A99119 Research Methods

Scuola di Economia e Management
Academic Year 2016/17 Second Semester

Docente TitolareIlias Chatzilias
Office"Torre" (main tower), 7th floor

Learning Objectives

Participants completing this course should be able to:

  1. Define research, explain and apply research terms.
  2. Describe the research process and the principle activities, skills and ethics associated with the research process.
  3. Identify and define the boundary for a business research project.
  4. Locate problem areas in organisational settings and plan, organise, design, and conduct research to help solve the identified problems.
  5. Develop a conceptual framework for research methodology.
  6. Use technology to locate information from different sources.
  7. Write and present research reports, such as their dissertation or thesis.

Learning targets

Course Content

Research is a process that people undertake in a systematic way in order to find out things, thereby increasing their knowledge. It includes reporting, descriptive, explanatory and predictive studies. Particularly in business, research is a systematic inquiry that provides information to guide decisions: it is a process of determining, acquiring, analyzing and synthesizing, and disseminating relevant data, information, and insights to decision makers in ways that mobilize the organization to take appropriate actions that, in turn, maximize performance.

This course provides an introduction to research methods and prepares students for conducting their own independent research activity in the context of a dissertation or thesis project. It covers the whole research process from the identification of research questions through to writing up the project. Furthermore, it is designed to immerse students into the principles of qualitative research. Through lectures, in-class exercises and an interactive learning environment, this course addresses research problem formulation, literature review conduct, qualitative methodology and presents the collection, description, analysis and summary of data.

Course Evaluation


  1. Final individual project (50%): This project refers to identifying a research problem in the literature, conducting basic literature review online and proposing a qualitative methodology that is suitable for this problem. The submission deadline is 30 days after the end of the course. The assignment will be sent to e.hadzilias.ieseg@analyse.urkund.com for checking plagiarism.
  2. Individual assignments (30%): The individual assignments take place in the course sessions and relate to in-class individual exercises on the cases.
  3. In-class participation (20%): Class participation refers to the discussion and knowledge sharing in the class. Students are required to prepare in advance the course material related to each session.

The attendance is compulsory and only attending students will be admitted to the final exam. There will be only one exam date. If students fail the exam or reject the mark obtained they will not have a second chance to retake the exam.


Please note that the final individual project must have a bibliography and cite all references correctly within the paper, according to the Harvard referencing system. Any form of plagiarism – not citing sources, submitting someone else’s work as your own, submitting group work as individual work, not properly attributing citations, etc. – will result in a final grade of 0 for the individuals involved.


Teaching/Learning Methodology

Lectures cover the core principles and concepts of the subject syllabus. Seminars are structured to enhance students’ understanding of relevant concepts through various kinds of activities, including online exercises and case discussions.


Assessment Criteria Grid for the Final Individual Project

Assessment Criteria Grid

Max. points



Comprehension of key issues:

  • Understanding of concepts treated in class
  • Ability to apply concepts to new context/s
  • Proper use of subject matter vocabulary
  • Conformance with the assignment requirements





  • Display of critical thinking relative to research methods
  • Application of appropriate theory to the research problem




Structure & presentation:

  • Well-structured ideas and information
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Professional layout – tables, figures, images, headings, hierarchy of information
  • Use of transitions and interim conclusions




Conclusions & recommendations:

  • Logical continuation of reasoning/ideas/analysis developed in assignment
  • Concision and relevancy to the research problem
  • Relevance to the research problem




References & citation:

  • Citations within paper
  • Proper format of citation and no acts of plagiarism (intentional or unintentional)
  • Reference/Bibliography section
  • Depth and breadth of sources





  • Elements of assessment at Professor’s discretion relative to the discipline
  • Creativity and originality of the research problem identified
  • Demonstrated general attainment of module learning objectives







Session 0
Hours of lesson: 0




Session Topic


Course Material to Prepare

Session Learning Outcomes




Introduction to Βusiness and Management research

  • Chapter 1 of course notes
  • Case 1: Researching buyer–supplier relationships

• Outline the purpose and distinct focus of business and management research

• Place a research project on a basic–applied research continuum according to its purpose and context

• Understand the utility and importance of keeping a reflective diary

• Understand the stages needed to complete (and revisit) as part of a research process





Formulating and clarifying

the research topic

  • Chapter 2 of course notes
  • Case 2: ‘Helpful but not required’: A student research proposal

• Identify the attributes of a good research topic

• Generate and refine research ideas to choose a suitable research topic

• Turn a research idea into a research project that has clear research questions, aim and objectives

• Understand the relationship between research questions, a research aim and research objectives

• Recognise the role of theory in developing research questions, a research aim and research objectives

• Draft a research proposal that outlines a proposed research project





Critically reviewing the literature


  • Chapter 3 of course notes
  • Case 3: After the crisis: a systematic and critical review


• Understand the importance and purpose of the literature review to a research project

• Adopt a critical perspective in the literature readings – analysis and synthesis

• Know what needs to be included when writing a literature review

• Identify search terms and undertake online literature searches

• Evaluate the relevance, value and sufficiency of the literature found

• Reference the literature found accurately

• Understand what is meant by plagiarism and how to avoid it




Conducting qualitative research

  • Chapter 4 of course notes
  • Case 4: The impact of share announcements on market analysts’ behaviour



• Understand the nature of qualitative research and appreciate the implications of this method for data analysis

• Evaluate different approaches to analyse qualitative data

• Identify the main issues that need to be considered when preparing qualitative data for analysis

• Select an appropriate analytical technique for the research project to undertake qualitative data analysis





Writing and presenting a research

project report

  • Chapter 5 of course notes
  • Case 5: Elena’s research project write-up

• View the writing of a project report as an exciting prospect

• Write a final project report that presents an authoritative account of the conducted research

• Adopt an appropriate structure and style for the final project report

• Ensure that the report meets the necessary assessment criteria

• Plan and design the oral presentation of the project report



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