MSc Management and Implementation of Development Projects / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Research Methods and Skills in Organisational Contexts

Unit code MGDI77770
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


The module is delivered over two semesters. A key element of the module is that it offers students an opportunity to develop literature-related research skills at an early stage of their studies.


The unit aims to:

Develop students’ knowledge and skills in order to enable them to:

1. learn how to conduct research linked to the management of people, systems, and/or projects in organisational settings;

2 undertake and present the findings of a research project on a subject within the central field of knowledge of their degree programme;

3. operationalise this knowledge of research methods and these research skills in an applied fieldwork context.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

•             define and critically explore literature on a specified subject using paper-based library stock, electronic databases, electronic journals and other web-based sources of data, such as government policies and reports.

•             through the presentation of a dissertation research proposal:

i)             demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of key research terms and methodologies;

ii)            show their ability to construct a well-designed and realistic research plan for gathering primary data in an organisational setting;

iii)           explain the importance of ethics to the work of researchers.

Intellectual skills

•             formulate a set of clearly stated research aims, research objectives, and research questions and/or hypotheses;

•             construct and present in writing a critically-focused and concisely written literature review together with an associated bibliography using standard conventions for citing academic literature;

•             through the construction of a learning log, demonstrate their ability to engage in critical self-reflection when undertaking research-based activities.

Practical skills

•             work collaboratively with others in an applied/field setting in order to design, operationalise and present the findings of, an organisationally based research-based project;

Transferable skills and personal qualities

During this course unit, students will be encouraged to develop::

•             their ability to review and analyse critically contrasting information.

•             their self management skills including their ability to manage time effectively.

•             skills which they need to articulate clearly their point of view particularly in response to questioning.

•            willingness to question and develop their understanding, perspectives and values in response to listening to others.

•             the ability to identify key contextual variables which affect their behaviour and the behaviour of others.

•             the ability to engage in critical thinking, reflection, and self-awareness.

•             responsibility for their own learning.

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and learning methods are designed to balance more formal lecture-based inputs with opportunities for the students to engage with the subject area in a participative and applied manner.  A variety of teaching and learning methods will be used. These are likely to include formal lectures, group-based workshop activities, tutorials, and practical work in a fieldwork setting. 

The content of this module will be delivered at strategically-located points throughout Semester One and Semester Two.  As an indication, the introduction to the module, inputs on conducting research using literature, and the assessment of the literature-based essay will take place in Semester One.  In Semester Two, there be lectures, seminars and tutorials on the subject of research methods relating to organisational contexts, and students will be required to submit their dissertation proposals.  The fieldwork activities and assessment are likely to take place towards the end of Semester Two but the timing of fieldwork may vary from year to year and should be checked with the module convenor.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 25%
Written assignment (inc essay) 15%
Report 60%

The assessment is likely to have two components:

  • a 1000-word literature-based essay: 15%
  • a 2250-word dissertation proposal: 60%
  • a fieldwork-based assignment/learning log: 25%


Resit assessments will reflect the original assessment tasks and marking criteria

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided in writing, approximately 14 days after submission of each assignment

Recommended reading

Anderson, V. (2013) Research Methods in Human Resource Management (3rd edition).

London: CIPD

Bell, J. (2018) Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education, Health and Social Science (7th edition). Maidenhead, England: Open University Press

Davies, M (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative
Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Gill J. and Johnson, P. (2011) Research Methods for Managers (4th edition). London: Paul Chapman

Horn, R. (2012) Researching and Writing Dissertations: A Complete Guide for Business and
Management Students (2nd edition). London: CIPD

Robson, C. and McCartan (2016) Real World Research (4th edition). Chichester: Wiley

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2015) Research Methods for Business Students (7th edition). Harlow: Pearson


Yin, R. (2018) Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods (6th edition). London: Sage Publications


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 38
Lectures 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Rees Unit coordinator
Paul Barry Unit coordinator

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