Methods and Techniques for Independent Research
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.
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.
This module is designed to be delivered to students from a wide range of international backgrounds.
UEBS tourism programmes have been recognised by the Institute of Travel and Tourism’s (ITT).
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|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 1: |
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 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||22 (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 Activities||8 (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 Study||12 hours||Reading for lectures|
|Guided Independent Study||8 hours||Preparation for workshops|
|Guided Independent Study||50 hours per assignment||Reading, analysis and drafting of assignments|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
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|
|Paper (Research Design)||40||2,000 words||1-10||Written Feedback|
|Report (Analysis)||60||3,000 words||1-10||Written Feedback|
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|
|Paper (Research Design)||Paper (Research Design) 2000 words||1-10||Aug/Sept|
|Report (Analysis)||Report (Analysis) 3000 words||1-10||Aug/Sept|
Students will be required to repeat assessments in the event of failure.
Why do research?
Paradigms of Research
Methods and Data Sources
Starting Analysis: Data Quality Assurance
Basic Statistics for Questionnaire Analysis
Interview Design and Analysis
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.
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?
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]
Last revision date