Research Design & Methods (TEK 190)
7.5 he credits, study period 4
Examiner: Árni Halldórsson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Course assistant: Anna af Hällström, email@example.com
Lecturers: Árni Halldórsson (Professor), Anna af Hällström (PhD Candidate), Dan Andersson (Associate Professor), Dr. Ingrid Svensson, Guest speakers.
Administrative support (Ladok): Moa Rosvall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching language: English
Background and aim
This course introduces and trains students in how to plan, perform and present empirical investigations of management problems. Students will learn how to formulate research questions, select appropriate empirical methods, analyze qualitative and quantitative data, present and report data and findings, reflect upon and motivate methodological choices and understand ethical ramifications of choices and actions.
This course prepares students to work with problem structuring, investigation, and analysis in their master thesis as well as preparing them for working as professionals with strong skills in research methods in roles such as investigators, specialists, project managers, decision makers, and consultants. The world around us is not static; new technology creates new opportunities, and new structures, strategies, relationships, services, etc. are needed as transformative means for business and organisations when responding to grand challenges such as sustainable development and digitalization, to name a few.
May we be generalists or specialists, research methods and their underlying concepts, principles and theories serve as means to investigate and solve complex problems and generate new knowledge and solutions. In doing so, the course introduces students to an understanding of methodological challenges in management and business research and to using research methods to investigate and analyse business and technology management-related problems. Students will learn how to formulate research questions, select appropriate empirical methods, collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data, present and report data and findings, reflect upon and motivate methodological choices and understand ethical ramifications of choices and actions. With this as background, the course seeks to achieve two key aims.
- Prepare students in designing and executing effectively research studies such as a master thesis work.
- The course takes a management perspective and puts emphasis on developing analytical skills needed to make good decisions based on sound principles of research methods.
Recent changes in the course
- In 2023: New textbook (2022 edition). Adjustment in the weight of the take-home assignment, individual multiple-choice at the end of the course.
- In 2022: Learning objectives revised to reflect both content and examination in clearer terms.
- In 2021: New examiner and teaching team; examination; structure round five distinct roles; greater emphasis on combining theoretical understanding with use of skills and knowledge research methods (structure problems, investigation, analysis) to solve business and technology management-related problems; engagement of external speakers to illustrate the use of skills and knowledge in research methods in practical situations (for example management consultancy).
After completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Formulate practically and academically relevant questions
- Describe and discuss the relationship between research design, research methods, and data analysis to answer research questions
- Design and conduct a practice-driven or theoretically oriented empirical investigation based on on a consistent relation between research design, data collection and -analysis.
- Estimate or delineate data needs in relation to research question, relevant models and frameworks
- Arrive at conclusions based upon empirical investigation and to communicate the results to relevant stakeholders.
- Understand research quality and ethical ramifications of choices and actions
- Critically reflect on their own previous choices of methods and understand the consequences of selecting one method rather than another.
Content – five key roles
The course introduces the topic of research methods and discusses its scope and relevance and introduces an overview of the array of available methods and an in-depth discussion of the most relevant methods. Moreover, the course provides in depth knowledge about specific methods and techniques relevant to the subject area, and discusses the importance of critical thinking.
The course is structured around five distinct roles that aims to develop skills and knowledge in using research methods to solve business and technology management-related problems:
- The Creator – appreciating opportunities, challenges and symptoms, and structuring these into focused problem statements (purpose and research questions). Here we address the perspective of a management consultant as well as the researcher.
- The Thinker – understand fundamental assumptions through research paradigms, alternative research design, and capturing current body of knowledge through literature reviews.
- The Investigator – Qualitative – types of problems, principles and practices for collecting and analysing evidence.
- The Investigator – Quantitative - types of problems, principles and practices for collecting and analysing evidence.
- The Interventionist – display results and present these to key stakeholders, and moving on towards a true intervention and impact through actions (action research) and actionable knowledge. Also here we consider the perspective of the management consultant as well as the researcher.
- The ‘Core reading’ subject to examination is the reading material referred to in the syllabus:
- The primary material is the textbook "Business Research Methods" by Bell et al. 2022
- Occasionally, we also make use of journal articles in some of the sessions. They will be added to the folder "Articles".
- Handouts (slides) from each lecture/seminar. They will be added to the folder "Lecture slides".
- Other material mentioned in the course syllabus, e.g. some pieces from practice-oriented material (short examples we might hand out together with the slides). They will be added to the "Supplementary material"-folder.
- ‘Suggested further reading’ that we may refer to occasionally is not part of the examination.
Course reading that you need to acquire before course start:
Core textbook: Business Research Methods by Emma Bell, Alan Bryman, and Bill Harley, 6th Edition, 2022.
Chapters referred to as ‘self-study’ during the course: Chapters 14, 22, and 27.
- Havemo, E. (2018). A visual perspective on value creation: Exploring patterns in business model diagrams, European Management Journal, 36, pp. 441-452.
- Gelman, A. & Unwin, A. (2013). Infovis and Statistical Graphics: Different Goals, Different Looks (with discussions). Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, 22:1, 2-28.
- Eden, C., & Huxham, C. (1996). Action research for management research. British Journal of management, 7(1), 75-86.
- TBC: One-two additional articles may be added to the course reading. This will be announced on the course website.
Teaching and learning activities
Lectures, guest lectures, group work, hand-in assignments, seminars, quiz, multiple-choice and a learning log.
The course will be delivered as a series of presentations and discussion sessions of theoretical concepts, their implications for managers and application in various contexts. Students are expected to read material and make themselves familiar with key concepts prior to the particular lecture and prepare for discussions of theoretical concepts and their applicability in a particular situation.
Examination and compulsory activities
- Written and oral examination. Individual and group.
- Course examinations in total corresponds to 100 points.
- Grading: Not Passed, 3, 4 5. Pass grade is 50%.
- Each compulsory course elements must be passed and attended to in order to pass the course overall.
- The 24-hour take-home assignment must be passed to pass the course overall.
- Absence from compulsory activities for other reasons than illness: You may be provided a complementary task, which will be marked as passed/fail.
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