RESEARCH METHODS

SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MMN224271
Module Leader Fiona Skillen
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
Trimesters
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

UK Honours degree or equivalent

Summary of Content

The purpose of this module is to develop advanced skills related to a range of contemporary research methods needed for academic and practical research at a Masters level. Students should be able to critically evaluate new concepts, ideas and evidence from a range of sources and crucially transfer their skills into practice. Emphasis is placed on written and oral presentation skills at advanced management level. The module further enables students from a range of disciplines within the overall range of taught masters' programmes within the GSBS to engage with a variety of possible research approaches and methods. Lectures underpin the basic core principles and allow for an understanding of the intricacies and complex relationships between components of the research process. Labs allow for the development of practical skills while seminars facilitate contextualised problem-based learning and experiential learning to ensure reflection, synthesis and reflexive learning.

Syllabus

-2784 Week 1: Introduction: Lectures Only Lecture: Defining the Research Problem Lecture: Critical Literature Review Week 2: Lecture: Research Philosophies Lecture: Research Strategies Seminar: Defining the Research Problem & Critical Literature Review Exercise Week 3: Lecture: Research Ethics Lecture: Sampling Seminar Research Philosophies & Research Strategies Exercise Week 5: Lecture: Collecting and using Quantitative data 1 Lecture: Collecting and using Quantitative data 2 Seminar: Research Ethics Exercise Week 6: Lecture: Collecting and using Qualitative data 1 Lecture: Collecting and using Qualitative data 2 Seminar: Sampling Exercise Lab 1 Week 7: Lecture: Writing a Research Proposal & Managing a Research Project 1 Lecture Writing a Research Proposal & Managing a Research Project 2 -2784 Seminar: Collecting and using Qualitative Data Exercise Lab 2 Week 8: Seminar: Thinking about your proposal exercise 1: What's the problem? (Including support in seminars from the Learning Development Centre). Students will be required to bring a draft of their research problem to the seminar. Lab 3 Week 9 Seminar: Thinking about your proposal exercise 2: From research problem to research questions. Students will be required to bring a draft of their research questions to the seminar. Week 10 Seminar: Thinking about your proposal exercise 3: Research strategy and research methods. Students will be required to bring a draft rationale for their methodology to the seminar. Week 11 & 12 -2784 Seminars Only: Assessed research proposal presentations - These allow students to develop/demonstrate important communication and dissemination skills in presenting their proposed research. They also provide the opportunity for formative feedback from peers (enhancing skills in critically evaluating others' research) Tutors will assess the presentations and students can use this feedback to enhance their final research proposal.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate advanced working knowledge of a range of key concepts, qualitative and quantitative research methods available to researchers.2. Identify and clearly formulate a research topic in the context of particular research area of study.3. Critically evaluate literature, select and utilise appropriate methodologies in the formulation of an individual research proposal for a Masters dissertation.4. Control, organize, communicate and analyse qualitative and quantitative research findings in an efficient and effective manner.5. Apply the forgoing skill to the research proposal for the MSc dissertation.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The teaching and learning strategy will utilize lectures, computing labs, group discussions and presentations from experts in individual fields to support the learning process. Conceptual and framework material will be introduced within the lectures and students will be given directed reading of relevant journals and higher level textbooks to analyse prior to the seminar sessions to ensure the process of deepening engagement. GCU Learn will be utilized as appropriate. -2784 There will be two distinct stages to the teaching and learning strategy. The first stage will be focused upon the delivery of lectures outlining basic core principles and allows for an understanding of the intricacies and complex relationships between components of the research process itself. Students will be encouraged to contextualise this material in seminars and labs by following a series of core seminar exercises. This will ensure that students have a comprehensive grounding in the fundamentals of research methods before they begin working on their proposals in seminar groups in the second stage of the module. The module has been designed for delivery in the following modes: a) Lectures delivered on campus; b) Distance learning using GCU Learn wih tutor support and Web-access to library resources. Every student will receive a comprehensive study guide in the form of a module handbook with additional contextualised reading. Feedback strategy - Aims Students will be provided with feedback within three weeks of submission. The feedback that they receive is designed to: A: Facilitate the development of self-assessment; B: Encourage dialogue; C: Clarify good performance; D: Provide opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance; E: Deliver high quality information about individual learning; F: Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem; G: Provide information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching. In order to achieve these aims, the following strategies will be adopted by this module: A: Facilitating the development of self-assessment The assessment requirements will be discussed in the introduction to the module. Students will be asked to reflect on the standard of their work. B: Encouraging dialogue Students are encouraged to discuss their comments with lecturers, arrange meetings with academic advisors to review performance. C: Clarifying good performance Students will be provided with information about marking criteria. They will also be provided with examples of assessments to review in order to identify and clarify good performance (as per A). D: Providing opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance Students may find it helpful to identify actions points based on the feedback they have received in seminars. E: Delivering high quality information about individual learning Feedback will be provided within 3 weeks of submission, covering strengths, weaknesses and corrective advice. F: Encouraging positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem Feedback will be designed to encourage and be constructive. G: Providing information to teachers that can be used to help shape the teaching Students, if they wish, may identify where they are having difficulties when they hand in their assignments. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing.

Indicative Reading

-2784 Bryman, A. and Bell, E., Business Research Methods, (2011) Oxford University Press. Easterby-Smith, M; Thorpe, R; Lowe, A (2009) "Management research : An introduction", Sage. Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An essential guide for business students, Pearson Education. Jesson, J., Matheson, L. and Lacey, F. M. (2011) Doing Your Literature Review, London: Sage. Matthews, B. and Ross, L. (2010) Research Methods for Social Sciences, Pearson. -2784 Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J., (2010) Practical Research: Planning and Design, Pearson. Remenyi, D. (2012) Case study Research: The quick guide, Academic Publishing International. Remenyi, D. and Bannister, F. (2012) Writing up your research for a dissertation or thesis, Academic Publishing International. Seale, C. (2012) Researching Society and Culture. Sage. Sounders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A., (2009) Research Methods for Business Students, Prentice Hall

Transferrable Skills

In addition to the attainment of learning outcomes students will develop personal transferable skills in self management, advanced writing, case study analysis, use of quantitative methods, problem solving and critical thinking. They will seek to encapsulate clear, progressive conceptual approaches and thinking to research projects, while developing a mature and concise academic style of writing. In addition, the students will be able to identify the threats to the validity of research and will develop the ability to scrutinise and evaluate data, research methods and research findings. On completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate an enhanced ability to: 1. Evaluate academic papers. 2. Produce written work of good academic standard. 3. Engage in two way oral communication in discussion with a peer group. 4. Evaluate and select from a range of methodological approaches and provide relevant justification. 5. Perform effectively in the areas of data and time management.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 22.00
Lectures (FT) 14.00
Independent Learning (FT) 108.00
Practicals (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FDL) 50.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Independent Learning (FDL) 150.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 75.00 45% Research Proposal (3000 words)
Coursework 1 n/a 25.00 45% 10 minute proposal presentation and submission of annotated slides