Module Details

BE955-7-AU-CO: Research Methods

Year: 2016/17
Department: Essex Business School
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Manuela Nocker
Teaching Staff: Dr Manuela Nocker
Contact details:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module will help the student to acquire key skills and competencies to carry out management research or prepare a business plan, suitable for the completion of a Masters level programme. The module will address philosophical issues underlying management and business research and explain how to select research strategies and designs. It will offer a comprehensive view of methods of data collection and analysis to support the quality and value of research outcomes. In addition, and especially, for those opting for the business plan route, the module will provide a platform for evaluating the quality of relevant, market-oriented research designs, methods for business planning, researching the task environment and set-up of new ventures.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the module is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to carry out either a sound academic research project (dissertation) or prepare a practical and comprehensive business plan supported by critical understanding of the use value of research methods and techniques. Through this process the student will develop a sense of involvement with the research community that supports academic research and reflective practice.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the Research Methods module will be able to:

- Understand different methods of investigation, data collection, and statistical analysis
- Identify appropriate secondary sources of information, and access several publicly available databases
- Critique the research methodology of published papers
- Select appropriate methods for the design, collection, and analysis of statistical data
- Apply a variety of statistical tests, and interpret the results of those tests
- Use a computer package (e.g. SPSS) for the analysis of statistical data
- Write a research proposal and successfully complete a Masters level dissertation or a business/marketing plan

Learning and Teaching Methods

The following learning and teaching methods will inform the pedagogic structure of the course:

- Lectures
- Seminars (for discussion of case studies, journal articles, presentations)
- Workshops for training research skills
- Signposting to additional resources


100 per cent Coursework Mark


One Assignment, 100%

Other details

Students will agree in advance the route of either dissertation, or where appropriate business plan, which they wish to follow and provide an appropriate justification for their choice. Block release mode and working students embarking on a dissertation based on work-related issues will need to show evidence of support for their project.


  • Essential Reading List for Dissertation Students
  • Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Methods. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199668649
  • Cooper, D. R. and Schindler, P. S. 2014. Business Research Methods, 12 ed. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
  • Duignan, John (2014) Quantitative Methods for Business Research using Microsoft EXCEL. Cengage Learning
  • Easterby-Smith (2015) Management and Business Research: Sage.
  • Silverman, D. 2013. Doing qualitative research. A practical handbook.4th edition. Sage.
  • Creswell, J.W. (2015) A concise introduction to mixed method research. Sage. ISBN: 9781483359045
  • Sherbaum, C. and Shockley, K. (2015) Analysing quantitative data for business and management students. Sage. ISBN: 9781446273531
  • Miles, M.B., Huberman, A. M and Saldana, J. (2014) Qualitative data analysis. Sage. ISBN: 9781452257877
  • Recommended Reading List for Dissertation Students
  • Fox, J. 2008. Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Fox, J, and Weisberg, S. 2011. An R Companion to Applied Regression, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Pallant, J. 2010. SPSS Survival Manual: A Step by Step Guide to Data Analysis using SPSS, 4 ed. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Bryne, B. M. 2009. Structural Equation Modelling with AMOS, 2 ed. East Sussex: Routledge.
  • Schumacker, R. E. and Romax, R. G. (2010). A Beginner's Guide to Structural Equation Modelling (3rd ed.), New Jersey: Routledge
  • Brown, T. A. (2015). Confirmatory Factor Analysis for Applied Research, 2 ed. New York: Guildford Press.
  • Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modelling (3rd ed.). New York: The Guildford Press.
  • Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. 2012. Research Methods for Business Students, 6 ed. Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice Hall
  • Williams, T.A., Sweeney, D. and Anderson, D. 2012. Contemporary Business Statistics, Cengage Learning EMEA.
  • Gilbert, N., K. Troitzsch. 2005. Simulation for the Social Scientist, 2nd ed. Open University Press.
  • Bauer, M.W. and Gaskell, G. (Eds.) 2000. Towards Public Accountability: Beyond Sampling, Reliability and Validity. In Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound. A practical handbook, 336-350. London: Sage.
  • Flick, U. 1992. An Introduction to Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
  • Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. 1983. Ethnography Principles and Practice. London: Routledge.
  • Kvale, S. 1996. InterViews. An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Ricoeur, P. 1981. Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation, trans. John B. Thompson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schwartzman, H.B. 1993. Ethnography in Organisations. Qualitative Research Methods Series, 27. London: Sage.
  • Silverman, D. (2016) Qualitative research, 4th edition. ISBN: 9781473916579
  • Essential Reading List for Business Plan Students
  • Hazelgren, B, and J. Covello The Complete Book of Business Plans: Simple Steps to Writing Powerful Business Plans, Sourcebooks, IABN - 13-978-40222
  • Ford, B.R. and J.M. Bornstein 'The Ernst & Young Business Plan Guide', Ernst & Young, John Wiley, ISBN - 13-978-0-470-11269-4
  • Barrow, C. P. Barrow and R. Brow 'The Business Plan Workbook: The Definitive Guide to Researching, Writing up and Presenting a Winning Plan',London Kogan Page
  • Kawasaki, G. 'The Art of the Start: The Time -Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything' New York, Portfolio
  • Recommended Reading List for International Plan Students:
  • Hollensen, S. (2011). Global marketing (5th ed.). Harlow: Pearson (pg. 8-11)
  • Hollensen, S. (2010). Marketing planning: a global perspective, 2 ed. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill
  • Dibb, S. and Simkin, L. (1996), Marketing Planning: A Workbook for Marketing Managers, London: Cengage Learning
  • McDonald, M. and Wilson, H. (2011), Marketing plans: How to prepare them, how to use them, 7 ed. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Dr Suraska Gupta
    Institution: The University of Kent
    Academic Role: Senior Lecturer