Methods and Techniques for Independent Research

Module description

This module prepares students for conducting independent research in tourism studies. It provides instruction on the complex processes and practices of conducting research from the initial idea to reporting results. The module examines the principles of research design before progressing to a more detailed treatment of data collection and analysis associated with three widely-used methods: questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.  Although the module is designed to support dissertation students (i.e. those taking BEMM349) and the tourism sector provides the context of application, it is accessible to all students with an interest in conducting their own primary empirical research in management studies.

Additional Information:

Sustainability

Although not an explicit or overt concern for this module, the module encourages students to think critically about the processes and practices involved in producing new knowledge, the use of data to substantiate positions, and the contestability of evidence, all of which are vital to understanding discourses surrounding sustainable development.

Internationalisation

This module is designed to be delivered to students from a wide range of international backgrounds.

External engagement

UEBS tourism programmes have been recognised by the Institute of Travel and Tourism’s (ITT).

Employability

This module is concerned with advancing students’ knowledge and understanding of a wide range of methodological issues as related to the main data collection and analytical techniques used in professional research in business and management.  The module employs industry-standard data analysis software (SPSS and NVIVO) and fosters students’ skills in its application to ‘real world’ research problems.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility

For the conduct of empirical research in the social sciences, ethics is a major issue.  Ethics in research is considered in this mdoule as both an overt topic in the curriculum and as a feature of each method of data collection and analysis.  As this module is part of an accredited form of pre-doctoral training, it draws on, and make students aware of, standard ethical frameworks for the conduct of research in the social sciences, such as that of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Research in Teaching

This module makes extensive use of data sets and survey instruments that have been developed by the teaching staff as part of their research grants and contract research assignments (e.g. World Student Health Games, South West Tourism, Flybe, Ministry of Defence).  These ‘real life’ examples are intended to demonstrate that the principles of research are not always straightforward to apply in practice, and they create a series of dilemmas which researchers must apply critical reasoning to resolve.

Full module specification

Module title:Methods and Techniques for Independent Research
Module code:BEMM365
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Adrian Bailey - Lecturer
  • Dr Joanne Connell - Lecturer
  • Dr Suzana Pavic - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:

7.5

Pre-requisites:

None

Co-requisites:

BEMM349

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:

11

Module aims

This module has three primary aims, namely to:

 

  • Prepare students for independent research informed by the main qualitative and quantitative methods utilised in the social sciences.

  • Equip students to design, with minimal supervision and guidance, programmes of primary empirical research, taking into consideration issues of research ethics, data generation, data analysis and reporting of findings.

  • Challenge students to critically evaluate the philosophical assumptions associated with different research paradigms, as they relate to the selection of methods and the production of knowledge.

  • Enable students in their future careers to have confidence in their abilities to analyse data, commission research, or conduct research in the work place and wider operating environment.

  • Equip students with report writing skills in order to present and interpret data in easily accessible ways.

     

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. articulate the current issues associated with different philosophical, methodological and practical approaches to business- and management-related research problems
  • 2. critically evaluate the application of a wide range of alternative techniques, methods and data sources and types in the investigation of specialized research goals
  • 3. appraise in detail the merits of data analysis software packages and their particular functions for independent research
  • 4. Identify, assess and action a full range of ethical issues arising from business-related research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate clearly, full awareness of the contestable and provisional nature of business-related research results.
  • 6. Apply an appropriate range of advanced qualitative and quantitative methods in the social sciences accurately and independently.
  • 7. Apply with precision and independently critique data from disparate sources.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. use ICT to select, analyse, present and communicate information independently and effectively
  • 9. make appropriate, systematic and accurate uses and interpretations of statistical data
  • 10. support transparent, systematic and sustained written arguments

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
301200

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 (11x 2 hours)Formal lectures to deliver the substantive content, to include in-class exercises and buzz groups. The lectures will provide an overall framework for the course by providing a series of tutor-led sessions dealing with major principles, concepts and theoretical positions (ILOs 1,2,3,4,5,7)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities8 (8 x 1hour)Class-room (i.e. computer-suite) based to include demonstration and discussion of NVivo (4 sessions) and SPSS software (4 sessions) (ILOs 3,8).
Guided Independent Study12 hoursReading for lectures
Guided Independent Study8 hoursPreparation for workshops
Guided Independent Study50 hours per assignmentReading, analysis and drafting of assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Debate15 mins1-9Verbal
Discussion15 mins1-9Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Paper (Research Design)402,000 words1-10 Written Feedback
Report (Analysis) 603,000 words1-10Written Feedback
0
0
0
0
0

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Paper (Research Design)Paper (Research Design) 2000 words1-10Aug/Sept
Report (Analysis)Report (Analysis) 3000 words1-10Aug/Sept

Re-assessment notes

Students will be required to repeat assessments in the event of failure.

Syllabus plan

  • Why do research?

  • Paradigms of Research

  • Methods and Data Sources

  • Research Design

  • Content Analysis

  • Ethnography

  • Research Ethics

  • Questionnaire Design

  • Sampling

  • Starting Analysis:  Data Quality Assurance

  • Basic Statistics for Questionnaire Analysis

  • Interview Design and Analysis

  • Focus Groups

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener.

Recommended Reading:

Barbour, R. (2008) Introducing Qualitative Research: a Student Guide to the Craft of Doing Qualitative Research.  London: Sage.


Blumberg, B. Cooper, D., and Schindler, P. (2014). Business Research Methods, 4th edition. Berkshire:   McGraw-Hill.


Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2007) Business Research Methods. 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Easterby-Smith, M, Thorpe R., and Jackson, P. (2015) Management Research. 4th edition. London: Sage.

Plowright, D. (2011) Using Mixed Methods: Frameworks for an Integrated Methodology. London: Sage.

Saunders, M. and Lewis, P. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. 7th Edition.


White, B. and Rayner, S. (2015). Dissertation Skills: For Business and Management Students, 2nd edition. London: Thomson.

A more extensive reading list will be found in the course handbook.

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

http://0-srmo.sagepub.com.lib.exeter.ac.uk/ [Sage Online Methods Help]

http://onlineqda.hud.ac.uk/movies/index.php [Qualitative Videos on a range of topics]

 

Origin date

06/02/2013

Last revision date

18/08/2016