Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI48Y15: RESEARCH METHODS (MSc Management - Finance)

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI48Y15: RESEARCH METHODS (MSc Management - Finance)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N2P209


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with an introduction to a variety of research methods in the social sciences, including both qualitative and quantitative methods
  • To enable students to use a range of perspectives to critically review research studies in terms of theorising, methods and findings
  • To develop skills research methods to address complex organisational problems, both systematically and creatively.


  • Introduction: approaches to social research;
  • Formulating a research question: conducting a literature review, and developing a research strategy that fits your question;
  • The nature of qualitative research;
  • The nature of quantitative research;
  • Data gathering methods (incl. interviews and focus groups, and archive document collection; survey and experiment designs, and panel data)
  • Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data (incl., respectively, t-tests, correlations and regressions, as well as panel data; interview transcripts and document analysis);
  • Ethics of research.
  • Planning and managing a research project.

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 data collection methods for obtaining relevant data to facilitate an empirical investigation;
  • a critical understanding of data analysis techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, that are relevant to a given topic;
  • a critical understanding of the principles of research design proposals;
  • an advanced knowledge of statistical analysis for finance, including regression analysis, cross-sectional data analysis, and panel data analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should have:
  • The ability to apply relevant knowledge to critically analyse existing research, in terms of method and the veracity of the findings.
  • The ability to construct a viable research proposal, including theorising anticipated relationships among variables and/or exploratory research questions; feasible and appropriate data collection and data analysis methods.
  • The ability to select from a toolkit of techniques in research inquiry, identifying advantages and disadvantages, and opportunities and problems, associated with different methods.
Key Skills:
  • Planning and organising;
  • using initiative;
  • computer literacy;
  • numeracy;
  • written communication of research on a chosen topic;
  • time management
  • self-discipline;
  • problem solving and analysis.

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

  • The module combines a range of approaches to learning and teaching. Students take part in research methods seminars and lectures to provide a foundation for the preparation of the research proposal element of the module and also to ensure that they have the option to complete a dissertation, or business project, or placement.
  • The assessment is closely linked to the learning and allows the students to learn from planning a viable research proposal.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 weekly 2 hours 18
Seminars 4 fortnightly 1 hour 4
Computer workshops 4 fortnightly 1 hour 4
Preparation and reading 124
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Written Assignment Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual research proposal 1500 words (maximum) 100%
Component: Individual Written Assignment Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Critical review of a relevant research article 500 words (maximum) 100%

Formative Assessment:

A group presentation, delivered in the final seminar, on how to design a research study into one of three typical research questions for the student’s discipline (questions to be released to the students with three weeks’ notice). The presentation should incorporate a very brief summary of the relevant literature to the research question selected (definitions, key previous findings), the data to be collected (e.g. interviews; surveys; experiments) and likely methods of analysis, including techniques to be used (e.g. template analysis; linear regressions).

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