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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

BUSI4L160: Strategic Case Analysis

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to N1T717 Business Administration (Online) (for students entering from April 2017)


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To examine, in-depth, a specific strategic problem, challenge or opportunity facing an organization (or organizational unit, or key decision-maker within an organization) (the ‘case’).
  • To research the case context, identify relevant research questions and produce a detailed situational description of the strategic problem, challenge or opportunity facing an organization or decision-maker.
  • To analyze the case using appropriate structure, research methodology, tools and techniques and produce an analytical report to accompany the main case.


  • Introduction to case research and case writing
  • Collecting and synthesizing data from multiple sources (primary and secondary; qualitative and quantitative)
  • Defining the key issue and scoping
  • Analyzing economic, industry and institutional context
  • Selecting and using appropriate analytical tools
  • Conducting cross-enterprise analysis
  • Ethical research issues in case writing and analysis
  • The case publishing process

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the students will have:
  • developed their knowledge of research methodologies
  • obtained a detailed understanding of the case writing and analysis process
  • extended their knowledge in a specific organizational context
  • developed insights across a variety of discipline areas
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the students will:
  • be able to use relevant inter-disciplinary knowledge and experience to develop a situational description and analysis of a real-world business problem, challenge or opportunity
  • be able to identify questions appropriate for a complex business situation
  • be able to conduct advanced literature searches in business and management
  • be able to conduct a major project at Masters level, including managing all aspects of the process; undertaking appropriate research and analysis; interpreting the results; and being able to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
Key Skills:
  • Understanding ambiguous and indeterminate contexts
  • Identifying a central issue in a complex environment
  • Sourcing appropriate data and evidence
  • Reflecting and synthesizing from experience
  • Analyzing data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Developing critical thinking
  • Synthesizing diverse perspectives
  • Developing coherent and persuasive arguments
  • Presenting effectively using written and technological media

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

  • Learning outcomes will be met through a combination of online study resources (to equip students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the case writing and analysis process and appropriate research methodologies) and webinars, supported by supervisor consultations (which may be conducted via Skype, email or telephone) and guided reading.
  • The summative assignment will test students' understanding of the case writing and analysis process and relevant research methodologies, and their ability to apply and interpret what they have learned across the MBA to the analysis of a particular issue in depth.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Online study resources (video content, directed reading and further guidance for independent study) 20
Webinars 2 1 hour 2
Supervisor consultations 3
Individual research and case preparation 572
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written case and case analysis 12000 words max 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students receive feedback from their supervisor on their proposal for the written case, and an action plan including the proposed framework for analysis. They subsequently receive feedback on one version of the case draft.

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