The Research Specification
The research specification is a very precise document, usually written by an organisation that is seeking external researchers to bid for a research contract, though – more rarely - it can also be an internal document, devised at management or board level and delegated to a particular division of an organisation to complete. Researchers who tender to conduct the research usually submit a document called a research proposal, which shows how they intend to address the requirements of the specification.
This document sets out one possible structure for creating a research specification. It is not intended to be prescriptive, and you may choose any other structure that is logical and appropriate for use in a business research setting.
Example Headings for a Research Specification
1 Project title: what name will you give to the project? The title should be precise and concise – it should leave the reader in no doubt about the purpose of the specification.
2 Executive Summary: this section offers a short introduction that identifies who is commissioning the research, and for what purpose.
3 Introduction: this longer section provides background detail that explains why the research is necessary, and what it will set out to achieve.
4 Research objectives: this is a very important element to get right. The outline of the aims and objectives will determine whether the research is being carried out for the right, measurable reasons. What is hoped to be achieved by the research should also be articulated here. It is important to note, too, that the aims and objectives will to a large degree determine the methodological approach that is to be used.
5 Research methodology: this section can be either prescriptive or open.
Prescriptive: how the research is to be conducted is explicitly stated, so that whoever has the task of carrying out the research has no option but to follow the specification. For instance, the specification may...