Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (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 2020/21
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 modules.
  • To equip students with the appropriate research methods knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake a research project at Masters level.
  • To enable students to develop a theoretically underpinned analysis based upon empirical research.


  • Understanding what makes a good strategic business project.
  • The Strategic Business Project is an extended, research-based piece of work that may be undertaken in many forms, including a critical review of the literature combined with empirical work, case study, or other scholarly research.
  • The project may cover a wide range of issues, topics or concepts. It normally involves the systematic study of an issue in a particular locality or organisational setting. Students may undertake their Strategic Business Project by working with a host organisation, or by undertaking an issue-led investigation that examines a specific management issue and is not focused on a single organisation.
  • The project can be based on a variety of organisation types, including profit-seeking companies in the manufacturing or service sector; global multinationals; small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), owner-managed firms, nationalised industries; public agencies and local authorities, or non-profit organisations.
  • The proposed project is formally approved by the Programme Director on behalf of the Chair of the Board of Examiners to ensure that the topic is suitable for in-depth investigation before the student commences with the detailed work.
  • The nature of the Strategic Business Project.
  • Identifying a suitable research topic and formulating research questions.
  • Using databases to identify relevant, important literature.
  • Writing an evaluative literature review.
  • Introduction to types of research and research methods in the management context.
  • Qualitative methods, quantitative methods, mixed methods.
  • Understanding of ethical issues in business and management research.
  • Managing a research project.
  • Collecting research data.
  • Analysing and discussing results.
  • Writing up the work.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the business project, the students will have an advanced knowledge and critical appreciation of:
  • how research is conducted in a business and management context;
  • ethical issues in business and management research;
  • how 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:
  • conduct advanced literature searches to identify important literature and research questions in business and management;
  • write an evaluative review of the relevant literature;
  • conduct a Masters-level research project from beginning to end, including the identification of an interesting and practical research question at an appropriate advanced level; selection of a method to answer the question; conducting of research, management of all aspects of the research project; interpretation of the results; ability to identify and manage any ethical issues that might arise.
  • critically apply knowledge and different forms of reasoning to form a discriminating analysis of issues currently being experienced in specific organisational and business contexts;
  • produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue.
Key Skills:
  • Self-organisation, individual initiative and self-motivation, planning, organising, time and deadline management
  • Problem solving and analysis
  • Written communication
  • Computer literacy

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, computer practical sessions, 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