module specification

HR7160 - Management Research Report (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Management Research Report
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Management Research Report and Reflection (7500 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Evening
Spring semester North Thursday Evening

Module summary

Students on the Postgraduate Diploma in HRM take the module ‘Research Methods in HRM’ in semester two. This module (HR7160) takes place in the final (third) semester of the Postgraduate Diploma HRM course and it develops the knowledge and learning gained in the Research Methods in HRM module. As such the two modules HR7155 and HR7160 have a strong academic and practical relationship. In essence while the Research Methods in HRM module focuses on ‘how to conduct research following best practice’; this module focuses on the actual ‘doing in the field’ of the case study organisation. The culmination of this module is the production of the 7,500 management report and reflective commentary. This module aims to ‘accompany the students’ on this individual research path, as they carry out their individual empirically based research project. Cognisant of the fact that ‘doing’ research and fieldwork can be a lonely and isolating experience the weekly sessions are structured in a way that facilitates the following:

  1. Students work together in learning sets, this provides them with the opportunity to bring problems and issues ‘to the table’; allows them to problem solve with the help and assistance of peers and to gain support in a collegial environment.
  2. Students and tutor then take part in a plenary session where issues are discussed in more detail, with tutor guidance and advice available.
  3. Individual problems and questions can be addressed to the tutor during the class as required.

Prior learning requirements

HR7155 (Research Methods in HRM).

Module aims

This module aims to guide, support and assist students as they undertake their individual research projects (Management Research Reports).
The module achieves this by way of learning sets; tutor facilitation and opportunities for individual guidance. The module aims to provide a collaborative environment which will help generate creative ideas and creative solutions to issues that students may be facing during the execution of their fieldwork and writing up their MRR.
The module provides advice and offers the potential for exploring issues and problems students may face as they undertake their research. For example, it guides and supports the students as they engage in secondary research and write their literature review; as they consider, develop and implement their data collection methods; as they gather and analyse their primary data; as they write up the findings and analysis sections of their report; and as they offer strategic recommendations and a costed implementation plan in the concluding sections of the report.
The module aims to build capacity and knowledge through peer support in the learning sets and through targeted tutor interventions.
To contribute to the academic and professional development of the student this module, along with the other core modules of the course, has been designed to incorporate digital and information literacy competences and dispositions, as outlined in the Open University’s Digital and Information Literacy Framework  (DILF).
Particularly, this module develops level 7 (postgraduate) competencies in the areas of:

  • Understanding and engaging in digital practices
  • Finding Information
  • Critically evaluating information, online interactions and online tools
  • Managing and communicating information


Students will meet weekly.
Week 1:  Module introduction: the management research report; learning sets; setting up learning sets; practising and problem solving within learning sets.
Weeks 2 and 3: Doing Secondary research and Doing the Literature Review.
Weeks 4 and 5: Designing your data collection methods.
Weeks 6 and 7: Gathering and Analysing your data.
Weeks 8 and 9: Writing up and Presenting your Findings and Analysis chapters.
Weeks 10 and 11: Presenting and publicising your recommendations.
Week 12: Final thoughts and reflections.

Learning and teaching

The success of learning sets using principles of Action Learning in developing individual and cooperative skills in order to achieve an individual task is well documented in business and is becoming more prevalent in academic settings as well. By their nature, Action Learning Sets are autonomous groups, developing methods of working and agreeing specific learning objectives as individual members and as a group.
Given that each student's task is unique and business-led, the use of learning sets is considered an appropriate approach by which students can develop the skills necessary to research and complete their management research report. However, this module also provides direct tutor input, support, facilitation and intervention.
Students will have submitted a research proposal prior to starting the module as a part of their core research methods module and therefore be prepared in key approaches and research methods for developing and completing their management research reports.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be able to:
Present a convincing management research report in the field of HRM/D.
Demonstrate critical analysis of literature, policy and practice relevant to the chosen issue via a literature review.
Engage in negotiation and consultancy skills in order to gain entry to an organisation to undertake the project with the resources required to carry out the research.
Demonstrate an ability to design an appropriate methodology, administer primary research tools and present data based on knowledge and skills developed through the Research Methods in HRM module. 
Justify appropriate conclusions, costed and timetabled recommendations through argument based on a critical analysis of the primary data collected and the literature investigated.
Show engagement in reflective practice, as a part of their Learning Set, to be represented in reflection on developing the research project.
Additionally, in line with the DILF (level 7) students will be able to:

  • Articulate the characteristics of digital scholarship in the relevant subject and/or professional area.
  • Articulate the characteristic ways research information is generated and disseminated.
  • Demonstrate the ability to search independently and fluently across a comprehensive range of information sources in any medium, including specialised information such as archives, data sets, special collections, colleagues and contacts in research networks.
  • Articulate the way that Library databases work (e.g. fields, records, indexing) and apply this knowledge to improve searches.
  • Produce an independently conducted thorough literature search in a specific subject area, making effective use of advanced search techniques such as citation searching.
  • Identify the most effective ways to use research outputs (e.g. reports, conference proceedings, journal articles) to create impact.
  • Engage in critical appraisal, including judgements on reliability and validity, of own work and the work of others.
  • Define clearly the scope of a research question and apply relevant criteria to filter large quantities of information related to this question.
  • Articulate the advantages and disadvantages of peer review practices.
  • Apply critical criteria to the evaluation of unfamiliar online tools.
  • Apply a suitable method for managing a large volume of information.
  • Produce a synthesis of information from a range of diverse materials on a complex subject.
  • Produce a comprehensive literature review in a specific subject.
  • Articulate the ethical and legal requirements surrounding the use and re-use of information and identify sources of relevant advice.
  • Construct a major bibliography using bibliographic management tools, referencing a large range of materials.
  • Distinguish between platforms for publishing digital content, recognising the difference between formal publication and information exchange.

Assessment strategy

There is just one element of assessment:
Management research report (7500 words) 100%
The management research report will be presented for assessment in a form specified by CIPD, including a literature review and normally leading to primary research and specific recommendations with a costed implementation plan in a chosen organisation. This will be significantly different from the format required in most organisations for a management report.
The presentation of the management research report will include a 500 word reflection on the development of the research project, including engagement with learning sets.


Key Texts:
Anderson, V. (2013) Research Methods in Human Resource Management, 3rd edition. London: CIPD.
Bell, J. (2014) Doing Your Research Project, 6th edition. Open University Press.
Brett Davies, M. (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2011) Business Research Methods. 3rd edition Oxford: OUP.
Buckingham, A. and Saunders. P. (2004) The Survey Methods Workbook. Cambridge: Polity Press. AND useful website with additional support materials
Cameron, S. and Price, D (2009) Business Research Methods: A Practical Approach, London: CIPD.
Costley, C., Elliott, G. and Gibbs, P.  (2010)  Doing Work-Based Research: Approaches to Enquiry for Insider-Researchers, London: Sage.
Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2015) Research Methods for Business Students, 7th edition. London: Pearson Education .
Student additional study resources to be used alongside this text are available at:
Salkind, N. (2014) Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics.  5th edition. London: Sage.
Symon. G. and Cassell, C. (2012) Qualitative Organizational Research, London: Sage.

Important Texts:
Brace, N. Kemp, R. and Smelgar, R. (2012) SPSS for Psychologists, Basingstoke: Palgrave ALSO website with psychology related examples
Blumburg, B. (2014) Business Research Methods.  4th edition. London: McGraw-Hill
Coghlan, D. and Brannick, T. (2014) Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization. 4th edition. L0ndon: Sage.
Cresswell, J.W. (2014, 4th edition) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, London: Sage.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P. R. (2012) Management Research.  4th edition. London: Sage.
Field, A.(2013Discovering Statistics Using SPSS , 3rd edition) .  London: Sage. ALSO his website with psychology related examples
Hart, C. (2001) Doing a Literature Search: A Comprehensive Guide for the Social Sciences. London: Sage.
Horn, R. (2009) The Business Skills Handbook, London: CIPD.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy and Patricia Lina Leavy (2014) Feminist Research Practice: A Prime., 2nd. Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Jowel, R., Roberts,C., Fitzgerald, R. and Eva, G. (2007) Measuring Attitudes Cross-Nationally, London: Sage.
Kelemen, M. and Rumens, N. (2008) An Introduction to Critical Management Research. London: Sage.
Marschan-Piekkari, R. and Welch, R. (2005)  Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for International Business, Cheltenham, Edward-Elgar.
McNiff, J. and Whitehead, J. (2011) All You Need to Know about Action Research, 2nd edition. London: Sage.
Pallant, J. (2013) The SPSS Survival Manual, 5th edition.  London: McGraw Hill.
Wickramasinghe, M.  (2010) Feminist Research Methodology: Making Meanings of Meaning-Making, London: Routledge
Yin, R. K. (2014) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 5th  edition .London: Sage.

Methodology Journals include: Ethnography; Organizational Research Methods; Qualitative Research. 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.