Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Business School (Business)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 100 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to N500
Tied to N506
Tied to N508
Tied to NN12
Tied to N205
Tied to N208


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To challenge students to undertake a substantial research project on an approved topic of interest and present their findings and conclusions in an extended and coherent piece of work.
  • To develop students' abilities to plan and manage their own learning at an advanced level.
  • To facilitate students' development of research skills and provide the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a specialised topic in Business/Marketing as appropriate.
  • To enable students to become members of a learning community engaged in leading edge business research
  • To address the reflective, analytical, worldly, collaborative and action mindsets at a high and sustained level


  • The topic and scope of the project will be decided in consultation with an appropriate member of staff, should be of relevance to Business/Marketing as appropriate, and is subject to approval.
  • Workshop activities will address advanced issues of methodology and method, data gathering and data analysis, reviewing literature, structure and presentation of argument, academic writing

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • have acquired extended knowledge of a relevant topic of interest.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • have further developed their skills of independent research and project management in complex and specialised contexts
  • be able to present and analyse complex data in a clear and appropriate manner.
  • be able to present arguments and conclusions in an extended and coherent form using a range of critical perspectives.
  • be able to use their research findings to identify implications for business and communicate them with a business audience.
  • be able to apply ethical principles in their approach to research and dissemination.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to think critically and creatively and argue coherently
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing on specialised subject areas
  • Advanced skills of planning, organisation and time management
  • Problem solving and analytical skills in complex, unpredictable and specialised contexts
  • Use of initiative in specialised contexts
  • Ability to make effective use of IT systems, including accessing literature and other sources via electronic means and using appropriate computer-based methods of analysis
  • Self-management and demonstration of ability to sustain effort at a high level over an extended period

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

  • Lists of relevant topics and supervision teams proposed by Business School research groups will be published each year . Students will 'bid' for these projects and will need to satisfy the supervisory team of their competence. Alternatively students may propose their own topic, subject to approval and appropriate supervisory capacity.
  • Learning will be facilitated by workshops, tutorials and support for private study. This will include support from the Doctoral Training Unit and Business School research seminars.
  • Formative assessment will be by means of preparation of a research proposal and plan, an initial structured literature review and a draft methodology chapter. Summative assessment is through a thesis (25,000 words maximum), a conference paper (3000 - 5000 words) and a presentation (15 minutes plus Q&A). Students will have individual consultation sessions with named dissertation supervisors throughout the year.
  • The conference paper will be published internally via a student-run journal and web site.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops 4 Varies 1.5 hour 6
Tutorials 15 Initial meeting at end of year 3, 5-6 per term, by agreement with tutors in terms 1 and 2, plus 2 meetings in final term 1 hour 15
Research Conference 1 Term 3 8 hours 8
Preparation, fieldwork and Reading 971
Total 1000

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Thesis 25,000 words max 100% Same
Component: Conference paper Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Conference paper 3000 - 5000 words 100% Same
Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation - Departmental Research Conference 15 mins plus Q&A 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Research proposal and plan, 1000 - 1500 words; Draft literature review chapter, 8000 - 10,000 words; Draft methodology chapter, 3000 words.

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