Project report 7500 words

The introduction is drafted below, so the writer has 7000 words

Intro 500 words  focus of your study and your questions (and sub-questions). Provide information about the problem or change you addressed and the organisation or context in which the research was conducted. It is important to explain why the problem or change you investigated is significant to the organisation or context.

 

Notes

The organisational context is an anonymised, decentralised science-led, global pharmaceutical company X-Pharma, a ‘strategic group’ of the pharmaceutical sector (Chittoor and Ray, (2007.) X-pharma researches and develops medicines to help patients around the World. The Company does this by building business relationships and market access with healthcare professionals and their organisation to sell X-pharma prescription medicines so that the patients get better.

 

 

I work in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) procurement department, Globally, the population for procurement is 400 people; for EMEA, the focus is on eight category managers serving the target population of 100 procurement people in various teams, and EMEA countries. Within the Company, there are over 10,000 people. The study focuses on the Category managers of a team of eight as they provide the strategies in EMEA. I will interview four team members, including male and female, married, single, UK and mainland Europe colleagues.

 

The research question came about as I noticed how X-Pharma and the wider business world faced serious encounters of unprecedented disruptions, and work-related performance was threatened by the inability to cope. Some employees felt abandoned from not being informed consistently. During the lockdowns, productivity for some increased as people worked longer hours from home and used the redundant travel time to work longer; for others, productivity decreased as they faced home-schooling their children. We are now in a state of flux with a hybrid working method.

 

 

The study question is “How can EMEA Procurement employees sustainably maintain work performance and thrive in a VUCA World?”

 

Accompanied by two sub-research questions to provide deeper insights in preparation for the next VUCA situation and performance indicators.

 

“What generic VUCA situations can we prepare for in advance of the next significant disruption?”

 

“What performance indicators can we focus on to thrive in a VUCA situation?”

 

The acronym and phrase ‘VUCA World’ were first coined in 1987 (Whiteman, 1998) by Warren Bennies and Burt Nauns, economists and professors from a US Army College, were related to a study on Leadership Strategies required for the aftermath of the Cold War in 1989. The four main drivers causing significant disruption are volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Three decades later, we are still facing the phenomenon of a ‘VUCA World’ (Bennett and Lemoine, 2014) chimed that it harms work performance, which is all interconnected with the internal and external procurement ecosystem of doing business. Within X-Pharma the significance of current disrupted macro environment supply disruption is a real issue facing the Company. With the backdrop of post-COVID-19 issues, the Ukraine invasion, EMEA still resetting after Brexit, and all-time inflation price hikes of materials and services. KPMG consultancy has reported that business performances are under pressure, and many increasing threats to consider as we live in VUCA. (Doheny, Nagali, and Weig, 2012.) 

Being part of this study will enable the EMEA procurement team to add value through innovative, collaborative ideation, and understanding of local culture to combat the VUCA World. The focus of the study is on the ‘how’ rather than the where.

 

Part 2 Literature review 1,500 words

Present a review of the relevant literature that has been published on your project topic, presenting the main theories that informed your topic

Notes:

 

Bennett, N. and Lemoine, G.J., 2014. What a difference a word makes: Understanding threats to performance in a VUCA world. Business Horizons57(3), pp.311-317.

 

Bernstein, L.E., 2014. The perceived importance of vuca-driven skills for 21st century leader success and the extent of integration of those skills into leadership development programs (Doctoral dissertation, Drake University).

 

 

Comengage US, 2020. An antidote in todays VUCA World, Thinktank  [online] @: https://comengage.us/thought-tank/an-antidote-in-todays-vuca-world/ (Assessed 3rd of June 2022)

 

 

Johnson, H.A., 2020. Strategic Management Competencies for Radical Innovation in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (Vuca) World: a Systematic Review of the Evidence (Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland University College).

 

 

 

Change Kaleidoscope model (Balogun and Hope-Hailey, 2008) has considerable relevance. An assessment was made of the need for urgent change, the resources required to deliver the change, and the speed at which the change needed to be delivered.

 

Dunphy, D. and Stace, D., 1993. The strategic management of corporate change. Human relations46(8), pp.905-920.

Strategic Change and Process Followed for Implementation

Dunphy and Stace (1993) distinguish between incremental and transformational (radical) change in change management literature.

 

 

 

Business Source Complete is a database of full text journals in all disciplines of business. It also includes full text financial data, case studies, industry reports and company profiles.

 

https://www.trainingjournal.com/

Creating the right culture for change

Robertson, David

 

 

  • Keywords – “VUCA World” volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity ‘How to reset after the various disruptions to the ‘normal’ working day or our next ‘new normal’ working life
  • Sources − which database(s) will you use first to conduct your search?

Various ABI Inform

  • Parameters added − based on the options available for the database you have selected, you may decide to add further search or filtering options; for example, limiting the time span of the research, or the type of material searched.
  • https://www.trainingjournal.com/
  • Creating the right culture for change
  • Robertson, David

 

  • Outcomes – what are you hoping to find and what might be the minimum progress you are expecting to achieve in this research?

 

Answers Insights to VUCA world, proactive management of VUCA, performance indicators, culture of EMEA team, behaviours, Playbook of activities driving reducing risk to disruption to business

 

 

Theory Justification
Leadership

 

 

Prevention is better than cure.

 

The phenomenon of a ‘VUCA World’ is ever so the ‘new normal’. (Bennett and Lemoine, 2014) identified the threats to performance.   Identifying the performance areas, which might be under threat and come up with a plan of action.

 

 

 

The ‘great resignation’ factors     Sull, D., Sull, C. and Zweig, B., 2022. Toxic culture is driving the great resignation. MIT Sloan Management Review63(2), pp.1-9.

 

Bennett, N. and Lemoine, G.J., 2014. What a difference a word makes: Understanding threats to performance in a VUCA world. Business Horizons57(3), pp.311-317.

 

 

 

Identity

 

 

 

As a department – Procurement leading the way for proactively critically thinking about future generic risks to the business, and designing a play book for reference to enable a though process that might help in the next disruption.

The need for procurement to be at the CEO table

Seyedghorban, Z., Samson, D. and Tahernejad, H., 2020. Digitalization opportunities for the procurement function: pathways to maturity. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.

 

Management of change and resistance

 

 

VUCA model and the themes in change management style concepts. (Dunphy and Stace, 1993, p. 908.) ‘Test, and learn’ and adapt, as one size does not fit all. The expected outcomes of the research will enable Managers to utilise the conclusions to purposefully innovate their business models for the future (Mitchell and Coles, 2003).

 

Dunphy, D. and Stace, D., 1993. The strategic management of corporate change. Human relations46(8), pp.905-920.

 

Strategic Change and Process Followed for Implementation

Dunphy and Stace (1993) distinguish between incremental and transformational (radical) change in change management literature. Examples of these might be minor developments to products and services as compared to a significant organisational restructure. The factors driving such different types of change are likely to vary contingent on aspects such as the type of service or product offered by the organisation, and the wider conditions of the market.

For Org. X, continuous incremental change is an integral element of strategy.

 

To adapt to the need to pivot to an online environment – a major change for Org. X – the Change Kaleidoscope model (Balogun and Hope-Hailey, 2008) has considerable relevance. An assessment was made of the need for urgent change, the resources required to deliver the change, and the speed at which the change needed to be delivered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3Research methodology  1,500 words

15 marks

In this section you should do the following:

  • Identify and justify the research method(s) that you used in your project.
  • Describe the characteristics of your sample (i.e. your research participants) if you collected primary data, and explain why these respondents were chosen.
  • Explain and justify how you analysed the data.
  • Describe any practical issues you encountered and how you dealt with them.
  • Describe any ethical issues involved in your project and how you responded to them.

 

Notes:

See the attached excel summary (which links with conclusions and recommendations)

The organisational context, is a fictitious decentralised global pharmaceutical company called X-Pharma.

 

The term ‘VUCA World’ was first coined in 1987 (Whiteman, 1998) by Warren Bennies and Burt Nauns, professors from a US Army College, relating to a study on Leadership Strategies after the Cold War in 1989. The four drivers were causing significant disruption characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

The project uses qualitative research design, which involves coming up with answers to the reasons and solutions to why there are increases in disruptions in businesses today. (Doheny et el., 2012). The research in its design will come up with the final solutions and recommendations in words (DJS Research, 2020). The main aim of the research is to combat the increasing disruptions in Business today. For instance, identify possible solutions that will prepare the Business and support ecosystems across Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) (Randall n.d.) led by the EMEA procurement team. For future significant disruptions; hence qualitative research design will be more appropriate (Comengage, 2020). The type of research and data will be primary, secondary, and qualitative Analysis. The Primary data will be collated from a sample of four face-to-face and/or virtual semi-structured purposive interviews with the procurement team from EMEA, including a rich blend of diverse cultures, male, female, single, and married. This will provide efficient data and ideas on the reasons and preparation for these disruptions. Through all the collected information from the views, coming up with possible solutions will be made easy and reliable. (Hussey and Hussey, 1997).

The sampling method will be a non-probability sampling method, which is purposive and will allow the researcher to collect four samples out of team of eight without bias. I have selected a popular qualitative thematic analysis using an inductive approach. An inductive approach is a bottom-up approach that starts after the data has been collected and then seeks to explain the findings via analysing patterns and relationships. (Collis and Hussey, 2009.) In contrast to a deductive approach which is a top-down approach starting with an existing theory of codes and anticipation themes. (Bryman and Bell, 2015). The research will reflect on the traditional industry theories and the good beyond conventional strategy. The results will be coded to enhance the analysis quality (Linnebersg and Korsgaard, 2019), which improves the understanding of the data collected. The secondary data to be used include in-depth secondary research utilizing modern literature reviews and theory to improve the project delivery. Which is done through a literature study using the desk research method from various reports and studies (Nowacka and Rzemieniak, 2021). Which enables the project delivery.

The primary research interviews involve vital issues which require an ethical approach (QuestionPro, 2018). For instance, this includes misunderstanding brought about by Linguistic and Cultural barriers (Arifin, 2018) and the misalignment of exact and explicit words (Pascal, 2017). Concerns about one’s relationship during interviews also raise ethical issues (Gumede et al., 2019). Many organizations in the VUCA world can be slow to provide the information required for a study (Elkington, 2017). Recent research shows that it is a real and abstract issue for one to trust a researcher (Guillemin et al., 2018). Ensuring that the research follows an ethical approach involves recognizing ethical implications in the VUCA world (Milliken, 2018). The steps that would be followed to ensure that the project follows an ethical approach include building trust, minimizing the risk of harm to participants, and informed consent. (Punch, 1994). For instance, this involves making effective communication that will lead to a constant agreement and avoiding misunderstanding, ensuring confidentiality since every participant can understand everything being done without any misunderstanding since the data privacy and secrecy is maintained (Arifin, 2018). Adopting the problem-solving transactional Analysis’s inception in the 1950s (Berne, 1996) focuses on ego state problems (Vos and van Rijn, 2021.) Which will require one to feel every expression, provide details and pragmatic stance, test the ideas, and sort and coordinate views, enabling a better understanding of the VUCA world, which enhances change through communication improvement, which helps with emotional problems solution (Dilts, 1994). As demonstrated on the right-side of the Poster.

The potential problems to be encountered may include passive deception if the interviewee withholds critical information or by myself omitting notes leading to unintended consequences or bias when writing-up notes from the interviews. X-Pharma are reluctant for me to use transcripts to provide data needed to conduct research; hence the researcher may force difficulties in collecting essential data necessary for the research. Recent research says that the relevant solutions to these problems involve brainstorming a proper research environment with all the essential information required for the research (Debnath et al., 2015). The researcher should also be confident while conducting the research with rigor and clearly state the role of the guides before conducting the research; hence in this case, the researcher should have enough experience and be well skilled since this will reduce the expense of training and save time.

Conducting research requires proper time management skills accompanied by good planning since research carries multiple roles in it. For research productivity, researchers need to focus on their work, which can be achieved through effective time management. For instance, this can be enhanced through strategies like setting realistic goals, involving a team in decision-making and problem-solving, prioritizing and optimizing planning, and managing potential distractions earlier (Chase et al., 2012). This can facilitate focus in research, allowing researchers to recognize areas of improvement and enhance progress efficiently. A recent study highlights that the better an organization’s management is at time planning, the less they are prone to failure problems (Bozbayındır, 2019). Time management is essential in research as it leads to more significant research outcomes.

While planning the research, it should be able to clearly show its capability of being beneficial to the topic of the study, in this case, research on the increasing disruptions in Businesses today. The research planning should have a realistic and achievable outline within the available resources (Mondayblog, 2020). This will even reduce the problem of scarce resources. The planning process begins with self-assessment, realization, and project reorganization. To realize the strategy’s success, implementing and formulating plans must be connected with the strategies for evaluation (Kabeyi, 2019). In general, for a significant research outcome, there is a need for an excellent strategic plan, as identified on the Poster.

 

Part 4 Findings and discussion  2500 words

(30 marks)

Use the data that you have analysed to explain, clearly and systematically, how you answered your research question(s) and how you addressed your work problem or change.

 

Part 5 Conclusions and recommendations 1,500 words

(15 marks)

Present a systematic summary of the research you have conducted. Explain how the project question has been answered and how the change has been addressed. Comment on the implications of your research for the organisation or context and provide practical recommendations on how the issue you have explored can be and/or has been addressed in your organisation or context. Assess the potential and/or actual implications and benefits of implementing the change.

 

Priority Recommendations Responsible Action
1 Introduction of Lean thinking (standardising of processes) (Theme -future productivity adjustments) Senior Leadership within the organization Training program to be directed at the commercial side of the business to be aligned with R&D
2 EMEA VUCA World playbook implementation (including learned lessons section) (Theme – VUCA playbook) EMEA Procurement Leadership EMEA team to draft the outline and build out solutions for the areas identified
3 Future productivity adjustments for soft-skills training for the team ( Theme future productivity adjustment) EMEA Procurement Leadership EMEA team to draft the outline and build out solutions for the areas identified
4 Digital tools culling  (Theme sustainable practices) EMEA ICT Leadership and EMEA procurement leadership Set up a subgroup to review all digital procurement tools to see what can be culled and amalgamated
5 EMEA SWAT teams to help resolve VUCA issues (Theme functional area development) HR & EMEA leadership Identify key personnel to be able to be secondments of expertise from other departments and countries.
6 Focus group to combat VUCA situations (Theme -Future productivity adjustment) EMEA Leadership Re-instate focus groups to support finding a solution for complex situations to provide the answers
7 VUCA leaders’ communications (theme- sustainable practices) EMEA Leadership Bimonthly – All-hands meetings. To provide regular updates and answer any concerns or questions
8 Allow the EMEA Team to be able to delegate upwards for issues that cannot be achieved on the EMEA level. ( Themes situation approaches) EMEA senior leadership To provide guidance when it is appropriate
9 EMEA procurement project management experts for predefined key projects ( Theme Sustainable practices) HR and EMEA procurement leadership Full-time professional project management for any key change strategies introduced in Pharma X
10 How to measure performance (Theme sustainable practices) EMEA procurement leadership to identify a subgroup to build a solution Construct and provide guidance on how the EMEA team measure effectiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

List of references.

 

Bennett, N. and Lemoine, G.J., 2014. What a difference a word makes: Understanding threats to performance in a VUCA world. Business Horizons57(3), pp.311-317.

Chittoor, R. and Ray, S., 2007. Internationalization paths of Indian pharmaceutical firms—A strategic group analysis. Journal of international management, (13(3), pp.338-355.)

Comengage US, 2020. An antidote in todays VUCA World, Thinktank  [online] @: https://comengage.us/thought-tank/an-antidote-in-todays-vuca-world/ (Assessed 3rd of June 2022)

Doheny, M., Nagali, V., & Weig, F. (2012, May). Agile operations for volatile times. McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/ operations/agile_operations_for_volatile_times  (Lass accessed 26th of May 2022)

Donne, J. and Fallon, K., 1988. No man is an island. Souvenir.

Dunphy, D. and Stace, D., 1993. The strategic management of corporate change. Human relations46(8), pp.905-920.

Emerging World.n.d. What the VUCA. Blog.   Available at the following URL @: https://www.emergingworld.com/blog/what-the-vuca/  (Accessed 3rd of June 2022)

Hoopes, D.G. and Postrel, S., 1999. Shared knowledge, “glitches,” and product development performance. Strategic management journal20(9), pp.837-865.

Lepeley, M.T., 2021. Management in the Global VUCA Environment. Soft Skills for Human Centered Management and Global Sustainability.

Management Study Guide, n.d. Model of change management. Available at the following URL @: https://www.managementstudyguide.com/contingency-model-of-change-management.htm (Accessed 3rd of June 2022.)

Porter, M.E. 1979 ‘How competitive forces shape strategy’, Harvard Business Review, 57(2), pp. 137–145.

Schmidt, M.C., Veile, J.W., Müller, J.M. and Voigt, K.I., 2020. Ecosystems 4.0: Redesigning global value chains. The International Journal of Logistics Management.

 

Sinek, S., 2009. Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.

Skill Up Tecknologies. N.d. How organisations are using soft skills to drive profits Blog [online] @: https://skillup.tech/how-organizations-are-using-soft-skills-to-drive-profit/  (Assessed 3rd of June 2022)

 

Sony, M., Antony, J. and Douglas, J.A., 2020. Essential ingredients for the implementation of Quality 4.0: a narrative review of literature and future directions for research. The TQM Journal.

Sull, D., Sull, C. and Zweig, B., 2022. Toxic culture is driving the great resignation. MIT Sloan Management Review63(2), pp.1-9.

Whiteman, W.E., 1998. Training and Educating Army Officers for the 21st Century: Implications for the United States Military Academy. Army War Coll Carlisle Barracks PA.

 

Arifin, S. (2018). Ethical Considerations in Qualitative Study. [online] ResearchGate. Available at the following URL @:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328019725_Ethical_Considerations_in_Qualitative_Study. (Last assessed 15 of July 2022)

Berne, E., 1996. Principles of Transactional Analysis. Indian journal of psychiatry38(3), p.154.d H

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Methods (4th ed), Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

Bozbayindir, F., 2019. The Relationship between the Time Management Skills and Cyberloafing Behavior of School Administrators: A Quantitative Analysis. Educational Policy Analysis and Strategic Research14(3), pp.178-199.

Chase, J.-A.D., Topp, R., Smith, C.E., Cohen, M.Z., Fahrenwald, N., Zerwic, J.J., Benefield, L.E., Anderson, C.M. and Conn, V.S. (2012). Time Management Strategies for Research Productivity. Western Journal of Nursing Research, [online] 35(2), pp.155–176. doi:10.1177/0193945912451163 (Last assessed 15 of July 2022.)

Collis, J. and Hussey, R. (2009) Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students (3rd edn), Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan https://pmt-eu.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/ permalink/ f/ h21g24/ 44OPN_ALMA_DS2153870300002316.

 

Comengage (2020). An Antidote in Today’s VUCA World. [online] ComEngage. Available at the following URL @: https://comengage.us/thought-tank/an-antidote-in-todays-vuca-world/  (Last assessed 15 of July 2022.)

Debnath, S., Acharya, K. and Roy, A., 2015. Problems and Solutions of doing research in Academic.

Dilts, R. (1994). Effective Presentation Skills by Robert B. Dilts (1-Jul-1994) Paperback. [online] Amazon. Available at the following URL @: https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Presentation-Skills-1-Jul-1994-Paperback/dp/B011T7SKGI  (Last assessed 15 of July 2022.)

DJS Research (2020). Qualitative Research Design. [online] Djsresearch.co.uk. Available at the following URL @: https://www.djsresearch.co.uk/glossary/item/Qualitative-Research-Design. (Last assessed 15 of July 2022.)

Doheny, M., Nagali, V., & Weig, F. (2012, May). Agile operations for volatile times. McKinsey Quarterly. Available at the following URL @:   http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/operations/agile_operations_for_volatile_times   (Last accessed 16 of July  2022)

Elkington, R. 2017. Ethical Leadership at the Speed of VUCA. In Visionary Leadership in a Turbulent World, pp.13–37. Emerald Publishing Limited

Guillemin, M., Barnard, E., Allen, A., Stewart, P., Walker, H., Rosenthal, D. and Gillam, L., 2018. Do research participants trust researchers or their institution?. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics13(3), pp.285-294.

Gumede, D., Ngwenya, N.B., Namukwaya, S., Bernays, S. and Seeley, J. (2019). A reflection on ethical and methodological challenges of using separate interviews with adolescent-older carer dyads in rural South Africa. BMC Medical Ethics, 20(1)

Hussey and Hussey (1997) Business Research, a Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. London: Macmillan. p258

 

Kabeyi, M.J.B. (2019). Organizational strategic planning, implementation and evaluation with Analysis of challenges and benefits for-profit and nonprofit organizations. International Journal of Applied Research, [online] 5(6), pp.27–32. doi:10.22271/allresearch.2019.v5.i6a.5870.

Linneberg, M.S. and Korsgaard, S. (2019). (PDF) Coding qualitative data: a synthesis guiding the novice. [online] ResearchGate. Available at the following URL @: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332957319_Coding_qualitative_data_a_synthesis_guiding_the_novice.  (Last assessed 16 of July 2022.)

Milliken, A. (2018). Ethical Awareness: What It Is and Why It Matters. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, [online] 23(1), pp.2–2. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol23No01Man01. (Last assessed 16 of July 2022.)

Mondayblog (2020). Why is the research plan so important? [online] monday.com Blog. Available at the following URL @:  https://monday.com/blog/project-management/why-is-the-research-plan-pivotal-to-a-research-project/.

Nowacka, A. and Rzemieniak, M. (2021). The Impact of the VUCA Environment on the Digital Competences of Managers in the Power Industry. Energies, 15(1), p.185. doi:10.3390/en15010185.

Pascal (2017). 8 Causes of Miscommunication and Misunderstanding. [online] Userlike Live Chat. Available at the following URL @: https://www.userlike.com/en/blog/causes-of-miscommunication. (Last assessed 16 of July 2022.)

Punch, M. (1994) ‘Politics and ethics in qualitative research’, in Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds) Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 83–95.

 

QuestionPro (2018). Primary Research- Definition, Examples, Methods and Purpose | QuestionPro. [online] QuestionPro. Available at the following URL @: Available at: https://www.questionpro.com/blog/primary-research/. (Last assessed 16 of July 2022.)

Ramakrishnan, R. (2021). Leading in a VUCA World. Ushus Journal of Business Management, 20(1), pp.89–111. doi:10.12725/ujbm.54.5.

Randall (n.d.). Join EMEA Team. [online] EMEA. Available at: https://euromed-economists.org/about-us/join-emea-team/ (Last assessed 16 of July 2022.)

Vos, J. and van Rijn, B. (2021). The Evidence-Based Conceptual Model of Transactional Analysis: A Focused Review of the Research Literature. Transactional Analysis Journal, pp.1–42. doi:10.1080/03621537.2021.1904364.

Whiteman, W.E., 1998. Training and Educating Army Officers for the 21st Century: Implications for the United States Military Academy. Army War Coll Carlisle Barracks PA.

 

Guidelines.

Section 1 Introduction and problem definition

By the end of the introduction, the audience should understand the focus of your study and your project question (and sub-questions). You should briefly discuss:

  • the rationale for your project and why the research is important
  • the problem definition and change you wish to implement or have implemented
  • contextual details about the organisation or context that the audience will need to understand your work.

Section 2 Literature review

You must show how the literature and theory relate to your project topic and research questions. Your topic, flowing from your research questions, will bind together your review of the literature.

The structure of your review depends entirely on the nature of your study. You might decide to pursue three or four distinct themes or present an overview of the literature on your topic.

Remember that the review should contain a critical element – that is, you must show that you are reading a text in light of your knowledge of a wider range of texts and can therefore position it and relate it to material in which authors have made alternative arguments. You should show that you are aware of any contrasting accounts. You should not merely discuss literature that confirms or echoes the findings of your project.

Remember that any secondary data you have collected is not ‘literature’ and should not be presented in this section.

‘Theory’ is used here as an umbrella term that also includes theoretical perspectives, models and concepts. You are not expected to fully understand the differences between these terms or explain in your EMA if you are referring to a theory, theoretical perspective, model or concept. 

Section 3 Research methodology

In this section you should describe your research methodology and explain how it relates to your project topic and questions. This should include an explanation of and justification for any secondary data that you used.

If relevant, you should also describe the characteristics of your sample (for example of those people you interviewed, observed or surveyed) and explain why this sample was selected.

Present the data-analysis process that you used and explain how it helped you arrive at answers to your research questions.

Describe any planning or practical issues you encountered and explain how you resolved them. You may refer to your Gantt chart where appropriate.

Describe any ethical issues involved in your research, and describe the steps you took to ensure that you adopted an ethical research approach.

Section 4 Findings and discussion

In this section you should start by describing any patterns you noticed in your data analysis. You do not need to present every piece of data you gathered, but you do need to include a representative selection. If you have undertaken a questionnaire survey or worked with quantitative secondary data, you should present numerical results and provide figures, graphs and/or charts of your analysis. If you adopted a qualitative approach, quote verbatim from interviews, focus groups or observations and from qualitative secondary data.

Once you have presented your findings, you then need to present the discussion. This is the part of your project report where you provide the answers to your research questions. You then describe interesting, surprising (or even new) insights you have gained from the project, relating them back to the context of the literature you considered. You should discuss whether your research confirmed or contradicted (or perhaps even expanded) any theories you reviewed.

Section 5 Conclusions and recommendations

This section should ‘wrap up’ your project report. Avoid merely repeating what you have written before and summarising the earlier sections. Instead, present what you have learned, relate this to your research questions, and develop specific recommendations for your organisation (or context), based on these conclusions. If you have implemented the relevant change, discuss what has been done in this section.

You should state how the research question has been answered and the problem addressed, offer an appropriate contribution relating to your research question(s) and/or suggest what has been achieved or might be achieved by the change you have identified. You must also state how your study is important for future researchers and practitioners and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your project and comment on the limitations of what you did.

Regarding the recommendations for your organisation (or any other context you have used), think about where the project has the most practical relevance and draw up specific recommendations for practice. Make sure that these recommendations are drawn from the project and are not simply general reflections on your context. The same applies for a discussion about a change that you have been able to implement based on your research project.

Also describe how these recommendations could be (or have been) implemented, acknowledge some of the practical problems of implementing them in your context, and discuss how you might respond (or have responded) to them.

You do not have to describe all the possible recommendations that derive from the project. It is worth focusing on a more limited range of key recommendations and talking about them in more detail. If any of the changes suggested by your project have been implemented, describe them, explaining how they were indicated by your project and how successful they were.