module specification

CA7001 - Research Methods for Aviation Management (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Research Methods for Aviation Management
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
65 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
90 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Prepare a research poster for their proposal for presentation to a critical audience (20 minutes duration)
Coursework 50%   Written research proposal and initial literature review.(2000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module is intended to prepare students to critically read and evaluate research within their chosen field of study and then to design a research proposal for their business research project.

This module is core for all MSc Aviation programme students and will support students’ understanding of research-informed practice and research methods. It will prepare them to undertake and to communicate a business research project which links context with theory, evidence and practice.

The module will provide a firm foundation in the philosophical and practical factors that characterise business research. It will provide the opportunity to critically analyse and evaluate recent research studies supporting the development of a research proposal.

It seeks to introduce students to the part that research plays in business development, and the different skills involved, including rigorous investigative techniques, data collection and analysis and the communication methods that may be employed.

Students are introduced to the choices and judgements that have to be made in crafting, executing and evaluating research which provides the essential link between theory and business practice.


The aims of the module are:

1. To introduce students to research philosophy, methodology and design and their application to researching business-related issues in diverse domestic and international contexts.
2. To provide students with the practical skills necessary to design and undertake a postgraduate business research project in a subject of their own choosing
3. To provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of research through the analysis and evaluation of research studies
4. To formulate a coherent proposal with appropriate aims and objectives and a realistic plan of execution;
5. To foster a critical awareness and deep interest in a management/business topic associated with their subject specialist area and to combine knowledge and analysis acquired in core MSc modules to explore that topic fully;


The following summarises the main elements of the syllabus:
• The nature and purpose of responsible contemporary business research; bridging the theory-practice gap; the role of the researcher; research-informed practice; decision making based on research evidence   LO1

• Identifying the nature of the research context; key influencing factors; identifying opportunities for development LO1

• Philosophical Underpinnings of social and management research: ontological, axiological and epistemological assumptions; partial and multiple truths; positivism versus naturalism; hypothetical-deductive paradigms versus interpretative-inductive paradigms (e.g., the ‘grounded method’); action and case study research approaches; comparative investigation; feminist methodologies; postmodern and post-structural paradigms. LO1

• Personal, professional and ethical issues involved in undertaking research in diverse business contexts LO1

• Personal, professional, stakeholder and ethical issues involved in utilising and undertaking research in diverse business contexts LO1

• Secondary Research: literature searching: framing a literature search; published sources, secondary data and historical research; advanced referencing, database research and bibliographical citations. LO1,LO2

• Primary Research: quantitative approaches to organization, employment and human resources research (e.g., questionnaires, structured interviews and survey methods); qualitative approaches to organization, employment and human resources (e.g., ethnographies; in-depth case studies; qualitative individual and focus group interviewing); and understanding the contribution and limitations of both approaches/methods (including complementary uses). LO2

• Research Design: formulating research proposals; constructing methodological techniques for assembling data (e.g., questionnaire design; case study design); process of preparing research-based dissertations. LO2

• Research Analysis: sampling and survey analysis; selecting, interpreting and presenting statistical data; concept of probability; graphical representation of data; inferential statistics eg. chi-square, t-test and correlation and regression; reflexive versus objective analysis; crystallisation versus triangulation; thematic and textual analysis; content and discourse analysis; IT software in research including SPSS and Nvivo LO2

• Writing and Presentation of Research Results and Analysis: writing research briefs, writing proposals, structuring research reports, communicating to diverse audiences, giving research presentations, academic referencing. LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The learning and teaching strategy for this module enables students to gain a critical understanding of the nature and purpose of research, research findings and gain practical hands-on research experiences that take them through the process of problem identification, design, data collection and analysis. This will enable them to make informed, context-driven decisions when faced with complex management problems in their workplaces

Collaborative, active learning will be encouraged,  with high levels of student involvement aiming to foster research, social, learning and reflective skills. Critical evaluation of a wide range of research methods is given in the lectures, seminar discussion, and suggested readings. In addition, students participate in group work activity both prior to and in seminars, specialist workshops and visits to introduce them to study resources and information technology that may support data organization and manipulation. Students will also be encouraged to actively participate in opportunities to attend lectures, events and visits both within the university and in the wider business and research community.

These elements combine to underpin further reading and discussion so encouraging students to develop their knowledge and conduct their own analysis and synthesis of research material, and to write a research proposal in their specialist field.

Active student involvement in the learning process is an integral part of the delivery of this module.  Attendance at all sessions is required as the module is cumulative and progressive.  Outside of class contact, students learn through assignment work, reading and private study.

Digital literacy development

The learning,  teaching and assessment strategy for this module will enable students to develop their capabilities in digital literacy and information handling appropriate to professional/master’s level study as outlined in the Open University Digital and Information Literacy Framework (DILF: available to view at  )

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:


Designs and undertakes substantial investigations to address significant areas of theory and/or practice. Selects appropriate advanced methodological approaches and critically evaluates their effectiveness assimilate and analyse published information and statistical data to construct an academically robust research proposal.


Incorporates a critical ethical dimension to their research practice, managing the implications of ethical dilemmas whilst undertaking research in aviation through a critical literature review and the design and implementation of appropriate research methology.

Assessment strategy

This module will be assessed through 2 complementary assessment components. These consist of

1. A research proposal poster for presentation to a critical audience
2. A research proposal c. 2,000 words

These are intended, firstly, to support the learning and teaching activity throughout the module, enabling students to demonstrate in-depth reading and critical reflection on the major approaches to research appropriate to business,  informed by knowledge from the social sciences and applied within the business field.


Key Aviation Text:

Wiggins, M. (2016) Aviation Social Science; Research Methods in Practice. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot.

Key Texts:

Brett Davies, M. (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015). Business Research Methods. 4th edition. Oxford: OUP.
Collis, J. and Hussey, R. (2013). Business Research: a practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students.  4th edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Cottrell, S. (2014). Dissertations and Project Reports: a step by step guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Davies, M and Hughes, N. (2014). Doing a Successful Research Project. 2nd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Ancillary Reading:

Blumburg, B. (2011, 3rd edition) Business Research Methods. London: McGraw-Hill
Coghlan, D. and Brannick, T. (2014, 4th edition) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization. London: Sage.
Collis, J. and Hussey, R. (2013, 4th edition) Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students.  Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Cresswell, J.W. (2014, 4th edition) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. London: Sage.
Field, A. (2017, 5th Edition)  Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. London: Sage. ALSO his website with psychology related examples
Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (2011, 4th Edition). Research Methods for Managers. London: Sage.
Hart, C. (2011). Doing a Literature Search: A Comprehensive Guide for the Social Sciences. London: Sage.
Research. London: Sage.
Gill, J. and Johnson, P. (2009). Research methods for managers.  London; Sage
Harlow, England: Financial Times/Prentice Hall
Quinlan, C. Babin, B. Carr, J. Griffin, M. and Zikmund, W.G. (2015). Business Research Methods. Andover: Cengage Learning. 
Salkind, N. (2016) Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. 6th Edition. London: Sage.
Symon. G. and Cassell, C. (2012) Qualitative Organizational Research. London: Sage/
Wilkinson, E. and  Weitkamp, (2016). Creative Research Communication: theory and practice. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Wisker, G. (2008). The Postgraduate Research Handbook. 2nd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan


Methodology Journals include:

Action Research; Ethnography; Organizational Research Methods; Qualitative Research. Etc

In addition to the recommended texts it is expected that students will consult the appropriate journals in their own specialist area. These provide examples of the ways different research designs have been applied in empirical research.