The purpose of this programme is to develop and enhance the quality and practice of research within Business and Management both within the UK and also in an international context.
During the programme the students will experience a diverse range of teaching and learning strategies. A particular feature of the programme is the engaged nature of research which will be explored through practical projects, activities and written work and which will include opportunities for creative development. Personal and professional development opportunities will be spread across the duration of the research programme with the aim of maximising the effectiveness of training in developing both research and generic skills.
On successful completion of the MRes Business and Management a student will be able to:
1. Demonstrate the ability to recognise and validate research problems
2. Show original, independent and critical thinking, and the ability todevelop theoretical concepts
3. Demonstrate an understanding of epistemological and ontological questions and debates that underpin research in the area of business and management
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of theories within the social sciences and humanities that have shaped, and continue to shape, research into questions of business, management and organisational analysis
5. Demonstrate competency in the rigorous formulation of research questions and their translation into practical research designs
6. Show an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the ethical aspects of research
7. Demonstrate reflexivity about their own and others' roles as researchers
8. Demonstrate knowledge of the social and political context and uses of research
9. Demonstrate knowledge of the different approaches and methods required for the collection, management, recording, and analysis of information, including both methodological issues and questions of access and copyright
10. Demonstrate knowledge of advanced techniques of data analysis and of their appropriate application to business and management studies research.
Who Should Study This Programme?
The MRes is aimed primarily but not exclusively at two groups of students. Those in career research positions wishing to gain a qualification that will strengthen and extend their expertise in research, and those who wish to be considered for a PhD programme (known as 'the new route PhD'). The MRes is being offered in two modes: full and part-time (one year and two years respectively).
Certificate Level (Semester A)
Research Philosophy and Strategy 1
The first aim of this Module is to problematise the process of learning to do research starting from the notion of researchers as active, participative, and reflective people whose skills, capabilities and understandings can be enhanced.
The second aim of this Module is to recognise that organisations exist in an essentially political context and that the acquisition of knowledge as a resource to action may change both the organisation and its context.
The third aim of this Module is to identify issues around the nature of 'science' (broadly defined) and to recognise these as potentially profound and important. For example, what is the relationship between philosophy and science; what is science; who benefits from science?
Through an engagement with the history of ideas - as defined by the course team - and with a vision of strategy that sees its incorporation into research as both paradoxical and problematic, the course team will present an understanding of research as the result of philosophising about it. So, research beliefs will be surfaced and deconstructed so that they become available for inspection. The dual purpose here is to expose the limitedness of each research strategy and the complexity of the realities that researchers purport to study, as well as to explore the potential to transcend such limitations. The consequence will be a steering away from the familiar towards alternative insights and understandings.
Exploring the Nature of Organisation and Management
This module explores the contested nature of theories about organisation and management and uses Grint's typology (Grint, 1991, p117) as a means of facilitating such exploration. The typology delineates theories on organisation and management along two axes, namely Determinist-Interpretivist, and Technocratic-Critical. This approach sits well within an M Research as it makes clearer for students that how we see management/organisation will directly influence how we choose to research organisational/ phenomena, and vice-versa.
At the end of this module, students should not only be able to locate and critique different approaches to management but also have a better understanding of their own 'philosophical position', which can be more fully explored in the modules, Research Philosophy and Strategy 1 and 2.
Data Collection and Analysis 1: Qualitative Methods
This Module provides the skills that will enable students to carry out a research project on a topic of business or management – focusing primarily on qualitative issues (whilst also relating these to the complementary certificate stage Module focusing on quantitative analyses).
The ability to collect, interpret, analyse and evaluate relevant data and information will be developed. Students will be encouraged to reflect on distinctions made in research and the choices available to them.
Students will be introduced to the processes of designing, implementing and presenting/defending research findings. The role of supervisors and research communities will be explored. The student will be expected to develop independence in designing research activity and confidence in structuring research outputs. This will include an introduction to concepts such as validity, authenticity and different research cultures and languages.
The Module also develops the skills essential to the presentation of research findings. These include academic writing skills, processes of refereeing and examining, verbal communication skills, the opportunity to engage in an academic research community and to critically analyse the process of producing research.
The Module will guide students through the creation and presentation of a short piece of research and the critical review and support of their peers.
Data Collection and Analysis 2: Quantitative Methods
This Module provides the skills that will enable students to carry out a research project on a topic of business. Students will be briefly introduced to the main philosophical traditions of management research. The appropriate use of a range of research methods and techniques. The ability to, not only collect but to interpret, analyse and evaluate relevant data and information will be developed. The need for students to demonstrate critical and analytical skills, with appropriate theoretical underpinning will be emphasised. This Module also provides the necessary skills to present research outcomes in the form of a dissertation in standard academic format.
Diploma Level (Semester B)
Research Philosophy and Strategy 2
In the Research Philosophy 1 Module, learning to do research was problematised, starting from the notion of researchers as active, participative and reflective. This Module continues that development but may also be taken as a stand-alone Module by any MRes students who join the programme at the Postgraduate Diploma stage.
This Module is very much in the same tradition as its predecessor. It will focus on the political dimension of organisational membership through which research positions are to be adopted – to help enhance observations, judgements or other forms of experience. Similarly, enquiry around the nature of 'science' is further developed – to develop research on research.
Data Collection and Analysis 3: Qualitative Methods (option)
This Module builds upon both the study of qualitative research undertaken at certificate level and ontological and methodological issues introduced in the certificate stage study of the philosophy of research. In this context, the Module aims to develop practical methodological competence and capability whilst at the same time engendering knowing and reflective practice. We examine core problems in research knowledge production and raise the political and ethical issues associated with forms of doing qualitative research. The mapping between research method, theoretical framework and research practice are discussed in terms of what constitutes 'good' practice. The basic qualitative toolkit approach is developed and problematised as theory/method coalitions are shown to have both possibilities and limits. The focus here is on adequacy and appropriateness of methodological choices by reflexive researchers.
Students will develop further their understanding of the essentially complex, messy and sometimes artificial nature of boundaries in research such as 'qualitative' and 'quantitative'. In particular, students will be supported through their personal choices of research approach including that of 'mixed methods'.
Data Collection and Analysis 3: Quantitative Methods (option)
The aim of this Module is to provide the student with a range of quantitative research skills that could be employed in undertaking a research project and for the understanding of more advanced analytical techniques using a quantitative approach. The unit will explore such elements as hypothesis testing, retrieval of data literature sources, theory and methodology.
Although 'qualitative' and 'quantitative' elements of data collection and analysis are delivered as separate units, staff will endeavour to highlight both the complementarities as well as the distinctions between various approaches and methods of analysis. Students will be guided through their personal choices of research approach, including that of 'mixed methods', where appropriate. Thus, the unit will develop an understanding of the appropriate use of a range of research methods and techniques. The ability to not only collect but also to interpret, analyse and evaluate relevant data and information will be fostered, and the need for students to demonstrate critical and analytical skills, with appropriate theoretical underpinning will be emphasised.
The assessment for this unit will focus on data manipulation and interpretation (using computer-based packages). The students will manipulate data in a fashion that the nature of the data becomes clearer and they will learn how to interpret output from a statistical package. It is envisaged that the use of statistical packages will enhance the students' IT skills base.
Engaging with Research
This Module builds on the previous Modules where students have reviewed and evaluated a range of methodologies that might be utilised in a research project. The Module requires that students firstly explore precisely what research means relative to their own project and then evaluate and reflect on how different and mixed methodologies might be applied to their particular problem. The Module also considers the practical implications of carrying out research – the project management of a research exercise, the ethical considerations, the identification and management of stakeholder groups. The Module then considers how best to embed the learning from such an exercise.
This Module, in conformity with the ESRC Guidelines, aims to provide students with the opportunity to plan and complete a small-scale empirical research project. The student will carry out, by independent study, an individual research study/dissertation. This may consist of a development and evaluation project carried out in his/her workplace. However, work in other workplaces and other research settings is not precluded. It is intended that this work will contribute to the development of the student as someone capable of sustaining a major enquiry into aspects of the field. It will provide students with the opportunity to develop critical research skills. The Module will require students to conduct a rigorous literature search involving the collection and interpretation of relevant data, and apply this to the empirical study of a chosen topic.
Mode of Study and Assessment
The assessments for the MRes in Business and Management will enable the student to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes as specified for the relevant unit of study. Students are required to produce assessed work at each level of the MRes: Certificate, Diploma and Dissertation. In particular, students are required, at the Masters Stage, to produce a dissertation which attracts 60 M level CATS points. The dissertation will be 15,000-20,000 words or its equivalent.