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Proposed Guide and Work Schedule

FOR IBUSs
Doctor of Business Administration / PhD Students
By PROF DR MOHAMMAD ADAM BAKAR

INTRODUCTION
PhD or DBA at AeU is a 3-4 year programme. The first 12 month is for you to
prepare a Research Proposal and submitted to be approved by the Research
Committee, chaired by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The
Committee is made up of your Supervisor and two examiners or readers, one
of which will normally be an expert in that area and not working with AeU.
As a requirement, ALL new students must submit a Research Intent and only
if this Intent is accepted that your registrations can be confirmed. You all are
the required to take/attend a Research Methodology course run by the School
of Graduate Studies.
Sometimes the SGS will register you subject to you improving your Research
Intent. Once your registration is confirmed, the SGS will start looking for
supervisor who is able and willing to be your supervisor. This process will
take anytime between 3-6 months. So, it will fasten the process if you can find
someone willing to be your supervisor and then propose him to AeU.
Before you get a supervisor, I will stand in as your advisor and will handle all
matters with regards to your academic and research needs. This is parts of the
new IBUS efforts to provide you with advisory and monitoring services to assist
you going through this educational journey.
This Guideline is prepared to fill this 3-6 months gap and also as to guide you
to complete the Research Proposal within a year.
Please note that PhD/DBA is a personal journey that you have to do it all by
yourself. Nobody can do the PhD/DBA for you. I can just give advice and your
supervisor can only supervise your work and monitor your research progress.
We will only be able to provide guides and tell you how to do things in a right
and proper ways. BUT we cannot be the one doing the research for you.
So, you have to be independent, able to work without being told what to do
and industrious and creative enough to plan and carry out your work according
to strict schedule. Above all you must have the discipline to complete this
journey.

A PhD/DBA requires you to develop critical thinking, planning, writing and


communication skills. When you read an article, you must be able to
comprehend, understand and analyse it critically. Then, once you read few
articles, you must then be able to summarize them. BUT that will not be good
enough of you are not able to write well, string arguments in logical and
intelligent manner and finally present them in a language that others can
understand.
It is also important that you plan your work well and well in advance. This is
because, if its not done, the chances are that you are not going to complete
your studies with the stipulated time. Worse of all, based on what I had seen in
few, you might lose motivation and dropped out along the way.
It is for all these that I prepare this short Guide. As it stands, it means just to
be a guide to provide you with a little mental map to get you by in this initial
stage of your study. I am just giving you few pointers so that you are not
completely lost or overwhelmed. Please remember, this is your personal
journey. At time its very challenging BUT on most times, you are alone.
THE 12-MONTH GUIDE TO A PhD/DBA
I would like to suggest that your 3-4 tear PhD/DBA study be broken into 3
components;

Getting your proposal accepted (12 months)


Getting your research (data collection and analysis) done (12-15
months)
Getting your thesis written and submitted (9-12 months).

For the first component, you should divide the first 12 months of your study
into 3 Phases. The idea is to complete defending your Research Proposal by
the end of the 12th month.
Phase 1
Purpose To update and master the Subject Matter
What needs to be done?
a. Read basic literature on the area you choose to do the research on.
What you need to do here is to really understand the concept (when
you read try to answer the 5 basic questions what, when, where, why
and who?
For example, if you want to study something related to culture, you
have to really understand what culture really is, the 9 school of
thoughts in the study of Culture, the process of culture building, culture
vs sub-cultures and cultural influences micro vs macro impacts of
culture, etc.

Take should take you about 1-2 months. In the third month, you should
be able to summarize and synthesize what you read and put them down
on paper as a 10page essay on Understanding ________. Please note
that, its not enough for you to just summarize what others had written.
You must take a position by adopting your views and critically comment
on things you had read.
The purpose of this essay is for you to understand the SUBJECT MATTER
in more detail, have greater understanding of the concepts and
historical background so that you can develop a scenario to justify why
that is an area worthy of research. THIS IS CHAPTER 1 OF YOUR
PROPOSAL.
b. After that, select at least 20-30 past research papers on the area you
intent to do the research in. Read, understand and analyse EACH of
them. Finally, schematically summarize them into the 7 areas/issues as I
had discussed in one of the notes I sent 07. LITERATURE REVIEW.
This will take you at least another 2 months. Take notes on each of the
paper you read and after you read them all, summarize them. Focus on
the following;

The issue(s) addressed.


The methodology applied (approach adopted, research Qs being
asked, samples and population being studied, units of analysis &
variables being used, data collection and analytical methods
employed).
Findings pay particular attention to what they found and how
are their findings similar or different from earlier research.

At the end of the 5th month, you should be able to write a literature
review wrt the chosen topic, THIS IS CHAPTER 2 OF YOUR
PROPOSAL
Phase 2
Purpose to understand the Research Methodology used and what to adopt.
What needs to be done?
a. Review the literature on qualitative vs quantitative research methods in
doing research. Really understand the concept of (research) activity vs
(research) approach (as opposed to quantitative methods) to carry out a
research, the epistemology, the basis for and against using the either
quantitative or qualitative methods to carry out research.
If you are inclined to qualitative research, please read and understand
the concept of grounded theory as an approach to do research
qualitatively. Hence the need to understand the Glaser and Strauss
concept of grounded theory.

You may be interested also to explore the concepts of triangulation in


doing qualitative research and the epistemological positions that you
have to adopt. This will take about 2 months.
b. It needs be you should also review the literature on Case Study
methods and other approaches like Action Research, Survey Methods,
Participation Observation and Experimental Research. Specifically, really
understand the concept and the process of doing a research using those
approaches.
If you choose to do research using a Case Study, you must understand
the logic and the reasons why Case Study can be used as an approach
to carry out a research. You should also be aware of the single vs multicase approach/research strategy, methods of doing research using case
studies using a case study methodology and related issues. Mastering
the Yins Case Study Method is a must.
This will take you another month and by the 9 th month you should be
able to come up with another essay Approaches and Techniques in
Doing Research.
In this essay, you should start by addressing the general philosophy of
research why and what are the justifications for adopting a specific
approach or method of research.
You should then write a comprehensive summary of the methods being
used in the research papers you had reviewed in Phase 1. What I meant
here is that you should be able to understand how to relate how a
specific research method is being applied in practice. This will then be
the CHAPTER 3 OF YOUR PROPOSAL.
Phase 3
Purpose To prepare a complete Research Proposal for submission to
Committee
What needs to be done?
By now, if you follow my schedule and my suggestions, you would have
practically written 3 essays and these are the basic 3 chapters that made
up your Research Proposal. You should now combine them together and by
using the Guidelines on How to Prepare A Research Proposal, you
should be able to complete your proposal within a month and submit to
SGS by the 10th month.
You must by now have a supervisor. Work with him or her closely in the
process and let him/her supervise you on this. Also note that the time given
above are maximum estimates that only act as your guide.
Prof Adam
20 Feb, 2016