Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4P060: Strategic Business Project (EBS)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4P060: Strategic Business Project (EBS)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1T817


  • 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 business and/or management. The positioning at the end of the programme is intended to promote integration of material covered in the core and elective phases.
  • To equip students with the appropriate research methods knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake a research project at Masters level.
  • The strategic business project should be theoretically underpinned and should normally involve undertaking empirical research, but students could also choose to write a conceptual piece that draws upon academic literature or employ or improve an analytical model.


  • The nature of the Strategic Business Project.
  • How to use databases to identify the important literature.
  • How to write an evaluative literature review.
  • How to formulate research questions.
  • Introduction to research methods in the management context.
  • Types of research.
  • How to collect data for your research.
  • Ethical issues in business and management research.
  • How to analyse and discuss your results.
  • How to manage a research project.
  • Writing up your work; what makes a good strategic business project.
  • Students can choose to pursue a Strategic Business Project in two ways, either by working with a host organisation, or an issue-led investigation which is not focused on just one organisation but instead examines a specific management issue.
  • The topic (which is formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners) should be one that is suitable for in-depth investigation.
  • MBA projects of this nature have typically been based in a wide variety of organisations, including: profit-seeking companies in both manufacturing and the service sector; nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities; non-profit seeking organisations; global multinationals; and owner-managed small firms.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • have a critical appreciation of how research is conducted in a business and management context.
  • have a critical appreciation of ethical issues in business and management research.
  • be able to critically analyse a specific issue or area of business or management in depth and to explore its significance in practice.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should:
  • be able to conduct advanced literature searches to identify important literature and research questions in business and management;
  • be able to write an evaluative review of the relevant literature;
  • be able to conduct a Masters-level research project from beginning to end. This involves the following: identifying an interesting and practical research question at an appropriate advanced level; choosing a method for answering the question; conducting the research, including managing all aspects of the research project; interpreting the results; being able to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
  • be able to critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts;
  • be able to produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication
  • Planning, organising and time management
  • Problem solving and analysis
  • Using initiative
  • Computer literacy
  • Skills of self-organisation and motivation in managing time and activities in working to a deadline

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

  • Learning outcomes are met through classroom-based workshops, supported by online resources. The workshops consist of a combination of taught input, groupwork, case studies and discussion. Online resources provide preparatory material for the workshops – typically consisting of directed reading and video content.
  • Additionally, students have individual meetings with their appointed supervisor, up to 8 but normally 5-6. These meetings enable the supervisor to monitor the student progress towards the achievement of the learning outcomes.
  • Students will receive formative feedback on a draft of one chapter of the strategic business project.
  • The summative assessment includes a 2500-word Research Proposal (20%), the purpose of which is to assist students in preparing for the Strategic Business Project (80%). This is a 15,000-word document that tests students’ acquisition of relevant subject-specific knowledge and skills and their ability to apply these, and appropriate key skills, in the context of a Masters-level research project.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (combination of lectures, groupwork, case studies and discussion) 14 Over two 3-day teaching blocks and one 1-day teaching block 4.5 hrs 63
Individual supervisions Normally 5-6 4
Webinars / online videos 4
Research, preparation, reading and writing up 529
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Business Project Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Strategic Business Project 15,000 words max 100% Same
Component: Research Proposal Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Proposal 2,500 words (max) 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive formative feedback on a draft of one chapter of the strategic business project.

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