The University of Southampton
Courses

MANG2064 Business Research

Module Overview

Organisations exist in dynamic environments, which mean that frequent changes need to be made to remain competitive. This requires managers to make important decisions which can ‘make or break’ an organisation. These decisions need to be based on sound evidence and critical analysis in order to ensure that the changes are appropriate and are likely to contribute to an organisation’s success. Subsequently, the need to design, execute and understand the outcomes of research projects is crucial to managers and their organisations. Using a portfolio of innovative content, including online theoretical and practical lectures, supporting workshops, and input from leaders in consultancy and business research, students will become acutely aware of the importance of undertaking research in business, how to design research projects, collect data and undertake analysis. This module will also prepare students with the skills necessary to design and successfully complete their own research project, which will take the form of a dissertation in the final year. Students attending an Erasmus exchange in Part 2, Semester 2 of a programme where this module is compulsory to the programme, are required to study this module during their exchange

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to provide insight into the research process through the context of business and management. Specifically, it will outline the importance of undertaking research by organisations to examine themselves, competitors, markets, products and services. The module aims to provide insight into how research projects are designed; different approaches to research, using quantitative and qualitative techniques; in addition to different types of data. For example: historical documents, primary questionnaires, open data, face-to-face interviews, participant observation and netography. Students will develop an appreciation of the different advantages and disadvantages in using various approaches from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The module will also enable students to develop analytical skills and the ability to scrutinise the design and delivery of other research projects. The importance of ethics in research will also be central to understanding how to develop appropriate research projects which do not place stakeholders at risk.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The importance of business research to organisations, to retain and develop competitive advantages;
  • The relationship between theory, hypothesis, research questions, investigation and analysis;
  • Different research paradigms, with their divergent assumptions on what constitutes valid knowledge and how it can be reliably gained;
  • The principal methods of business research using both quantitative and qualitative modes of analysis, in particular archival data, surveys, qualitative interviews, focus groups, netography and ethnographic research.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret the results of data analysis, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of different methods;
  • Prepare an effective research proposal, formulate research questions, and choose appropriate methods of data collection and analysis.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply numeracy and quantitative analysis skills;
  • Apply critical analytical skills on research projects;
  • Plan and control effectively for successful completion of workload;
  • Communicate effectively in writing, using and justifying argument within reports.

Syllabus

The topics covered in this module will include: - The role and importance of research in contemporary organisations to understand clients and consumers; - Motivations behind the use of research and how it is used to derive a competitive advantage; - The development of literature reviews to inform research projects; - Framing research needs, aims and research questions; - Appropriate design, planning and delivery of research projects; - How to critique research plans and projects; - Sources of data available to researchers and how to generate primary material; - Qualitative and quantitative data – modes of data collection; - Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data; - Practical issues in research and ‘best practice’; - Research ethics.

Special Features

This module will draw upon a blended learning model to enhance student engagement and to provide additional access to relevant resources. Subsequently, students will learn through a mixture of online and face-to-face sessions. Specifically, new material will be added to provide ‘real world’ case studies into how different research methods are operationalised, in addition to ‘best practice’ and practical advice to assist students in understanding how research occurs in practice. Existing lecture materials will also be delivered online, so that students can re-watch previous lectures, when undertaking their research in the final year. This will provide an online hub of research-based resources. The online materials will fall into 4 groups: 1. Existing lecture material – providing theoretical overviews on central topics 2. Practical insight – examples of ‘field craft’ and best practice (e.g. How to ‘do’ interviews effectively, scrutinise and clean data) 3. Case studies – short videos of recent research projects undertaken in the Faculty, difficulties faced by our academics, solutions and application of methods 4. Research leaders – videos of leading consultants talking about managing research relationships, designing projects and highlighting the importance of research in business and decision-making This module will also highlight the importance of business ethics in research.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Online lectures - Face to face seminars - Statistics workshops - Directed reading - Private/guided study Learning activities include: - Introductory online lectures - Group presentation - Individual assignment - Case study/problem solving activities - In class debate and discussion - Private study - Use of online materials

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task24
Wider reading or practice35
Lecture24
Follow-up work35
Seminar8
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. 

Denscombe, M. (2003). The Good Research Guide. 

Collis, J. & Hussey, R. (2003). Business Research. 

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A (2009). Management Research: An Introduction. 

Assessment

Formative

Research proposal

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice Test 30%
Research proposal  (2500 words) 70%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (2500 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Textbooks

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/recommended text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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