compare and contrast the study design

Suffolk Business School

Assignment Brief

Course/Programme:All Undergraduate Programmes
Module Title:Topics in Business Research
Module Leader:Dr Will Thomas
Assignment title:Report
Assignment number:1 (of 2)
Weighting:75% of overall module grade
Date given out:
Submission date:Noon, Monday 11th May, 2020
Eligible for late submission (3 working days, with penalty)?Yes
Method of submission:Online onlyOnline and paper copy
Special instructions for submission (if any):Do not submit this brief with your report


Please ensure you submit your report with at least 1.5 line spacing.


Date for results and feedback:By Monday 1st June, 2020
Learning outcomes assessed:LO1: Describe the research approach taken in a small range of projects using appropriate terminology.

LO2: Appraise the choice of research approach, weighing up the scope for employing alternative approaches.

LO3: Demonstrate how different research approaches might be used to investigate the same broad topic area, giving different perspectives.


Assignment brief:

The purpose of this module is to highlight the variety of ways in which it is possible to use research to understand businesses and their operations. In most cases it is possible to approach a research problem or question from a variety of angles – but the choices made will have an effect on the results and potential impact of the study. The purpose of this assignment is for you to demonstrate that you can identify some of the important choices made in the design of these studies and the impact that these choices have in terms of how research is conducted and the insight that it offers.

You are required to produce a report of 2,500 words (+/- 10%) in which you compare and contrast the design of the studies discussed in 3 topics that have been covered during weeks 2-9 of the module. Your report must be fully referenced, using the University of Suffolk Harvard format.

You should select 3 of the studies listed in the table below (full references can be found in the Module Guide):

2Shopping Habits of Older PeopleHollinrake et al (2015)
3Sustainable AccountingDyck et al (2019)
4Scholarships and Internships (BT)Gartland et al (2019)
5Making Wealth Management DecisionsKingsfleet Wealth (2014)
7EDF ConsultationsThomas (2019) and Thomas (2020)
8The Tourism SurveyLarking Gowan (2019)
9Tourism and BrandingFragkogianni (2019)


You are asked to compare and contrast 3 of the studies that we have looked at in weeks 2-9. It is suggested that you break your report into four sections: Aims and Objectives, Approaches (Methodologies), Methods, and Alternative Approaches. You do not have to follow this structure.

  • The projects will look at different subjects, but how do the aims compare?
    • For example, do they seek to evaluate, measure, increase understanding…?
  • What considerations were made when choosing the approaches and methods for the projects?
    • Consider practical issues – what data is it possible to collect?
    • Think about methodological choices – theoretical reasons for designing the study in one way or another.
  • Where do the studies employ similar methods to collect data? Where do they differ?
    • Consider how they have used different ways of collecting data
      • What has prompted these choices?
      • What compromises have they made?
    • How have they tried to maintain quality in the research process?
  • How might the studies you have looked at differ if an alternative approach (for example, an approach used in another of the studies you are looking at) was taken?
    • For example, what would be the impact of taking a quantitative approach rather than a qualitative one, or of using a different method of data collection?
    • This module is premised on the idea that the same broad subject area can be approached in several ways – what impact would an alternative approach have on the questions that could be addressed?


  • Describe the content of the studies, or define terms.
    • Your audience for this report is your tutors – they are familiar with the content of the studies and of the meaning of the terms that you use.
  • Present your report as a series of summaries of studies which you then compare
    • Compare and contrast between all the studies throughout your report using the prompts above to help you. It might be useful to use the use the above prompts to structure headings for your report.
  • Attempt to compare more than 4 studies – or pick any that are not listed in the table above.


  • Reference your work thoroughly and using the correct format
    • Use the library website and Cite Them Right to help you.
  • Pay close attention to using terminology in the correct way – especially when describing how studies have been conducted.
  • Use a wide variety of high-quality references that includes research methods textbooks and journal articles. You must read more widely than just the references you are given during the module.
  • Reflect critically. Make sure that you consider the impact of choices made in the design of the studies.
  • Write in a professional, clear and concise manner.
    • No contractions (didn’t, can’t, wouldn’t etc.)
    • Make sure you check your spelling
    • Pay attention to grammar – it may help you to have a friend or family member read your work through, or to read it out loud
    • Ensure your arguments are easy to follow


Assessment Criteria:

1st Class (70%+)2.1 (60-69%)2.2 (50-59%)3rd Class (40-49%)
Use appropriate and accurate terminology to describe research projectsTerminology is consistently and accurately used throughout the reportVery good use of terminology throughout with minor errorsGood use of terminology demonstrating understanding but with some significant errorsDemonstrates understanding of basic terminology only; significant errors
Understanding of the impact of methods and their alternativesExcellent appreciation of the impact of choices made in the design of projectsVery good understanding of the impact of design choices with room for more extensive discussionGood understanding of the impact of design choices, but with little extended evaluationLimited discussion of the impact of design choices
Evaluate the impact and scope for alternative approachesAlternative approaches discussed in detail, showing excellent appreciation of their potential impactVery good discussion of alternatives including discussion of potential impact on the projectGood discussion of alternatives but with more limited discussion of their potential impactLimited discussion of alternatives with little discussion of their potential impact
Professional presentation and styleReport is written in a professional manner throughoutReport is generally very well written with only a few errorsReport is well written but contains errors, typos or other concernsReport has more serious concerns in grammar, spelling and professional presentation
Referencing using the University of Suffolk Harvard standardWell referenced using the correct format consistently throughoutVery good referencing using the correct format throughoutGood referencing, with some errors in the application of the correct formatReferencing has more significant concerns including poor formatting


Please note: marks below 40% count as a Refer grad