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  • ACU Term 1Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 3Online Unscheduled




MGMT617 Research Methods

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week (two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial) for 12 weeks or equivalent in intensive mode or online.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Being able to undertake and interpret research is an increasingly important skill in many roles within business. This unit will help students develop these practical skills by teaching them about a range of (quantitative and qualitative) research designs that are applicable for business, the methodological, practical and ethical considerations involved in executing those research designs, and how research design choices powerfully shape the nature and validity of research findings. In doing so, this unit aims to help students make more informed research design choices and to more critically assess research findings.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Examine information, concepts and techniques associated with quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods;
LO2Critically review appropriate research methods for specific research problems;
LO3Apply standardised procedures to ensure research is conducted ethically and demonstrates respect for human dignity;
LO4Design a feasible qualitative and/or quantitative research project to respond to specific research questions
LO5Communicate a professional research proposal in a written document


Topics will include:

  • Topic choice and relevance
  • Searching and reviewing the literature
  • Formulating research questions
  • Methodological, practical and ethical considerations in research design choice
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods and instruments
  • Negotiating access, sampling and data collection
  • Assessing the validity implications of the chosen research design
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Ethical considerations in research design, including respect for human diversity

Note: Those students conducting this unit as part of the Graduate Diploma or Master of OHSEM will be provided with content, examples and applications specific to this discipline. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The philosophy of this online unit is that the best way to learn is to:

  1. Look at material with an inquiring mind;
  2. Self-study those materials before attending the online workshops; and
  3. Enhance that learning with online workshop activities.

The unit is thus based on a ‘flipped classroom’ model of teaching that emphasises student-centred self-learning with guidance from the course materials and teacher. As such, the roles and expectations of students and teachers are different to traditional classes:

  • Students must take more responsibility for their own learning and studying the core content in advance and then apply the obtained knowledge and skills to a range of activities during the workshops. It is up to the students to make sure that their study and preparation is adequate in order to yield optimal learning outcomes during the workshops.
  • Rather than lecturing, teachers facilitate and moderate the workshops. In doing so, students will be able to gain a more active learning experience, while teachers will be able to more actively engage with the students in the online classroom, guiding their learning, correcting any misunderstandings, and providing them with timely feedback.

The following technology assistance will be accessible to students online:

  • unit outline;
  • notices/announcements;
  • assessment information, submission, marking and return of results/feedback;
  • learning resources (readings, direction to further sources of online information, lecture slides, and video recorded material).

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit, you must obtain an overall score of 50% or more, and a passing mark in Assessment task 3. Assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Assessment tasks in BUSN617 are aimed at measuring and developing student’s achievement of both the learning outcomes and graduate attributes noted above. This unit includes formative assessments (involving providing students with ongoing feedback help them improve their learning) as well as summative assessments (involving evaluating students' learning by comparing it against the learning objectives using pre-defined assessment rubrics), both of which are directly related to three assessments tasks. Formative assessments are provided to students in the form of feedback on ongoing class activities that enable students to identify any pitfalls early-on and enhance their learning and quality of their final submission. The latter submissions serve as input for the summative assessments. The first, second, and third task require students to demonstrate their ability to: 1) select an interesting research topic and establish its relevance for scholars and practitioners; 2) critically review the literature on their topic, problematise the current state of the literature, and formulate their envisioned contribution for their research project; and 3) design an empirical study that enables them to generate an answer to their research question and hence achieve their envisioned contribution, respectively. All tasks are individual submissions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Essay

This assessment task consists of a 800-word written essay. This task requires students to introduce a research topic (elaborated in assessment 2 & 3) and justify its relevance and potential implications for scholars and practitioners.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Essay

Artefact: Written essay



Assessment Task 2: Literature Review

This assessment task consists of a 1200-word written literature review. This task requires students to critically review and analyse the literature on their topic, problematise the current state of the literature, and formulate their envisioned contribution for their research project.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Literature Review

Artefact: Written literature review


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 3: Research Design Proposal

This assessment task consists of a 2000-word written research design proposal. This task requires students to demonstrate their ability to design an empirical study that enables them to generate an answer to their research question and hence achieve their envisioned contribution. This includes a careful selection of the appropriate research approach, along with measurement instruments, sampling strategies, and data collection methods. Furthermore, it includes careful consideration of the methodological, practical and ethical considerations (related to human dignity) underlying these research design choices.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Research Design Proposal 

Artefact: Written research design proposal


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Ghauri, P., Grønhaug, K. and Strange, R., 2020. Research methods in business studies. Cambridge University Press.

Aguinis, H. and Vandenberg, R.J., 2014. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: Improving research quality before data collection. Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav.1(1), pp.569-595.

Ashford, S. (2013). Having scholarly impact: The art of hitting academic home runs. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(4), 623–633

Bryman, A. (2017). Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their integration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 57-78). Routledge.

Edmondson, A.C. and McManus, S.E., 2007. Methodological fit in management field research. Academy of management review32(4), pp.1246-1264.

Robinson, M.A., 2018. Using multi‐item psychometric scales for research and practice in human resource management. Human Resource Management57(3), pp.739-750.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornbill, A. (2016). Research Methods for Business Students. Pearson, 7th edn, England.

Shen, W., Kiger, T. B., Davies, S. E., Rasch, R. L., Simon, K. M., & Ones, D. S. (2011). Samples in applied psychology: Over a decade of research in review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(5), 1055– 1064

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