BUSINESS RESEARCH METHODS AND SKILLS

SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3N224904
Module Leader Pauline Munro
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
Trimesters
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally successful completion of level 2 or equivalent

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the process of research and practical skills of critical reading, data collection and analysis. These transferable skills will prepare students for the Honours level dissertation by proving a critical knowledge of research paradigms, methodologies and a range of research techniques to underpin an extensive and independent research project in their cognate area. Furthermore, it will provide students with a deep understanding of the philosophies, processes and techniques of research methods including data analysis techniques and ethical considerations. These skills will be developed in a supportive environment through workshops and practical classes (Tri B), resulting in the preparation of a detailed independent research proposal. Summary of PRIME related challenges and themes: Students will be encouraged to identify and investigate contemporary research topics which directly address issues which confront public and private sector organisations and how such dilemmas, for example, legal, ethical, economical, international business, financial and/or marketing related issues, may be successfully researched.

Syllabus

Informing the research study from existing secondary resources including sourcing and critically exploring secondary sources. Conceptual Issues including choosing an appropriate research strategy and approach, consideration of validity, reliability and generalisability. Sampling techniques and issues. Issues in collecting primary data including quantitative and qualitative research methodologies: Focus groups and elite interviews, case studies, observation; Surveys & Questionnaires - types, planning, design, sampling and administrating. Analysis techniques for both qualitative and quantitative data, including: Coding, generating themes and content analysis; Introduction to statistical analysis packages, with particular reference to univariate, bivariate and multivariate methods. Understanding limitations of the research process and ethical considerations. Writing-up and referencing.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:Knowledge-based skills:1) evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches to effective research design;2) identify a range of data acquisition strategies;3) demonstrate an understanding of a selection of quantitative and qualitative techniques;4) identify and critically discuss research processes and relevant ethical issues involved.Practical-based skills:5) adopt a critical approach to the selection and use of business research methods;6) evidence ability to critique secondary sources;7) evidence ability to analyse qualitative and quantitative data;8) develop a research proposal which is capable of identifying a valid and reliable research design. Personal Transferable Skills9) demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to the analysis and resolution of managerial and business problems and issues and offer alternative solutions; 10) be capable of analysing and evaluating the dynamics of the modern business environment, whilst exhibiting a level of both professional and personal communication skills.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module will be offered through a combination of workshops and practicals. These environments will be supported via the VLE GCU Learn which will be used to encourage further reading and to introduce users to on-line sources. A series of student led workshops will be based upon applied research methodology case studies. These workshops will be clustered by themed routes and provide a supportive and collaborative learning environment for all participants. The practicals will allow students to apply their knowledge of statistics gained through both lectures and on-line directed study, to the statistical data analysis package, SPSS and on-line survey generators, e.g. SNAP and SurveyMonkey. The workshops and practicals will allow for on-going formative feedback throughout the academic session to ensure student engagement and understanding with topic areas.

Indicative Reading

Books: Essential: Field, A. (2013) Discovering statistics using SPSS statistics: and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. 4th Edition. Sage: London McMillan, K. & Weyers, J. (2011) How to write dissertations & project reports. 2nd Ed. Prentice-Hall: UK (E-BOOK) Wilson, J. (2010) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project. Sage: London Supplementary: Babbie, E.; Halley, F.; Wagner, W. & Zaino, J. (2010) Adventures in Social Research: Data Analysis using IBM SPSS Statistics, 7th Ed. Pine Forge Press: London. Bell, J. (2010) Doing your research project. 5th Ed. OUP: London (E-BOOK) Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2011) Business Research Methods. 3rd Ed. UK: Oxford Press. Clough, P. & Nutbrown, C. (2012) A Student's Guide to Methodology. 3rd Ed Sage: UK Cottrell, S. (2011) Critical thinking Skills. Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. 2nd Ed. Palgrave Study Skills. Palgrave MacMillan: UK Creswell, J (2008) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. 3rd Ed. Sage: London. Deane, M. (2010) Academic Research, Writing & Referencing. Pearson: UK. Easterby-Smith, M.; Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A. (2012) Management Research: an Introduction. 4 th Ed. Sage: London. Fink, A. (2009) Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Sage: London Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An Essential Guide for Business Students, 3rd Ed. Pearson Education: UK (E-BOOK) Flick, U.; von Kardoff, E. & Steinke, I. (2004) A Companion to Qualitative Research. Sage: London. Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers. 4th Ed. Sage: London. Goldacre, B. (2009) Bad Science. Harper Perennial: London. Gray, C. & Kinnear, P. (2011) IBM SPSS 19 Made Simple. Psychology Press: UK Hubberman, A.M. & Miles, M.B. (2002) A Qualitative Researcher's Companion. Sage: London. Jesson, <http://www.uk.sagepub.com/authorDetails.nav?contribId=643346> J. Matheson, L. & Lacey, F. (2011) Doing Your Literature Review. Traditional and Systematic Techniques. Sage: London (E-BOOK) Kozinets, R.V. (2009) Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online. Sage: UK Levin, P. (2011) Excellent Dissertations! 2nd Ed. McGraw Hill Open University Press: UK (E-BOOK) Miles, M.B. & Hubberman, A.M. (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage: London. d3Dochartaigh, N. (2012) Internet research skills: how to do your literature search and find research information online. 3rd Ed. Sage: London Pears, R & Shields, G. (2010) Cite them right. The essential referencing guide. 8th Ed. Palgrave Study Skills. Palgrave MacMillan: UK Poynter, R. (2010) The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research: Tools and Techniques for Market Researchers. John Wiley & Sons: UK Robson, C. (2011) Real World Research. 3rd Ed. OUP: Oxford. Salkind, N.J. (2010) Statistics for People Who (think they) Hate Statistics. 4th Ed. Sage: UK. Saunders, M.; Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. 6th Ed. Pitman Publishing: London. (E-BOOK) Seale, C.; Gobo, G.; Gubrium, J.F. & Silverman, D. (Eds) (2006) Qualitative research practice. Sage: London. Silverman, D. (2009) Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. 3rd Ed. Sage: London. White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions. Palgrave MacMillan: UK Yin, R K (2009) Case Study Research Design and Methods. 4th Ed. Sage: London Online sources: Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods; Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice; International Journal of Social Research Methodology; International Journal of Research and Method in Education; Research Methodology in Strategy and Management.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Analytical and critical thinking skills Interpretation and critiquing of secondary sources Communication skills (oral and written) including interviewing skills Discussion skills Research Proposal writing Quantitative and qualitative data analysis and problem solving skills Interpersonal skills Time management skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Practicals (FT) 16.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Tutorials (FT) 2.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 70.00 n/a Research Proposal - Week 14
Course Work 01 n/a 30.00 n/a Poster - Week 9