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MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Research methods and skills

Unit code BMAN72352
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


Topics covered address the following:

  • Course unit requirements, expectations, about social science research methods, understanding your dissertation, research ethics
  • Epistemological foundations of management research
  • Using literature: searching, reading and reviewing techniques (building upon semester 1 BMAN 71751 Tools and Methods for Innovation)
  • Research topics, research questions
  • Theoretical and conceptual frameworks
  • Research strategy and sampling
  • Using secondary data, statistical questions and analysis of data sets (building upon semester 1 BMAN71751)
  • Data analysis: qualitative data analysis, network analysis,
  • Case study designs
  • Qualitative data collection and interviews
  • Research proposal structure
  • Communicating with supervisors
  • Proposal writing



BMAN72352 Programme Req: BMAN72352 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc IME


The course aims to provide the foundations of practical research training and skills in management research.   It will promote understanding of the main epistemological issues and debates relating to research in management. The unit focuses on acquainting students with a variety of research methodologies used in innovation and entrepreneurship studies and the basis for and epistemological implications of the choice of a particular quantitative and/or qualitative methods.. The course will feature guest lectures from method specialists and links to relevant video materials. More specifically, the unit aims to: (i) prepare MSc students to design their dissertation and to have the skills and tools needed for its execution; and (ii) teach students critically to assess research .  The research skills will be transferable to work situations such as investigations of new technologies and markets, evaluation of evidence, policy analysis, collecting market evidence and presenting the results of research.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to design and implement a small-scale research project and will have demonstrated an understanding of the use of a range of research methods in the area of innovation research. Skills related to data collection, analysis and interpretation are also an outcome as well as ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of different methods. These skills will feed directly into students’ work on their dissertation projects. Beyond that project, the course aims to provide students with the skills and background to assess research proposals, and to assess the design of finished research presented to them in their potential future roles as managers or analysts. Upon successful completion of the course unit students will be able to give critical and constructive feedback on research (proposed and finished) that they will encounter in their professional activities.

Assessment methods

Individual Coursework: Research Proposal – 2,800 words (100%)

Formative non-assessed coursework – individual – narrated powerpoint presentation (3 minutes).

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.

Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

Specific course-related feedback sessions - one at the last meeting

Written and/or verbal comments on non-assessed coursework -feedback on narrated ppt from lecturers and peer feedback

Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation during workshops

Feedback on final assignment (research proposal).

Recommended reading

Required reading:

Saunders, M. N. Research methods for business students. Pearson Education India. 6 edition (2012) or later.


Suggested additional readings (non-exhaustive):

Texts on critical thinking, heuristics and research strategy:

Abbott, A. (2003). Methods of discovery. Heuristics for the social sciences. London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Novella, S. You deceptive mind. A scientific guide to critical thinking skills. Chantilly: The Great Courses.

Stinchcombe, A. (1968). Constructing social theories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

General/Comprehensive Texts:

Blaxter L., Hughes C., Tight M. (1996). How to Research, Open University Press, Buckingham, 1996

Robson, C. (1993). Real world research: A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers. Oxford: Blackwell.

Creswell, J. W. (2009) 3rd edition Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Approaches Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Easterby-Smith, Mark, Thorpe, Richard and Jackson, Paul R. (2008) 3rd edition Management Research Sage.

Burns, R.B. (2000) 4th edition Introduction to Research Methods Sage

Dixon B.R., Bouma G.D., Atkinson G.B.J. (1987). A Handbook of Social Science Research: a comprehensive and practical guide for students, Oxford University Press, NY.

Ackroyd, S. and Hughes, J. (1992) 2nd edition Data Collection in Context London and New York: Longman.

Gill, J., Johnson, P., (1997) Research Methods for Managers, Paul Chapman Publishing.

Hakim C. (1987). Research Design: Strategies and Choices in the Design of Social Research, Allen & Unwin, London.

Quantitative Methods:

Chapman, M. and C. Wykes (1996). Plain Figures, 2nd edn, Civil Service College, London: HMSO.

Dillman, Don A., Smyth, Jolene D. and Christian, Leah Melani 3rd edition (2009) Internet, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys - the tailored design method Hoboken, New Jersey.

Moser C.A., Kalton G. (1997). Survey Methods in Social Investigation, Dartmouth (2nd edition).

Moroney M.J. (1951; 1969). Facts from Figures, Penguin Books, Baltimore.

Qualitative Methods:

Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: SAGE Publications.

Silverman D. (ed) (1997). Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice, SAGE Publications, London.

Mason, J. (1996) Qualitative Researching. London: Sage Publications.

Coffey, A., Atkinson, P., (1997) Making Sense of Qualitative Data, Sage.

Miles M.B. and Huberman A.M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis (Second edition), Sage Publications.

Scott J. (1991). Social Network Analysis: A Handbook, Sage Publications, London.

Scott, J. and Carrington, P. (2011). The SAGE handbook of social network analysis. London: Sage Publications.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 4
Practical classes & workshops 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 124

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katharine Barker Unit coordinator
Maria Nedeva Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Whole class lectures start and end the unit: in between the material is delivered in small group workshops with lecturers, while the statistics sessions include teaching on computer clusters. 

Informal Contact Method

Online Learning Activities (blogs, discussions, self assessment questions) - narrated ppt with feedback through blackboard

Drop in Surgeries (extra help sessions for students on material they may be struggling with) - at last session; during workshops

Invited individual emails throughout the course

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