Philosophies of Research and Advanced Qualitative Research Methods

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
31 July 2023


Requisites for this module
BE965 or BE951



Key module for

MRESN40212 Accounting,
MRESN40224 Accounting,
MRESN21012 Management Research,
MRESN21024 Management Research,
MPHDN40048 Accounting,
PHD N40048 Accounting,
MPHDN42KJS Accounting and Finance,
PHD N42KJS Accounting and Finance,
MPHDN20048 Management,
MPHDN20KJS Management,
PHD N20048 Management,
PHD N20KJS Management

Module description

This module is designed to build on your knowledge and understanding of research in management, marketing, accounting and organization studies and to develop your skills in studying organizational life.

This module's aim is to draw together insights from the philosophy of the social sciences, methodology and advanced qualitative research methods in order to develop an informed and reflexive understanding of research design and practice.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce students to the ways in which social scientific research is underpinned by particular philosophical assumptions.

  • To present students with a range of methods used to collect and analyse qualitative data.

  • To equip students with the techniques, skills and confidence to undertake advanced qualitative organizational research.

  • To enable students to be able to explain and reflexively evaluate connections between ontological, epistemological and methodological considerations, and their chosen approaches to data collection and analysis.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Offer an account of relevant philosophical approaches to accounting and management research and explain their relevance for the formulation and investigation of research problems.

  2. Critically evaluate methods used in the collection and analysis of qualitative data.

  3. Demonstrate a considered and practised understanding of advanced qualitative research methods used in accounting and management research.

  4. Design a research methodology that demonstrates a reflexive and considered understanding of the empirical, analytical and ethical processes underpinning accounting and management research.

Skills for your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, students should have developed the following transferable skills:

  1. Critical thinking.

  2. Analytical reasoning.

  3. Data collection and organisation.

  4. Data prestation and evaluation.

Module information

A key part of your learning process on this module will developing your ability to connect an informed understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of organizational research with your planned methodological approach and methods of data collection and analysis.

With this in mind, the first part of the module focuses on the ontological and epistemological principles underpinning methodological choices, and the second considers how these principles and choices inform the methods of data collection and analysis that we use.

On successful completion of the module you should be able to in a strong position to produce a draft methodology section of your dissertation or draft chapter of your thesis.

Underpinning the module is an understanding of the research process not as a unidirectional, linear trajectory but as a complex and multi-dimensional back and forth process through which ideas evolve that coalesce into a research design that is specific to particular research projects and researchers and which enables those projects to proceed ethically and credibly.

The module will draw heavily on recent/current research and will encourage you to bring 'live' questions and problems, including issues relating to reflexivity and research ethics, to the weekly discussions.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 3-hour session per week.

Each session will consist of an interactive workshop-style environment that will provide a space for you to understand the theoretical material covered each week, and to develop practical skills in research design, and in data collection and analysis. Due to the interactive nature of the sessions, it is vital that you undertake any recommended reading or other preparation prior to the session in order to gain as much as possible from the discussions and practical exercises.

Outside of the weekly sessions you will need to spend time on private study undertaking guided reading and preparation for the sessions, as well as preparation of the coursework assignments. The module and assessment are designed to make sure that, as far as possible, this module complements the work that you will be doing more widely to prepare the methodology section of your dissertation, or relevant chapter(s) of your thesis and (for PhD students) to meet expected milestones.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Review - 1,500 words    30% 
Coursework   Methodology - 3,000 words    70% 

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
Prof Stefanie Reissner, email:
Prof Stefanie Reissne



External examiner

Dr Ruth Reaney
University of Glasgow
Lecturer in HRM
Available via Moodle
Of 817 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
817 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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