Fundamentals and Philosophy of Management Research

Semester Autumm
Level 11
Credit Value


Module Co-ordinator Professor Paul Thompson
Contact Hours Combined lecture and discussion/seminar sessions (approx 28hrs, workshops (approx. 6 hours and a colloquium (approx. 6 hours)
Assessement 100% coursework (made up of an approximate. 4,000 - 5,000 word research proposal (80%) and a colloquium presentation (20%)


This module aims to:

  • Develop students’ knowledge of different ontological and epistemological approaches to conducting research in management and related areas.
  • Introduce students to writing a literature review, developing research questions and designing and conducting research projects in an ethical manner.
  • Improve argumentation and inference skills. The module thus covers the fundamentals of the research process to complement the more specialist methodological modules that students take.
  • Provide wider researcher development with dedicated sessions and master classes covering publishing and research outputs, academic careers and applying for and succeeding in a PhD.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to understand and evaluate:

  • Different ontological and epistemological approaches in management research: The different philosophical approaches encapsulated in positivism, interpretivism (phenomenology) and critical realism. The strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, how different approaches guide research choices.
  • Literature sources and reviewing literature: Practical issues surrounding the collection and analysis of sources, types and purposes of a literature review.
  • Research questions and design: How ‘researchable’ questions and sub-questions may be developed, types of research question, good and bad research questions, how research is designed to answer questions.
  •  How to manage a research project and conduct it ethically. Issues around planning and managing a research project; The importance of ethics in research; ethical risks that may arise in research and how to identify and manage these.
  •  Argumentation theory: The basics of developing and supporting claims from data and evidence. Examples of how people may construct arguments badly and make unsupported claims from their data.
  •  The nature and demands of an academic career. How to gain entry to academia; the pressures and expectations upon academics; publishing strategies.
  •  Written communication; oral communication; presentation skills; time management and organisational skills.
  •  Critical analysis; logic and argument development; application of abstract philosophies to research practice; the ability to frame and operationalise research problems.

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.


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