Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI5A615: Research Methods (ONLINE)

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI5A615: Research Methods (ONLINE)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N2K307
Tied to N5K107
Tied to N6K107
Tied to N1KY07
Tied to N2K507
Tied to N5K407
Tied to N1N107
Tied to N6K207
Tied to N5K507


  • 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; computer literacy.

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

  • The module is delivered via online learning, divided up into study weeks with specially produced resources within each week. Resources vary according to the learning outcomes but normally include: video content, directed reading, reflection through activities, opportunities for self-assessment and peer-to-peer learning within a tutor-facilitated discussion board. Tutors provide feedback on formative work and facilitate discussion board communication as well as being available for individual consultation as necessary (usually by email and Skype). 
  • The summative assessment of the module is designed to test the acquisition and articulation of knowledge and critical understanding, and skills of application and interpretation within the business context.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Video content, directed reading, self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading 150
Total 150

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

A written assignment of 1,500 words, or its multimedia equivalent, which may involve some group work.

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