Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module BUSI5A615: Research Methods (DL)

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI5A615: Research Methods (DL)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To give students an in-depth understanding of key principles of research design and strategy in business and management, including the process of formulating researchable problems.


  • Introduction to research methods
  • Choosing the right method for your research
  • Introduction to qualitative research
  • Designing and conducting interview research
  • Analysing and writing up qualitative research
  • Designing case studies
  • Questionnaire survey design
  • Self-administered questionnaire surveys
  • Quantitative data analysis

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 from across the social sciences, including an understanding of how to apply and critique the concepts of generalisability, validity, reliability and replicability from a variety of methodological perspectives;
  • An advanced knowledge of the nature, scope and relationships between quantitative and qualitative research methods in Business and Management and their appropriate selection and use;
  • An understanding of the possible relations between data collection, sampling and theory-generation;
  • Familiarity with a wide range of methods for data gathering including questionnaires, primary and secondary sources and various methods for recording qualitative data;
  • Familiarity with a wide range of methods of data analysis including the use of qualitative and quantitative data sets, descriptive statistics and the use, modelling and interpretation of multivariate statistics;
  • Familiarity with a wide range of techniques for the collection of qualitative data, including observation, interviewing and documentary approaches; and a range of techniques for their analysis, including content analysis and discourse analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students should have:
  • The ability to formulate research questions, devise and where appropriate test hypotheses, identify and where appropriate correct for bias and error, and interpret and evaluate research results;
  • Developed skills in devising, structuring and managing a research project and presenting research findings.
Key Skills:
    Written communication; planning, organising and time management; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; numeracy; computer literacy.

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

  • The learning outcomes will be met through a combination of learning material, self assessed exercises and a formative assignment on key topical issues, together with guided reading.
  • On the DL MA Programme each module is delivered in discrete Units which are equivalent to a lecture session. A DL Unit normally consists of specially written material, directed reading, reflection through self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading.
  • Each student is allocated a Tutor for each Module. The Tutor is tasked with providing feedback on formative work and is available for individual consultation as necessary. Tutoring is normally provided at a distance and may be conducted by email, telephone, post or fax.
  • The DL Programme also offers annual residential seminars which provide the opportunity for DL students to interface with members of Faculty, meet Tutors and to interact with other students.
  • The assessment of the module, by a research plan, is designed to:
  • test the aquisition and articulation of knowledge;
  • test conceptual understanding and skills of application and interpretation within the business context.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Units 9 108
Tutorials 5
Preparation and reading 37
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Research plan Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research plan 3000 words (maximum) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Written assignment of 1,500 words (maximum)

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