Research Skills for Business Research

Module description

This module prepares students for conducting or commissioning independent research in the workplace. 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 widely-used methods. This module is accessible to all students with an interest in conducting their own primary empirical research in management studies.

Full module specification

Module title:Research Skills for Business Research
Module code:BEMM175Z
Module level:M
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Mihaela Bishop - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:


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


Module aims

This module has the following 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 specialised research goals.
  • 3. Appraise the merits of data analysis software packages and their particular functions for independent research.
  • 4. Identify, assess and action a full range of ethical and integrity 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

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Online Distance Learning 150150 hours Online Distance Learning with learning and teaching directed through content and activities within the Virtual Learning Environment.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative exercises will be embedded during the sessions online and will take various forms including case studies, personal reflection exercises, revision quizzes and multiple-choice questions, as well as online discussions.1-10Group and individual- online.

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
Individual assignment – Literature Review 501000 words1,2,4,5,7,8,10Written individual feedback
Individual assignment – Quantitative/Qualitative Report502500 words1-10Written individual feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual essayEssay1-10
Quantitative/Qualitative ReportReport1-10

Syllabus plan

  1. Research Design
  2. Reviewing the Literature
  3. Research Ethics
  4. Paradigms of Research
  5. Methods and Data Sources
  6. Qualitative Approaches and Analysis
  7. Quantitative Approaches and Analysis

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Barbour, R. S. (2008). Introducing qualitative research: a student's guide to the craft of doing qualitative research. Los Angeles, Calif, London: SAGE.

Bernard, H. R. (2013). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches (2nd ed ed.). Los Angeles, [Calif.] London: SAGE.

Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Rhodes, C. (2007). Business Ethics as Practice. British Journal of Management, 18(2), 107-122.

Collis, J., & Hussey, R. (2014). Business research: a practical guide for undergraduate & postgraduate students (Fourth edition ed.). Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed ed., pp. 191-125). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: principles in practice (3rd ed ed.). London: Routledge.

Hubbard, D. W. (2014). How to measure anything: finding the value of "intangibles" in business (3rd edition ed.). Hoboken: Wiley.

Sheskin, D., Taylor, & Francis. (2004). Handbook of parametric and nonparametric statistical procedures (3rd ed ed.). Boca Raton: Chapman & Hall/CRC.

Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting qualitative data: methods for analyzing talk, text, and interaction (3rd ed ed.). London, Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.

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