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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4J660: Stategic Business Project (FT)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to N1T517 Business Administration
Tied to N1T617 Business Administration (Business Development)


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by providing students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to business and/or management. The positioning at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and elective phases.
  • To equip students with the appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake a research project at Masters level.
  • The strategic business project should be theoretically underpinned and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but students could also choose to write a conceputal piece that draws upon academic literature or employ or improve an analytical model.


  • The nature of the Strategic Business Project.
  • How to use databases to identify the important literature.
  • How to write an evaluative literature review.
  • How to formulate research questions.
  • Introduction to research methods in the management context.
  • Types of research.
  • How to collect data for your research.
  • Ethical issues in business and management research.
  • How to analyse and discuss your results.
  • How to manage a research project.
  • Writing up your work; what makes a good strategic business project.
  • Students can choose to pursue a Strategic Business Project in two ways, either by working with a host organisation, or an issue-led investigation which is not focused on just one organisation but instead examines a specific management issue.
  • The topic (which is formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners) should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation.
  • MBA projects of this nature have typically been based in a wide variety of organisations, including: profit-seeking companies in both manufacturing and the service sector; nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities; non-profit seeking organisations; global multinationals; and owner-managed small firms.
  • MBA projects can be self-sourced by students, using their own network, to build on their experience in certain areas of expertise or to develop their understanding of certain sectors they are interested in exploring for future career opportunities.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • have a critical appreciation of how research is conducted in a business and management context.
  • have a critical appreciation of ethical issues in business and management research.
  • be able to critically analyse a specific issue or area of business or management in depth and to explore its significance in practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Able to conduct advanced literature searches to identify important literature and research questions in business and management;
  • Able to write an evaluative review of the relevant literature;
  • Able to conduct a Masters-level research project from beginning to end. This involves the following: identifying an interesting and practical research question at an appropriate advanced level; choosing a method for answering the question; conducting the research, including managing all aspects of the research project; interpreting the results; being able to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
  • Able to critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts;
  • Able to produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication
  • Planning, organising and time management
  • Problem solving and analysis
  • Using initiative
  • Computer literacy
  • Skills of self-organisation and motivation in managing time and activities in working to a deadline

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning outcomes will be met in part through workshops comprising a mix of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion, supported by guided reading.
  • Additionally, students have individual meetings with their appointed supervisor, up to 8 but normally 5-6. These meetings enable the supervisor to monitor the student progress towards the achievment of the learning outcomes.
  • The summative assessment is a 15,000-word document that tests students’ acquisition of relevant subject-specific knowledge and skills and their ability to apply these, and appropriate key skills, in the context of a Masters-level research project.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Introduction Workshop (a combination of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion) 1 4 4
Qualitative Research Methods (a combination of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion) 2 5 10
Quantitative Research Methods (a combination of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion) 2 5 10
Individual supervisions Normally 5-6 3
Research, preparation, reading and writing up 573
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Business Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Strategic Business Project 15,000 words maximum 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive formative feedback on a draft of one chapter of the strategic business project.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University