Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI49L60: Research Design Workshop (Level 4)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI49L60: Research Design Workshop (Level 4)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1A360 Doctor of Business Administration


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To ensure that students are familiar with relevant and rigorous theories of organisations ranging from theories of: organisational change, organisation ecology, theories of leadership, and power, control and resistance in Organisations
  • To ensure that students are aware of some of the neighbouring theories that can supply additional insights and/or research methods.
  • To develop a Level 4 integration of students’ field knowledge.
  • To develop students’ ability to tell apart poorly and well conducted research, and Understand what research questions can be answered rigorously and scientifically.
  • To develop students’ ability to identify suitable research methods to answer given research questions rigorously.
  • To develop students’ ability to appreciate ethical issues in research


  • Models and methods
  • Logic and argumentation
  • Suitability of different analytical methodologies
  • Observation plans
  • Data structures
  • Data collection methods: Participant and non-participant observation; Unstructured, semi structured and structured interviews; survey data; archival data
  • Ethical challenges associated with the conduct of research into organisations
  • Under supervision, students will deliver the most up to date overview of their field and an up to date survey of neighbouring fields together with an empirical pilot study

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have an up-to-date knowledge of relevant theory fragments
  • Have an overview of neighbouring theories
  • Understand research methods
  • Have an understanding of subject specific research design and its implications
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of key methodological considerations
  • Understand limitations on data availability and research access
  • Understand the time demand of different data collection methods
  • Understand issues concerning research and confidentiality
  • Understand ethical challenges associated with the conduct of research into organisations, and the appropriate responses
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to critically assess existing research
  • Ability to understand novel theory
  • Ability to apply theories to generate novel understanding and predictions
Key Skills:
  • Ability to make an initial formulation and articulation of a research problem
  • Ability to understand how the research problem is developed into a set of research questions
  • The ability to evaluate the research that answers a particular research question
  • Ability to evaluate data coding
  • Ability to assess the data analysis

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

  • The module will be delivered in a workshop format over two intensive three-day teaching blocks. Workshops will bring the students through all the relevant phases of research design.
  • By commenting on each other’s suggestions students will acquire both the capability and the attitude to critically evaluate and improve research designs
  • Learning will also occur through tutor-supported, as well as self-support learning groups. There will also be on-line teaching support through a module blog. Finally, the module enables the students to develop their own research design.
  • The assessment of the module is by a 10,000 word essay based on an extensive literature review and field knowledge. The assessment is designed to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter and their ability to articulate a researchable issue.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop (see above) 6 Daily 8 hours 48
Tutor-supported Learning Group Varies As needed 52
Research design 250
Preparation & Reading 250
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Written assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment based on an extensive literature review and field knowledge 10,000 words (maximum) 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive the RDW assignment brief and pre-reading at least 2-weeks prior to the module being delivered and will produce a formative piece of work in preparation for the main module assignment. When in attendance at the module, students will be required to deliver an individual presentation to a group of Module Leaders, relevant Faculty and members of their respective cohort and feedback will be provided.

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