Business and management studies

Research Project in Human Resource Management

Module code: 779N1
Level 7 (Masters)
45 credits in summer teaching
Teaching method: Lecture
Assessment modes: Coursework

In this module you have to see through an independent piece of research, starting with a research question and ending in the presentation and critique of findings.

To start off, you identify a strategic business issue and formulate an HR-related research question after rigorously reviewing and understanding existing research and literature.

You're assigned a supervisor and they work closely with you to develop the project and write up a 12,000-word Management Research Report. This must clearly outline the theoretical approach and foundations of the project, analyse data and generate well-supported insights linking theory and data. It must also recognise shortcomings and develop concrete HR-relevant proposals.

You are expected to draw on your entire training from the first two terms of the academic year, using both substantive and methodological knowledge from completed modules. You are then expected to develop the research project and essay based on your theoretical and empirical interests.

You're expected to independently work on all steps of the research and collect data as you go, although the nature of this data and how you collect it is down to you.

You will also deal with research access and ethics approval processes.

Research methods can include:

  • face-to-face interviews
  • focus groups
  • participant and/or non-participant observation
  • archival research
  • discourse analysis
  • textual and statistical analysis.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify and develop a systematic understanding of a business issue that is of strategic relevance for the organization.
  • Formulate an original research question around the selected business issue through the application of relevant knowledge from a critical review and analysis of existing research and literature on HR policy and practice related to it.
  • Identify and utilise the appropriate techniques sufficient to allow detailed investigation into the selected research question, through a rigorous comparison of the relative merits of different research methods and their relevance to different complex situations.
  • Acquire and critically analyse original data and information drawing on familiarity with a range of business data and research sources and present the findings of data collection in a clear, consistent, logical manner.
  • Develop a conceptual awareness of relevant theories in explaining an empirical case and carry out an analysis.
  • Develop a Management Research Report, communicating effectively the results of analysis nad extrapolating recommendations for improvements on the selected HR -related issue, taking into consideration related resource implications including financial ones.
  • Write a critical, reflective account of what has been learned during the project and how this can be applied in the future.
  • Reflect critically on the larger societal and economic implications for the practices of individual firms and the experiences of individual employees and/or managers.