Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module BUSI40030: Methods of Organisational Inquiry

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI40030: Methods of Organisational Inquiry

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None
Tied to N1KB07
Tied to N1KC07
Tied to N1KG07
Tied to N1DL07
Tied to N1DE07
Tied to N1DB07
Tied to N1KR07
Tied to N1KS07


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • 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.
  • Enable students to understand the significance of alternative epistemological positions that provide the context for theory construction, research design, and the selection of appropriate analytical techniques in business and management research.
  • Develop students' competency in understanding and applying a range of research methods, and their transferable skills and capabilities for managing research, handling data, conducting and disseminating research through professional and ethical practice.
  • Allow students to critically evaluate the academic issues of entrepreneurship and enterprise, and critique their appropriateness and application within a specialised organisational environment context.


  • The content of this module is set within a specialist organisational environment perspective and includes the following areas:
  • Undertaking research in business and management;
  • Making use of library facilities, databases and other learning resources;
  • Planning a research project;
  • The dissertation and the research process;
  • Application of advanced principles, concepts and methods to select a topic;
  • An awareness of alternative research approaches: Inductive or Deductive; Qualititative and Quantitative; Using tools for quantitative analysis; Case studies and text analysis;
  • Selection of the appropriate research approach to match the chosen topic;
  • Managing and researching knowledge inside organisations;
  • Growth, development, creativity and innovation;
  • Personal development;
  • The impact of public sector policy.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have an advanced understanding and awareness of the nature and scope of research in a specialised organisational environment;
  • Have a critical appreciation of the organisation, structure and management of a complex research project;
  • Have advanced familiarity with the specialist facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtaining relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation;
  • Have a critical appreciation of the nature of enterprises in terms of size, structure and behavioural aspects within a specialist organisational environment;
  • Have an advanced knowledge and critical appreciation of traditional and emergent issues in entrepreneurship - e.g. social and gender issues - and their application in a specialist organisational environment;
  • Have an advanced knowledge and critical appreciation of traditional and emergent organisational issues in relation to the nature of the specialist route of their qualification.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Have further developed advanced skills of inquiry, research design, data collection and information retrieval, bibliographic search, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation, self-discipline and time management;
  • Be able to produce a literature review in the area of a specialised organisational environment appropriate to a masters level programme.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication; planning and organising; problem solving and analysis; using initiative; 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 lectures and guided reading addressing key topics in research.
  • The assessment of the module, by written assignments, is designed to:
  • Test the acquisition and articulation of knowledge relating to research methodologies, and the development and articulation of research design;
  • Test conceptual understanding and skills of application and interpretation within a specialised organisational environment;
  • Test the capacity to examine a range of literature on specialized area and be able to communicate the results of this work to peers in a manner appropriate to the subject area;
  • The group work carried out within the lectures and in the group tutorials is designed to enhance the capacity to be effective within a team environment and to value individuals' contributions in group processes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 days Part Residential 32 hours 32
Group Tutorials 4 days (8 hours) 1 per month 32 hours 38
Individual Tutorials 2 1 per month 6 hours 12
Preparation and Reading 218
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment on Research Methods 3,000 words 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment on specialised organisational environment 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback will be given on the results of the literature search.

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