Title: Business Management
Answer ONE question from Part A, follow and complete ALL the instructions in Part B, and answer ALL questions from Part C.
The questions asked in Part A do not apply directly to your own research project. They give you the opportunity to apply the research skills learned in Block 5.
Part B gives you an opportunity to discuss initial project ideas with other students.
Part C builds on Parts A and B and asks you to prepare your own initial project plan.
Together, the three parts of TMA 05 mark the first steps towards your research project. When you have completed the assessed parts of the TMA you will be invited to include reflections on the challenges of the TMA as this will help your tutor to provide appropriate feedback. Please note the word limit for each part of the TMA.
Part A: Research skills (65% of the marks)
Answer ONE question from Part A. Choose either Question 1, or Question 2, or Question 3. Answer the Question (1, 2 or 3) for the research method that you have chosen for Block 5.
Question 1: (Econometrics)
Imagine that your research question requires you to analyse the extent to which concentrated market structures cause supernormal profits and inhibit competition. Explore the dataset TMA05_2019J.gdt, which contains data for 80 different industries, including variables concerning price cost margins (two measures, pcm1 and pcm2), advertising intensity (adint) and a five-firm concentration ratio (conc). Using the dataset TMA05_2019J.gdt, construct relevant evidence to do the following:
i. Produce some descriptive statistics and draw histograms for the variables relevant to the analysis of the research question. Then analyse the main features of the distribution of each variable and the relationships between them. Are the relationships between price cost margin, market concentration and advertising intensity as economic theory would suggest? (20 marks)
ii. Write down an econometric model that analyses the impact of market structure on performance, based on the results from part (i) and also on your knowledge of economic theory. Drawing on economic theory taught in this module, briefly explain what sign (positive or negative) you expect to observe for the coefficients of the independent variables in your equation. (15 marks)
iii. Using a suitable econometric method, estimate the model you were asked to write down in part (ii). Report the estimation output and explain your results. Your explanation should include a discussion of the robustness of your model, its limitations and any additional steps you have taken to check for common econometric issues. (30 marks) Word limit: 1100 words Question
Question 2: (Collection and analysis of primary data)
Imagine that you have decided to research the topic of decision-making in households in relation to quality of life OR human capital. Specifically, you want to investigate whether there is support for theories of household decision-making and whether there is any evidence that different approaches to decision-making have a differential impact on either quality of life or human capital formation.
i. Prepare a plan for a semi-structured interview – based on theories of decision-making in households – with individuals who live in couples. The plan might include a statement of interview aims, i.e. the research question the interview seeks to address; a set of questions to be asked, which might be grouped into themes if appropriate; and a brief indication of how the findings will be used and analysed.
ii. Recruit a volunteer to be interviewed, and use your list to undertake the interview, based on your research question. Keep the interview quite short – no longer than ten minutes. To complete this exercise, you will need some results from the interview (in the unlikely event that the first interview is not informative or calls for a complete rewrite of your questions, it might be prudent to find another interviewee).
iii. Write up your notes on the responses of your interviewee(s).
iv. Code these notes using headings relevant to your research question. If possible, use economic theory to help with your headings and coding.
v. Write a brief summary of your findings from the interview(s).
vi. Finally, make short notes on the interview experience: what aspects were successful and what would you do differently another time? (65 marks) Word limit: 1100 words
Question 3- (Collection and analysis of secondary data)
Imagine that you have chosen to do a research project based on secondary data and materials using the briefing paper, ‘Measuring progress and human development’. You would like to make use of this report as a key source for your project.
Read the briefing paper and then do the following:
i. Define a manageable research topic, with a possible research question related to the report. The research topic should be related to economic welfare.
ii. Search for two further sources that will be useful in elaborating your project; you should provide references for these, and explain the criteria you used in selecting them and how they relate to your research topic.
iii. Provide a written statement explaining how you would design your case study, specifying the sections into which the study would be divided. Word limit: 1100 words (65 marks)
Part B: Group Working (15% of the marks)
Follow all the instructions (a) to (d) in this part.
a) Write a short summary of your current ideas about the research question, methods and analysis to be used, and some possible conclusions that might follow. Mention also the main significant risk or challenge to the project at this stage and say how you might address it. (Up to 600 words.)
b) Post your short summary to your Tutor Group Forum.
c) Read and post comments on at least two other summaries on the Tutor Group Forum. (These comments should be between 100 and 200 words each.)
d) Now as part of your TMA, copy and paste you summary along with ALL your forum posts AND the original summaries to which you were responding. Word limit: 1000 words. (This does not include summaries written by other students.) (15 marks)
Part C: Initial Research Plan (20% of the marks)
Write a report summarising the following elements:
- Your research question.
- The theory and literature review which should include at least two references that underpin your empirical work. This should focus on theory and materials from the course but should also bring in related outside reading on theory, policy and debates.
- A description of your empirical analysis, which might include:
a) A description of your research method and data used
b) a reflection on how your empirical analysis contributes to answering your research question.
c) A statement of some possible or preliminary findings, such as reflections on a pilot interview, a piece of evidence relating to a case study or the results of a regression equation. Reflections on the comments by others, if any, on your initial ideas in Part B.
If you have not received any comments on your summary, reflect on how the process of reading other students’ summaries and commenting on them has made you revise your own project (or not). A timetable indicating the points in time by when various aspects of the research will be completed. Word limit: 750 words (20 marks)