BUS007 2014/15 Research Methodology
Guidance for assessments and marking frameworks
BUS007Research Methodology is assessed via a research presentation (20%) and a research
project report (80%). In this document you can find marking frameworks anddetails on how
to get started with different types of projectsand data sources. Furtherdiscussions about the
two assessments will take place on the module’s QMPLuspage. Please follow discussions and
To receive feedback about your ideas from the module organiser, please visit the weekly
office hours or other dedicated slots that will be announced. You will also have opportunities
during seminars closer to the end of the term.
Assessment 1: Research presentation (20%)
For the research presentation, you need to identify a relevant topic in Business and
Management research and then developa plan for data collection and analysis. You should be
able to justify your selection of methodology and discuss potential alternatives. The
presentation will serve as the main source of feedback in preparation for the project report
(assessment 2). Your ideas can change after the presentation based on the feedback and
availability of data sources.
Presentations will be assessed based on the following three criteria:
• Introduction to a research topic (40 marks): what is the motivation for your study?
Have you identified one or more research questions of interest? What is the core
literature related to your topic?
• Plan to implementation (30 marks): how do you plan to address your research
question(s)? What data sources have you considered? How do you plan to carry out
the analysis? Any specific challenges that you are expecting to face?
• Presentation style and response to questions (30 marks): your presentation should
flow well with appropriate visual aids (slides or equivalent). You should be able to give
informative answers to any follow-up questions about the material presented. BUS007guidance for assessments Page 2 of 5
The presentations will be scheduled to take place during weeks 10-12 of the term and most of
them should be expected during week 11. Presentations will be individually assessed although
you will have the option to present in groups of two and work collaboratively at the initial
stages of your project.
Presentations will lastapproximately 10 minutes plus a few minutesfor any questions. If you
work in pairs, you will be allocated a double slot and are expected to share time equally.
Assessment 2: Research project report (80%)
In this independent research project, you will need to implement the plan presented in
assessment 1 with any necessary changes in response to feedback.
Reportsare individual and should be up to 2,500 words excluding the reference list and any
tables or figures.
The deadline for submission is Thursday 18/12/2014 at 23.55pm.
Secondary sourcesof data should be sufficient for this project.In case you decide to collect
primary data (e.g. survey, interviews), you will need to fill in a short application for ethical
approval (see lecture 5 on research ethics). You cannot collect data that involve human
participants without ethical approval.
Project reports will be assessed based on the following criteria:
• Introduction, literature and topic selection (30 marks): what was the motivation for
your study? Have you identified one or more research questions of interest? How are
they related to previous work in the area?
• Methodology and data sources (20 marks): what is your method? Why is it an
appropriate one for your research question(s)? How was data collection and analysis
carried out? What are the limitations of your work?
• Analysis, discussion of findings and conclusion (30 marks): what are the findings of
your study? Based on the findings, what is the answer to your question (s)? Any other
important conclusions or issues for further work?
• Presentation, writing and referencing style (20 marks): is there a good flow from the
introduction to the methodology and interpretation of findings? Is the writing style
appropriate without spelling, grammar or syntax mistakes? Is the referencing style
appropriate and consistent?
The above are also an indicative structure that you can follow for writing the essay. Make sure
that your essay has good balancebetween sections(e.g. literature review cannot be half the
essay!). Literature and presentation of findings are likely to require more space than
methodology and conclusions. The introduction can be brief but informative.BUS007 guidance for assessments Page 3 of 5
Remember: when preparing your submission, the usual regulations apply as described in the
Undergraduate StudentHandbook 2014-15.
The rest of this document provides guidance on different methodologies and examples of
topics as a basis for this project.In additionto these, you are welcome to identify your own
perspective and choice of methods with the supportof the module organiser.
The first decisionthat you need to make is whether your project will be based on quantitative
or qualitative research. This decision should be based entirely on your interests, nature of
selected topic and willingness to further develop your skills. The marking framework is
common for both types of projects. A mixedmethods project could potentially be feasiblebut
given the space limitation, you not advised to pursue this option. In case you do, please
contact the module organiser in advance.
Scope of the project: any area within Business and Management or Social Science research.
Other areas are also possible as long as the methodology remains within the scope of the
methodologies taught throughoutthe module.
For a quantitative research project, you need to identify an appropriate dataset. There are
three main types of data sources:
• Official statistics, public surveys, open government data and other secondary sources(see
Business Research Methods chapter12). You might need to combine more than one data
The following are indicative ones:
o UK Data Archivefor Social Scienceand Humanities
o European Commission Social ScienceData Archives
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/links_en.htm – Social ScienceData Archives and
o European Social Survey http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/
o WorldBank repository of data http://data.worldbank.org/indicator
o United Nations repository of data http://data.un.org
o International Monetary Fund (IMF) data and statistics
o Open government data, e.g. http://data.gov.uk or http://data.police.uk/BUS007 guidance for assessments Page 4 of 5
• Content analysis to quantify media, websites or other data sources (see Business
Research Methods chapter 12). An example of a paper using a web content analysis
methodology will be available on QMPlus.
• Survey research to collect your own data. In this case you will need ethical approval.
Please consult the module organiser for assistance in designing your survey. If it is an
online one, you can use the School’s online survey platform via Qualtrics (see QMPLus
week 5 for the links).
For any type of quantitative project, your observations must not be time-dependent in the
form of a time series or panel data that require different methods of analyses. You can use
SPSS, MS Excel or any other software for as long as choices are documented in the report.
Examples of topics could include the following:
• Determinants of birth rate on a global scale. Potential independent variables could
include: infant mortality rate, percentage of urban population, Gross Domestic Product
per capita and female unemployment. Unit of analysis: country.
• Factors that affect povertyindicators in the UK local government. Potential independent
variables could include:unemployment rate, age distribution of the population or size of
the population. Unit of analysis: UK council.
• Attitudes of Europeans towards job satisfaction using different factors recorded in the
European Social Survey available at http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/data/. Unitof
analysis: individuals (European citizens).
Suggested requirements for a quantitative project:
• Dataset with at least 30-40 observations.
• Hypothesis development and testing;2- 4 hypotheses are recommended.
• Projects should include at least descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis. You do not
need to report on all possibledescriptives and bivariate measures (e.g. correlations).
• Statistical conclusion using an appropriate significance test (e.g. t-test for regression
coefficients) and interpretation.
• More advanced projectsare expected to use of multipleregression.
• You can export SPSS tables and figures for your report. They are excluded from the word
count (up to 2,500 words).
• You will not be asked to submit your dataset or analysis files but they need tobe made
available to the module organiser upon requestuntil you complete the module.BUS007guidance for assessments Page 5 of 5
A qualitative research project does not aim at statistical validity and generalisability but is
equally rigorous and needs to satisfy its own requirements. It is expected that for a qualitative
project you need to invest more effort in writing up and identifying an appropriate theoretical
perspective to supportyour arguments. Possible methods for a qualitative project include:
• Qualitative interviews (Business Research Methods chapter18): interviews can providea
rich source of data for a qualitative project.For the scope of this essay and depending on
your topic, about 2-4 interviews can be sufficient. If you have the opportunity to conduct
group interviews, you might want to read more about focus groups (Business Research
• Ethnography or observation (Business Research Methods chapter17): this form of project
can lead to interesting insightsbut might be difficult to organise in short timeframes. If
you have an idea for an ethnographic project,please consult the module organiser.
• Documentary analysis (Business Research Methods chapter 17): you can complete a
qualitative project using only secondary sources. A qualitative content analysis approach
will be sufficient (e.g. instead of semiotics or hermeneutics as explained in Business
Research Methods chapter17).
• Case study research: a case study can use several sourcesof qualitative data using one or
more cases as the unit of analysis. Material from the forthcoming lecture on case study
research will be made available in advance. For an introduction, see p.59 from Business
Research Methods chapter2.
Suggested requirements for a qualitative project:
• An extended literature review is not acceptable on its own. It should at least be
supported by an illustrative case study.
• Regardless of your choice of method, you need to list your documentary sourcesand fully
reference the core ones.
• If you use NVivo or other research software for analysis, do not forget to document it in
your methodology section.
• Qualitative studies generally need more space than quantitative ones and a wider source
of references. References are excluded from the word count. For secondary thoughts or
evidence, you can add an appendix of reasonable length to your report.
• You might need to use quantitative data as secondary sources to supportyour arguments.
This does not qualify as a quantitative project.
• You will not be asked to submit your sources or (any) analysis files but they need to be
made available to the module organiser upon requestuntil you complete the module.
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