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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
No such Code for pgprog: N2P409
No such Code for pgprog: N2P509

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4N960: Research Methods and Dissertation (International) (MSc Management - General)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Not available in 2021/22
Tied to N2P109 Management
Tied to N2P309 Management (Entrepreneurship)
Tied to N2P409
Tied to N2P509
Tied to N2P609 Management (International Business)
Tied to N2P909 Management (Supply Chain Logistics)

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Research Methods and Dissertation (BUSI4I460)

Aims

  • To provide students with the necessary training to undertake advanced-level research.
  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to their degree subject. The positioning of the dissertation at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and optional modules.
  • To equip students with an in-depth understanding of key principles of research design and methodology in business and management, and to develop their skills in conducting and disseminating research at an advanced level.
  • To provide students with an introduction to a variety of research methods in the social sciences, including both quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • To enable students to use a range of perspectives to critically review research studies in terms of theorising, methods and findings.
  • To develop the research skills needed to address complex problems, both systematically and creatively.
  • The dissertation should be theoretically underpinned and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but may be a critical essay that draws upon academic literature.
  • To provide students with the opportunity to undertake research abroad at a partner University.

Content

  • Introduction: approaches to social research
  • Formulating a research question
  • Conducting a literature review
  • Developing a research strategy that fits your question
  • The nature of qualtitative research
  • The nature of quantitative research
  • An overview of data gathering methods (including interviews, questionnaires and experiments, focus groups, surveys and experiment designs, and panel data)
  • The analysis of quantitative and qualitative data (including panel data, interview transcripts, and document analysis)
  • Ethics of research
  • Planning and managing a research project.
  • The dissertation topic is chosen by the student and formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners. It should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation, and relevant to their degree subject.
  • Students may choose to undertake a Business Project in place of the traditional dissertation format. This may be achieved by either working with a specific host organisation or, alternatively, by undertaking an issue-led investigation across a range of organisations on a specific management issue. The topic must be suitable for in-depth investigation, however, and formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners.
  • The Business Project is theoretically underpinned in the same way as a traditional dissertation, and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but may be a critical essay that draws upon academic literature. The project requires students to write a short literature review, followed by a detailed explanation of their selected research method, including - where relevant - detail on data collection and analytical methods, the presentation of their findings, and a short discussion of the results, including recommendations for the host organisation.
  • In producing the dissertation, students will make use of and manage library facilities, databases and other learning resources.
  • Before going abroad, students attend information briefings on undertaking their dissertation abroad and are assisted with the application process by the MSc Study Abroad team. In addtion, students are monitored and supported by the MSc Study Abroad team while abroad, and have a mentor from the partner institution.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Have a critical appreciation of the range of philosophical approaches to research in business and management.
  • Be aware of, and familar with, the facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtaining relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation.
  • Be aware of relevant computer packages for conducting empirical analysis.
  • Have a critical understanding of a relevant topic and the most appropriate techniques for research and analysis.
  • Have a critical understanding of methodological issues in research; issues in designing and undertaking quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Have a critical understanding of the principles of research design proposals.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • Be able to organise, structure and manage a research project in business and management effectively, and conduct empirical/theoretical analysis at an advanced level.
  • Be able to make a critical evaluation of published journal articles and assess their relevance to a chosen research project.
  • Be able to operate independently on a research topic and exercise appropriate judgement in the selection of material.
  • Have further developed the skills of inquiry, bibliographic search, data collection, measurement and analysis, interpretation, and presentation of results.
  • To be able to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project at an advanced level, including undertaking critical appraisal of relevant literature, and apply critical judgement and discrimination.
  • To have developed the ability to operate independently on a research topic and exercise appropriate judgement in the selection of material.
  • To have further developed the skills of inquiry, quantitative and qualitative research design, experimental research, data collection and information retrieval, bibliographic search, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation of results.
  • To have developed advanced skills of research, analysis and scholarly expression in a chosen topic.
Key Skills:
  • Written Communication
  • Planning and Organising
  • Problem Solving and Analysis
  • Using Initiative
  • Numeracy
  • Computer Literacy
  • Self-discipline, time management and the ability to work autonomously

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

  • A combination of lectures, seminars, computer labs, and guided reading addressing key topics in research will cover the subject-specific knowledge and skills together with general aspects of the dissertation process.
  • The combined summative components of the dissertation require students to write a draft research proposal, including a short literature review, and a detailed initial plan for a research method, including - where relevant - detail on data collection and likely analytical methods. Within the dissertation students produce a short executive summary providing a business perspective on their research findings.
  • Students work independently on their research, analysis and writing up while abroad, under the guidance of a supervisor in Durham, modifying their research design if necessay. In addition the student will have a mentor abroad whose main responsibility is to check progress. Normally the student will meet their supervisor before going abroad and will regularly keep in touch with their supervisor while abroad, via email or Skype. In addition, the student will normally meet their mentor while abroad on no more than three occasions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 weekly 2 hours 16
Seminars 8 weekly 1 hour 8
Initial Supervisor Meeting 1 1 hour 1
Supervisory contact whilst abroad (e.g. Skype) Varies 2 hours 2
Mentor meetings 3 1 hour 3
Research, Preparation, Analysis and Writing 570
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12,000 words max 100% same
Component: Research Proposal Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Proposal 2,500 words 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students receive detailed feedback on a draft of their intial research proposal and on one draft chapter/section of their dissertation.


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