UNIVERSITY EXAMINATIONS: 2018/2019
EXAMINATION FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN
DATA COMMUNICATIONS/ MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN
INFORMATION SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT/ MASTERS OF SCIENCE IN
MDCN/ MISM/ MDA 5401: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY/ ADVANCED
DATE: AUGUST, 2019 TIME: 2 HOURS
INSTRUCTIONS: Answer Question One & ANY OTHER TWO questions.
QUESTION ONE (20 MARKS)
Case Study: The Royal Mail Processing Centre, Edinburgh
Read the case study below and answer the questions that follow.
The Royal Mail is part of the Post Office Group. The Post Office is a public corporation.
The Royal Mail is responsible for providing the postal service in the United Kingdom.
The Royal Mail operates one of the cheapest and most efficient postal services in Europe.
A major reason for this is because in 1997 it invested £200m in computerized sorting
The Royal Mail Processing Centre in Edinburgh is one example of the investment that
has been made. Letters and packets posted throughout the south-eastern part of Scotland
are collected and taken to The Royal Mail Processing Centre. It is responsible for
ensuring that the letters and packets are processed. This processing involves sorting the
letters and packets so that they can be delivered. The Royal Mail Processing Centre is a
‘state of the art’ operation, equipped to handle between three and four million letters and
packets daily. The Centre’s responsibility also covers quality assurance and customer
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liaison. The target for first class mail is delivery the next day. For second class mail the
target is delivery within two days
The use of information technology is vitally important to the efficiency of operations
within the Royal Mail Processing Centre. The Centre uses a combination of computerized
machinery, specialist database software, Optical Character Reader equipment, networked
personal computers and video-coding equipment. The process of dealing with incoming
letters and packets has three stages.
Stage 1 – cancelling (CFC)
Stage 2 – coding (MTT)
Stage 3 – sorting (LSM)
Stage 1: CFC process
There are five CFC machines at the Mail Centre. The mail is loaded into machines and
they automatically ‘face’ the envelopes (i.e. turn them face upwards) and ‘cancel’ the
stamps. The mail is then ‘tumbled’ onto a conveyor belt for the next stage of the process.
Each machine handles 30,000 items an hour. If this process were carried out manually
each person would only process 1,000 letters or packets per hour
Stage 2: MTT process
The mail is guided along the conveyor belt past an optical character reader (OCR). This
OCR reads the postcode and puts a red barcode (of the postcode) on the envelope. The
barcode is read by the Letter Sorting Machine at the next stage in the process. If the OCR
cannot read a postcode on a letter or packet, the postcode is copied and transferred as an
image to a video-coding area located elsewhere in the building. In the video-coding area,
specialist operators work on networked personal computers. The operators rece ive the
image of the postcode and they use a specialist database (called a postcode address file)
to code the images. The images are then sent back for bar-coding. The mail involved
can then be included with the rest of the mail. The operators in the video-coding area
process at least 1,750 images an hour
Stage 3: LSM process
This stage of the process reads the barcodes and sorts the mail into individual
postman/woman’s rounds (called walksorts). The sorted mail then comes off the
machines and goes into upright trolleys.
These trolleys can then be despatched to delivery offices. When it arrives, it is ready for
delivery Incidentally, the walksorts are compiled by a specialist software database
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program which can make them up in approximately two days. The manual system
previously used took 6 weeks from start to finish.
The Royal Mail Processing Centre, Edinburgh: questions
1. The Post Office is a public corporation. What does the term ‘public corporation’
mean? (2 Marks)
2. (a) Describe two internal stakeholders in the Post Office. (2 Marks)
(b) Describe two external stakeholders in the Post Office. (2 Marks)
3. Explain one objective that the Post Office may have. (2 Marks)
4. The Royal Mail Processing Centre is an example of flow production.
(a) Explain why the Centre is an example of flow production. (2 Marks)
(b) Why is sorting letters and packets suitable for flow production? (2 Marks)
(c) Give another example of flow production (2 Marks)
5. The Royal Mail uses a specialist database containing postcodes. Describe two
other ways in which databases could be used in business
6. Describe three costs and three benefits of using information
technology at the Royal Mail Processing Centre. (2 Marks)
7. Explain how the individual postman/woman’s rounds have been
affected by technology? (2 Marks)
QUESTION TWO (15 MARKS)
a) Whether you are a new project manager, or an experienced leader, project management
challenges are inevitable. Considering a project which has a research undertaking, Describe
challenges that project managers experience and suggest practical solution to help overcome those
challenges. (7 Marks)
b) Explain the disadvantages of Close ended-Questions in research work. (4 Marks)
c) Describe the Steps in the Formulation of Research Problem (4 Marks)
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QUESTION THREE (15 MARKS)
a) The length and complexity of research designs can vary considerably, Describe the
components which any sound design will follow. (5 Marks)
b) Discus the Factors affecting Research Design (5 Marks)
c) Research reports are the product of slow, painstaking, accurate inductive work. Discuss?
QUESTION FOUR (20 MARKS)
a) A project for this class called for you to do Action Research. Discus Action
Research (characteristics, importance and the process). (6 Marks)
b) Describe the Rules of Educational Research and why are they important?
c) Case study research is an approach in which the core theme of the research cannot be separated
out from the context within which it exists. This inevitably means that multiple methods need to
be used to help the researcher explore these connectivities. What are the strengths and the
limitations of case study research? (5 Marks)