BUSINESS PROJECT – Global Homework Experts

The Nature of Business Management
Research
Module: BUSINESS PROJECT
Assessment Strategy:
Project Proposal – 3,000 words (+/- 10%)/Formative
To summarise the work to be done, and which could be included in the final project
Dissertation/Project Report – 15,000 words (+/-10%) /Summative (100%)
To present the final project developed from the formative piece of work and in conjunction with your
Supervisor
Referencing:
Students are expected to use Harvard Referencing throughout their assignments where required. Please follow the Harvard
Referencing Handbook for all your assignments at the ULBS
Submission Method:
Turnitin – Your work needs to be put through Turnitin. All submissions will be electronically checked for plagiarism
Introduction to the Module & Assessment Strategy
SESSIONAL SCHEDULE

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WEEK TOPIC
WEEK 1 Introduction to the Module/Assessment Strategy/The Nature of Business Management Research
WEEK 2 Planning a Research Project
WEEK 3 Critically Reviewing the Literature
WEEK 4 The Nature of Qualitative Research
WEEK 5 The Nature of Quantitative Research
WEEK 6 (a) Mixed Methods Research (b) e-Research
WEEK 7 (a) Analysing Qualitative Data (b) Qualitative Analysis – Nvivo
WEEK 8 (a) Analysing Quantitative Data (b) Quantitative Analysis – SPSS
WEEK 9 (a) Writing up Business Management Research (b) Writing up Business Research Outputs
WEEK 10 Assessment Week – Submission of INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH PROPOSALS

4
1. To outline and explain the research process
2. Explain ‘what is what’ about business management research
3. Introduce basic research terminology and concepts
4. Understand that research is about choices and there is no
‘one best way’ to conduct research
LEARNING OUTCOMES
Purpose of the Module
To help you undertake research by being
• Clear about what you are doing
• Why you are doing it
• The associated implications of what you are about
to do

Introduction to the research process
Things to consider
• Realities and pitfalls of research
• Approaches, strategies and methods
• Techniques and procedures for data collection and
analysis
• Appropriate use of information technology

Terminology
Methods –
The techniques and procedures used to obtain data
Methodology –
The theory of how research should be undertaken
Saunders et al. (2009)
The nature of research
Definition:
Something that people undertake in order to find things out in a systematic
way, thereby increasing their knowledge’
Saunders et al. (2009)
Characteristics:
• Data are collected systematically
• Data are interpreted systematically
• There is a clear purpose to find things out

Features of business and management
research (1)
• Managers draw on knowledge from other disciplines
• Managers are more likely to allow access if they see
commercial or personal advantage
• Managers now tend to be as educated as the researchers
• Managers require research to have some practical
consequence
Easterby-Smith et al. (2008)
Features of business and management research (1)
Key debates
• Knowledge production –
(Modes 1, 2 and 3 knowledge)
• The ‘relevance gap’
• ‘Evidence based’ management
• Basic and applied research

Features of business and management
research (2)
Basic and applied research
Sources:
authors’ experience; Easterby-Smith
et al. (2008); Hedrick et al. (1993)
Figure 1.1 Basic and applied research
The research process (1)
Stages of the research process
• Formulating and clarifying a topic
• Reviewing the literature
• Designing the research
• Collecting data
• Analysing data
• Writing up
Based on Figure 1.2: Saunders et al. (2009)
The research process (2)
Factors to consider
• The impact of your personal feelings and beliefs
• Access to data
• Time and other resources
• Validity and reliability of the data
• Ethical issues

Influences on business research
The role of theory in research
Which comes first, theory or research?
should we examine a problem and try to work out how it’s
caused and how it might be solved (inductive reasoning),
– or should we take a generally accepted theory of how
things work and find evidence for it in the problem we
examine (deductive reasoning)?

The nature of business research
Business research does not ‘exist in a bubble’ in a world apart
from the social sciences -it is integrated with them;
The variety and diversity of business and management
studies makes it hard to find agreement on how business
research claims should be evaluated;
Perhaps it can only be seen as an ‘applied’ field because it is
concerned with solving management problems;
Academic researchers add to theory “supported by bits of
practice” and management consultants contribute to
practice “backed by bits of theory”. (Gummesson, 2000)

Evidence-based management
Is the systematic use of the best available evidence to improve management
practice (Reay, Berta and Kohn 2009)
Concept developed to reduce variation in (clinical) practice
Information comes, in part, from the expertise and judgement of managers,
working in individual firms

Knowledge is ‘produced’ in two modes
Mode 1
traditional, university-based
academic audience
pure and applied
built upon existing knowledge
more linear process
limited emphasis on dissemination
Mode2
involves:
academics
policy-makers
practitioners
trans-disciplinarity
related to context
not easily replicated
less linear process
more emphasis on
dissemination and
exploitation
Based on Gibbons et al. (1994)
Theories come at two levels
Grand theories:
like
Structural-functionalism
Symbolic Interactionism
Critical theory
Poststructuralism
Structuration theory
Middle-range theories:
like
Strategic choice
Trait theory
Contingency theory
Labour Process theory
Middle-range theories typically guide business research
Deductive and inductive theory
Deductivism:
theory –> data
explicit hypothesis to be confirmed or rejected
quantitative research
Inductivism:
data –> theory
generalizable inferences from observations
qualitative research /grounded theory
The Process of Deduction
Research strategy:
quantitative or qualitative?
It is useful to classify business research methods into two
distinctive clusters:
quantitative and qualitative
These strategies differ in terms of their:
general orientation to social research
epistemological foundations
ontological basis
Differences between quantitative and
qualitative research strategies

Features of quantitative research
A measurement of social variables
Common research designs: surveys and experiments
Numerical and statistical data
Deductive theory testing
Positivist epistemology
Objectivist view of reality as external to social actors
Features of qualitative research
Understanding the subjective meanings held by actors
(interpretivist epistemology)
Common methods: interviews, ethnography
Data are words, texts and stories
Inductive approach: theory emerges from data
Social constructionist ontology
Mixed methods research
• It is possible to combine quantitative and
qualitative strategies within a research project
• Holmberg and others (2008) study of leadership
shows how combining quantitative and
qualitative research provided a more rounded and
complete picture

Influences of personal values on business
research
The personal beliefs or the feelings of researcher affect every
stage of research process, from the choice of research area to
the interpretation of results.
If we recognize that research cannot be value-free, we can
attempt to limit its constraint on objectivity.
Feminist writers (among others) argue for consciously valueladen research, in which the researcher empathises with the
researched and encourages reciprocity.

Practical considerations
May influence or determine choices on:
research strategy
design
method
resources and costs
May be influenced or determined by:
nature of the topic
people being investigated
political acceptability
And finally……..
“there is no one best way for
undertaking all research”
Saunders et al. (2009)
Thank you

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