Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module BUSI40I60: Dissertation with Research Methods

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI40I60: Dissertation with Research Methods

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1K607
Tied to N1K507
Tied to N1K307
Tied to N1KL07


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level of an issue which is applicable and relevant to their degree subject. The positioning of the dissertation at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and optional modules.
  • To equip students with an in-depth understanding of key principles of research design and methodology in business and management, and to develop their skills in conducting and disseminating research at an advanced level.


  • Research methods:
  • introduction: approach to social research;
  • formulating a research question;
  • developing a research strategy that fits your question;
  • the nature of qualitative research;
  • the nature of quantitative research;
  • an overview of data gathering methods, including interviews, questionnaires and experiments;
  • the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data;
  • ethics of research.
  • Planning and managing a research project.
  • The dissertation topic is chosen by the student and formally approved by the Board of Examiners. It should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation, and relevant to their degree subject.

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 in business and management;
  • knowledge of the facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtaining relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation;
  • a critical understanding of a relevant topic through utilisation of appropriate techniques of research and analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • be able to conduct research into business and management issues through research design, use of appropriate methods, data collection, synthesis and reporting;
  • be able to organise, structure and manage a business research project effectively at an advanced level;
  • be able to critically evaluate published research and assess its relevance to a chosen research project.
Key Skills:
    Written communication of research on a chosen topic to a relevant audience(s);
Key Skills:
    Planning, organising and time management; 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

  • A combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and guided reading addressing key topics in research will equip students with the relevant knowledge and understanding.
  • The formative assessment requires students to write a research proposal including a literature review. Students then work independently on their research, analysis and writing up, under the guidance of a supervisor. In addition to the dissertation students also produce a short summative assignment providing a business perspective on their research findings.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 Fortnightly 1 hour 4
Individual supervision 6 As necessary 0.5 hour 3
Workshop 1 N/A 6 hours 6
Reading, preparation, research, analysis and writing up 567
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 10,000 words (maximum) 100%
Component: Individual written assignment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment providing a business perspective on research findings 1000 words (maximum) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Individual research proposal including literature review (2500 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