Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module BUSI2311: Business Research Methods and Statistics

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI2311: Business Research Methods and Statistics

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to N201
Tied to N203
Tied to N207
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMVA
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To examine the influential philosophical and epistemological perspectives underpinning research.
  • To provide students with a comprehensive grounding in a variety of research methods in the world of business, including both qualitative and quantitative techniques.
  • To enable students to use a range of perspectives to critically review research studies in terms of theorising, methods and findings.
  • To develop skilled research methods to address complex business problems, both systematically and creatively.
  • To prepare students for the dissertation at Level Three through the development and production of a formal research proposal.


  • Business research - philosophy and process
  • Research methods in the social sciences
  • Developing a research question, undertaking a systematic literature review and selecting an appropriate research strategy
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning
  • The nature of qualitative research
  • Qualitative data collection techniques - ethnography, mobile ethnography, interviews, focus groups, documentary analysis, content analysis, surveys, etc.
  • Working with qualitative data – coding techniques, interpretation, NVivo, etc.
  • Quantitative data collection techniques – as above, plus scaling, psychometrics, experimentation, behavioural coding, etc.
  • Levels of measurement
  • Descriptive and inferential statistics
  • Non-parametric and parametric techniques
  • Quantitative data analysis in SPSS – correlation, regression, ANOVA, t-tests, etc.
  • Identifying, using and critiquing secondary data sources
  • Documenting, reporting and disseminating research
  • Ethical issues in business research

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and competence in collecting data and using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques.
  • Understand the importance of ethics in research and know how to approach ethical issues in research design and planning.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • At the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Design initial research and investigation.
  • Understand the implications of different approaches and designs of research and investigation for meaning and method.
  • Design and conduct small-scale research investigations, including gathering of appropriate primary and secondary data from business and other sources.
  • Select appropriate methods, conduct analyses of data and draw inferences using statistical, mathematical and qualitative techniques as appropriate.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to access data and information from a range of sources.
  • Ability to analyse and present quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Ability to self-manage and reflect on their own performance.
  • Ability to exercise effective time management.
  • Ability to assess the quality of research conducted by others.

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

  • The module will be delivered by means of a series of lectures and practical workshops, supported by guided reading and online learning materials. Lectures explore philosophical, epistemological and conceptual input to students’ research training. The accompanying workshops provide opportunities for experiential learning, exploring in-depth specific research and data analysis methods, especially quantitative techniques using quantitative and qualitative software packages (e.g. SPSS), in a ‘laboratory-type’ setting.
  • The summative assessment on this module involves the development and submission of a formal dissertation proposal in order that students completing are fully prepared for, and have received detailed feedback on, the proposed research project undertaken at Level Three.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 hours 20
Workshops 5 Fortnightly 2 hours 10
Drop-in Clinics 1 One per term 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation Proposal 3000 words max 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Formative exercises will be embedded into all workshops to provide continuous assessment and feedback on students’ developing research and data analysis skills. In addition, all students will produce a short initial research plan including an ethical statement and risk assessment (1000 words max.) outlining their intended dissertation topic.

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