module specification

BA5002 - Business Research and Decision Making (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Business Research and Decision Making
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30% 40 Individual coursework focusing on a UK plc financial report and accounts.
Unseen Examination 20% 40 Closed book accounting exam
Open Book Examination 50% 40 Open-book time-constrained exam, based on a case study, focusing on research methods
Running in 2018/19 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module introduces students to the key quantitative and qualitative techniques that are used to solve problems in the business world.  The module picks up the knowledge and skills provided at level 4 in Understanding Business Information. It expands on the fundamentals and basics to enhance students’ understanding of the role of data and the use of statistical techniques in business.  
The module also provides a grounding in research methods which prepares students for their level 6 research and dissertation.

In addition, the module provides students with the key concepts in management accounting including management budgeting, prediction and forecasting, risk assessment, working capital, and capital investment.  

Skills taught on this module will include advanced use of Excel as well as the use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The aims of the module are:

• To introduce students to risk-averse and uncertain business situations
• To develop students’ understanding of the major uses of accounting information by management in problem-solving, decision-making and planning and control.
• To familiarise students with a framework for users of accounting information in “short-term” decision-making.
• To examine alternative techniques in decision-making situations, including investment appraisal.
• To enable students to use spreadsheets to design models and interpret their outcomes in optimisation problems and investment appraisal.
• To prepare students in writing dissertation proposals, conduct research using data analysis, and in the evaluation of the financial performance of a UK plc.
• To introduce students to quantitative research methods
• To introduce students to inferential statistics
• To introduce students to models and techniques used for optimisation problems,
To introduce students to techniques for project management, planning and costing.


Qualitative research methods:

  • Identifying sources, Literature review, Focus group (or interview) and Methodology.
  • Measuring concepts, Reliability and Validity.

Quantitative research methods:

  • Identifying sources, Literature review, Questionnaire design and Methodology.
  • Statistical distributions, Hypothesis tests,  Linear regression, Linear programming and Project management

Management accounting- defined and contextualised
Cost volume profit analysis; Break even analysis
Costing using Activity Based Costing (ABC)
Budgeting- operational and cash
Relevant costing- short term decision making
Capital investment analysis- long term decision making

Learning and teaching

The Learning and Teaching strategy for the module including the approach to blended learning, students’ study responsibilities and opportunities for reflective learning/pdp.

Learning and teaching will primarily be driven by lecture/workshop formats. Students will also be required to study privately and individually on the material taught in class.
WebLearn will also play a role in supporting and enhancing the student learning experience.

Attendance Policy

As a student in the Faculty of Business and Law, you are expected to attend all timetabled sessions, including lectures, seminars and workshops.  Regular attendance means that you can take full advantage of the learning and teaching opportunities available to you and gain the greatest benefit from your course.  Poor attendance not only affects you but also affects others who rely on you in group projects and for peer learning: where group work and peer learning is central to the subject, poor attendance can lead to failure of assessment.

If you regularly miss sessions you will be contacted by your Course Leader or Personal Academic Tutor and offered the opportunity to discuss any difficulties that might be affecting your attendance.  If your attendance continues to be poor you will receive a warning letter and will have to attend a Faculty Disciplinary Attendance Meeting (FDAM).  In addition, your visa or student loan could be revoked and, eventually, you will be withdrawn from the course.

The Faculty recognises that you may need to undertake part time employment to support your studies and may have other commitments such as childcare or family or religious events.  However the Faculty does expect you, wherever possible, to fit these commitments around timetabled sessions in order to take part in the course fully.  If you are aware of an event (for example, unexpected work commitments or a religious holiday) that is going to disrupt your attendance at taught sessions you must discuss this with your Personal Academic Tutor or Course Leader.

Learning outcomes

Upon the successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

• Understand how risk and uncertainty can be built into business decision-making
• Understand the significance of short-term decision-making management accounting tools
• Understand and apply how to cost products/services
• Understand and value the importance of planning via operational and cash budgets
• Apply and appraise long-term decision-making techniques for long-term projects
• To critically evaluate the performance of a UK plc from their annual report and accounts.
• Apply key hypothesis tests to infer business decisions from sample information
• Evaluate levels of dependence and correlation between business concepts
• Apply linear programming to optimise profits and costs for problems with in-built constraints
• Apply network and PERT models to manage, cost and control projects.

Assessment strategy

The assessment of this module is designed to enable students to work collectively and alone in open and time-constrained situations. There are three assessment points covering two subject areas. Students need to pass assessments for both subject areas separately. Specifically, they need to pass assessment 1 and 2 as aggregate and assessment 3.

Component 1 (30%)
  Individual coursework focusing on a UK plc financial report and accounts.

Component 2 (20%)
  Closed book accounting exam

Component 3 (50%)
  Open-book time-constrained exam, based on a case study, focusing on research methods.


• Quantitative methods for business decisions, (6th Ed or later), Jon Curwin and Roger Slater (Essential)
• Bryman A. and Cramer D. (2011) Quantitative Data Analysis with IBM SPSS 17, 18 & 19 – A Guide for Social Scientists, Routledge
• Dewhurst, F. (2006) Quantitative Methods for Business and Management, 2nd Ed, McGraw Hill
• Drury, C. (2009) Management Accounting for Business, 4th ed, Cengage Learning EMEA.
• Horngren C., Bhimani A., Datar S. and Foster G. (2012) Management and Cost Accounting, 5th ed., Financial Times Press.
• Oakshott, L. (2012) Essential Quantitative Methods, 5th Edition, Palgrave
• Ray Proctor (2009), Managerial Accounting for Business Decisions, 3rd ed, Financial Times Press
• Render B. Stair, R. and Hanna, M. (2012) Quantitative Analysis for Management, 11th Ed, Pearson
• Rowntree, D. (2004) Statistics without Tears: An introduction for non-mathematicians, Penguin Books
• Swift, L. and Piff, S. (2010) Quantitative Methods for Business, Management and Finance, 3rd ed, Palgrave
• Wisniewski, M. (2009) Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers, 5th Edition, Financial Times/Prentice Hall