This module is assessed by 100% individual coursework. There are TWO separate
assignments which must be submitted to separate e-submission links on the DLE
before the deadline dates.
PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF UNDERGRADUATE
COURSEWORK IS 12.00 NOON ON THE DEADLINE DATE. WORK MAY BE
HANDED IN ON ANY DAY PRIOR TO THE DEADLINE. ALL COURSEWORK MUST
BE SUBMITTED ONLINE VIA THE MOODLE ONLINE SUBMISSION SYSTEM.
1. Project Plan (50%, 2000 words +/- 10% & excluding reference list, figures, tables
and appendices) Deadline: 17th December, 2020, 12 noon via DLE
This plan will explain the reasons for undertaking your chosen project, what you
intend to achieve from it and how it will be undertaken. For students progressing to
STO310, the plan will lay the foundations for your work going into Semester 2.
It should include:
• a concise literature review of secondary sources / literature / practical issues
relating to your topic, leading to a clear justification for the research
• the overall aim and specific objectives of your project
• the research methods to be employed
• the project scope (delimitations)
• any research problems or limitations envisaged
• consideration of research ethics
• a time plan, presented in graphical form
The bolded items may be used as the main headings to structure your Project Plan.
Project Plan Marking Criteria:
• evidence of relevant background research for your project (30%)
• practicality of the project in terms of scope and scale (15%)
• ability to identify and plan for potential problems (15%)
• appropriateness of research methodology selected (30%)
• ability to present a coherent, well-structured and referenced research plan
IMPORTANT NOTE: BA Business students selecting STO312 in Semester 2 will not be
required to implement their Project Plan next semester. However, the Project Plan must
be written for the purposes of this assessment and the understanding of research
methods & project planning gained will support your work in STO312.
STO302 Strategic Analysis & Research Methods Academic Year 2020-21
Page 10 of 13
2. Strategic Analysis Report (50%, 2000 words +/- 10% & excluding reference list,
figures, tables and appendices) Deadline: 14th January, 2021, 12 noon via DLE
The purpose of this assignment is to develop a better understanding of the
strategic context of the above Project Plan by analysing an organisation (using
internal analysis techniques) and its external environment (using external
analysis techniques). The best starting point is to select an organisation relevant
to your Project Plan topic and then identify which sector or industry the
organisation is located within. Note that selecting a particular organisation to
analyse for the Strategic Analysis Report does not mean that this organisation
will necessarily be the focus of your Project Plan. However, it should have some
relevance to your topic area.
In the Strategic Analysis Report you must:
1 Undertake strategic analysis by applying strategic analysis techniques
appropriate to your research topic – you should use both internal analysis
techniques (to analyse your selected organisation) and external analysis
techniques (to analyse its sector / industry)
2 Identify the key strategic issues emerging from your analysis
For example, your Project Plan may explore student perceptions of different High
Street Banks. For such a study, your strategic analysis report might (1) select a
specific bank (e.g. Lloyds) and conduct an internal analysis of its resources and
capabilities using tools such as VRIO and /or Value Chain Analysis, (2) explore
the external environment within which the bank is operating, using tools such as
PESTLE, Porter’s 5 Forces or strategic group analysis, and (3) draw out the key
strategic issues that emerge from the analysis you have undertaken.
A full reference list should be included.
The key is to identify the organisational, industry or sector context of your topic.
For most studies, this will be straightforward. For others, more thought may be
needed. Guidance is available via surgeries to help you to identify the focus of
Strategic Analysis Report Marking Criteria:
• evidence of research (15%)
• ability to undertake strategic analysis (40%)
• ability to identify key strategic issues (30%)
• ability to present a coherent, well-structured and referenced report (15%)
Remember that using lots of analysis tools won’t necessarily result in a higher mark –
we will be assessing the quality of your analysis, not the quantity of techniques used.
We recommend that you use a maximum of 4 analysis tools.