It is important for you to be able to explain the importance of the research you are conducting by providing valid arguments. Rationale for the study, also referred to as justification for the study, is reason why you have conducted your study in the first place. This part in your paper needs to explain uniqueness and importance of your research. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points:
1. The research needs to contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature. Elimination of gap in the present literature is one of the compulsory requirements for your study. In other words, you don’t need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ and your research aims and objectives need to focus on new topics. For example, you can choose to conduct an empirical study to assess the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the numbers of tourists visitors in your city. This might be previously undressed topic, taking into account that COVID-19 pandemic is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Alternatively, if you cannot find a new topic to research, you can attempt to offer fresh perspectives on existing management, business or economic issues. For example, while thousands of studies have been previously conducted to study various aspects of leadership, this topic as far from being exhausted as a research area. Specifically, new studies can be conducted in the area of leadership to analyze the impacts of new communication mediums such as TikTok, and other social networking sites on leadership practices.
You can also discuss the shortcomings of previous works devoted to your research area. Shortcomings in previous studies can be divided into three groups:
a) Methodological limitations. Methodology employed in previous study may be flawed in terms of research design, research approach or sampling.
b) Contextual limitations. Relevance of previous works may be non-existent for the present because external factors have changed.
c) Conceptual limitations. Previous studies may be unjustifiably bound up to a particular model or an ideology.
While discussing the shortcomings of previous studies you should explain how you are going to correct them. This principle is true to almost all areas in business studies i.e. gaps or shortcomings in the literature can be found in relation to almost all areas of business and economics.
2. The research can be conducted to solve a specific problem. It helps if you can explain why you are the right person and in the right position to solve the problem. You have to explain the essence of the problem in a detailed manner and highlight practical benefits associated with the solution of the problem. Suppose, your dissertation topic is “a study into advantages and disadvantages of various entry strategies into Chinese market”. In this case, you can say that practical implications of your research relates to assisting businesses aiming to enter Chinese market to do more informed decision making.
Alternatively, if your research is devoted to the analysis of impacts of CSR programs and initiatives on brand image, practical contributions of your study would relate to contributing to the level of effectiveness of CSR programs of businesses.
Additional examples of studies that can assist to address specific practical problems may include the following:
- A study into the reasons of high employee turnover at Hanson Brick
- A critical analysis of employee motivation problems at Esporta, Finchley Road, London
- A research into effective succession planning at Microsoft
- A study into major differences between private and public primary education in the USA and implications of these differences on the quality of education
However, it is important to note that it is not an obligatory for a dissertation to be associated with the solution of a specific problem. Dissertations can be purely theory-based as well. Examples of such studies include the following:
- Born or bred: revising The Great Man theory of leadership in the 21st century
- A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory to the US information technology industry
- Neoliberalism as a major reason behind the emergence of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007-2009
- Analysis of Lewin’s Model of Change and its relevance to pharmaceutical sector of France
3. Your study has to contribute to the level of professional development of the researcher. That is you. You have to explain in a detailed manner in what ways your research contributes to the achievement of your long-term career aspirations.
For example, you have selected a research topic of “A critical analysis of the relevance of McClelland’s Achievement theory in the US information technology industry”. You may state that you associate your career aspirations with becoming an IT executive in the US, and accordingly, in-depth knowledge of employee motivation in this industry is going to contribute your chances of success in your chosen career path.
Therefore, you are in a better position if you have already identified your career objectives, so that during the research process you can get detailed knowledge about various aspects of your chosen industry.
My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.