1 Identify and justify an organisational issue that is of strategic relevance to the organisation.
Identify a suitable topic for the project. Potential sources might include critical incidents, significant external or internal influence, change management initiatives, risk assessment, internal or external diagnostic, and a chronic or acute problem. Plan and design a project that has strategic relevance and the potential to add value to the organisation.
2 Critically analyse and discuss existing literature, contemporary HR policy and practice relevant to the chosen issue.
Knowledge of literature and contemporary HR practice; information search and retrieval; analysing sources of data; writing a critical literature review; academic referencing.
3 Compare and contrast the relative merits of different research methods and their relevance to different situations.
Research methods: understanding different methods of data collection (for example interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, participant observation), the strengths and weaknesses of each and the circumstances in which they might be used; ethical considerations.
4 Undertake a systematic analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative information and present the results in a clear and consistent format.
Data analysis: the use and value of different analytical tools for interpreting data; systematic data analysis; identification and explanation of emerging patterns and how to deal with conflicting evidence; effective interpretation and presentation of data.
5 Draw realistic and appropriate conclusions and make recommendations based on costed options.
Drawing reasoned conclusions from data collected and presented; production of realistic, timely and effectively justified recommendations and costed implementation plans; awareness of potential resistance to recommendations and how this might be overcome.
6 Develop and present a persuasive business report.
Developing and presenting a report: the importance of clear aims, objectives and appropriate terms of reference; awareness of time management and project development; potential barriers and how they might be overcome; the structure and content of a management report; principal techniques of communication and persuasion appropriate to a business report; presentation skills.
7 Write a reflective account of what has been learned during the project and how this can be applied in the future.
Developing the skills of critical reflection