NX9550 - Business Research Methods

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What will I learn on this module?

This module provides an introduction to research methods and research skills. Themes addressed will typically draw from the following:

• Conducting a critical literature review
• The role of quantitative and qualitative research methods
• Qualitative research methods – interviewing and observation, analysing qualitative data
• Quantitative research methods – data collection and statistical analysis
• Developing a research question
• Ethics in research
• Structuring a research proposal


You will learn about qualitative and quantitative research skills including collecting and analysing data. You will have the opportunity to consider your own research ideas within your organisation, to conduct and critique existing literature, to understand and analyse appropriate research methods, and to identify the significance of your research interests. Furthermore you will be encouraged to consider your role as a researcher and the ethical considerations in the research process.

Through addressing these themes you will also learn the significance of research proposals as well as how to structure them. To support you in this you will complete a research proposal based on an issue to research in your employer organisation which you will identify yourself. This proposal will then be used to guide you when completing future research projects during your final year of study.

How will I learn on this module?

This module is based on a work-based learning approach in which learning is applied to, and occurs in, your organisation, This module is designed to develop your knowledge of research methods and skills, and to develop your awareness of organisational issues of potential relevance for investigation.

You will be provided with a learning plan, which will provide an overview of the module, clarify arrangements for assessment, and provide details of learning activities as well as providing a reading list to support you in your learning.

The module is delivered in multiple ways depending on the study programme you join, and these include:

Scheduled taught sessions and workshops: For those studying on full-time or part-time programmes, these will introduce data collection and analysis approaches and methods for both qualitative and quantitative research. You will also be encouraged to be reflective and to consider your role as a researcher, understanding the practicalities of the process as well as the significance of maintaining an ethical approach.
If you study the module on a distance learning programme you will engage in similar activities provided through the University online eLearning portal, where contact with the tutors and other students will be facilitated through email and/or online discussion forums.

Directed learning: A wide range of module specific self-supported learning materials will be provided, such as questions for consideration and peer group discussions will be used throughout the course of the studying this module.

Independent learning: You will also be encouraged to engage in wider reading beyond the learning materials provided, particularly in relation to the potential topics for the proposal to be focused on. You will engage in discussions with your employer regarding potential issues for investigation, to ensure that they are relevant and to help in appreciating the extent to which you would face access issues and other practical challenges, if you were to subsequently conduct the full study in your final year of the programme.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Taught or online sessions will introduce you to academic theory, models and concepts, which you will then be encouraged to conceptualise by applying this theory to your own personal and organisational practice. These sessions will concentrate on enhancing skills in reviewing literature, determining appropriate methods for particular research questions, developing and applying interview and observation techniques and analysing both qualitative and quantitative data. You will be expected to invest time in directed learning, mainly preparing for these sessions, of which guidance will be provided in advance.

An online e-learning portal will be used to encourage individual and group contributions to critical debate on key topics and issues. Materials, questionnaires and discussion group work will be available on the e-learning portal to support and engage you. To support and embed the learning, provide the opportunity for reflection and encourage effective communication, you will also engage in discussion forums via the University's e-Learning platform. This will include posing and answering topic specific questions posed by the tutor and peer group and providing peer group formative feedback. You will also be encouraged to use email and the discussion board tool to clarify any issues or queries that you may have.

You will also be supported by a member of the programme team, (either during taught or online sessions, or activities outside of these) in developing ideas for your research proposal and will also be encouraged to seek support from colleagues at your employer organisation, to help ensure the relevance and value of the study and therefore provide you with opportunities to contribute effectively in the workplace.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1) Your appreciation of methods of enquiry into business-related issues/projects

2) Your awareness of the limitations of your knowledge of organisational issues/practices and how this may influence your research proposal

Intellectual/Professional skills and abilities:
3) Your ability to produce a research proposal into an organisational issue, informed by your knowledge of methods of enquiry

Personal Values attributes:
4) Your appreciation of how ethical issues may impact on enquiry-based research studies

How will I be assessed?

The assessment is in the form of a 2,000 word research proposal demonstrating the application of skills developed throughout the module and a rigorous approach.

(This will address all module learning outcomes)

You will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback within scheduled or online sessions, addressing your chosen topic and proposed approach. A detailed overview of the suggested structure for the proposal will be provided in the assessment brief.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

“Research Methods” is designed to provide you with an introduction to research methods, to begin to develop your research skills and to consider yourself in the role of researcher. The module enables direct application of theory to your organisational context, as you begin to consider the potential issues for investigation and develop your understandings of their significance as well as the most suitable ways to approach them. Through completing the module you will develop your awareness of organisational issues as well as your analytical skills. Furthermore, the assessment will develop your awareness of the research process in preparation of completing your study in the final year of your programme. The module will also support the enhancement of your future employability prospects through developing your capability to conduct business research and therefore contribute more effectively in the workplace.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years by distance learning with exemptions for experience and prior qualification

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

Fee Information

Module Information

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