MSc Research Methods Week 2

Note: this post is aimed as a memory mnemonic for me not you (I’m studying an MSc in Digital Marketing )

By Paul Morris

Secondary Market Data and the Literature Review = There is an important distinction; Stage 2 in the following below diagram…

the research process

Secondary research = anything that already exists; made up of secondary market data (Mintel, keynote, newspapers, industry journals, etc market data) and academic literature (academic journals, research papers, academic expert interviews).

Basically what role does the literature play in the dissertation; it needs to directly relate to the rest of the paper (problem definition, objectives, methodology, results and analysis) and not sit as though it were a separate document.

Do not forget internal data e.g. sales, orders, Google Analytics, customer service surveys, etc.

Advantages of Secondary Market Data: Cheap, quick, readily available and supports lots of different tasks you need to do in your research

Disadvantages of Secondary Market Data: Accuracy, timeliness and can conflict because of different methods used or not current or impartial

Secondary market data is useful for broad brush strategic issues, in understanding differences between markets, identifying areas for focus and influencing stage of the research process

The Literature Review Chapter

A critical analysis of all previous scholar research that has been completed on your choosen topic

This is normally an early activity in your research however will continue to be researched throughout the projects life

The Literature Review Process (Saunders)

the research process

Good papers compare and contrast themes that some literature has in common, where they differ and how/why they differ. Basically do not just identify and describe each piece of the paper separately.

Critical review purpose = Create a new body of knowledge; do not regurgitate what has already gone before (particularly at MSc level).

I will be doing deductive research; testing a particular model i.e. my own

Content of the Literature Review:

  • Identify key academic theories within your topic area
  • Demonstrate up to date knowledge of your topic
  • Connect your research problem to previous published research
  • Compare and contrast (merits and faults) findings of different academics. Be critical!
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of previous work
  • Raise issues and questions that result from your analysis of the literature (to be answered by your research)
  • Thorough clear referencing

The structure of the literature review goes from general theory to specific theory. Take people down a funnel.

Evaluation of References:

  • Relevance (to what extent is it related to the topic?)
  • Precision (How close is it related to the topic?)
  • Currency (how current is the reference?)
  • Validity (to what extent is free of error?)

80-90% of the literature review should be academic literature (and then mainly journals and text books)

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