Research Methods

Module description

In order to help you prepare for your dissertation and provide you with guidance on how to undertake a major, original piece of research, you will need to complete this research methods module. Aside from learning in some depth about alternative possible research designs and methodologies, we will also help you prepare a formal research proposal  which you must pass in order to proceed to the dissertation stage.

Full module specification

Module title:Research Methods
Module code:BEMM049
Module level:M
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Ilke Inceoglu - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to prepare you thoroughly for the experience of researching and writing your masters dissertation. By attending taught sessions and meeting formally with your supervisor you will develop a full understanding of what is involved and plenty of  advice about how to proceed with your chosen research project. In addition you will receive tailored advice that is relevant to your chosen dissertation topic from your supervisor.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate the capacity to research and write up a highly effective dissertation
  • 2. plan your research programme

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. demonstrate enhanced knowledge and understanding of the literature published in your chosen area of study
  • 4. formulate a set of relevant research questions or hypotheses with reference to a specific HR topic area

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. demonstrate enhanced research skills
  • 6. demonstrate the capacity to write up an extensive piece of original research

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities18Taught sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Meetings with your supervisor as you prepare your research proposal
Guided Independent Study10Reading and preparing for the taught sessions
Guided Independent Study120Reading, thinking about, preparing and writing up your formal research proposal

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class discussion exercises 3 hours1-6Verbal feedbaclk
Draft Research Proposal2000-2500 words1-6Supervisor feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research Proposal1002000-2500 words1-6Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research ProposalResearch Proposal1-6July/August Reassessment period

Syllabus plan

During six three-hour taught sessions we will cover the following principle subject areas:

  • choosing a dissertation topic
  • writing a dissertation proposal
  • setting research questions / hypotheses
  • undertaking a critical literature review
  • research ethics
  • quantitative research methods
  • qualitative research methods
  • analysing your research findings
  • writing conclusions and recommendations

In addition you will receive detailed advice from your supervisor about how to develop a strong research proposal.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

• Anderson, V. (2013) Research Methods in Human Resource Management: Investigating a Business Issue. Third Edition, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: London.
• Bell, J. & Waters (2014) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide For First-Time Researchers, Open University Press
• Black, K (2011) Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision-Making, Seventh Edition, Wiley
• Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Methods. Fourth Edition.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Burke, R. (2013) Project Management: Planning and Control Techniques, Fifth Edition, Wiley.
• Creswell, J. W. (2012) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches.  Third Edition.  Sage.
• Creswell, J.W. (2013) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Fourth Edition.  Sage.
• Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Jackson, P. (2015) Management Research.  Fifth Edition, Sage
• Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers, Fourth Edition, London: Sage
• Gray, D. (2009) Doing Research in the Real World, Second Edition, Sage
• Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review, SageÃ?£ï¿½ï¿½
• Horn, R. (2012) Researching and Writing Dissertations: A Complete Guide for Business and Management Students.  2nd Edition.  Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: London.
• Jankowicz, A. (2005) Business Research Projects, Fourth Edition, Thomson Learning
• Myers, M. D. (2013) Qualitative Research in Business and Management, Second Edition, Sage
• Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2016) Research Methods for Business Students, Seventh Edition,  Pearson.
• Wevers, J. & McMillan, K. (2011) How to Write Dissertations and Project Reports, Second Edition, Prentice Hall
• Yin, R. (2013) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Fifth Edition, Sage

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

You will have access to an online searchable and resources database, with links to several eBooks and our bespoke "Dissertation Support Materials" available through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE). Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities. 

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

As an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development you will also have access to the entirety of the Institute's website, including all published research reports, archived articles from 'People Management', fact sheets, discussion papers and briefings.  

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