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Business Research and Management Module: Methods and Techniques

Learning Objectives

This module will equip you with the knowledge and critical techniques to conduct research in business and management. We will address different kinds of research, especially scholarly, academic output, and applied consultancy output, whilst the module’s practical emphasis is upon facilitating research methods for empirical research in the programme’s capstone project.


You will learn about different approaches to undertaking research and how research methods are underpinned by different philosophical perspectives. Through the taught classes you will critically evaluate different factors that impact upon research design, quality of empirical fieldwork, and dissemination of final research, and explore different approaches to using academic literature. You will explore the implications of your research design on constructing your research instrument and planning your data analysis or consultancy intervention. We will also outline the importance of research ethics for any human interaction involved in your research. This module is essential in supporting you to begin your capstone project (Dissertation or Consultancy Project) and the content should be revisited once you begin your capstone project.

 

On successful completion of this module you will be able to…

 

1. Knowledge outcome – Demonstrate a critical awareness of the purposes of management research in the domains of scholarly academic output, public advisory, and business consulting. You will also reflect upon the issues underlying the choice of data collection and analysis techniques. You will appreciate the different stages from research design to dissemination of findings or steps in the consultancy process and the nature and characteristics of each stage.


2. Intellectual skills – You will be able to

 

a) critically examine scholarly literature and to select, focus, and reflect on choice literature that motivates your chosen topic of inquiry;

 

b) understand research design issues, and conceive, frame, and articulate one or more research questions;

 

c) critically evaluate, draw on, and present appropriate research methods to collect and analyse empirical data for a research project as well as to evaluate secondary data sources.

 

You are asked to produce a report, which consists of three activities:


Section 1. Please provide a detailed critique of at least two well-used research methodologies.

 

Section 2. Please construct a research instrument that could be used to collect data in your capstone project. You will not be collecting any data – just designing the tool. 

 

Section 3. Please reflect upon the audience and critical aspects of research dissemination in the specific context of your potential research findings and outcomes from the developed instrument. Should you fail the assessment at the first attempt and be referred to retake the coursework, only the failed individual elements will need to be reworked, with 10% of the re-sit mark awarded for an additional reflective statement demonstrating how you learnt from the feedback and what you did differently the second time.

Section 1: Comparing two research methodologies

 

Select a topic of interest or business problem relevant to your degree specialism, e.g. strategy, supply chain management, international business & economics, marketing, finance, or human resources. Choose one of these topics that motivates you and that you are likely to pursue for your Dissertation or Consultancy Project (you may change your mind later, but it will be to your advantage if you stick to it, so choose carefully). This will require some preliminary research into that specific area.

Provide the following subsections and address the following tasks for the chosen business problem:

Short explanation of the research problem and the particular question that you would want to study (about 150 words).

An introduction that provides a brief commentary of key relevant literature. Be sure to justify your choice of these references in introducing the existing knowledge on your topic (about 500 words).

Attach a full visual presentation such as a mind map, a Venn diagram, or a grandfather, father, son literature map in the report’s appendix to show the scope of your review of literature. That visual presentation will be considered when marking together with your brief commentary.

A detailed critique of at least two well-used research methodologies in the literature you have reviewed. Discuss

a) how they are applied;

b) how the methods were deployed to provide a worthwhile contribution to theory and research and

c) what gaps the methods may leave that could  lend the area to further analysis (and an opportunity for your own research). Discuss pros and cons of methods in the context of the proposed  research question / research problem; and demonstrate full awareness of constraints and limitations deriving from investigation.

Section 2: Instrument and Conclusions

Provide the following subsections and address the following tasks for the chosen business problem:

. Provide the details of a proposed research instrument such as, an interview guide, survey questionnaire, or other appropriate instruments. Provide this as an appendix to your report.

. Write 500 words of reflection, regarding how you have designed the instrument and why the way you did. The instrument is only for illustrative purposes and does not necessarily have to be complete.

2.2 Conclusions

Concluding evaluation of instrument’s expected value for the research question(s) that you consider worthy of further investigation, and  reflective by taking section 1 into account (about 350 words).

Containing a minimum of 12 references to relevant journal articles from good academic sources, including at least 6 published in the last 24 months and all cited in your analysis (*recommended). Please include all references referred to in section one and two here. Note that the references listed in the full visual presentation (see subsection 1.2) must also be included here.

Provide the following subsections and address the following tasks for the chosen business problem:

Briefly explain who and why may be the right audience for implementing the potential findings from the suggested research (about 200 words).

Reflect what kind of summarising, media, and design of the report would be needed to disseminate the outcomes properly and most effectively. Who could be partners in public organisations, NGOs, associations, or industry? (about 200 words)

You are invited to submit a one-page outline specifying in brief full sentence bullet points how you think to address the following tasks:

1.1 Research problem, especially a precise definition and justification why chosen

1.3 Two appropriate research methods, especially how these are suitable to address the problem stated in 1.1.

2.1 Instrument, especially what research arenas & disciplines, ideas, examples read, techniques, or any other input will inform how that instrument is created.

The purpose of the formative submission is to receive feedback and to be advised what are the points with the most radical potential to improve the work. The formative assessment will not be marked, and it will not be considered in any form when the final submission is reviewed.

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