• Executive Diploma In Business Administration And Management

Business Research Methods

Unit title: Business Research Methods
Unit code:  
Level: Postgraduate Diploma – Level 7
Credits: 30


Main aims of the Unit

The main aims of this unit is to introduce students to research philosophy, methodology and design and their application to researching business-related issues in a variety of domestic and international contexts for the preparation of the project or thesis required for a graduate programme of study

The unit will enable students to:

  • Develop the practical skills necessary to design and undertake a postgraduate business research project in a topic of their choice
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the research required through the analysis and evaluation of primary or secondary data
  • Formulate a detailed and realistic proposal with appropriate aims, objectives and plan of action
  • Show critical awareness of management or business issues associated with their chosen topic of research
  • Understand the knowledge and analysis required to explore a business or management topic fully
  • Produce a full research report and a research summary to a professional standard.

Main Topics of Study

  • Nature of research
  • The research process
  • Attributes of a good research topic
  • Generation and refining research ideas
  • Writing the research proposal
  • Literature sources
  • Planning the literature research strategy
  • Conducting literature research
  • Obtaining and evaluating the literature
  • Recording the literature
  • Plagiarism
  • Choice of research design
  • Approaches to theory development
  • Use of quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods of research
  • Purpose of research design
  • Selecting research strategy
  • Time horizon
  • Ethics of the research design
  • Probability sampling
  • Non-probability sampling
  • Practical benefits and limitations of sampling methods
  • Types of secondary data and uses in research
  • Searching for secondary data
  • Advantages and limitations of secondary data
  • Evaluating secondary data sources
  • Primary data v secondary data
  • Structured observation
  • Types of interviews
  • Use of semi-structured and in-depth interviews
  • Managing logistical and resource issues
  • Group interviews and focus groups
  • Telephone and internet-mediated interviews
  • Use of questionnaires
  • Designing the questionnaire
  • Delivery and collection of the questionnaire
  • Preparing, entering and checking data
  • Exploring and presenting data
  • Describing data using statistics
  • Examining relationships, differences and trends using statistics
  • Nature of qualitative data
  • Nature of qualitative data analysis
  • Preparing data for analysis
  • Thematic analysis
  • Template analysis
  • Building and testing
  • Grounded theory method
  • Narrative analysis
  • Content analysis
  • Data display and analysis
  • Structuring the project report
  • Writing reports for different audiences
  • Making report content clear and accessible
  • Developing appropriate writing style
  • Meeting the assessment criteria
  • Writing a reflective essay or section
  • Oral presentation of the report
  • System of referencing
  • Guidelines for non-discriminatory language

Learning Outcomes for the Unit

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Differentiate between different research methods that can be considered for business and management projects
  • Appraise the likely application of research methods and techniques in the research processes.
  • Critically evaluate modern scientific research concepts, techniques, strategies and theories so that can be applicable to their researches.
  • Apply personal adopted research skills in a variety of commercial and non-commercial situations
  • Propose sustainable and justified solutions to complex business scenarios
  • Demonstrate personal research skills and abilities such as analysis, synthesis, communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills.

Learning and teaching methods/strategies used to enable the achievement of learning outcomes:

Learning takes place on a number of levels through lectures, class discussion including problem review and analysis. Formal lectures provide a foundation of information on which the student builds through directed learning and self-managed learning outside of the class. The students are actively encouraged to form study groups to discuss course

Assessment methods which enable student to demonstrate achieving the learning outcomes for the Unit:

Project (5000 words) on a topic selected by the candidates which addresses the learning outcomes of the unit

Indicative Reading for this Unit:

Main Text

Saunders M. Lewis P. Thornhill A, Research Methods for Business Students 7th edition Pearson

Alternative Text and Further reading

  • Dawson C. Practical Research Methods Oxford How to Books Ltd
  • Collis J. Hussey R. Business Research: Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Graduate Students Palgrave Mac Millan
  • Gill J. Johnson P. Research Methods for Managers Sage

Guideline for Teaching and learning time (10 hours per credit)

100 Hours - Lectures / Seminars / Tutorials / Workshops:

Tutorial support includes feedback on assignments and may vary by college according to local needs and wishes.

100 Hours - Directed learning:

Advance reading and preparation / Class preparation / Background reading / Group study / Portfolio / Diary

100 Hours - Self managed learning:

Working through the course text and completing assignments as required will take up the bulk of the learning time. In addition students are expected to engage with the tutor and other students and to undertake further reading using the web and/or libraries.