formulate a business report for identified stakeholders that includes an appropriate mix of diagrammatic and narrative formats.||Key stakeholders for the issue under review are clearly identified and their different interests and needs discussed.|
Using information in HR (UIN)
Completing the assessment
When completing your assessment, you will find it helpful to refer to both the brief itself and the CIPD assessment criteria detailed further into this document to ensure you respond to all areas that you will be assessed on.
Word counts are specified for each assessment. The word counts allow you +/- 10% of the given amount. Any assessments which are below or above these limits will be returned unmarked and you will need to re-submit them. This may result in a delay in receiving feedback on your work. Referencing (see below) is not included within the word count.
At this level of study you’re expected to be able to confidently use a range of literature sources to support your arguments and show that you understand key theories and the application of them in workplace practice. Your assessments should evidence your wider reading (i.e. beyond the e-lesson content itself) and you should reference all your sources accurately, using Harvard referencing, at the end of each assessment. Details of how to do this are provided in your ‘Welcome to DPG’ introduction module.
Submitting your work
You should write your assessment response on the template(s) provided and then upload them in the ‘My Submissions’ area of your Learning pathway.
CIPD learning outcomes and assessment criteria
The following table sets out the CIPD learning outcomes and associated assessment criteria:
|Learning Outcome||Assessment Criteria|
|1 Understand the research process and different research approaches.
|1.1 Summarise the stages of the research process and compare different data collection methods.
|2 Be able to conduct a critical review of information sources in an area of HR/business practice and analyse the findings.
|2.1 Identify an area of HR practice for investigation.
|2.2 Conduct a critical review of different information sources relevant to the chosen area of HR/business practice.
|3 Be able to draw meaningful conclusions and evaluate options for change.
|3.1 Draw meaningful conclusions from the review and make justified recommendations for improvements in practice.
|4 Know how to deliver clear, business-focused reports on an HR issue.
|4.1 Formulate a business report for identified stakeholders that includes an appropriate mix of diagrammatic and narrative formats.
|UIN assessment activity 1 – HR research project proposal
You are required to develop a proposal for a research project for an organisation of your choice that you are familiar with.
The proposal should include:
Evidence to be produced:
A written research proposal (using the ‘UIN proposal assessment template v 1.0’) for an HR related issue of 2000 words (+/-10%) together with a list of cited references and a separate bibliography of sources consulted but not specifically mentioned in preparing your proposal. Your list of references and bibliography are not included in the word count.
Please use the ‘UIN proposal assessment template v 1.0’. You can adapt the template to include your organisation’s logo/house style etc. but you should keep to the format as this will help ensure you include all the key elements.
Remember to refer to the ‘UIN writing your research proposal v 1.0’ document which gives you guidance for each part of the proposal template.
The UIN e-lesson content and activities will be useful preparation for this assessment.
Start thinking of your choice of topic early on; discuss your ideas with your manager and your DPG facilitator to check that the topic and scope of your research proposal will meet the assessment requirements.
If you are not working in an organisation, you can use Hell’s Kitchen. You should discuss and agree this with your facilitator if you choose to use the case study company.
You may present the project plan element of this assessment activity as a diagram such as a Gantt chart if you wish.
|UIN assessment activity 2 – Mini research activity and report
You are required to undertake a primary research activity and submit a report on the research and its outcome.
Choose one primary research activity from the research proposal you completed in UIN assessment activity 1 above and conduct the research.
Write your report using the template provided setting out:
Evidence to be produced:
A written report (using the ‘UIN research report assessment template v 1.0’ provided) of 1000 words (+/- 10%), together with a list of cited references and a separate bibliography of sources consulted but not specifically mentioned in preparing the report. Your list of references and bibliography are not included in the word count.
Please use the ‘UIN research report assessment template v 1.0’. You can adapt the template to include your organisation’s logo/house style etc. but you should keep to the format as this will help ensure you include all the key elements.
The UIN e-lesson content and activities will be useful preparation for this assessment.
If you are not working in an organisation, use your networks e.g. DPG Community, LinkedIn Groups, CIPD forum etc. as your research respondents. For example, to survey best practice in a particular HR related activity.
Please check your submission date for this assessment activity 2 – this falls on the date of your DER workshop.
Using information in HR – proposal assessment template
|My CIPD Number|
Proposal assessment template
NB This is for completion and submission of UIN assessment activity 1 – HR research project proposal. Refer to the document ‘UIN writing your research proposal v 1.0’’ for detailed guidance on completing your proposal in line with the CIPD assessment criteria.
TITLE OF PROPOSED RESEARCH PROJECT
PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF PLANNED RESEARCH
– DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE
– RESEARCH AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
BENEFITS TO THE ORGANISATION
|Secondary sources||Information needed||Research source||Justification for the source||Advantages of the source||Disadvantages of the source|
|Primary methods||Information needed||Research method||Justification for the method||Advantages of the method||Disadvantages of the method|
Topic: A critical analysis of the impact of employee retention programs on organizational performance; a case study of Hilton Hotel
Name of the Student:
Name of the University:
As stated by Ahammad et al. (2016), business organisations are found in all shapes and sizes but they often exhibit more differences rather than similarities; but one factor always remains common to the success is the high dependency of the skills and knowledge along with the experience that the employees have in them. This makes it important to retain the employees in the organisation. Keeping the importance of retention into consideration, many organisations incorporate important business strategies and organisational policies that would improve the relationship with the employees and subsequently they would be motivated to show their commitment and loyalty towards the organization (Goetsch and Davis 2014). Retention of employees is the ultimate struggle of the talent war that aims to take the measure to encourage the employees that they would stay in the organisation for a longer time. The global labour market for talent has become a challenge to the organisations in the recent context of globalisation. A common trend starting from recruitment to retention has been found to retain the same pool of employees that would ensure the competitive position and the consistency in the market where it operates (Pak and Shaw 2013). This is the reason that the organisations have to adapt certain global practices to retain the pool of talent of the employees that would ultimately help the organisation to survive the increasing competition.
The aim of this research is to find out whether there is a relationship between employee retention programs and organizational performance. For this particular study, Hilton Hotel of London has been undertaken as the case study. The overall investigation shall be carried on keeping this particular Hotel into consideration. There have been many evidences that showed that the hotels in Britain have been under great pressure due to the increasing rate of attrition of the employees from the hotels. The reasons have been many ranging from bullying to under-paid or overtime shifting. All these situations for no doubt have created a threat to the hotel industry in terms of combating with the increasing competition or serving the people rightly. Therefore, the need for employee retention program has enhanced.
- Business Name: London Hilton on Park Lane
- Address: 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE
- Phone: 020 74938000
- Website: Hilton.com
- Annual revenue: £120 Million
- Total no. of employees: Approx. 1250
- of employees at head office: 80
- Primary Line of Business: Hotels (Hospitality sector)
London Hilton on the Park Lane is the Five-Star Hotel on the Park Lane Hotel that offers Executive Lounge access with an experience that is blended with the English style and modern design. It is one of the travellers’ favourite Hotels to choose from. The Hotel has won many awards for its excellent service to its visitors.
The purpose of the research is to find out the various factors that help in retention of employees and how the organisations can incorporate these programs in order to retain the employees. In addition to this, the purpose of this study is to examine how employee retention ultimately helps in to improve organisational performance. The research focuses on the hospitality sector, especially the hotel chains.
The future scope of the study lies in the ultimate findings and recommendations that would be achieved by the end of this study. The findings could be a better outcome to understand the impact of employee retention on improving the organisational performance. In addition to this, the recommendations can help the organisations to combat against the challenges faced by these hotels against the increasing competition and labour market in the recent time.
What is the issue?
In the recent time, the organisations are wrestling constantly with the major revolutionary trends, accelerating demand of innovative products due to the increasing global competition and demographic changes. The aim is to implement these changes towards the changing society. In fact, the society has largely become knowledge based where the importance of human capital has become the key resource and indispensible for the survival of the business (Fabi et al. 2015). This is the reason that the organizations are competing for the best talent of the employees. Therefore, the organisations need to successfully motivate them and retain their talent that they would be able to able to survive any kind of restructuring or consolidation.
Why this is an issue?
The importance of employee retention has been gaining momentum in the recent time due to the greater dependency of the organisations on the employees. The hospitality industry like hotels are much depended on the service of the employees. However, due to certain issues at the workplace, the attrition rate of the employees is found to increase from time to time as well. If the issue is not solved and focus is not made on retention of the employees, the hotels would not be able to provide the right service to its visitors and they ultimately have to suffer (Vasquez 2014). This is the reason the issue of employee retention has become more important in the recent time.
Why this is an issue now?
The increasing competition, globalisation and the need for retaining human talent has made this issue an important point of consideration for the major hotels. Human capital with their due experience has been adopting themselves with the context of globalisation irrespective of the country or other factors. Coming up with a standard retention program that would help retaining the employees should be the ultimate goal of the human resource management (Zhong et al. 2016). Therefore, the issue is important to maintain the demand of the employees and adapt certain strategies with the local market.
What this research focuses on?
This particular research focuses on the impact of employee retention on the organisational performance. The study shall focuses on the need and importance of retaining employees in the hospitality sector. A detailed investigation on the global labour market shall be made that has increased the importance of retaining employees, especially in the hospitality sector. On the basis of the investigation, a number of recommendations shall also be made that would help the hotel chains to retain their employees.
The aim of this research is to find out the impact of employee retention on organisational performance.
The research objectives are:
- To find out the various factors that helps in employee retention
- To find out whether there is a relationship between employee retention and the organisational performance.
- To recommend a number of strategies that an organisation might undertake to retain their employees
H0: There will be no impact of employee retention on organisational performance
H1: There will be impact of employee retention on organisational performance.
Organisational performance is the ultimate achievement of the organisation that would help in improving the existing condition of the organisation and adapt to certain global best practices to ensure a competence in the market where they operate. There is no doubt that the importance of retaining human talent has been increasing and it should be the primary focus of the major organisations to take care of the employees’ needs and wants and avail them the best possible compensation that the rate of attrition gets reduced. This way the major hotels will be benefitted and they would be able to combat against the increasing competition in the market where they operate.
The major stakeholders involved in this particular study are the stakeholders of the major hotels. Since, this particular study is based on the case study of Hotel Hilton; the human resource management of this hotel are also involved as a stakeholder. In addition to this, the respondents and investors (if required) will also be involved in the list of the stakeholders.
|Stakeholders||Level of interest||Reason for interest|
|Internal departments||High||Low cost|
|Senior managers||High||Better brand|
|Hotel group||Med||Better HR performance|
|Owners||High||Happier customers/Increased profits|
It is important to carry out the research in a systematic way and so designing a research prior to conducting the research is equally important. The research shall follow the following methodology:
Research philosophy: Positivism research philosophy shall be used for this particular study as it helps to investigate the topic in details in a logical and critical manner. As commented by Kumar (2014), positivism research philosophy helps to identify the problem of the study by using a number of theories and models and thus, this philosophy shall be used. On the other hand, interpretivism and realism shall be avoided because these philosophies deal with the current market scenario and so it would become difficult to ascertain the same because the assertion depends on human perception as well that might vary from one person to other.
Research approach: Among the two deductive approaches, namely, inductive and deductive research approaches, deductive research approach shall be used for the particular study. The deductive approach is based on taking help of the existing theories and models in order to carry out the study. On the other hand, the inductive approach shall be avoided because it requires developing new theories. As stated by Mackey and Gass (2015), inductive approach cannot provide the required or necessary information to carry out the research in the right direction and so the inductive approach has been avoided.
Fig: Research approach
(Source: Mackey and Gass 2015)
Research design: Among the three research designs, namely, analytical or descriptive, explanatory and exploratory research designs, the descriptive research design will be selected for this research. In the view point of Taylor et al. (2015), exploratory design helps to carry out the initial stage of the research based on the framed hypotheses, while explanatory develop the relationship between the two variables of the research. The analytical design shall be chosen as it will help to evaluate the theories in details unlike the other research designs.
Fig: Research design
(Source: Taylor et al. 2015)
Research strategy: Research strategy is important to carry out the study in the right direction. The various research strategies include case studies, focus groups, interview and survey. In order to understand the impact of employee retention on the organisational performance, primary method shall be used and so interview and survey methods are the most suitable forms of research strategies that could be undertaken for the purpose carrying out this particular research (Flick 2015).
Sampling method and sample size: In order to undertake the survey method for the purpose of gaining the point of view of the employees working in Hilton, it is expected that the staffs and employees of the hotel will be given a set of questionnaire and they would be asked to respond on the same, For this, both probability and non-probability sampling technique shall be used. For the qualitative data, the managers of the hotel will be interviewed.
It is expected that the survey will be conducted among 50 employees of the Hotel and 2 managers will be interviewed in order to know about the importance of employee retention strategies for improving the organisational performance.
Data collection method: The entire study is based on the data collected from both primary and secondary sources of data. For the primary source, the information collected from the major respondents from the survey and interview will be taken into account. For the secondary sources, previous research works, related literature and any other sources of information will be taken into account for the analysis of this particular study.
Data interpretation technique: In order to interpret the primary data, the collected response can be converted into numerals and then it can be converted into charts and graphs. This can be done by using statistical tools. This would help to reveal the findings in an appropriate manner. For the analysis of the secondary data, thematic approach can be used (Pannerselvam 2014). The findings can be converted to a number of themes and the analysis can be done.
The major problem can arise during the primary data collection. The respondents might not answer the question appropriately and so the result might not be appropriate. In addition to this, the managers might be biased as well in terms of giving their response. Time frame can be a major problem in this regard as well. Due to limited time duration, the entire study might not be completed in an appropriate way. Apart from this, budget can become a problem at certain point of time.
|Activities||1st to 3rd Week||4th to 10th week||11th to 13th Week||14th to 17th Week||18th to 21st Week||22nd to 23rd Week||24th Week|
|Selection of the topic||ü|
|Data collection from secondary sources||ü||ü|
|Analysis and interpretation of collected data||ü||ü||ü|
|Findings of the data||ü||ü|
|Conclusion of the study||ü|
|Formation of draft||ü||ü|
|Submission of final work||ü|
Fig: Gantt Chart
(Source: Created by the author)
Ahammad, M.F., Tarba, S.Y., Liu, Y. and Glaister, K.W., 2016. Knowledge transfer and cross-border acquisition performance: The impact of cultural distance and employee retention. International Business Review, 25(1), pp.66-75.
Fabi, B., Lacoursière, R. and Raymond, L., 2015. Impact of high-performance work systems on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intention to quit in Canadian organizations. International Journal of Manpower, 36(5), pp.772-790.
Festing, M. and Schäfer, L., 2014. Generational challenges to talent management: A framework for talent retention based on the psychological-contract perspective. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.262-271.
Flick, U., 2015. Introducing research methodology: A beginner’s guide to doing a research project. Sage.
Goetsch, D.L. and Davis, S.B., 2014. Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: pearson.
Ibidunni, S., Osibanjo, O., Adeniji, A., Salau, O.P. and Falola, H., 2016. Talent retention and organizational performance: A competitive positioning in Nigerian banking sector. Periodica Polytechnica. Social and Management Sciences, 24(1), p.1.
Idris, A., 2014. Flexible working as an employee retention strategy in developing countries: Malaysian bank managers speak. Journal of Management Research, 14(2), p.71.
Kumar, R., 2014. Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Sage.
Mackey, A. and Gass, S.M., 2015. Second language research: Methodology and design. Routledge.
Panneerselvam, R., 2014. Research methodology. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd..
Park, T.Y. and Shaw, J.D., 2013. Turnover rates and organizational performance: a meta-analysis.
Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.
Vasquez, D., 2014. Employee retention for economic stabilization: A qualitative phenomenological study in the hospitality sector.
Zhong, L., Wayne, S.J. and Liden, R.C., 2016. Job engagement, perceived organizational support, high‐performance human resource practices, and cultural value orientations: A cross‐level investigation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37(6), pp.823-844.