SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN624076
Module Leader Kathryn Boyle
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Human Resource Management
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Programme Entry requirements

Summary of Content

The purpose of the module is to introduce research and consultancy approaches in HR. The module provides knowledge of HR research design across key areas and adopts a critical perspective in comparing and contrasting alternative research paradigms, adopting a reflexive approach to the underlying epistemological and ontological research questions. Through the use of workshop based discussion groups and lab based tutorials the module prepares students for applying their investigative skills and knowledge in HR in an organisational, industry and/or national or international context. Exploring the implications of research topics for theory and practice in HR, the module considers the principal research methodologies in HR research and considers interlocking issues and constraints which researchers may face. Utilising software for generating and analysing data and using examples from recent research conducted by the teaching team, and the wider subject group, enables students to acquire skills in the gathering, analysis and organisation of research materials. Discussion topics and exercises are designed for students to develop the necessary research techniques to conduct high quality independent research evident in the completion of a defined Masters level, HR research project or HR business investigation report. The development of the proposal in this module allows students to prepare for the research by adopting a disciplined, logical and systematic approach to investigating a research or consultancy problem. To successfully undertake this module, learners will critically reflect on and apply theory to practice underpinned by an ethical and professional stance integrating PRME principles in order to provide the opportunity for applied learning and continuous professional development.


Introduction to research The role of theory and research in the context of HR; and awareness of national and international trends in HR Research Background Evaluating secondary sources e.g. both literature based and secondary data; understanding the challenges and limitations of research; ethical and professional considerations Methodology Research philosophies and methodological choices Compare and contrast the relative merits of different research methods and their relevance to different situations Aim and Objectives Generating and refining research aim, objectives and questions Setting and assessing the boundaries of research Research Methods Qualitative and quantitative techniques for generation of empirical data e.g. focus groups, interviews, questionnaires Sampling strategies: identification of research population and sample Data analysis: the use of quantitative and qualitative techniques to reduce, analyse and present data Constructing a clear and written argument By evaluating secondary sources Data retrieval and management Academic writing and writing conventions e.g. citations, referencing Student Conference - presentation of proposal plans to tutors and peers Tutor support meetings (*) (*) Appointments with tutors arranged independently

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:- Identify an HR issue that is of strategic relevance to the organisationCompare and contrast the relative merits of methodological design choices related to HR research topics and contextAnalyse and synthesise a range of information through consideration and evaluation of data collection instruments, sampling strategies and archival data for research purposes in the HR fieldDiscuss the ethical and practical issues and implications of undertaking HR research Discuss data analysis techniques and the presentation of qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate tools including software packagesCritically assess/generate research aim and objectives for specific complex organisational environmentsDesign and scope a research proposal in a scholarly style appropriate for a specific HR topic drawing on appropriate secondary sourcesDemonstrate the ability to plan, execute, analyse and synthesise, and think creatively and independently

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The learning and teaching strategy is driven by a focus on developing critical thinking skills and independent learning, together with HR professional competencies. It is informed by the research work of the research active module team and the wider subject group to provide contemporary examples in HR research. The students are introduced to the field of HR research in a workshop featuring current and contemporary research projects conducted by members of the teaching team. The lectures and seminars are in student-centred classes which are workshop based combining examples of research design and application with the use of relevant research examples to ground concepts and research skills. Interactive classes, discussions, online searching, identification and evaluation of techniques will be focused on the acquisition and development of skills required for independent research. Students can self-evaluate their learning by applying module material to examples of HR research design issued throughout the module. GCU will be used to encourage the development of student-led learning sets. At the end of the taught element of the module, students present an outline of their research topic in a session designed to allow informal formative feedback and discussion with tutors and peers in a supportive learning environment. The summative assessment of the module will be through the identification of a HR research topic, including international where appropriate, and the generation of a research proposal. Flexibility in assessment is offered in student choice of HR research topics across organisational, national and international themes. Assessment of the module is by a Research Proposal of 3000 words. Students receive feedback on the proposal which they can use as the basis of the HRM Research Project module.

Indicative Reading

Additional sources and readings will be available on GCULearn Core/Essential Text: Anderson, V. (2013) Research Methods in Human Resource Management, 3rd ed., CIPD, London Wilson J. (2014) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project, Sage, London Recommended Text: Bee, F. & Bee R. (2005) Managing Information and Statistics, 2nd ed. CIPD, London Bell, J. (2005) Doing your research project. OUP, London Blaxter L, Hughes C and Tight (2010); How to Research; 4th Edition; Open University; Buckingham Bryman, A. & Bell, E. (2011) Business Research Methods.3rd ed. Oxford Press. UK Bryman A (2008); Social Research Methods; 3rd Edition; Oxford University Press; Oxford Cameron, S. & Price, D. (2009) Business Research Methods, a Practical Approach, CIPD, London Coughlan D. & Brannick T (2014) Doing Action Research in your own organization, 4th edition. Sage Publications, London Coughlan D., Drumgoole (eds.) (2004) online resource, Managers Learning in Acton: Management Learning Research and Education, Routledge Creswell, J. (2005) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design. Sage: London. Denzin N K and Lincoln Y S [Eds] (2011); The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research; 4th Edition; Sage Publications; London Denzin N K and Lincoln Y S [Eds] (2008); Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials; Sage Publications; Thousand Oaks California Easterby-Smith M, Thorpe R and Jackson P (2015); Management and Business Research; 5th Edition; Sage; London Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation, 3rd ed. Pearson Education Limited, Harlow. Flick, U. (2014) An Introduction to Qualitative Research, 5th ed Sage, London. Gill, J. & Johnson, P. (2010) Research Methods for Managers. 4th ed. Sage: London. Huberman, A.M. & Miles, M.B. (2002) The Qualitative Researcher's Companion. Sage, London. d3 Dochartaigh, N. (2012) Internet research skills: how to do your literature search and find research information online. 3rd ed; Sage, Thousand Oakes, California Quinton, S. & Smallbone, T. (2006) Postgraduate Research in Business: A Critical Guide. Sage, London Robson C. (2016) Real World Research: A resource for users of social research methods in applied settings, 4th Edition, Wiley, Hoboken. Saunders, M.; Lewis, P. &Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business Students.6th ed. Pitman Publishing, London. *available as an e-book Seale, C. (2007) Qualitative research practice. Sage, London Silverman, D. (2010) Doing qualitative research. Sage, London. Silverman, D. (2011) Interpreting Qualitative Data, 4th edition, Sage, London Stake R. (1995) The Art of Case Study Research, Sage, London Yin R K (2014); Case Study Research: Design and Methods; 5th Edition; Sage Publications; Thousand Oaks California Journals: (selected articles) Academy of Management Journal Academy of Management Review Administrative Science Quarterly Advances in Human Resource Development. British Journal of Industrial Relations California Management Review Creativity & Innovation Management Employee Relations European Management Journal European Journal of Industrial Relations European Journal of Innovation Management Harvard Business Review Human Resource Development International Human Resource Development Quarterly Human Resource Development Review Human Resource Management (USA) Human Resource Management Journal International Journal of Human Resource Management Journal of Change Management Journal of Mixed Methods Research Journal of Organizational Change Management Leadership Organisational Dynamics Organizational Studies Personnel Psychology Qualitative Inquiry Sociological Research online Weblinks Additional web sources may be introduced during the module Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Website <> <> Comprehensive resource funded by ESRC to support researchers. Here you will find a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macro data, business micro data, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011. Please note that where journal articles are indicated as part of key reading they can be accessed through Emerald or Proquest Central on the Library website. A number of digitised readings will also be made available via GCULearn. The library has a subject guide for HRM & D material - books, journals, websites and databases.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Critical thinking Cognitive and intellectual skills Analytical and intuitive/creative thinking Retrieval and synthesis of information Data analysis Written communication skills Independent learning and self-management (including time management in organising, planning and submitting work) Professional and ethical competence Project management and self-reflection

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (PT) 8.00
Assessment (PT) 40.00
Independent Learning (PT) 74.00
Seminars (PT) 12.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 16.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Independent Learning (FT) 74.00
Practicals (PT) 16.00
Lectures (FT) 8.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 0.00 100.00 50% Research Proposal 3000 words. Week 12.