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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Qualitative Research (CMSE11312)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to offer students training on qualitative research in management. It complements other courses offered centrally on research methods, and offers supplementary training in the areas of 'supervised readings'. It is also in line with the efforts of the direction of the programme to bring more discipline specific courses into the programme.
Course description Aims, Nature, Context

The course aims to equip students with a thorough understanding of the main research approaches to management research (e.g. positivism, constructivism) and to locate these within various theoretical approaches (e.g. Foucault, Actor Network Theory, New Institutional Sociology, Bourdieu) in both contemporary and historical settings. The course complements more 'hands on' courses on research methodologies and techniques for qualitative research available within the Business School.

Teaching will occur in 11 sessions following the themes below:

a. Archival research
The session will provide an overview of historical research in terms of methods and trends

b. Researching the profession
The session will offer insights into the theoretical and methodological approaches to studying professions

c. Researching accounting, organizations and society
The session will explore the role of management practices such as accounting in social relationships and structures

d. Qualitative research in corporate communication
The session will discuss researching narratives, visual imagery and other communication media and offer an overview of critical approaches to accounting

e. Researching the field
The session will highlight the theoretical dimension of historical research and link it to more conventional case and field study approaches.

f. Researching practices
The session will challenge conventional wisdom on the finite and static nature of organizations, organizing and management practices more in general.

g. Researching organizational change and the unfolding nature practices
The session will offer an overview of recent approaches that investigate the dynamic and changing nature of management practices and offer theoretical and methodological tools to deal with their multiplicity and unfolding nature.

h. Researching visualizations
The session will offer an overview of the recent attention to visualizations in management studies with emphasis on the notions of inscriptions and epistemic objects and link it to various streams of research in accounting, organization theory and science and technology studies which have had a long-standing interest in the matter.

Student Learning Experience
The course will be organised around a core hours of lectures prompting debate and conversation in the classroom. Students will have to make a number of readings before each class to show their understanding of the topics and engage with the class.

Students will be asked to do a substantial amount of reading prior to class also in relation to the final presentation.

Class interaction and participation will help debating the nature of the various research approaches and methodologies discussed.

The course embeds issues of ethics and responsibility at its core. It aims to develop alternative forms of research that unveil the societal and ethical dimension of management practices.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 70 %, Practical Exam 30 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed in three different components:

1. 30% practical (individual oral presentation) - assesses learning outcomes 2,3,4,5
2. 60% coursework (individual essay) - assesses learning outcomes 1,2,3,5
3. 10% coursework (individual weekly submissions) - assesses learning outcomes 1,2,3,5

Students will engage with the course in various assessment, receiving valuable feedback throughout their studies. The assessment are:

1. Oral presentation: Students will be asked to prepare and present a research proposal. This will develop their ability to operationalize qualitative research approaches and methods in their realm of research and to communicate them effectively. Criteria of assessment are;
a) ability to understand and present ideas;
b) ability to critically discuss ideas; and,
c) engage with them productively.

2. Written work: The oral presentation will be accompanied by a written essay that will assess their ability to critically understand issues related to qualitative research methods and provide evidence of their critical thinking attitudes. Criteria of assessment are;
a) ability to understand and analyse texts;
b) ability to apply learnings to their own project; and,
c) critical thinking.

3. Class preparation: Students will write short 1-page memos and hand them in prior to each class. These assessments will start from week three. The memos will be a discussion of the key readings for the course, focusing on three aspects:
a) Summary of the main argument of the text;
b) critical assessment of the argument; and,
c) creative application of the main ideas to the student's own project.

Students' presentations will be assessed along the following dimensions:

RESEARCH - Evidence of ability to formulate research question showing knowledge of various theoretical and epistemological approaches
ANALYTICAL - Evaluation of logical coherence and quality in the discursive approach
SYNTHESIS - Summarization of key arguments, arrival at informed conclusions
ORGANISATION - Structured presentation, material, coherence and logical flow
COMMUNICATION - Effective use of visual aids, quality of verbal delivery and audience engagement
Feedback Formative feedback: TBC
Summative feedback: summative feedback is provided on the course's assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Knowledge and Understanding: At the end of the course, students will be able to construct a map of research paradigms in order to be able to combine, use, and contribute to, them in coherent and rigorous ways. This knowledge will allow them to frame their research and execute it following appropriate methodologies.
  2. Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding. At the end of the course students will be able to identify appropriate qualitative research methods and techniques for carrying out qualitative research.
  3. Generic Cognitive Skills. Students will develop critical thinking skills in relation to management and qualitative research
  4. Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills. Although the course is not aimed at developing such skills the presentation element of the assessment will help students to present their thoughts in a systematic and coherent manner.
  5. Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others. Students will be tasked with individual and group work which will develop both their autonomy and ability to work with others.
Reading List
Reading list will be confirmed at a later date.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues
- Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in management and its sub-disciplines
- Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists
- Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
- Practice in ways which are reflective, self-critical and based on research/evidence.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Christine Cooper
Tel: (0131 6)51 5077
Course secretaryMiss Megan Hegarty
Tel: (01316) 515011
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