Methods and Techniques for Independent Research
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 three widely-used methods: questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. This module 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.
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 and integrity in research is considered in this module as both an overt topic in the curriculum and as a feature of each method of data collection and analysis. This module makes 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. 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 (11 x 2 hours)||Formal lectures|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||8 (8 x 1 hour)||Class-room based demonstrations and discussions|
|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|
|Report (Qualitative)||50||2,500 words||1-10||Written Feedback|
|Report (Quantitative)||50||2,500 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|
|Report (Qualitative)||Report (Qualitative) 2,500 words||1-10||Aug/Sept|
|Report (Quantitative)||Report (Quantitative) 2,500 words||1-10||Aug/Sept|
Students will be required to repeat failed components in the event of overall module failure.
- Why do research?
- Paradigms of Research
- Methods and Data Sources
- Research Design
- Focus Groups
- Questionnaire Design
- Starting Analysis and basic statistics
- Research Ethics
Indicative learning resources - Basic 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.
Collis, J. and Hussey, R. (2014). Business Research: a practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students. 4th edition. London: Palgrave.
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.
Veal, A.J. (2011) Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism. 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.
White, B. and Rayner, S. (2015). Dissertation Skills: For Business and Management Students, 2nd edition. London: Thomson.
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
Additional reading resources will be outlined throughout the module
http://methods.sagepub.com/methods-map [Sage Online Methods Help]
http://onlineqda.hud.ac.uk/movies/index.php [Qualitative Videos on a range of topics]
Last revision date