Research Question or Hypothesis: State clearly what your research interest is. Define your research question/hypothesis and the main objectives of your research (around 300 words).
The research interest consists in the disruptive blockchain technology. This technology first came into the limelight in 2009 when it was first used to run Bitcoin. While this technology has been widely used in the development of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, its application has not been adequately reflected in research. That is, the research on the blockchain technology applications is quite limited, perhaps due to its contemporary nature. Perez (2009) calls attention to such a limitation by explicating that individual disruptive innovations are usually introduced in the market in a rather primitive form. However, once such technologies are accepted by the market, they are subjected to a variety of incremental innovations. Blockchain technology is an excellent example of such a change.
That is, the ability of blockchain technology to foster a sense of integrity in transactions enabled it to gain popularity as it became accepted among users. As a result, the range of possibilities of use of this technology widened significantly. Nonetheless, for many people blockchain is understood for its cryptocurrency value alone, which made it difficult to capture the perspective of this technology. At the same time, such a narrow understanding of the technology resulted in a limitation on the exploration of perspective uses of this technology as well as on the possibilities of what this technology can become. The key research questions that will be addressed in the research are the following:
The main objectives of the proposed study are the following: To determine what blockchain technology is To determine how blockchain technology works To examine the perception of blockchain technology in the current world of disruptive technology To examine the future of blockchain technology as determined by the disruptive world of technology
Review of Literature/Background: Make a synthesis of the contributions made in your research field by accredited scholars. Describe how your intended research will complement and expand on the current literature, and what contributions you intend to make to the existing knowledge (around 800 words).
A synthesis of the contributions to the understanding of blockchain technology by accredited scholars reveals the following. Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology that exists in the form of a distributed transactional database that uses cryptography as a means of security. Blockchain can also mean recording of digital transactions. Another definition of blockchain is a distributed database that records all transactions that occur within a blockchain network. Further, blockchain technology is also defined in terms of a distributed database, also known as a public ledger, that illustrates all the transactions that are executed and shared among parties that are participating in these transactions. These definitions of blockchain technology share a considerable amount of similarity. For one thing, they perceive blockchain technology as a distributed ledger or a database. It is also essential to point out that these definitions share one other similarity, namely blockchain entails recording all transactions that take place in the network. In this regard, blockchain technology provides a way of ensuring the maintenance of a continuous list of data based on records that are confirmed by participating entities . Development of blockchain technology has allowed for improvement of trust in transactions by eliminating the need for involvement of a third party. By virtue of blockchain technology it is now possible for untrusted entities to carry out interactions with each other in a manner that is distributed and does not require a third party . This is perceived to be the main feature of blockchain technology . At the moment, blockchain technology is mainly used for operating of Bitcoin. In this case, crypto currency is taken to be the first generation of blockchain technology . Cryptocurrency refers to the digital currencies which are developed based on the cryptographic methods and use peer to peer networks. However, such and understanding is limited since future assessment reveals that this technology will also likely become an even more useful tool for economic as well as for social transactions. Nonetheless, continuous improvement of blockchain technology resulted in the second generation of this technology, namely Ethereum. This development made possible building of complex distributed applications that are beyond simple cryptocurrencies management.
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Etherium demonstrated not only that perception of blockchain technology only in terms of cryptocurrency is inadequate, but also that the future of blockchain technology is characterized by many possibilities. Blockchain technology has proven to be most useful within the financial sector as it contains the highest number of possible applications for this technology. Nonetheless, other sectors such as transportation, entertainment, and healthcare have embraced the benefits of blockchain technology for the purposes of coordinating product movement, development of e-health records, and management of copyrighted entertainment content. Blockchain is also used in the development of smart contracts . In this sphere, blockchain technology facilitates, executes, and enforces terms of an agreement existing between untrusted parties without any troubles. Therefore, it is clear that blockchain technology has evolved, and now it is used in various fields in many modern organizations with the financial sector receiving the highest benefits. Such development will lead to a considerable amount of improvement in the financial sector given the extent of trust that this technology provides to transactions. The proposed research study will complement and expand the current knowledge on blockchain particularly by illustrating key perspective and future application of this technology. The study will further complement and expand current understanding of the subject by providing new avenues of researching blockchain technology, for instance, by expanding the current sociotechnical knowledge on this topic, its development, and implications in relation to individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. Specifically, some of the key aspects of the technology that this study will complement and expand shall include the following: development of new business models, implementation of new forms of trust, new payment methods as well as the rise of smart contracts, and digitalization of old currencies. The main contributions that the study aims to make to the existing knowledge include the following. The study will demonstrate the manner in which blockchain will be able to live up to its potential. Potential in this regard makes reference to the future possibility of blockchain technology resulting in the development of a global centralized data infrastructure that requires no third-party control and enjoys a high amount of trust since it will not be able to distort any past or current transactions. Further, the research will also contribute to existing knowledge by expanding the use of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency. Another key contribution of the proposed study on existing knowledge consists in providing information that may be used in overcoming some of the outstanding technical problems associated with blockchain technology.
Research Methodology: Clearly indicate the methods and techniques which you are planning to use to gather information and investigate the identified problem. (around 800 words).
The key methods and techniques that will be used to foster information gathering and investigation of the identified problem include the following. Research Design The proposed study will apply a secondary research design, which implies that the study will be based on already existing data on blockchain technology. Such an approach can lead to significant results because, despite the abundance of studies on blockchain, the technology has not answered the expectation of its perspective use. Therefore, through the use of this research design, it will be possible to carefully review existing data and determine the degree to which it has met the expectations for its future use. In applying this research, the systematic review approach will be the most appropriate. Such an approach entails a comprehensive and critical review of data on blockchain technology in an attempt to determine what it means in terms of prospective and future use.
This research approach is preferred for this study due to its ability to enable clarification. That is, one study can easily be compared and contrasted with another allowing for the right amount of information to be analyzed. Nonetheless, it is essential to add that use of this research approach was deemed the most appropriate due to its cost-effective nature. That is, conducting a primary research was not possible given its costly nature. However, it is important to mention that time-consuming nature of primary research also influenced the decision to utilize the secondary research design. Sampling Technique and Population The secondary research design influenced the sampling technique used in the proposed study. This technique entailed sourcing for available data on blockchain technology. The data will then be reviewed to determine the perspective and future use of this technology. Therefore, the research encompassed undertaking a systematic review of available studies and credible reports on blockchain technology. Accordingly, the sample for the proposed research study will be selected in the following manner. The estimated number of sources to be considered for inclusion into the systematic review will be 150. In this case, from a total of 150 sources, the sample of studies that will be selected for the proposed research study will be 20, which is the most adequate number of sources that will be essential in addressing the developed research questions and, consequently, demonstrate the future and prospective uses of blockchain technology. Data Collection Method Data collection for the proposed study will be based on the secondary research design. Therefore, such an approach will entail undertaking to review existing studies and other credible sources of data on blockchain technology. In collecting data for the study, the focus will be placed on selecting sources from a variety of databases containing technology-based studies as well as from the databases containing studies from general fields of research. Consequently, the key databases that will be considered for this purpose are the following: Google Scholar, Google Books, Emerald, CiteSeer X, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library, and Engineering Village. A number of factors regarding the nature of this data collection have influenced the reasoning behind choosing this data collection method. For one thing, the fact that data collection in this manner enables an assessment of a large pool of already existing data had a major impact on the selection of the proposed study method. In addition, this data collection method makes it possible for the proposed study to adequately reflect the data, and thus also justifies its selection. Data Analysis The selected method, which will foster data analysis for the proposed study, will entail document analysis allowing to make use of the triangulation process to breed credibility in the study. Such an advantage is possible due to the method’s capacity to facilitate a process of reduction of bias by corroborating findings from varied datasets. The method includes the following steps. The first step is to identify and put together a list of sources that will be analyzed. The next step will consist in acknowledging potential bias and addressing such instances of bias. Next, strategies for ensuring credibility will also be applied. Content will then be explored and coded into themes. Limitations A number of key limitations may be expected from using some of the methods and techniques highlighted above. Use of the secondary research design to an extent is a limitation in itself because such research design fails to provide an opportunity to determine the accuracy of the findings of the studies that are reviewed. Such drawback is predicated upon the fact that the researcher did not participate in the studies, and, as a consequence, will by no means be able to verify the data collected in the studies. However, in cases of ambiguity in some of the studies, the researcher will contact the authors for clarification. Further, an additional possible limitation lies in the lack of data consistency. In other words, given the considerable number of studies to be considered for the proposed research, the process of achieving data consistency will not be an easy one.
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Selected Bibliography: Please indicate a representative list of the main bibliographical sources you intend to utilize for your dissertation. Please provide full citations.
The bibliographical sources that will be used in the dissertation include the following. Alharby, M. and van Moorsel, A., 2017. Blockchain based smart contracts: a systematic mapping study. Computer Science & Information Technology, pp. 125–140. Beck, R., Avital, M., Rossi, M. and Thatcher, J. S., 2017. Blockchain technology in business and information systems research. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 59(6), pp. 381-384. Berryhill, J., Bourgery, T. and Hanson, A., 2018. Blockchains unchained: blockchain technology and its use in the public sector. Paris: OECD Publishing. Crosby, M. et al., 2015. Blockchain technology: beyond bitcoin. Berkeley, CA: Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. Goodwin, J., 2012. SAGE secondary data analysis. London: SAGE. Johnston, M. P., 2014. Secondary data analysis: a method of which the time has come. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Librarie, 3, pp. 619 –626. Vartanian, T. P., 2011. Secondary data analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. Yli-Huumo, J., Ko, D., Choi, S., Park, S. and Smolander K. 2016. Where is current research on blockchain technology?—A systematic review. PLoS ONE, 11(10).
Ethics: How does your research relate to the ethical aspects of your subject matter? (around 100 words)
The relationship between the research to be conducted and the ethical aspect of the subject matter take the following form. Ethics will remain a central component of the proposed research study. While ethical consideration is an issue that is most emphasized in primary research, the present study will nonetheless adhere to research ethics. One of the key ethical aspects that will be taken into consideration is plagiarism, mainly due to the nature of the research design to be used in the study. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that can result from utilizing other people’s works without acknowledging them as such or passing these works as one’s own. Plagiarism will, however, be prevented in the study through effective citation and development of a bibliography list that will show the sources for the data used. Consent is yet another ethical issue that will be dealt with in the study. This aspect will entail seeking permission before using some of the sources of data. That is, while there are some studies that can be accessed free of charge, some studies will require adhering to the details of copyright information before use. At the same time, consent will also be achieved by paying for access to some of the studies.