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BUSN617 Research Methods


BUSN601 - Business Research Project, MGMT618 - 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 BUSN617 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 may undertake their action research project by spending time at approved industry placements to conduct primary research that includes observing activities and processes relevant to their professional focus or conducting secondary data analysis, or a combination of both primary and secondary research. 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; (GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Apply an appropriate research methodology to a specific topic with the purpose of resolving a research problem, with appropriate focus on local and international perspectives; (GA5, GA6) 

LO3 - Apply the knowledge of the field to the identified research problem from an ethical perspective; (GA3, GA5) 

LO4 - Evaluate research information/data by systematically locating, organising, synthesising and using relevant articles to structure, justify and explain statements and conclusions; (GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - Formulate a research report that is  well-structured, editorially sound, properly referenced and correlated to the research problem. (GA5, GA9) 

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 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics include:

  • Development of a research proposal.
  • Ethics review with supervisor.
  • Independent research using an appropriate research methodology  under supervision.
  • Documenting the research project, including critical 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 the Learning and Management System, 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, assessment preparation or ACU Online 10 week asynchronous delivery mode.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

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 ACU Online 10 week asynchronous delivery mode for online students. The assessment strategy is to determine whether students are able to draw on their learning in the pre-requisite unit, BUSN617 Research Methods, and other units in the relevant degree, to formulate and conduct a methodologically sound and appropriate investigation related to the students major field of study. Where appropriate, the project should also 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. Completion on one hurdle task and two pieces of assessment is required.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Hurdle task

This hurdle task requires students 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.


LO2, LO4

GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Project Proposal

This assessment task consists of a 2500-word written project proposal (not including references, appendices and other supporting documentation). This task requires students to provide a clear and coherent account of the proposed research, including consideration of ethical issues, a short literature review of the topic of the project, the research questions the research project will investigate and the likely research methods that will be used in the project. Students will also need to record a 2-minute video explaining the importance and potential contribution of the research proposal.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Project Proposal

Artefact: Written project proposal


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 3: Project Report

This assessment task consists of a 10,000 word project report  (not including references, appendices and other supporting documentation). This task requires students to expand on the Research Proposal produced in Assessment Task 2 by undertaking and reporting on the research undertaken, including the research methodology, analysis of the relevant literature, conclusions,  recommendations and accounting for local and international perspectives.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Project Report

Artefact: Written project report


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

There is no set text for this unit. However, a number of recommended sources of relevant research information will assist in planning, undertaking and writing up 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, London.
  • 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, KH 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, BB, 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 edn, Cengage South Western, Mason, OH.

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