COMMERCE 7039 - Business Research Methods (M)
North Terrace Campus - Trimester 2 - 2023
General Course Information
Course Code COMMERCE 7039 Course Business Research Methods (M) Coordinating Unit Adelaide Business School Term Trimester 2 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 36 hours Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Assumed Knowledge MARKETNG 7104, ECON 7200, ACCTING 7025 and COMMGMT 7006. This course assumes foundational learning and should only be taken in the second half of your program. Course Description This course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to determine the information necessary to address an identified research problem (basic or applied) and, using this understanding, develop and use an actionable research proposal. In this process, the students will gain an understanding of relevant approaches and elements of undertaking a research enquiry specifically to provide insights to solving a relevant problem. They will develop critical core competencies and skills required to carry out such an enquiry. These competencies and skills include: defining research questions; setting appropriate research objectives; study design that incorporates research objectives and budgetary constraints; secondary and primary data collection and instruments; sampling and analysis methods; and effective reporting of results; as well as the importance of ethical conduct in conducting research in both a domestic and in international business contexts.
Course Coordinator: Maryam Zomorrodi
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.The course is being presented in Intensive mode with seminars, workshops, and group discussion. All activities will be recorded for the benefit of students that are studying remotely.
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner. Note: this course is run on a participatory seminar-basis , and a considerable degree of the course assessment will occur during seminars (Intensives' sessions). Intensives tend to be run on irregular weekends.
For specific dates, see your Course Calendar and/or MyUni.
The distribution of materials covered, topics, workshops, and other seminar details can be found in the Learning Activities session below.
Note 2: topics sometimes shift from one intensive to another, but any change in required readings is always posted well in advance in MyUni. The information below is presented here for your convenience, however any changes to the timetable will be recorded in the Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesThe course provides a strong grounding in understanding the research process enabling students to either engage an external research organisation to undertake a study on their behalf in a business environment or, alternatively, action and complete a research project themselves as either the sole researcher or as part of a research team. In addition to the technical skills and knowledge required to be successful in these endeavours, the course also provides students with a clear understanding of the ethical considerations involved in undertaking research and the special challenges evidenced in international and cross cultural studies.
On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
- Apply an advanced understanding of business research design options, methodologies and analysis methods (both qualitative and quantitative), including respective terms, definitions and applications to the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
- Distil an identified business problem into a succinct research problem (or problems) and articulate this into a comprehensive research brief for investigation by a research team locally or internationally.
- This brief will include a statement of the resulting research problem and the objectives that need to be achieved to provide the information necessary to tackle the business problem and the decisions that need to be made respective to it.
- Complete, from the brief created, a research proposal for implementation at either a local or international level.
- This will include (but not be restricted to), a literature summary at the necessary level of depth to ensure a thorough understanding of what is already known about the problem to be addressed, the proposed research design, data collection, sampling, analysis methods to be employed along with an indicative time frame for each stage of the research proposed and budget.
- Apply a broad understanding of issues specific to undertaking business research across international boundaries, including cultural, geographical, language and cost related challenges and respective strategies and approaches that may be employed to solve them to the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
- Recognise, and take account of, the importance of ethical conduct in undertaking research, including potential implications for business relationships, effects on potential respondents and sensitivity to cultural differences and honesty and integrity in analysis and reporting in the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
1 - 5
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
1 - 5
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
1 - 5
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
1 - 5
Required ResourcesBusiness Research Methods, 2nd Edition, 2019
Authors: William G. Zikmund/Dr Christina Quinlan/Mitch Griffin/Barry Babin/Jon Carr
ONLINE LEARNINGCourse Website: www.myuni.adelaide.edu.au
Online LearningAll topic lectures will be recorded for the benefit of those that can't attend the sessions. (Interactive discussions and sessions cannot be recorded without permission from every person participating). A comprehensive reading list will also be available in addition to lecture slides (although this is not a 'slide intensive' course) etc. All resources will be available via the course MyUni site. All assessments are to be provided electronically and will be marked and returned electronically, where possible, mostly via the Turnitin portal on the MyUni site. Online discussion tools will be available for students to maintain contact with each other between intensive sessions.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
LEARNING ACTIVITIES SUMMARY
As per Course Timetable. Attendance schedule at Nexus 10, Lab 220, Computer Suite 1.
This course is taught in intensive mode. Each intensive will incorporate revision of key points from online lectures, including Q& A time; software workshops and practice; discussion; and occasionally Mini-Lectures in response to need for further understanding than that gained from the online lectures. Detailed breakdown of activities per session is available here, but any changes will be announced through MyUni.
Course Schedule - Session 1
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Introduction to Research theory 1 - 5 MS Word basic, intermediate & advanced (esp formatting, heading styles, etc..., captions & cross references basics MS Excel basic, intermediate & advanced (esp charting & formulae basics Library basics & database usage workshop/s (including comm on Business Databases)
a. Secondary Sources (most of)
basics Academic Integrity workshop/s (including plagiarism & ethics) basics 5 Nature & Value of Research in Business Setting (& ethics - 1st intro: academic & commercial)
a. Outsourcing research (build a research brief, select a rsearch provider, evaluate provided research)
b. Designing and conducting research (develop a research proposal and conduct research)
theory 1-5 Identifying & elucidating the business problem
a.From defining a research topic to refining a research question
Course Schedule - Session 2
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Dimensions of Research: Approaches; Philosophies & Design (& Morphological Analysis) theory 1 - 5 a. Pure/Basic vs Applied b. Qualitative, Quantitative & Hybrid, Mixed Methods & Multi-Methods (& preview into Qualtrics) b.i.inductive/deductive/abductive research (& itertive) c. Research 'question' vs research 'objective' and 'develop hypotheses' vs 'explore & develop' d. More than just "Qual vs Quant": Explortory, descriptive and causal and d.i.Broader & wider "research options" overview (eg: Case Study, Action Research, Systems Research, Systems Dynamics, Design-based Research...) ADAPT - the University of Adelaide's Virtual Suite basics Qualtrics data collection suite basics SPSS software: overview of SPSS as a Research Support Tool quant NVivo software: overview of NVivo as a Research Project Management Tool qual 1 - 5 a. research log b. research journal theory
Course Schedule - Session 3
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Secondary Sources (follow-up from Prequel) theory 1 - 4 Conceptual frameworks, models, lenses & theories: theory 1 - 5 a. working with pre-existing conceptual frameworks & theories b. incremental/iterative - working with the old and refining to the new c. developing new conceptual frameworks & theories NVivo software supporting research design & development A (& Literature Review; & Data Management) qual 3 Literature Review for Background, Review, Justification, Exploration, Method & Results: & theory 3 a. creating and importing folders & documents (structuring project) b. use of literature to define and refine research questions & hypotheses c. use of 'coding' as an analytical tool for literature review and data analysis c.i. a priori coding c.ii. a posteriori (ad hoc & post hoc) coding d. 5 diferent methods (mechanically) of coding in NVivo
Course Schedule - Session 4
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Intro to Quantitative Research, Scientific Method & Experimental Method theory 1 - 5 a. From Research question to questionnaire items b. From conceptual framework to questionnaire items c. Variable types: dependent, independent, moderator d. Measurement (ratio, interval, ordinal, nominal) Research Brief theory 2 a. What is it and why have it b. Content & focus c. Timelines & budgets d. Format & deliery NVivo software supporting research design & development B qual 1 - 3 a. Developing use of codes, nodes & classifications b. Dealing with demographics c. Identifying relationship types & relationships d. Working with images Quantitative research design theory 1 - 3 a. Data editing b. data coding c. data tranformation Survey Research Design theory
Course Schedule - Session 5
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Survey Design & Application theory 1 - 3 a. Overview introduction to Qualtrics Qualtrics: Build & Distribute Surveys theory amd 1 - 3 a. Question types quant & qual b. Answer types c. Survey flow / logic d. Distributing a survey e. Time and timing / length f. Attention checks g. Validity checks (internal & external) Content analysis - Qualitative & Quantitative views theory Qualtris - on-board analysis quant 1 - 3 a. Built-in histograms b. Charting c. Filtering result-views d. Cross-tabulations e. Exporting data to Excel & SPSS
Course Schedule - Session 6
Topic focus Learning Outcomes SPSS software suppporting research design & development A quant 1 - 3 a. Exploring quantiative data a.i. tabulations a.ii. descriptive statistics a.iii. data transformation (conversion between data types) SPSS software suppporting research design & development B quant 1 - 3 b. Tests of difference b.i. Paired sample t-test b.ii. Independent samples t-test b.iii. ANOVA Demographics & Background - what, where & how much (screener or info?) theory SPSS software suppporting research design & development C quant 1 - 3 c. Association c.i. Correlation c.ii. Linear regression c.iii. Crosstabs / non-parametric Sampling theory a. Probability b. Non-probability c. Expanding purposive & theoretical sampling d. What & why (NOT) "convenience" SPSS software suppporting research design & development D quant a. Data reduction / Factor analysis b. Multiple regression analysis
Course Schedule - Session 7
Topic focus Learning Outcomes NVivo software supporting research design & development C qual 1 - 3 a. Data sets mixed b. Data classification & analysis c. Data linking d. Basic queries Research Proposal theory 1 - 5 a. What is it & why? b. Content & focus c. Ethics d. Format & discipline-specificity e.How to design & build - customized to YOUR research Strong research paradigms in the Business World theory 1 - 5 a. Case study b. Action Research (& TQM / Sigma / RAD / Design-Based... Lewin) c. Systems Analysis & Design, CLD, & Systems Dynamics
Course Schedule - Session 8
Topic focus Learning Outcomes NVivo software supporting research design & development D qual 1 - 3 a. Querying literature & raw data to launch mixed a.i. word frequency queries a.ii. text search queries b. Sets c. Memos & Annotations d. Links & Hyperlinks NVivo software supporting research design & development E qual 1 - 3 a. Synthesis & exploration of data mixed b. Advanced Queries b.i. Coding qual b.ii. Compound qual b.iii. Matrix mixed b.iv. Group b.vi. Coding comparison qual
Course Schedule - Session 9
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Non-reactive data & analysis quant 1 - 3 Methods, Techniques & Skills data collection 1 theory 1 - 4 a. Developing & Conducting interviews A qual a.i. structured / semi-structured / unstructured a.ii. types of questions a.iii. order of questions a.iv. framing of questions a.v. probes NVivo software supporting research design & development F qual 1 - 3 a. Synthesis & Visualization of data mixed b. Models - static; dynamic; customized c. Charts d. Graphs e. Cluster analysis
Course Schedule - Session 10
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Methods, Techniques, & Skills in data collection 3 theory 1 - 3 a. Developing & Conducting interviews B qual 1 - 5 a.i. venue & timing a.ii. rapport & aura (& empathy) - subjective & objective a.iii. recording (ethics & mechanics) a.iv. verbal communication - listening, studying & interpreting: a.iv.1. 'obvious meaning' a.iv.2. words & word choice a.iv.3. underlying meanings & assumptions a.iv.4. fluency a.iv.5. cultural, ethnic, organisation... influences 4 a.v. Non-verbal communication - 'listening', studying & interpreting qual a.v.1. Kinesics (body movement) a.v.2. Proxemics (spatial) a.v.3. Vocalics (paralanguage) a.v.4. Chronemics (time) a.v.5. Haptics (touch) a.vi. Phrasing; probing; affirming...
Course Schedule - Session 11
Topic focus Learning Outcomes NVivo software supporting research design & development G qual 1 - 3 a. Transcription (video &/or audio to text) b. Types of transcription (& meaning of 'verbatim') c. Choice of transcriber (self or outsource?) Methods, Techniques & Skills in data collection 4 1 - 5 a. Devloping & Conducting Focus Groups A a.i. multiple participants vs individual interview / multi-person interview a.ii. room design a.iii. recording issues (ethical & mechanical) a.iv. building a discussion guide a.v. facilitation of egalitarian input a.vi. facilitation of comfort / confidenitality / security a.vii. controlling direction of discussion a.viii. managing 'difficult' members
Course Schedule - Session 12
Topic focus Learning Outcomes Pulling it all together - toward the final Research Report (or thesis) theory 1 - 5 NVivo software supporting research design & development H qual 1 - 3 a. Framework matrices - mixed a.i. theory a.ii. method a.iii. practice Research Design & Development theory 1 - 3 a. longitudinal theory b. (optional advanced topic) Temporal dimensions in researching (including time series) theory Methods, Techniques & Skills in data collection 5. 1 - 5 a. the subtleties of the interview & focus groups The "final" product - Research Report / Thesis / Article 1 - 5 Final Q & A 1 - 5
SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS
This course is preparatory to the culminating Research Project. Each School and Discipline has specific Research Project criteria, so students undertaking the Business Research Methods course must prepare for their Research Project specific to their home Discipline’s criteria rather than in a uniform manner across the course.
Students are responsible to be familiar with their own Discipline’s criteria for length and style of written work.
SMALL GROUP DISCOVERY EXPERIENCE
This course is inherently conducted for development of individual Research Projects. Teamwork and small group discovery may be part of the class activities, but all assessment and primary focus is on individual accomplishment.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours for private study (i.e., the study time outside of your regular classes). Students are required to attend all class sessions.
Learning Activities SummaryTBA
Specific Course Requirements
- Document preparation guidelines should be observed in order for work submitted in this course to receive consideration.
- Proper class attendance must be observed (this includes, for instance, proper attendance, punctuality, returning from a break in a timely way, and the like).
- Academic writing PLC Workshop sessions are available. Students must attend at least one session.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Item Assessment Task Due Date/ Week Weight Length(Word,Time) Learning Outcomes 1
Engagement with Course
Throughout_the_ course 10% N/A 1 - 5 2 Research Brief
following Session 4
20% not more than 2,000 words 2 (& 1 - 3) 3 Quantative Assignment
Mignight Sat following session 6
Default 15% should not exceed 1,500 words (excluding the Appendix) 1 - 3 4 Qualitative Assignment
Midnight Sat following session 11
Default 15% N/A 1 - 5 5 Research Proposal
Midnight Sat following session 12
40% no more than 15 pages (not including references and appendices) 1 - 5 Total 100%
Assessment Related RequirementsIn order to pass this course, students must achieve at least 50% overall, and achieve a passing mark of at least 50% for their final research proposal.
The critical things to note about the assessments in this course are that:
• Discussion forum assignments are very interdependent - built on the concept of community of practice and peer support. ie: if you miss deadlines or mess up, your colleagues suffer as well as you.
• The assessment activities contribute significantly to your actual research project.
• be timely - meet deadlines
• but be sane - when you can only do it by half-killing yourself - negotiate
• collaborate (note: acknowledged collaboration is a powerful professional and academic strength; UNacknowledged collaboration is called 'collusion' and is seen as cheating)
• have fun (if you don't learn to enjoy it now, it will be 'unpleasantly hard work')
• know that it DOES get easier - every piece you do makes the next one easier; every impossible-to-understand article you read makes the next one more possible and more readable - and your blogs will help you scale that wall faster and more easily than you can expect... the discussion board collaboration with your peers will make a world of difference. Therefore, your feedback to one another is critical!
AT1 - Engagement with the course; Participation / attendance, Discussion Forums, Blog (Individual grade 10%)Get involved
By the end of the course, I will have spent over 35 hours in a classroom with you, seen some projects and taken attendance (really just as a reminder to me). This is ample opportunity for me to allocate 10% of the course mark to the quality of your contribution. This can be confronting for some people, but part of the transition to senior manager role involves being prepared to comment when the opportunity arises.
So this component of assessment in the course comes from being involved in the classroom (which is impossible if you aren’t physically there) as well as online contribution an you might even create a blog in the public domain. If I was looking to “make a splash” in this course, that’s exactly what I’d be doing.
Participate in the Online Discussions
We will establish a weekly discussion which we require you to participate in. At the very least, you need to show that you have gotten in there and thought about the things that are being discussed.
Why not build a blog?
Grasp the nettle. Many people in business these days are creating a simple reflective blog – allowing it to be public but enhancing their personal brand. If you feel a little uncomfortable about speaking up in class, then why not do some reflection in a blog – even one that is public. This provides a triple benefit; you learn a few new skills, you can supplement the insights you demonstrated in the class, and it pumps you up the Google rankings against your name. In the first session I’ll show you how to get a blog going. It’s a five minute job. For the “tragic” among us, we might feed the blog with an outreach medium such as Twitter.
So for AT1 the overarching criterion is as follows:
The instructor’s subjective assessment of the student’s contribution to the discussion of marketing concepts, principles and examples. This can occur in a face-to-face, discussion board or blog context, or all three.
AT2 – Research Brief (Individual grade 20%)Students will submit a research brief that summarises a stated business problem that requires specific information in order for Managers to decide a strategic direction to address the issue.
This will include a background to the problem and the implications of not finding a solution. The nature of the information that needs to be sourced (from both secondary and primary sources), concise and actionable research objectives and an indicative time frame for the completion of the resulting study.
This is not meant to be an 'argument' for the research per se - but it must provide any researchers that may take on the task with good understanding of the issues involved and nature of the information that is needed to find a solution.
A sample brief will be provided to students and many others can be found from a variety of sources. This brief (including no more than 10 references) may not exceed 2000 words.
For further detail, the grading rubric is provided on MyUni.
AT3 – Quantitative Assignment (default 15%)Students are required to read a short case study provided in this brief and answer 5 questions, selecting the appropriate statistical test to answer each business problem.
This is an individual assignment. So, make sure you conduct data analysis and prepare a summary report individually. The written report represents a summary of key insight from your data analysis, demonstrating an ability to choose an appropriate statistical technique to provide answers to specific business research objectives, as well as an ability to correctly interpret results and develop preliminary conclusions and recommendations.
The title for this report should also include the words Assignment 1_quant_student ID. Please submit this assignment as a Microsoft Word file. The assignment should not exceed 1,500 words (excluding the Appendix). Please use only the key tables or charts in the main body of your report with all support tables attached in the Appendix.
This assignment focuses on student’s ability to:
• Develop skills in statistical analysis
• Understand the need to relate research and management objectives to analysis and findings
• Demonstrate an understanding of quantitative research and required analytical skills
• Develop knowledge in the choice and application of inferential and descriptive statistical tests
• Understand how quantitative research fits into the broader management and business planning process
• Apply an advanced understanding of quantitative analysis methods to a specific research problem
In addition, the aim of this assignment is to develop advanced knowledge in relation to the fundamental quantitative business and marketing research processes, such as:
• Data preparation and re-coding
• Descriptive data analysis and charting in SPSS and Excel, use of filters
• Significant difference testing using ANOVA or an Independent-samples T-test
• Factor analysis
• Correlations and regressions
• Provision of a short summary of key findings and recommendations
For further detail, the grading rubric is provided as a part of this course outline.
AT4 – Qualitative Assignment (default 15%)Students will complete a qualitative assignment that supports their upcoming research project and is relevant to the research design they are pursuing in their proposal. This is accomplished by working in, and building your project in, the software program NVivo11 Pro.
The full software database employed is submitted via dropbox.
This assignment lays the foundation for the research project literature review and methods chapter, and gives students important practice in practical aspects of developing qualitative instruments and analysing and interpreting results.
More information will be provided on the MyUni site.
For further detail, the grading rubric is provided as a part of this course outline.
AT5 – Research Proposal (40%)In order to pass this course, students must achieve at least 50% overall, and achieve a passing mark of at least 50% for their final research proposal.
The written proposal is the culmination of the work in this course and provides the basis for the culminating Research Project.
This document will be assessed on:
• Short restatement and justification of the research problem
• Relevance of objectives to the stated problem
• Adequate assessment of the relevant secondary data
• Justification of the research design and proposed methodology, including data collection and sampling methods.
Things to be considered include:
• can it be done this way?
• is it an appropriate design - is there a precedent for this design/approach?
• will it provide the right kind of data and enough of it?
• will analysis of the data provide the insights required?
• are projected costs defendable?
• Proposed analytical methods
• Research budget and timelines for completion of the project
• Quality of written presentation (referencing, grammar, punctuation and clarity)
For the purposes of this course, this document is expected to be no more than 15 pages (not including references and appendices), and follow the "Document Guidelines". (Please note: The University of Adelaide's version of Harvard Referencing is to be used.)
SubmissionAll assignments are to be submitted by the due date using the Turnitin facility on the course MyUni site. Software-based assignments (qualitative and quantitative) will require additional electronic submission (hard copy and soft copy). Assignments will be marked electronically and returned that way too. Please remember to keep a copy of all your work. Each assignment must also have a cover sheet as its first page and title page after that.
Late Assignment Submission
Students are expected to submit their work by the due date to maintain a fair and equitable system. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits. A late assignment (without prior arrangement) will be penalised by a 5% mark reduction for each day that it is late.
Return of Assignments
Lecturers aim to mark and return assignments to students, with written feedback, within two (2) weeks of the due date.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
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