Research Methods in Organisation Studies and Human Resource Management

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 29 March 2024
26 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MRESN21012 Management Research,
MRESN21024 Management Research,
MSC N60012 Human Resource Management,
MSC N60024 Human Resource Management,
MSC N21712 Organisational Change Management,
MSC N21724 Organisational Change Management

Module description

This module introduces the methodology and methods of research in the fields of organisational studies and human resource management, equipping students with the means to explore complex practical business issues by applying question-based approaches to gathering evidence.

Students are acquainted with the nature of the philosophical assumptions that underpin the choice of research design. Various research methods are examined and situated within an explicatory framework.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To acquaint students with the nature of research in organisational studies and human resource management, and in the social sciences in general.

  • To provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to undertake advanced level, independent research.

  • To provide students with a critical understanding of how to conduct complex practical investigations of management issues in organizational settings and how to make practical proposals for change.

  • To provide students with a knowledge of research methods in order to both

    • Undertake their own dissertation/thesis research.

    • Gain an understanding of how research and research methods are applied to inform decision-making within organisations.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Appreciate the ways in which management and organisational research is located within the broader corpus of the social sciences.

  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles and research philosophy, methodology and design.

  3. Identify, understand, and apply a range of research methods and tools.

  4. Draw on current research and advanced scholarship to identify and develop relevant research question(s).

  5. Evaluate, select and apply research perspectives and methodologies appropriate to particular research questions.

  6. Understand ethical and practical issues regarding:

    1. The ethics of working with research subjects.

    2. The ethics of reporting research.

    3. Ethical issues regarding the use of data and evidence in organisational decision-making.

  7. Analyse quantitative and/or qualitative information and present the results in a clear and consistent format.

  8. Write a reflective account of what has been learned during a research project, drawing appropriate conclusions and making appropriate organizational recommendations on the basis of research findings.

Module information

This module explores a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods and how to utilise case studies, illustrating the suitability and challenges of a variety of different methods for research. The ethical questions raised by research are explored as well. This module will examine practical aspects of the research process including the skills required to organise and undertake a research project. Students will learn how to locate their study within a body of relevant knowledge, how to collect and analyse data, and how make practical and actionable recommendations.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week (over 5 weeks in the autumn term).
  • One 2-hour lecture per fortnight in the spring term.
  • One 1-hour class/seminar per week.


The lectures will give an overview of key themes and to facilitate your own independent thinking.

The classes/seminars will provide additional guidance on the development of the research proposal and in which you will receive feedback on your ideas.

Students will be encouraged to engage in participative learning with presentations and group-work.

In addition to attendance at lectures and classes, students are expected to engage in private study for a minimum of 10 hours per module per week and to work a 40 hour week throughout the programme.

Each of the lecturers have academic support hours every week, which you can find on the Essex Business School PGT Moodle page. During these hours, you will be welcome to come and discuss various aspects of the module or your assessment.

Whilst we endeavour to provide you with any advice we can, it should be clear that we are not there to tell you what the ‘answers’ are regarding the assessments. For this reason, it is extremely important that you start thinking about your assignments in good time. The more work you have done before you come and see us, the more fruitful the discussion will be.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Qualitative and quantitative research analysis  05/03/2024  50% 
Coursework   Research Proposal  08/04/2024  50% 

Additional coursework information

  • Coursework 1: Qualitative Analysis Assessment - 850 words maximum.
  • Coursework 2: Quantitative Analysis Assessment - 850 words maximum.
  • Coursework 3: Research proposal - 1000 words maximum.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Elaine Yerby, email:
Dr Charlie Smith,



External examiner

Dr Sheena Vachhani
University of Bristol
Reader (Associate Professor) in Work and Organization Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 19 hours, 19 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Business School

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