Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


MGMT617 Research Methods


BUSN601 Business Research project; MGMT655 Dissertation; OHSE688 OHSE Research project

Teaching organisation

Each student is under the supervision of a member of the University staff, who will guide him or her in the research and writing up of the research project.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is a 20 credit point unit in which students work with appointed supervisors on a piece of applied research related to their business specialisation. It is an individual program of supervised research which contributes significantly to a student’s knowledge and capabilities in an area of professional practice. Drawing on the skills developed in MGMT617 Research Methods, students will select a well-defined area of investigation in a relevant business, organisational or communal setting related to their professional/ career interests and aspirations. Student will undertake their action research project by spending time at approved industry placements, observing activities and processes relevant to their professional focus. The final report is intended to develop professional research skills to enhance career options.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Critically analyse and expound on previous research undertaken in the field; (GA 4, 5)

LO2 - Apply an appropriate research methodology to a specific topic; (GA 5, 6)

LO3 - Apply the knowledge of the field to the identified research problem from the ethical perspective; (GA 3, 5)

LO4 - Systematically structure, justify and explain their statements and conclusions; (GA 5, 8)

LO5 - Present research clearly in a well-structured, editorially sound, properly referenced and appropriate manner; (GA 5, 10)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics include:

  • Development of a research proposal. Typically, the proposal will be based on work done in MGMT617 Research Methods, but this need to necessarily be the case. You will be required to present research proposal, which will be worth 20% of the double-unit’s final mark. The proposal must be approved by your supervisor before you can formally commence work on the project.
  • Ethics review with supervisor to determine if there are any aspects of the proposed research that may require ethics or other approvals.
  • Independent study under supervision.
  • A research project using an appropriate research methodology.
  • Documenting the research project, including associated literature reviews, research activities, findings and analyses, including recommendations for further investigation if appropriate using a sound academic writing style.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In on-campus and online modes, the unit will be delivered over two study periods. Students will have access to all primary learning materials online, along with formative and summative assessments, all of which will be available in LEO, to provide a learning experience beyond the classroom. Students should anticipate undertaking 250 hours of study for this unit, including class attendance, readings, online forum participation and assessment preparation. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This is a capstone double unit, which is taken over two consecutive study periods, whether semesters for on-campus students, or in OUA study periods for online students. The assessment strategy is to determine whether students are able to draw on their learning in the pre-requisite unit, MGMT617 Research Methods, and other units in the relevant degree, to formulate and conduct a methodologically sound and appropriate investigation related to the subject matter of the course Where appropriate, the project should relate to the student’s employment or professional experience and show an ability to link understanding, knowledge and skills developed throughout the relevant course to real-world issues in such a way as to be able to make recommendations based on logical and evidence-based analysis.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1.  Hurdle task: To review selected principles and concepts of good research design.

If a student does not pass the hurdle task before the census date, it is highly recommended the student withdraws from this unit.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA6

2. Project Proposal

Length: Approx. 2500 words (not including references, appendices and other supporting documentation)

The Project Proposal should be a short literature review of the topic of the project, plus the research questions the research project will investigate, and the likely research methods that will be used in the project.

The Project Proposal should be appropriately organised into sections and subsections, and include:

  • An outline of the project topic and a short discussion of why it needs investigation. The selected topic may be one developed in MGMT617 Research Methods, some variation on that topic, or an entirely new topic.
  • A review of existing information sources that investigate the project topic, in case the issue has already been researched elsewhere (this should be a major part of the project proposal); Potential topics can be discussed with the unit coordinator.
  • A discussion of the likely research methods to be used during the project.
  • The research question or questions that the project will investigate.
  • Timeline to complete the project with milestones
  • The due date for submitting the Project Proposal is 8 weeks from the commencement.

Students who have not completed this assessment on time will not be permitted to conduct the project.


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6 

3. Project Report

Length: Approx. 10,000 words (not including references, appendices and other supporting documentation)

The second and final assessment task for this unit is submission of the Project Report. The Project Report must be completed individually. There are a number of parts to the Project Report:

  1. Title page; Statement of originality; Acknowledgements; Table of Contents; Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature Review
  4. Methodology
  5. Results
  6. Discussion and recommendations where appropriate
  7. Conclusion
  8. References
  9. Appendices

This is a guide to the Project Report structure, and variations are possible. Any significant variations should be discussed with the supervisor.

The due date for submitting the Project Report is the start of the following semester.

The Project Report will be assessed by a staff member other than the supervisor in terms of the way it expands on the Research Proposal; the clarity, appropriateness and effectiveness of the research undertaken, including the research methodology employed; the quality and depth of analysis of the relevant literature; the quality and relevance of the conclusions that are drawn and recommendations that may be made.

Student Final grade to be finalised within 4 weeks of the submission


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10 

Representative texts and references

There is no set textbook for this unit. However, a number of recommended sources of relevant research

Babbie, ER 2016, The practice of social research, 14th edn, Cengage Learning , US.

Lune, H & Berg, BL 2016, Qualitative research methods for the social sciences, 9th edn, Pearson, India

Bell, E., Bryman, A & Harley, B 2019, Business research methods , 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Clarke, S., & Hoggett, P. (Eds.). 2019. Researching beneath the surface: Psycho-social research methods in practice. Routledge.

Cooper, DR & Schindler, PS 2013, Business research methods, 12th edn, McGraw-Hill Education, New York.

Creswell, JW & Creswell, DJ 2017, Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, 5th edn, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

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

Gray, DE 2018, Doing research in the real world, 4th edn, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Jacobsen, K. H. 2020. Introduction to health research methods: A practical guide. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Leary, MR 2013, Introduction to behavioral research methods, 6th edn, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Leavy, P 2017, Research design: quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, arts-based and community-based participatory research approaches, Guildford Press, New York.

Nielsen, B. B., Eden, L., & Verbeke, A. 2020. Research methods in international business: Challenges and advances. In Research methods in international business (pp. 3-41). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

O'Leary Z 2005, Researching real-world problems, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Saunders, M & Lewis, P 2015, Research methods for business students, 7th edn, Prentice Hall UK, Harlow, UK

Sekaran, U & Bougie, RJ 2016, Research methods for business: a skills-building approach, 7th edn, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

Yin, R 2013, Case Study Research Design and Methods, 5th edn, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Zikmund, W, Babib, B, Carr, J & Griffin, M 2013, Business Research Methods, 9th ed, Cengage South Western, Mason, OH

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