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Descriptor for Module

Descriptor for Module

Module Title:
Research Methods

Module Team:


None Specified

None specified

This module is a component of the following Award(s):

Aims of the module:
To develop the student’s understanding and skills of research in a management and/or professional development context.
To clarify the role of the manager/professional as the user of research output
To critically review a range of research methodologies.
To help the students to deal with the practical aspects of planning, conducting and producing a Masters level project/dissertation.

Synopsis of module content:
This module will cover both the qualitative and the quantitative approaches to carrying out research in addition to different science philosophies.
The topics covered in this module will include:

Conceptualisation and operationalisation: theories, models and perspectives, constructs, concepts and variables, aim and objectives setting.
Research Philosophy: positivism, post-positivism, realism, pragmatism and constructivism.
Literature Review: conducting literature review, identifying relevant theories, models and perspectives.
Data Collection: observation, questionnaires, interviews, content analysis.
Research quality: reliability, validity,
Quantitative research methods: surveys, experiments, quasi-experiments.
Qualitative research methods: case studies, focus groups, in-depth interviews.
Practical issues: access to data, time management, ethics in business research
Data Analysis: principles, reporting and presenting results, use of software: Excel, SPSS and Nvivo.

Teaching Methods:
The module will be delivered through a blended learning approach by a combination of methods, including some or all of the following: formal lectures, tutorials, workshops, case-study analyses, interactive exercises, discussion groups and multimedia presentations.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will be able to identify a specific management and/or professional development problems, critically review relevant literature relating to it, and then select, defend and critically assess an appropriate research method to address an appropriate aim in relation to specific management and/or professional development problems.

Assessment requirements:
The learning outcomes will be assessed by a portfolio (6000 words) – 100%
In the proposal, each group of students (5-6) will be required to select a topic for research relevant to their professional/ business interests and needs from a list of suggested topics presented to them from a list of topics generated by the module leader based on academic staff expertise and interests and/or topics proposed by of the Employability Unit.
Each group will be expected to formulate a relevant specific research question. They will need to identify, clearly describe and justify the methods they will use to answer the research question and then conduct a small scale research. This will then be presented in the form of a portfolio of not more than 5000 words, using appropriate reporting conventions and referencing. The coursework portfolio has two parts. The first part is the group work in the form of a research project (5000 words), while the second part is an individual reflective log (1000 words) produced by each member of the group.

Concise Indicative Reading List:
Creswell, J. (2008). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Saunders, M. Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students, Harlow: Pearson.
Sekaran, U. And Bougie, R. (2010). Research Methods for Business, Chichester: Wiley.
Reading lists including books, articles and websites will be produced for each lesson.

Key Skills delivered by this module:

Effective problems solving and decision making using appropriate quantitative and qualitative skills including identifying, formulating and solving business problems. The ability to create, evaluate and access a range of options together with the capacity to apply ideas and knowledge to a range of situations;
Numeracy and quantitative skills including data extrapolation.
Effective self-management in terms of time, planning and behaviour, motivation, self-starting, individual initiative and enterprise.
Learning to learn and developing an appetite for learning; reflective and adaptive;
Cognitive skills of critical thinking, analysis and synthesis. This includes the capability to identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, to detect false logic or reasoning, to identify implicit values, to define terms adequately and generalise appropriately.

Validation Details:


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