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Discipline Research Topic: some tips for the Topic Approval Form and ongoing development of your topic through the Co-op programme.

Category: Essay Writing

Discipline Research Topic: some tips for the Topic Approval Form and ongoing development of your topic through the Co-op programme.


  1. You are asked to write around 300-500 words, including a summary of your initial research findings, with references.


  1. For your Topic Approval form you should word your topic as a research question that you will answer through your research.The question will help focus and guide your research.Your report must demonstrate critical thinking, so make sure your research question enables you to evaluate issues rather than just describing e.g. what businesses are currently doing.
  1. To help finalise your topic (research question) for the approval form and ensure there is sufficient information available on it, I suggest you make use of the AUT e-library databases. Do some key word searches to identify articles and start by skimming the abstracts for relevance.  These searches will also help you start to identify some key ideas relating to your topic, that you will set out in your Topic Approval form.


  1. Your topic should be applicable to business rather than being specific just to your CPO or to the development of a specific strategy or project for your CPO.  Of course in your report you will apply your findings from your academic research to your role/area of work, CPO or sector and, if you wish, make recommendations.


  1. The Research Topic is done in your own time i.e. it should not be part of your workplace tasks (although you may be able to leverage from your taskif appropriate).  Your workplace supervisor does not need to approve your topic but it can be helpful to discuss your proposed topic with them as they may have some good ideas. You are not required to share your final report with your CPO, but can do so if you wish.
  1. As you progress with your topic through the Co-op programme, bear in mind that it is an academic research project,so you will need to include ideas from a good range of academic literature from the marketing discipline.  While you should draw on theory and concepts from your marketing major, you should go to the original source i.e. academic articles, and not rely solely on textbooks.  Avoid citing sources like, or tutor2U!You should also be able to extend your ideas to explore your topic in depth by searching for further articles in the e-library databases e.g. Business Source Complete (EBSCO).Some e-journals in the library that have articles designed to be relatively easy to read include Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, MIT Sloan Management Review and California Management Review.


  1. You can include information from business sources as long as they are authoritative, e.g. industry organisations or business magazines e.g the WARC database in AUT e-library is an authoritative source of marketing and advertising research and ideas, with a mix of industry and scholarly articles.There will be a database that aligns more closely with your major


  1. In your Progress Report and Final Report you will need to demonstrate that you have applied a critical thinking process to your topic.  You may find the AREA framework helpful – it is a good practical guide of how to go about research to answer a research question, including grouping information into themes.  The framework for research and critical thinking comprises four key steps:  Analysis, Research, Evaluationand Answer i.e. the ‘answer’ (or conclusions) to your research question.   The framework is set out in the extracts from Chapters 2 and 3 of “Your business degree” by McCulloch & Reid, in the AUTonline LG3.3 resources.