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‘ACADEMIC RESEARCH MAPPING’ By Prof. Elisante Ole Gabriel (PhD). Suitable for University Students -Academic Research Get your Topic right and agree with your Supervisor Be knowledgeable of analysis package before data collection ( E.g SPSS) FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Prof. E. GABRIEL

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academic research mapping by prof elisante ole gabriel phd
‘ACADEMIC RESEARCH MAPPING’By Prof. Elisante Ole Gabriel (PhD)
  • Suitable for University Students -Academic Research
  • Get your Topic right and agree with your Supervisor
  • Be knowledgeable of analysis package before data collection (E.g SPSS)

+255-784-455499 (Tanzania) or +254-710561656 (Kenya), +255-784-455499,

brief background of the author prof elisante ole gabriel
Brief Background of the AuthorProf. Elisante Ole Gabriel
  • Professor of Strategic Marketing & Management (Finland, Kenya & India)
  • Full Time Academic Staff, Mzumbe University
  • PhD – Strategic Marketing Communications
  • MSc – International Business (UK)
  • PGD – Marketing (CIM, UK)
  • CPA-I (NBAA), CSP-I (NBMM) - Tanzania
  • Mechanical Engineering – FTC (MIST).

Proposal to Thesis

module one



understand the meaning of research
Understand the Meaning of Research

The mapping in this discussion is of the research nature, not just a normal journey/proposal. We therefore need to have a fundamental understanding of ‘Research;.

Sounders et al (2008)

  • Research is an activity which people undertake in order to find things in a systematic way as a means of increasing their knowledge base.

Proposal to Thesis


Basic and applied research: purpose and context

Basic research

Applied research

  • Purpose
  • improve understanding
  • solution to problem
  • knowledge limited to problem
  • findings of practical relevance
  • Purpose
  • expand knowledge
  • generate universal principlesrelating process to outcomes
  • findings of value to society
  • Context
  • undertaken in universities
  • choice of topic and objectivesdetermined by researcher
  • flexible timescales
  • Context
  • undertaken in variety of settings
  • objectives negotiated with originator
  • tight timescales

Business School

issues to be considered
Issues to be Considered
  • Get started – Key issues & the topic
  • Methodological sophistication
  • Literature Review tips
  • The Proposal (How to write it?)
  • The structure of the main document
  • Tips -Making a successful ‘Thesis journey’

Proposal to Thesis

get started for a thesis journey
  • Bear in mind that at the end of your research work you will be the master of your work
  • A Bachelor degree, gives you the basic knowledge (undergraduate), Masters gives authority to practice, PhD gives authority to speak, Professorship gives authority to prophesize and conclude on your speciality

Proposal to Thesis

how do you choose a topic
How do you choose a topic?
  • Identify your areas of competence and interest (subjects)
  • Focus on a certain subject, then a certain area in order to be more specific
  • Just think and write on a paper three different topics on the same area of your interest.
  • Not too long (say two lines)

Proposal to Thesis

topic cont
Topic Cont..
  • Try to share with your peer group if it makes sense.
  • Submit to your supervisor (the topic) before you invest resources in writing any detailed work
  • Avoid taking ‘off shelf topics’ – Made by others!!!!
  • Never wish to be given a ‘cheap topic’ by someone.

Proposal to Thesis

topic cont10
Topic cont….
  • There is no good Vs bad topic, it all depends on how you become methodologically sophisticated before the research work.
  • The Topic can be modified before final submission but not after the official approval for submission.

Proposal to Thesis

topic cont11
Topic Cont..
  • Get a practical topic whenever possible. This helps to avoid writing a thesis which will die after your graduation!. AND…
  • The Topic should suggest a research work and must have proper balance of ‘Independent’ and ‘Dependent’ variables:
  • E.g (1): Effect of Service Quality on Sales Volume: A case of….
  • E.g (2): Impact of Inflation to the Price of Food Products: A case of Kariakoo Market

Proposal to Thesis

individual assignment
Individual assignment
  • Re-think of your area of interest, develop a researchable topic
  • Share with your friend and make sure s/he is convinced
  • What could be your overall objective of doing research on that topic?

Proposal to Thesis

examples progress of topics during the seminar with candidates 2010
Examples:Progress of Topics during the Seminar with candidates (2010)
  • (Samwel, +255-764-628071): The Contribution of Tourism to the increasing number of street children: A case of Arusha Municipality
  • (Mary, +255-715882970): Effect of Accsess to Capital to the growth of Small Entreprises: A case of Mvomero District Council

Proposal to Thesis

draft topics cont
Draft Topics Cont..
  • (Mr. Pasiens): Impact of Vocational Education Training on self employment in Tanzania: A case of Morogoro Region, Tanzania
  • (Grace, +255-784-504927): The Influence of Household Characteristics on secondary School drop outs: A case of Chamwino District Council, Dodoma Tanzania

Proposal to Thesis

draft topics cont15
Draft Topics Cont..
  • (Mr. Miraji, +255-713-6755380): Contribution of Internal Audit Function in Promoting Good Governance in Crop Boards in Tanzania: A Case of Tobacco Board
  • (George): Effect of Leadership on retention of community Health Fund members: A case of Mbozi District Council, Mbeya Tanzania

Proposal to Thesis

check balancing questions for your researchable topic
Check & Balancing Questions for Your ‘Researchable Topic’

1. Which is your subject area of interest from which your topic is based? – E.g HCD

2. Specifically which topical area within that subject? – E.g Motivation strategies

3. Is your topic too long?

4. Have you convinced your peer?

5. Is your supervisor convinced?

Cont...neat page

Proposal to Thesis

balancing questions cont
Balancing Questions Cont ..

6. Are you sure your topic is not ‘off – shelf’?

7. Will you be able to access data?

8. Is your topic practical?

9. Does your topic suggest a research work?

10. Can any one easily identify ‘dependent’ Vs ‘Independent Variable’ ?

Proposal to Thesis

methodological sophistication

A Full reference is available on The African Journal of Finance and Management in the article titled: Choosing an Epistemic Stance. The article is authored by Gabriel E., (2003). Others –

  • There are ten key questions to derive ten commandments of methodological sophistication.

Proposal to Thesis

ten key questions for methodological sophistication
Ten Key Questions for Methodological sophistication
  • What phenomenon are you dealing with?
  • Why are you doing the research?
  • What are the motivating factors?
  • Who is your supervisor?
  • What is your research domain (Positivistic Vs. Hermeneutic?
  • What is your epistemic stance?

Proposal to Thesis

sophistication cont
Sophistication Cont …
  • What resources will be needed? (Money, Machines, transport, software, ..)
  • What is your time frame
  • What is the reporting format & size?
  • WHAT DOES YOUR WORK CONTRIBUTE TO THE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE? (What is new? Why should people read it? Does it lead to a solution of any practical problem?, you have done it… what??? Only for marks?)

Proposal to Thesis

challenges facing emerging researchers
Challenges Facing emerging Researchers
  • Lack of Appropriate research skills and CULTURE
  • Lack of adequate flow of information about research guidelines from their institutions
  • The financing of research project
  • Lack of Adequate Methodological sophistication
  • The assessment criteria not known to research students before the research process (This is a challenge to the Higher Learning Institutions)

Proposal to Thesis

peer group works
Peer Group WORKS ….
  • Answer this question: WHY ARE YOU DOING IT? (Overall Research Objective)
  • Can you think of any specific Objectives of doing it?
  • What is the link between; Hypotheses, specific Objectives, research questions & General Objectives

Proposal to Thesis

answers the logical link
(Answers) The Logical link


  • Topic>>>Main Objective>>>Specific Objectives>>>> Research Questions>>>>> Hypothesis
  • Statement of the Problem should be derived from the Variables
  • Main Objective from the Research Topic

Proposal to Thesis

conclusion for session one
  • Choosing a topic is such a critical task in any research
  • The researcher ought to own the topic
  • Cheap topics never produce rigorous researchers/results
  • Always share your topic with others hence to get opinions
  • Make sure your topic guides your research

Proposal to Thesis

session two proposal framework methodology

SESSION TWOProposal Framework & Methodology


Prof. Elisante Ole Gabriel



the masters thesis general overview available on dvd
THE MASTERS THESISGeneral overview – Available on DVD
  • Each University has its own format and also the guidance of details. It might be worthy working hard to get the guidelines and assessment criteria from your Supervisor before starting.
  • The guidelines might be modified by the supervisor in agreement with the student without diluting the quality
  • Be sure you are sophisticated before starting the research journey (Better be late but arrive!). AND..
  • After graduation you are expected to supervise!

Proposal to Thesis

the research proposal
The Research Proposal
  • It is a road- map of what you are going to do
  • How you do it
  • When (Time frame)
  • Budget if necessary
  • Methods to be used
  • In Most cases it uses future tense

Proposal to Thesis

  • Sample: Normally 30% of population. In case of populaiton more than 1,000 use sampling formula (Nassiuma, 2000: Pg 60)
  • Normally (not always) about 14 – 20 pages. Do not write 60 pages proposal and the report 40pgs. This will be abnormal. AND..
  • A good proposal makes the research work simple

Proposal to Thesis

common components of the proposal


  • Research Topic
  • Brief of the organization- Vision & Mission, Org Structure
  • Objectives of the research (Broad & Specific but SMART)
  • Significance of the Research

Proposal to Thesis

  • Statement of the Problem (What problem exists hence to warrant the research you intend to do? Will your research solve it?)
  • Research Question(s) {Specific, Substantial, Contestable} – Not the same as questionnaire: Derived from Specific Objectives
  • Hypothesis (For Positivism approach) – Claims derived from the research questions
  • Research Scope – Coverage with Justification.

Proposal to Thesis

components of proposal
Components of Proposal….


  • Literature Review (Review what is already said about your topic, to identify gaps)
  • Be professional on how to write references & Bibliography (Not the same). References are a subset of Bibliography.
  • Most Universities use ‘Harvard Style’ E.g

Gabriel E., (2006), Marketing Communications, Preston University press.

Proposal to Thesis



  • Research Design (Qualitative, quantitative or Triangulation of methods?) – Epistemic stance? – Ontology Vs Epistemology
  • Sample of questionnaires (information to collect)
  • Expected Analytical approach (E.g SPSS, Interpretative, etc)


  • Budget and time Frame
  • Indicative Bibliography

Proposal to Thesis

individual assignment proposal skeleton
Individual assignment (Proposal Skeleton)
  • Craft a paragraph for each component of the Research Proposal (Hint: For Literature review, just mention the information you will be looking as subtopics)
  • Share it with your Peer

Proposal to Thesis

session three



the final document thesis
  • Normally the researcher has to know the required format since each University gives its own format (Salford University – UK, Mzumbe University – TZ, SAUT – Tz, Harvard – USA, IFM – TZ, UDSM-TZ, Waikato – Newzealand, Preston – Finland, Tumaini – TZ, etc
  • This is why in Methodological sophistication, the format is also mentioned.

Proposal to Thesis

the general layout of topics
The General Layout of Topics

Abstract: One Page Summary – write at the end, once you know what you have done


  • Introduction: Introduce the Topic, Objectives, Significance, etc (as in Proposal) – In most cases, little improvement is needed if a good job has been done on the Proposal

Proposal to Thesis

topics cont
Topics Cont….

CHAPTER TWO: Literature Review

  • Make a review of what is said about the subject area. Part of this will be done in the Proposal already.

CHAPTER THREE: Methodology

  • As discussed in the Proposal, you now indicate the actual approach used, including research design

Proposal to Thesis

topics cont38
Topics Cont …

CHAPTER FOUR: Data Collection

  • Indicate the type of Data collected

CHAPTER FIVE: Analysis and Findings

  • Indicate the analytical methods used (not to be used), also the Findings

Proposal to Thesis

topics cont39
Topics Cont…

CHAPTER SIX: Conclusion & Recommendations

  • Discuss the conclusions – showing if the objectives given in chapter ONE are achieved and how.
  • What are you concluding as a contribution to the body of knowledge.
  • What are you recommending as a way forward, bearing in mind the findings and gaps noted in connection to the literature compared to the actual research

Proposal to Thesis

key hints on your final document
Key Hints on your final Document
  • Observe the Deadlines given by your supervisor as short of that will disturb your relationship with your supervisor
  • Make sure you read your work to make as error free as possible
  • Proofreading is very important. You can get this service from EDENCONSULT COMPANY LIMITED (Tel. +255-784-434419, +254-784-455499, email: , ,

BOX 1829, Morogoro, TANZANIA.

Proposal to Thesis

genaral sample of the format check specifics with your university
GENARAL SAMPLE OF THE FORMAT (Check specifics with your University)
  • Initial page (Front Cover: Student’s name, title, Name of supervisor….NO PAGE NUMBER on this sheet)
  • It is imperative to make sure that the title appearing on the initial page is the approved title.
  • Please proof-read this page carefully as it give the first impression! (The beauty starts on the face and people are investing on that!!)

Proposal to Thesis

requirements writing thesis preliminary pages
  • Title page [Assign (i) but do not type, The month and year should be indicated to show when the student will receive the degree)
  • Copyright page – type (ii)
  • Acknowledgement (iii)
  • Dedication (iv)
  • Student’s statement to certify originality (v)

Proposal to Thesis

preliminary pages cont
Preliminary pages Cont …
  • Abstract (vi) – Not more than 400 words: Inform briefly about your topic, why you did it? How you did it? What did you find, what did you conclude/recommend. WRITE IT AFTER FINISHING EVERYTHING (Except submission)
  • List of contents (Some supervisors may reposition this)
  • List of Tables, List of Figures, List of Symbols/acronyms – eg, CAPM, PLC, EOQ, JD

Proposal to Thesis

text format
  • Divide the thesis in logical chapters. The length should not exceed 20,000 words

Generally the Topics include;

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion and recommendations
  • Bibliography, Vita (your brief biodata), Appendix

Proposal to Thesis

example of a topics
Example of a Topics
  • The impact of the introduction of IFRS to Tax collection system in Tanzania.
  • The role of Motivation in job satisfaction in the banking Industry: A case of CRDB Bank Ltd.
  • A comparative analysis on the use of singe versus multiple vendor sourcing in the beverage sector. Case of Cocacola in USA
  • …..Think of yours and give it as an example….

Proposal to Thesis

what examiners assess
What examiners Assess?
  • Is the Abstract precise?
  • Theoretical background (Literature review, Statement of the problem, Objectives, Scope of the study – coverage)
  • Methodology (research design, Instruments, Procedures)
  • Analysis and Findings (How obtained?)

Proposal to Thesis

assessment cont
Assessment cont..
  • Conclusion/ Discussion/recommendations
  • Supporting evidence (Appendices and links). AND...
  • OVERALL THESIS PRESENTATION (setting) – Think of Head, Body and legs. There should be a proportion and proper match. Too big body with very small feet will lead to collapse (Introduction – Body – Conclusion).

Proposal to Thesis

session four



tips to make your journey a success
  • Have confidence on yourself first
  • Get the topic on your area of competence
  • Start writing your work however vague it is, on electronic version
  • Try to word process yourself than a secretary
  • Follow the guidelines given
  • Never copy the work of others. AND …
  • Make sure you do multiple saving of your work in progress – Anything may happen!

Proposal to Thesis

hints on quantitative qualitative data
Hints on Quantitative/qualitative data
  • It is a fallacyto think that numbers only convey quantity and words only quality.
    • A graph can capture qualitative features
    • Words can convey quantity
  • Quality and quantity interact.

Proposal to Thesis

the two fallacies revisited
The two fallacies revisited
  • Quantitative and qualitative approaches both make use of quantitative and qualitative data,

 but they do so in different ways

  • Quantitative and qualitative approaches both rely on exploration and confirmation,

 but they go about it differently

Proposal to Thesis

get ready for the defence
  • Understand what you have done, How you did? Why have you done the way you did?
  • Always be clear of the connection of the research objectives and your conclusions. Are the objectives realised (set SMART Objectives so that you do not get problems in assessing them)
  • Be clear of the contribution to the body of knowledge

Proposal to Thesis

  • (have a summary of your thesis, for important pages)
  • Print documents in advance, be confident and relaxed. AND
  • More importantly, be ready for any outcome. REMEMBER, your examiners are outsiders to your document so they may not see what you see. You can have; STRAIGHT PASS, PASS WITH MINOR/MAJOR CHANGES, RESUBMIT, FAIL

Proposal to Thesis

life after thesis graduation
  • It is just the end of one system of life but a beginning of the endless challenging life
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge, since your contribution matters than your position (Power of expertise not position)
  • Do not be right because you are powerful but powerful because you are right. And..
  • It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, provided it catches mice, it is a cat!

Proposal to Thesis

  • Get your topic right from the beginning
  • Maintain a good relationship with your supervisor. AND..
  • Get your Thesis proofread before submission!

Prof. E. Ole Gabriel


Proposal to Thesis