edit as per guidelines, rewrite. as needed, add , remove, make statement stronger convincing, add statement on the impact the research will have in the society…..use your own word to make it as strong as it can be I know you can do it. add some BACKGOUND/JUSTIFICATION statments, add how this project will CONTRIBUTE TO SCHOLARSHIP, BUSINESS PRACTICE AND INOVATE THE WORLD.School of Business
Doctorate Degree Program (PhD)
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy (Assessment 1)
A Blockchain-based Gamified Model in
Plastic Waste Management
UNIC- School of Business
Supervisory team:
“Plastic Waste and Waste in general is directly related to society’s production and
consumption. It is a major and growing issue that concerns each of us.”
This paper outlines a research done by Iren. Some of the materials presented hereunder have
been previously published or are under review for publication.
Conference Papers
Published or Under Press
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
SWM (Solid Waste Management)
PWM (Plastic Waste Management)
MSW (Municipal solid waste)
IWM (Integrated waste management)
UNEP (United Nations Environment Program )
ICI (institutional, commercial, and industrial)
DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology )
WHO (World Health Organization, 2019)
As global societies grow in their demographic area, so does the social issue of global waste
and the discrepancies on how to manage waste in poorer countries. Whereas many countries
are struggling with the dire consequences of mishandled waste, Africa is a continent where
illnesses, severe damage to the ecosystem, and lack of access to waste collection services are
critically on the rise. To date, 2.2 million deaths are annually attributed to non communicable
diseases from environment related deaths in African regions ( WHO World Health
Organization, 2019). As advocacy groups move into the region to educate the region on healthy
environmental solutions, this proposal introduces a viable option that can combine economic
technology, with community incentives, to increase awareness and societal contribution in
helping to achieve better environmental management in African regions.
This proposal presents a case study that is presented on the use of Blockchain technology in
the environmental distress within the African region. Furthermore, the proposal offers insight
into utilizing digital cryptocurrency as an incentive to encourage societal participation into
increasing awareness about global waste management, providing job opportunities to help
eradicate waste within African communities, and maximize the relationship between economy,
agriculture, community, and entrepreneurship. The proposal covers three key areas:
(1) Literature review, methodology preparation, and assessment for the introduction and
successful implementation of Blockchain technology into a poor, rural community and region.
(2) Blockchain Based Model: (a) understanding Blockchain as a digital incentive in a poor
region; (b) formulating a design model illustrating how Blockchain will be used to maintain
waste in African regions; (c) establishing the need for recycling centers in poorer regions in
Africa, and defining which “wastes” will be most important to eliminate through Blockchain;
(d) clarifying how funding is disbursed to community citizens who choose to participate in
creating a healthy environment through Blockchain. (3) Evaluation of the Blockchain model
in Africa: (a) data collection on waste produced; (b) observation of work being done by local
advocacy groups that are using Blockchain; (c) economic evaluation of the economic
infrastructure, its stakeholders, its advocates, and the communities in the African region.
1.2 Background to the Research Problem
Solid Waste Management (SWM) is a global issue. As our planet continues to populate itself
so does the expansion of global waste, and the lack of resources to help sustain the
infrastructure of current solid waste management technologies. Nearly 90% of waste openly
dumped or burned in low-income countries, illustrates that it is the poor and most vulnerable
that are disproportionately affected (Rodic et al., 2010).
Such statistics help examine the ongoing disequilibrium of our nations landscape as many
countries have fallen victim to massive waste landslides, flooding, transmitted diseases,
contaminated water systems, and respiratory illnesses that create medical challenges to treat in
poorer countries. The world’s cities generated 2.01 billion tons of solid waste in 2016, resulting
to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. (Ferronato & Torretta, 2019). With the
rapid growth of the world population, it is estimated that the amount of solid waste will reach
a staggering 3.40 billion tons in the year 2050, and approximately 33% of this waste goes
through a bad waste management process such as: open dumping or burning (Wilson &
Webster, 2018). Efficient waste management is costly, and often 20% to 50% of community
budgets is allocated to it. (Wilson & Velis, 2015). Managing this crucial public service
necessitates integrated techniques that are efficient, sustainable, and socially supported (KumiLarbi et al., 2018, p. 115).
In reference to the location of this research, Africa; the African continent produces
approximately 70 million tons of plastic waste every year being that data systems on pollution,
such as the World Bank estimates, the waste produced in Africa is likely to double in the near
future. (Ayeleru et, al., 2020, p.37). This brings a concerning light to how to maintain pollution
control for African countries that have a growing population and expanding economy.
It is evident that there are risks involved risks involved with human quality of life, in regard to
plastic pollution, if abatement isn’t presented in the near future. (Rajmohan, et. al., 2019, p.22).
states in fact that: while plastics play an essential role in human’s everyday life as cost-effective
and multipurpose, they are often described as one of the main pollutants among various toxins
that are dispersed into nature. In fact, plastics contain a mixture of several chemical
components which take many years to degrade. Plastic burning emits contaminants such as
phosgene and dioxides which are considered a threat to the environment. The toxic debris
released from plastics appears as micro plastics into the food chain and into drinking water.
Micro plastic contaminated foods and the presence of small amounts of phthalates in toys have
serious health consequences, such as congenital diseases and malignant cancers.
Plastic waste management problems are not isolated to Africa alone, but also to some of the
largest cities in Asia and Latin America. As waste management continues to be met with
changes in terms of growth and adequate education on how to manage and discard of waste,
African societies run the risk of inadequate collection and improper handling of plastic wastes
by obtaining less than half of the waste they generate (Medina, 2010).Without proper
intervention on waste management, disposal of waste will continue to jeopardize the ecosystem
and present physical and societal health problems that will largely affect poorer populations
not equipped to handle medical emergencies due to unhealthy ecosystems, or management of
waste due to instable technology.
The policy implementations to help define and sustain a healthy environment are argued as
expensive and less likely to develop sustainable solutions that can eradicate global waste.
Particularly in Africa, years of legislation have promised to produce safer and friendlier
environments through use of environmental protections that offer zero pollution. With the
ongoing overflow of waste in South Africa alone, disease and disarray have polluted the entire
continent (Earth Day, 2020 p.1). With such a staggering fact, governments have imposed
plastic bans across the continent to help mitigate ongoing pollution. Results of the 2020 Earth
Day report stated that 45% of all African countries have plastic bans, making Africa the
continent with the highest percentage of national plastic bans in the world (Earth Day, 2020,
p. 1).
Even with the plastic bans and the growing number of activist groups who are organizing
educational programs to help combat the problem of waste and disease, it is still not enough to
reduce the deadly and societal effects waste is having on Africa. Some of the activist groups
have commonly referred to the waste problem as a “chain link, connecting it to education,
economics and health because polluted pileups especially threaten children, who are more
prone to playing in the trash and more vulnerable to the disease, where many children contract
potentially fatal diarrhea from their exposure to trash” (Earth Day, 2020, p. 3).
Literature review
According to the research of El-Haggar, waste management – if done improperly – can have
serious negative impacts on the environment, thereby aggravating pollution and result in the
further depletion of our scares natural resources. Nevertheless, it is a relatively common
misconception that the protection of the environment, along with the creation of sustainable
and environmentally friendly waste management systems must come at the expense of
decreased economic growth and development. Indeed, implementing a properly functioning
safe, sustainable, effective, and environmentally friendly waste management system requires a
significant monetary, technological, and time investment. However, the benefits of undertaking
such an imitative can significantly outweigh the cots in the long run. On top of that, there is no
indication that a zero-sum relationship exists between investing in improved waste
management systems and adversely impacted economic growth and development.
Wastage can be classified in several different categories. Municipal solid wastes (MSW), as
defined by Tchobanoglous and Kreith, comprise of waste that is generated by residential and
industrial (non-process wastes), both from commercial and institutional sources, with the
exception of hazardous and universal wastes, construction and demolition wastes, and liquid
wastes (water, wastewater, industrial processes). With respect to commercial and industrial
organizations, waste is typically produced as a part of daily operational activities whilst
conducting business and trade (Smith and Scott). Based on the study of the Woodard and
Curran Inc., waste from industrial firms (e.g. manufacturing, repair, and or production
companies) can come as liquid, solid, or as air pollutants in physical state. Each of the
aforementioned three physical state of wastage and pollutants are managed and regulated
differently from one another.
Considering waste management from different sectors and regions, McDougall et al. and
Scharfe indicate the importance of customizing waste management solutions to deal with
specific types of waste. This is necessary as it is neither possible nor recommended to have a
uniformly standardized waste management process in place when different types of waste are
formed under varying conditions. As a result, specific types of waste must be treated differently
if one seeks to dispose or renew them in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. In
addition to this, waste management systems must also be adaptable under changing economic,
environmental and social conditions. On that note, Staniškis found that in the majority of cases,
waste management comprised of a number of closely interrelated processes. Consequently, he
recommended that it was logical to design holistic waste management systems, as opposed to
alternative and competing systems.
To expand on the idea of Staniškis, concepts of Integrated waste management (IWM) systems
have been established as a means to manage waste by integrating and applying a range of
applicable tools, techniques, technologies and management programs to achieve specific
objectives and goals in a holistic manner (McDougall et al.; Tchobanoglous and Kreith). These
notions of an Integrated waste management system have been developed as early as the 1990’s.
Most notably, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) developed a reference
framework for “designing and implementing new waste management systems and for
analyzing and optimizing existing systems” in 1996. However, given that no individual waste
management process is suitable for processing every type waste in a sustainable, leads to the
notion that there cannot be perfect Integrated waste management system for all waste as a
whole (McDougall et al). Instead, individual Integrated waste management systems must vary
across various regions, organizations and waste categories.
Waste management organizations must handle traditional solid wastes as well as residential
wastes from every sector within the institutional, commercial, and industrial (ICI) field. These
waste management organizations have a serious responsibility in managing waste that is not
typically produced in residential settings. These challenges cultivate significant differences
next to presenting exclusive duties in managing waste from the institutional, commercial, and
industrial sectors as opposed to municipal level solid waste management (El- Haggar;
Tchobanoglous and Kreith). Therein, the institutional, commercial, and industrial sectors
generate a broad range of potential waste streams, including municipal and industrial solid
wastes. Unlike waste from the institutional, commercial, and industrial sectors, municipal
wastes characteristics are more common across various regions.
The three pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) is regularly adopted by
researchers for assessing implementing sustainable solutions (Bianchini & Rossi, 2021, p.
125345). As already stated, plastic is a versatile commodity which
the production has
increased almost 10 times since 1950 in order to satisfy various needs and wants. In fact, while
plastic is easy and economical to produce, it is also durable and difficult to degrade by natural
processes (Geyer et al., 2017). The exponential growth in plastic production is sadly
accompanied by an exorbitant high volume of waste to be treated (Wright and Kelly, 2017).
Lately, the concerns of plastic waste management and their related challenges in into the
ecosystem have been broadly published via media and academic works. Publication on how to
alleviate these problems especially in sub-Saharan Africa have seldom been reported. There is
in fact a substantial potential for transformation in the plastic waste management sector in lowand middle-income countries, which offer a broad variety of economic and environmental
solution and benefits. (Ayeleru et al., 2020b, p. 35).

New technologies for Waste management
Solid Waste Management (SWM) is range of activities including collection, storage,
transportation recycling or disposal. Because SWM is a community problem, its success
depends on the coordination of all stakeholders involved in the process.
Despite the inappropriate waste management policy, there are a lot of techniques to reduce
pollution, alleviate poverty, improve urban environments, and reduce greenhouse gas
emissions in developing countries. For example, by implementing low-cost, low-tech, labor
intensive methods, it could incite and stimulate people to produce less waste and promote
community involvement and involve informal waste collectors. New technologies such as
RFID, ICT, Blockchain and Gamification, support efforts in that direction. For instance, WebGIS systems with RFID tags are applied for waste gathering, storing, integrating, analyzing,
and acquiring the data related to location or users (Rada et al., 2010).
Another example is PlasticBank, which is a blockchain application designed to prevent plastics
from flowing into the ocean. PlasticBank offers a monetary incentive to citizens engaged in
plastic waste collection. This initiative recycles plastics and sells them as social plastic. These
rewards are distributed, authenticated and stored using Blockchain technology to ensure that a
social impact is secured and trusted worldwide. (PlasticBank, Fight Ocean Plastic and Poverty,
2020). The processing of SMW involves higher costs alongside the entire process (collecting,
storing, transporting, recycling or disposing) (Amponsah and Salhi, 2004).
Optimization methods have been broadly investigated in the literature with the aim of reducing
the collection cost. For example, to minimize the cost of collection and transportation, the
shortest path approach has been used (Das and Bhattacharyya, 2015). In order to make waste
management more efficient, optimization models have been integrated with other techniques.
For example, life cycle assessment is combined with genetic algorithms (Komly et al., 2012).
For an integrated solid waste management model, a computer-based interface has been
developed, making it user-friendly. (Najm and El-Fadel, 2004).

The Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), that assures the history of any digital
asset is unalterable and transparent and safeguarded with a cryptographic hash key. Initially
used by financial firms for storing transactions, Blockchain permanently stores information
as blocks in which a copy of the ledger is available to all participants on the network.
The blocks integrated in the blockchain scheme are added chronologically and every
participant of the platform receives a copy of the full blockchain that displays all transactions
executed on any newly added block Swan (2016).
The blockchain technology is mostly known for resolving the problem of trust and transparency
typical for centralized transaction models. In fact, within the blockchain ledger, Trust and
immutability are guaranteed by a consensus protocol that requires users to run sophisticated
cryptology algorithms to authenticate the credibility of the whole structure. Swan (2016) The
so called “multiple node validations system” makes it almost impossible for malicious node to
enter the network. The figure below exhibits the trust issue between a centralized and a
dicentraled system.
Because of the continuous innovation on the blockchain technology, the DLT is now being
applied for any type of data and in different business sectors (Nguyen, 2016).
More and more business professionals begin to value the technology which creates
transparency, consistency and trust without the middleman and the risk of censorship. Major
firms have invested millions of dollars in exploring blockchain options for successful business
models. Ongena et al., believes that the Blockchain technology could in fact radically shift the
society as the dawn of a cryptographically secured and transparent transactions have been
witness already (Ongena et al., 2018, p. 346).
In Waste management, Blockchain streamline the supply chain by creating a better, operational
and transparent system that allows tracking the waste with more accountability on the
stakeholders of the system (Zheng et al., 2017). Furthermore, Blockchain solutions provide a
specific collaborative strategy that enables governments, regulatory bodies, and companies and
citizens to work together for a well structured waste management system (Pilkington, 2016).
Blockchain for SWM
The blockchain technology and its main application the smart contracts facilitates to allocate
guidelines for tracing, sustainability terms, regulatory rules, and other implementations by
authorities. The implementation of blockchain in Waste Management has lately received a lot
of consideration in recent academic papers. Lamichhane (2017) built a structure for integrating
As mention already, SWM includes several stages such as: separation, transport,
recycling, analysis of waste records and disposal. In the research from P. Taylor et al.
(2020, p. 1), it is stated that authorities are unable to track these stages, mainly because
of the size and variety of the procedures and the large data size associated with solid
waste generation. On top of that, the fragmented supply chain of SWM makes the
tracking task even more complex. (P. Taylor et al., 2020, p. 1)
A single platform to track all waste management activities could assist authorities
tackling and solving waste management matters. Blockchain, that functions as a single
decentralized platform and with its attributes trust, transparency and traceability could
help alleviate those challenges.
Gamified solution
Gamification was first introduced in 2002 in the gaming industry through the online game and
media delivery service Xbox Live (Webley & Cham, 2016). This success was soon respected
by the use of gamification in solving environmental and social issues, for instance by making
students become more involved and driven in learning. (Kiryakova et al., 2014). Current
communication and education processes should be upgraded to involve citizens in creating
appropriate environmental solutions (Eisenack, 2013).
In recent years, the application of a gamifed solution has drawn the interest of academics and
experts in the quest for creative and immersive ways to educate and involve residents,
particularly young people.
Early in 2011 Gamification was defined by Deterding et al. (2011, p. 12) as “the use of game
design elements in non-game contexts”. In retort to Deterding et al, definition, Werbach, K.
(2014) redefines gamification as “the process of making activities more game-like”, stating
that not all non-game setting involving elements of game design is deemed to be gamified.
Gamification instead integrates the selection, execution and incorporation of game features in
order to maximize the user’s experience and make it closer to conventional gaming experience
that is both enjoyable and fascinating. A behaviour change was added to the definition later in
2016 by Mazur-Stommen, S., & Farley, K. (2016). Through their views, it safe to sat that
gamification it is an innovative technique to enhance user engagement. It is not just a matter
of translating user interfaces into games. Rather, it’s more about inserting fun elements into
applications and systems that may otherwise lack user relevance or interest. In fact,
Gamification makes any technology more attractive by virtue of user’s engagement to desired
behaviors. This is why it has been widely
applied in several sectors such as education,
governance, health, marketing, and management.
Briones et al. (2018, p. 681) argued that in the field waste management, Gamification allows
citizens to sense that taking part to recycling game, in which they are remunerated if they
perform well and penalized if they do not. Not only This creates
higher societal
commitment it also creates the development environmentally friendly habits. et al.,
2018, p. 681),
1.3 Research Gaps and Aim
The Blockchain technology may have the potential to fundamentally change society, but one
relatively unexplored application domain is waste management. In fact, plastic waste
management is a complicated matter, where the involvement of all relevant stakeholders can
play a crucial role in supporting policymakers in defining an effective and long-running plastic
waste management plan at the local level. (Ongena et al., 2018, p. 346) argued that the current
plastic waste management systems in many LDC (Less developed Countries) are, at times,
characterized by: poor reward systems (lack of transparency and trust and sustainability),
corrupt collaboration between Governments and companies involved in plastic handling and
most prominently citizens are not well educated about plastic waste handling (Ongena et al.,
2018, p. 346).
To the best of the author knowledge, there is limited number of articles or academic studies on
how a Blockchain-based gamified application can contribute to sustainable goals.
While a valuable simulation game has been found to be useful for educating and engaging users
in the waste collection practices, there are however little articles or academic studies on the
Suitable blockchain gamified solution for plastic waste management. (Laksmi, M. P., & Ardi,
R. ,2020, p.1)
Plastic waste generation and the market of all related sectors will continue to grow
exponentially in the coming years (Horodytska et al., 2019). There is a worldwide increase
need to improve plastic waste management practices, but one current issue is that knowledge
and incentive models are sometimes lacking (Helmefalk & Rosenlund, 2020, p. 425). For
that purpose, mechanisms of gamification and blockchain could be used to motivate and
engage people in their waste management process. But to date, this has not yet been welldescribed in literature. As a first step towards filling these gaps, this research aims to:
“design a blockchain gamified-incentive model that will improve the plastic waste
management sector by stimulating citizen’s behaviour in their waste management
1.4 Research Objectives
It is important to explore how a the blockchain technology can improve the traditional waste
management sector. To reflect upon the aim of this project, the following specific objectives
will be explored.
Objective 1:
To conduct a systematic literature review in the area of plastic waste
management and the issues related to the application of blockchain for a
gamified solution.
Objective 2:
To critically evaluate literature that is relevant to a Gamified blockchain
adoption in plastic waste management. In doing so, it will identify issues for
research regarding the gamified blockchain adoption for further investigation.
Objective 3:
To study relevant models of the Gamified blockchain adoption in plastic waste
management. Therefore, it will develop a conceptual model for ta gamified
blockchain adoption. The latter might be used as a decision-making tool in
waste management industry
Objective 4:
To test and evaluate the proposed conceptual model, within a case-based
Objective 5:
To extrapolate conclusions and provide a novel contribution to the domain of
Waste management organisations and Blockchain solution.
1.5 Introduction to Research Methodology
1.5.1 Research Philosophy
N.B. This section provides a summary of the Research Methodology. Chapter.4 will
intensively focus on Research Methodology.
Interpretive scholars believe that access to reality is only reachable through social constructions
such as language, consciousness and common meaning. The theoretical foundation of
interpretive analysis is hermeneutics and phenomenology (Boland,1985, pp.193-201).
Interpretive studies generally attempt to understand phenomena through the meanings that
people assign to them. Interpretive analysis does not describe dependent and independent
variables, but relies on the maximum complexity of human meaning as the scenario arises
(Kaplan & Maxwell, 1994, p. 37).
For this research, an interpretive approach for analysing the research findings seems more
appropriate, because the adoption of a blockchain gamified solution in plastic waste
management sectors can not be disconnected from its organizational, technical and social
context (Walsham, 1995, P.74-81). Additionally, a multiple case study research strategy will
be deployed, as it can offer a ‘holistic’ view of the processes involved, as well as a realization
of the topic under research (Zmud et al., 1989, pp.123-139).
1.5.2 Research Methodology
Given that the implementation of a gamified blockchain approach is a fairly recent field of
study, a qualitative analysis appears to be more suitable for a deeper understanding of this
trend. In fact, a qualitative research is “an array of interpretive techniques which seek to
describe, decode, translate and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency
of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world” (Van, (1983, p. 9).
The purpose of interpreting a process from the participants’ point of view and its unique social
and institutional meaning is essentially overlooked when quantifying textual evidence (Kaplan
& Maxwell, 1994, p. 37).
An inductive qualitative approach seems to be more appropriated at this stage, as stated before
a gamified blochain solution for plastic waste is quite recent field of study and only very little
papers have been published so far, therefore none or very little theory available to be to tested.
1.5.3 Research Strategy
The most prevalent qualitative method used in information systems is a case study research.
(Orlikowski, 1991, pp.1-28). Reality can be easier identified by an observer-researcher than is
typically possible in experimental and survey research (Davison, 1998).
A case-based technique with the use of a qualitative analysis method would be considered for
the purpose of this research, as it facilitates the study of little-known phenomena (e.g.
identification of participants in the plastic waste management sector) and complicated
processes (Blokchain adoption) in their natural setting. Yin, (1994) argued that for a suitable
case study structuring, the researcher should investigate a contemporary phenomenon within
its real-life context, particularly where the restrictions between the phenomenon and the
context are not easily apparent. (Yin 1994, p.13). It is therefore crucial to identify specific
research questions (issues) before conducting research and do the fieldwork systematically
according to a planned schedule. For this research a case study based on in-depth investigation
will be based on the country Ghana and a companies and all stakeholder involved in Plastic
waste management.

Data Triangulation
To overcome the bias involved in qualitative research, multiple case study research approach,
data triangulation would be applied. The use of numerous data collection techniques makes
triangulation possible, and gives a better theoretical substation. (Eisenhardt, 1989, pp.532550). Besides Data triangulation, two other main triangulation techniques will be applied:
Methodological triangulation: where multiple research strategies are used to study a single
problem (Denzin, 1978) and Interdisciplinary triangulation: where investigation issues are
related with more that one disciplines (Janesick, 2000, pp.531-540).

Data Collection Techniques (Triangulation)
Data can be gathered through: documentation, in-depth interviews, direct observation,
participant observation, archival records and physical artifacts (Yin, 2003).
Since qualitative approaches are used in the practices for collecting participant opinions. The
researcher will collect data collection via open-ended questions, field observation, document
data, text and image analysis. The methods are focus group, open-ended interview and audiovisual data, as well as text and image analysis. (Baum, 2012, p. 48).

Sample size
Qualitative analysis analysts argue that there is no conventional answer to the question of ‘how
many’ and that the scale of the study depends on a variety of variables relevant to
epistemological, analytical and functional problems. (Vasileiou et al., 2018, p. 147).
Sandelowski advises that simple qualitative sample sizes may be too small to support claims
presented, or too large to permit the deep, case‐oriented analysis which t is the essence of a
qualitative inquiry. (Sandelowski, 1995, p. 181).
Although certain qualitative testing experts disregard the topic of “how many” interviews are
“sufficient,” A significant number of publications and books advice that between 5 and 50
participants are appropriate (Dworkin, 2012, p. 1319). For this research an assumption at this
stage will suggest having from 5 to 15 participants for the interview, focus groups and
observation. Participants will include all stakeholders involved in plastic waste management.
The researcher’s task will involve both observation and active participation, which is essential
to counter unforeseen side effects.
The project will incorporate several phases of action planning, interference, evaluation,
reflection and diagnosis. This is Following the principles of the cyclical process model and the
tenets of canonical action research (Davison et al. 2004).

Literature review approach
A normative literature review will be applied as it aims to proliferate the acceptance of the
trend toward innovative systems and identify the main research trends and gaps (Casino et al.,
2019, p. 77). This research is based on the understanding of different variables, such as people
and technology. Moreover, the issues related to a gamified blockchain solution and the
prerequisite for integration in the Plastic Waste Sector will be elucidated and the drawback of
the existing model will be identified and suggestions will be advised.
1.6 Dissertation Outline
The outline of this thesis is based on the methodology defined by Philips and Pugh (1994).
This approach comprises four elements: (a) background theory, (b) focal theory, (c) data theory
and (d) novel contribution. The background theory discusses to the literature review, which is
meant to support the identification of the central problem. (Chapter 2). The focal theory is
focusses on the generation of the conceptual model and the research issues (Chapter 3). The
third element (data theory) includes the research design, the data collection methods, the
description of the data analysis process and the revised conceptual method and model (Chapters
4, 5 and 6). The fourth element, which is the novel contribution of the dissertation, is presented
with conclusions of the research in Chapter 7. (Figure 1.1) presents the structure of the
dissertation and a brief summary of each chapter.
Research Aims
Research Objectives
Research Methodology
Dissertation outlines
Literature Review
Impirical Research to
determine Issues under
Case Studies and
Critical Analysis
Revision Conceptual
Conclusion & Further
Figure 1.1: Dissertation Outline
1.7 Work plan and Grand design
Research Objective 1
Stage 1
Research Method
Literature Review
Research Technique
Data Analysis
Systematic Literature review
Systematic Literature review
Research Objective 2
Literature Review
Stage 1
Research Objective 3
Stage 2&3
Questionnaire & interviews
Computer-Aided Analysis using software
such as: NVivo and Atlas.ti
Systematic Literature review
Computer-Aided Analysis using software
such as: NVivo and Atlas.ti
Systematic Literature review
Computer-Aided Analysis using software
such as: NVivo and Atlas.ti
Research Objective 4
Stage 4
Literature Review
Research Objective 5
Stage 4
Literature Review
El-Haggar, S. M. (2007), “Sustainable industrial design and waste management: Cradle-to-cradle for
sustainable development”, Oxford: Elsevier/Academic Press.
Tchobanoglous, G., and Kreith, F. (2002). “Handbook of solid waste management”, New York:
Smith, P. and Scott, J. (2005), “Dictionary of water and waste management”,2nd ed., Amsterdam:
Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
Woodard and Curran Inc. (2006), “Industrial waste treatment handbook”. Oxford: Elsevier.
McDougall, F. R., White, P. R., Franke, M., & Hindle, P. (2001), “Integrated solid waste
management: a life cycle inventory”. Oxford: Blackwell.
Scharfe, D. (2010), “Integrated Waste Management Plan”, report at
www.pecounty.on.ca/government/…/IWMMPReport-June2010_002.pdf, accessed on 20th June,
Staniškis, J. (2005), “Integrated Waste Management: Concept and Implementation”. Environmental
research, engineering and management, 3( 33), 40-46.
United Nations Environment Programme (1996), “International source book on environmentally
sound technologies for municipal solid waste management”.
United Nations Environmental Programme, New York United Nations Environment Programme,
(2002), “Global Environment Outlook 3”, London: Earthscan Publications Ltd
Kumi-Larbi, A., Yunana, D., Kamsouloum, P., Webster, M., Wilson, D. C., & Cheeseman, C. (2018).
Recycling waste plastics in developing countries: Use of low-density polyethylene water sachets to
form plastic bonded sand blocks. Waste Management, 80, 112–118.
Wilson, D. C., Rodic-Wiersma, L., Scheinberg, A. N. N. E., & Alabaster, G. R. A. H. A. M. (2010).
Comparative analysis of solid waste management in cities around the world
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Global Issues. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(6), 1060.
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Alphacrucis College HDR Program
PhD/DMin/MPhil Research Proposal
Enrolment Commencement Date:
Proposal Submission Date:
• Your proposal must be 15-20 pages, no less, no more. The total word count therefore
should be about 7,500 words.
• You must follow this template strictly
• You must use an 11 or 12 point serif font, preferably Cambria or Times New Roman
• You must use the standard margins as setup in this document
• You must use single line spacing
• Where the template has a title in format, replace the text entirely with your
• Use the seven Heading 1 sections below. Headings 2+ will not appear in TOC
Ideally, this proposal is completed and ready for external review six months into FT
candidature and twelve months into PT candidature
Table of Contents
1. Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
2. Overview of Thesis Proposal & Research Questions ……………………………………………. 3
3. Literature Review (Abridged) ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
4. Research Methods and Objectives …………………………………………………………………………… 5
5. Work Plan and Timetable…………………………………………………………………………………………. 5
6. Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
7. Reference List …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
1. Abstract
[no more than 200 words]
The abstract is a brief summary of your Research Proposal, and should be no longer than
200 words. It starts by describing in a few words the knowledge domain where your
research takes place and the key issues of that domain that offer opportunities for the
scientific or technological innovations you intend to explore. Taking those key issues as a
background, you then present briefly your research statement, your proposed research
approach, the results you expect to achieve, and the anticipated implications of such results
on the advancement of the knowledge domain.
To keep your abstract concise and objective, imagine that you were looking for financial
support from someone who is very busy. Suppose that you were to meet that person at an
official reception and that she would be willing to listen to you for no more than two
minutes. What you would say to that person, and the pleasant style you would adopt in
those two demanding minutes, is what you should put in your abstract.
The guidelines provided in this template are meant to be used creatively and not, by any
means, as a cookbook recipe for the production of research proposals.
[about 6-10 keywords]
This section is an alphabetically ordered list of the more appropriate words or expressions
(up to twelve) that you would introduce in a search engine to find a research proposal
identical to yours. The successive keywords are separated by commas.
2. Overview of Thesis Proposal & Research Questions
[Recommended: 500 words ~ 1 page]
This section introduces the research project you propose to carry out. It explains the
background of the project, focusing briefly on the major issues of its knowledge domain
and clarifying why these issues are worthy of attention. It then proceeds with the concise
presentation of the research statement, which can take the form of a hypothesis, a research
question, a project statement, or a goal statement. The research statement should capture
both the essence of the project and its delimiting boundaries, and should be followed by a
clarification of the extent to which you expect its outcomes to represent an advance in the
knowledge domain you have described.
The introduction should endeavour, from the very beginning, to catch the reader’s interest
and should be written in a style that can be understood easily by any reader with a general
science background. It should cite all relevant references pertaining to the major issues
described, and it should close with a brief description of each one of the chapters that
Many authors prefer to postpone writing the Introduction till the rest of the document is
finished. This makes a lot of sense, since the act of writing tends to introduces many
changes in the plans initially sketched by the writer, so that it is only by the time the whole
document is finished that the writer gets a clear view of how to construct an introduction
that is, indeed, compelling.
This section must conclude with two to three key research questions. Make sure these
questions are not Yes/No (i.e. polar) questions, but rather, are open-ended, such as “In
what ways….?”, “To what degree…?” and so forth.
3. Literature Review (Abridged)
[Recommended: 2000 words ~ 4-5 pages]
The Literature Review serves a cluster of very important aims. First of all, it demonstrates
that you have built a solid knowledge of the field where the research is taking place, that
you are familiar with the main issues at stake, and that you have critically identified and
evaluated the key literature. It also shows that you have created an innovative and
coherent view integrating and synthesizing the main aspects of the field, so that you can
now put into perspective the new direction that you propose to explore. The Literature
Review must give credit to the authors who laid the groundwork for your research, so that
when, in the following chapter, your research objectives are further clarified, the reader is
able to recognise beyond doubt that what you are attempting to do has not been done in
the past and that your research will likely make a significant contribution to the literature.
The Literature Review is a critical part of your research proposal, so it will develop over
various paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. It should be accompanied by (fairly)
comprehensive references, which you list at the end of the proposal. Ideally, all the
influential books, book chapters, papers and other texts produced in the knowledge domain
you are exploring which are of importance for your work should be mentioned here and listed
at the end of the proposal.
You should follow strictly the appropriate referencing conventions of your discipline area
and make sure that no document you refer to is missing in the final list of references, nor
vice versa. The choice of referencing conventions will depend on the specific field where
your research is located.
4. Research Methods and Objectives
[Recommended: 2000 ~ 4 pages]
The chapter Research Methods and Objectives clarifies the research objectives of your
project, taking as its background your description of the Literature Review, and describes
the methodological approaches you have in mind to address the key research questions of
your project as articulated in the Introduction. The clarification of the research objectives
should build solidly on the Literature Review and relate your research to the work carried
out by others. It should elucidate the measure to which your work develops from their
work and the extent to which it diverges from theirs to open up new and yet unexplored
avenues. In essence, the chapter Research Methods and Objectives explains what you plan
to do to tackle your research problem, why you plan to do it that way, and how you are
going to do it.
The “how to” component of the proposal is found in this section. It should be detailed
enough to let the reader decide whether the methods you intend to use are adequate for
the research at hand. It should go beyond the mere listing of research tasks, by asserting
why you assume that the methods or methodologies you have chosen represent the best
available approaches for your project. This means that you should include a discussion of
possible alternatives and credible explanations of why your approach is the most valid.
5. Work Plan and Timetable
[Recommended 500 words ~ 1-2 pages]
In this section you should provide a schedule for completion of your thesis with proposed
deadlines for each major chapter and for submission, assuming you are enrolled either
part-time or fulltime (or, a combination if you anticipate changing between the two during
the course of studies).
If your research includes data collection, please include in your timetable your submission
of the ethics approval and the timelines for data collection and analysis. This often runs
concurrently with the writing up of literature review or other sections of your thesis, so
you should indicate if this is the case.
Doctoral theses typically require at least three months editing at the end (FT) prior to
submission, so make sure your final draft is listed as being ready no later than three
months prior to submission.
A critical milestone is confirmation of candidature and this document will be reviewed as
part of that process. This normally occurs after six months FT or twelve months PT, so
include this as a critical milestone in your timetable.
6. Conclusion
[Recommended: 500 words ~ 1 page]
The Conclusion briefly restates the objectives of your research project, recaps the research
approach you plan to follow, and clarifies in a few words what you expect to find out, why it
is valuable to find it out, and on what basis you expect to evaluate the validity of your
7. Reference List
[Recommended: 1500 words ~ 3 pages]
In this section you must list all the references you have made throughout the proposal, and
you must not list any reference that you do not cite.
You must make sure that you comply with the referencing conventions or citation styles
that have been established for your specific field.
Increasingly references include digital sources so make sure you reference them correctly,
in addition to the traditional sources such as books, book chapters, journal articles,
encyclopedia entries, edited books, and so forth.
The fundamental principles of reference lists are as follows:
1. The reader must be able to find for themselves the exact document you yourself read. So
for example if you read the third edition of a book in French, that is what you cite. If you
read an English translation of the second edition of the same book, you must list that
English translation of the second edition and not the third, etc.
2. To provide precise attribution of authorship (and editorship if need be). So for example,
if a dictionary entry is written by Jo Smith, and the dictionary itself is edited by Jones and
Brown, your entry must be something like:
Smith, Jo. 2015. “Why octopuses have eight legs” in Dictionary of Obscure Facts eds. Jones, M
& Brown, Volume 8. P. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This is because Jo Smith wrote the article in the 8th volume of a 10 volume Dictionary,
edited by Jones and Brown. So Smith is the author and Jones and Brown are the editors
who (typically!) contributed to the final version of the article through their editorial work.

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