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Module: Research Design Workshop


  • To ensure that students are familiar with the most up to date version of the theories they want to contribute to.
  • To ensure that students are aware of all the neighbouring theories that they can take advantage of in terms of borrowing insights and/or research methods.
  • To develop the level of integration of students’ field knowledge.
  • To develop students’ ability to identify a suitable research topic, and generate theoretically relevant research questions that can be answered rigorously and scientifically.
  • To develop students’ ability to identify suitable research methods to answer their research questions.
  • To develop students’ ability to appreciate ethical issues in research.


  • Models and methods.
  • Logic and argumentation.
  • Suitability of different analytical methodologies.
  • Observation plans.
  • Data structures.
  • Data collection methods:
    • participant and non-participant observation;
    • Unstructured, semi-structured and structured interviews;
    • survey data;
    • archival data.
  • Ethical challenges associated with the conduct of research into organisations.
  • Under supervision, students will deliver the most up to date overview of their field and an up to date survey of neighbouring fields together with an empirical pilot study.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific knowledge

  • Have an up-to-date knowledge of the relevant theories.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of neighbouring fields.
  • Understand contemporary developments in subject-specific research methods.
  • Understand ethical challenges and the appropriate responses.
  • Have an advanced understanding of research design issues.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of subject-specific methodological considerations.
  • Understand limitations on data availability and management of research access.
  • Understand the time demand of different data collection methods.
  • Understand issues concerning research and confidentiality.
  • Understand ethical challenges associated with the conduct of research into organisations, and the appropriate responses.

Subject-specific skills

  • Ability to skillfully conduct research.
  • Ability to critically assess existing research.
  • Ability to develop novel theory.
  • Ability to test the newly developed theory.
  • Ability to unify or synthesise theories.

Key skills

  • Ability to make an initial formulation and articulation of a research problem.
  • Ability to transform the research problem into a set of research questions.
  • The ability to design the research to answer a particular research question.
  • Ability to design and execute data collection.
  • Ability to design data coding.
  • Ability to design the data analysis.
  • Effective oral communication skills. 

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

  • The module will be delivered in a workshop format over two intensive three-day teaching blocks. Workshops will bring the students through all the relevant phases of research design.
  • By commenting on each other’s suggestions students will acquire both the capability and the attitude to critically evaluate and improve research designs.
  • Learning will also occur through tutor-supported, as well as self-supporting learning groups. There will also be online teaching support through a module blog. Finally, the module enables the students to develop their own research design.
  • The assessment of the module is by a combination of:
    • an oral examination of the students on research design issues by an independent panel;
    • a 10,000 word written assignment based on an extensive literature review and field knowledge. The assessment is designed to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and their ability to articulate a researchable issue; 
    • the module is assessed on a pass/fail basis and students must pass both components.

Summative Assessment

Individual written assignment based on an extensive literature review and field knowledge, 10,000 words.

Formative Assessment

Students will receive the assignment brief and pre-reading at least 2-weeks prior to the module being delivered and will produce a formative piece of work in preparation for the main module assignment. When in attendance at the module, students will be required to deliver an individual presentation to a group of Module Leaders, relevant Faculty and members of their respective cohort and feedback will be provided.