In this module you will learn some essential skills to carry out research into applied issues to generate insights and help inform decisions, processes and interventions in Human Resource Management. You will learn how to formulate research questions, decide on appropriate data collection methods, approaches to data analysis and how to interpret results. We will also provide you with guidance on how to undertake a major, original piece of research to prepare you for conducting your dissertation and help you write a research proposal. The research proposal is a structured plan for conducting your dissertation project and therefore an essential piece of preparation for your dissertation.
Full module specification
|Module title:||Research Methods|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 2: |
The aim of this module is to provide and equip you with essential research skills to prepare you for 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 research proposal
- 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 develop a research aim and project and write a detailed research proposal for an original piece of research.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities||18||Taught sessions (2 hour lectures and 1 hour seminars)|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching||2||Meetings with your supervisor as you prepare your research proposal|
|Guided Independent Study||10||Reading and preparing for the taught sessions|
|Guided Independent Study||120||Reading, thinking about, preparing and writing up your formal research proposal|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|In-class discussion exercises||3 hours||1-6||Verbal|
|Draft research proposal||800-1000 words||1-6||Written|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|In term test||20||1 hour||1-6||Verbal/Written|
|Research proposal||80||2000-2500 words||1-6||Written|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|In-term test (20%) and Research proposal (80%)||Research proposal (100%) (2,000-2,500 words)||1-6||August reassessment period|
During six three-hour taught sessions we will cover the following principle subject areas:
- choosing a dissertation topic
- writing a dissertation proposal
- formulating research questions / hypotheses
- undertaking a critical literature review
- adhering to principles in research ethics; integrity and good practice in the conduct of research
- introduction to quantitative research methods
- introduction to 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. (2018) Management Research. Sixth Edition, Sage
Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers, Fourth Edition, London: Sage
Gray, D. (2014) Doing Research in the Real World, Third Edition, Sage
Hart, C. (1998) Doing a Literature Review, Sage
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
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
Kumar, R. (2019). Research Methodology. 4th Edition. Sage Publications.
Trochim, W., Donnelly, J. P., Arora, K. (2016). Research Methods: The Essential Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition. Cengage.
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.
Last revision date