Research Methods and International Business Dissertation (IBUP099)

This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.


Module Co-ordinator

Dr Michael Walsh


Spring & Summer



Credit value


Contact hours

36 hours 


100% Coursework 

The module provides students with the conceptual and practical skills to undertake key tasks and activities within international business arena.  Through undertaking their own piece of research, students can both see the applicability of the techniques and tools that they have been taught over the course of their programme, and also the benefits of an evidence-led approach to carrying out activities within the international context.

This module is organised in two parts. The 'Research Methods' component introduces students to the nature of research and develops their understanding of various research approaches. It explores a range of research methods and techniques and their application to creating evidence-based arguments. It will culminate in the undertaking of an independent piece of work and the writing of a dissertation by the students. This dissertation offers the students the opportunity to investigate a business issue from an international perspective.

The dissertation module has been developed to reflect the wider changes in employability outcomes achieved through postgraduate study. The module builds directly on contemporary approaches to the in-depth development and management as a key activity in International Business, Marketing and HRM.  By undertaking their own piece of research, students should see the applicability of the techniques and tools that they have been taught over the course of the programme.

This module will provide a pathway towards a sizeable piece of independent scholarship which leads to the production of an individual piece of work. It represents an opportunity to test and further develop skills in problem definition, information processing, critical thinking, decision making and interpretive reporting.


Module Objectives

This module forms the final part of the MSc programme, and brings together the students’ knowledge from the taught elements of the course, in order to produce an original piece of research specifically related to the MSc course outline.

Students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand the differences between the main approaches to research in International Business  and how these have changed and developed in recent years
  • Explain the key quantitative and qualitative techniques available to researchers in international business and how to decide which set of techniques will be most appropriate for a given object of study
  • Select, investigate, analyse and report on a significant investigation in a research area of their own choice
  • Critically review and discuss literature and the role of methodology
  • Communicate how their research extends our understanding of the specified subject in either the academic or business spheres
  • Reflect on how their investigations have changed their perceptions of the subject matter and how they might use that knowledge in their approach to working and managing within the International arena
  • Understand and appreciate ethical issues in the research process
  • Present and write research findings to a high academic standard

Learning outcomes

Students should have or know:

  • The major paradigms, purposes and current themes of international business research as reflected in recent peer review publication (in fields of specific student interest).       
  • The nature of and relationships between research problems and research questions. 
  • The ability to design a practical quantitative or qualitative research project.

Students should be able to

  • Discuss the ethics of research.
  • Describe the whole research process from idea to finished report.
  • Generate and clarify practical research questions from international business problems forming these into tractable scope and form with a proposed research design.
  • Design and implement a strategy to find appropriate databases, or evidence sources, and obtain relevant research material, including the latest peer reviewed periodicals in relation to a specific topic and then write a literature review.
  • Present and discuss research in groups and in writing.
  • Evaluate and select previously published appropriate data collection instruments
  • Design and pilot test a high quality questionnaire and interview schedule.
  • Discuss validity, reliability and bias.
  • Observe and record group behaviour.
  • Use SPSS (or similar package) at basic level to present and analyse data.
  • Cognitive (e.g. analytical/problem-solving/interpretative/critical reasoning).

Students will be able to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills – showing and understanding of key assumptions (and implications) in published research and evidence.
  • Interpret quantitative and qualitative evidence.
  • Formulation evidence based argument for particular audiences (following Booth, Colomb and Williams The Craft of Research, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2008, 3rd ed.)


Introductory reading

Blumberg B, Cooper D, Schindler P. (2011) Business Research Methods, McGraw Hull, London, 3rd European Ed. 

Booth W, Colomb G, and Williams J. (2003) The Craft of Research, Chicago Press, Chicago, 2nd ed.



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