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University of Exeter Business School

Research Inquiry for Practice

Module titleResearch Inquiry for Practice
Module codeBEP2060
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Constantine Manolchev (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The ‘Research Inquiry for Practice is a compulsory module on the BSc Business programme. Its core aim is to prepare you for making decisions based on evidence from quantitative (number-based) and qualitative (word-based) data. The module will equip you with core research skills which will allow you to manage your dissertation research project as well as offer research-based advice to businesses in the present, information-driven world.

On completing the module, you will be able to map a body of literature and identify gaps and debates within it. You will be able to design an appropriate research strategy for data collection, analyse both qualitative and quantitative data, as well present it in the most impactful way. Finally, you will be familiar with a range of software packages for data analysis, including Excel, Word, SPSS and NVivo.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principal aim is to prepare you for your own independent study in the form of your dissertation. The secondary aim of the module is to equip you with the skills required to conduct your own primary and secondary research using both quantitative and qualitative data with the appropriate method of analysis. Finally, this module will give you some insight into how to work with or commission researchers in an employment setting.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the difference between different theoretical approaches to conducting research
  • 2. Analyse/discuss issues associated with the validity of research claims
  • 3. Assess and select the most suitable research methods and analysis tools to investigate your chosen research questions.
  • 4. Analyse quantitative and qualitative data
  • 5. Present data, both in terms of visualisation and argument structure to recommend future research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Read, analyse and communicate information from complex data-sets
  • 7. Produce an annotated bibliography on a topic of your choice
  • 8. Design appropriate research questions, a quantitative survey questionnaire and relevant analysis methods, use qualitative data collection and analysis methods.
  • 9. Apply a methodology suitable for chosen research question

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Use a variety of software to analyse and present research findings
  • 11. Present a variety of data in order to answer a specific research question(s).

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction: what is research, process and stages, Introduction to the module and its assessment strategy. The place of research in business decision-making.
  • Research Design: Experimental, cross-sectional, longitudinal and case-study designs.
  • Vital Statistics: Looking at the basic data: central tendencies, variance, categories. What is a normal distribution, and what properties of it are useful.
  • Is It Real?: Testing hypotheses. Looking at the concept of the null hypothesis and ways to tests its significance. T-test, Chi-square tests for goodness of fit, correlation and regression.
  • Visualising information: Theory and practice of visualising data. Types of graphs, their uses and flaws. Excel ‘beautification’.
  • Ways With Words: Thematic Analysis and Thematic Mapping. The flexibility of the three-step approach.
  • Surprised by Data: Abductive methods and Grounded Theory.
  • More visuals: Creative representation of abstract concepts.
  • Revision: two revision and Q&A sessions.



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 & Teaching activities2Taught lectures to deliver the course content
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities16Practical IT based workshops lectures to be conducted in an ICT suite to develop students’ technological research skills e.g. SPSS, Survey Monkey , NVivo
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activity4Revision tutorials
Guided Independent Study128You will be expected to manage your time accordingly for research, analysis and write up.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Quant and Qual workshopsDuring sessions1Verbal

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
Data Analysis Report401,500 words1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11Written individual feedback
A literature review602,500 words5, 6, 7Written individual feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Data Analysis Report, 40%Report on the methodology of a quantitative/qualitative article of own choice, 1,500 words, weighed at 40%1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11August
Literature Review, 60%Review of the literature on a chosen subject culminating in either a research question or a hypothesis, 2,500 words, weighed at 60%5,6,7August

Re-assessment notes

A student will be referred in all components if the student fails the module with a mark of below 40% overall.

A student if deferred in a single component will be reassessed in that component only.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bazeley, P. and Jackson, K., (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis with Nvivo,Sage,
  • Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project, Open University Press
  • Black, K. (2007): Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision-Making, Fifth Edition, Wiley
  • Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2011), Business Research Methods. Third Edition, Oxford University Press.
  • Burke, R. (2003) Project Management: Planning and Control Techniques, Fourth Edition, Wiley.
  • Coles, T.E., Duval, D.T. and Shaw, G. (2013) A Student’s Guide to Writing Dissertations and Theses in Tourism Studies and Related Disciplines. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Cresswell, J.W. (2008) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Sage.
  • De Walt, K.M. (2010) Participant Observation: A Guide For Field Workers, AltaMira Press
  • Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Jackson, P. (2012) Management Research, Fourth Edition, Sage
  • Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2012) 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, Sage 
  • Horn, R. (2009) Researching and Writing Dissertations: A Complete Guide for Business and Management Students, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  • Jankowicz, A. (2005) Business Research Projects, Fourth Edition, Thomson Learning
  • McMillan, K. & Wevers, J. (2009) How to Write Dissertations and Project Reports, Prentice Hall
  • Myers, M.D. (2008) Qualitative Research in Business and Management, Sage
  • Yin, D. (2009) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Fourth Edition, Sage

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Research methods, management, management dissertation, Business BSc

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Last revision date