Business Research Methodology Syllabus - MBA (PU)

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Course Description

Objectives of the Course

This course aims to develop students’ abilities to design and implement methodologically sound and practically relevant empirical business research. It is designed to give students a solid foundation for working on individual and group research projects and the ability to be informed users of research results presented and/or published by others.

Course Description

The course deals with the tools, techniques, and the changing paradigms of social science research, and their application to business research. The topics covered are: the research process, management research methods, literature review, formulation of the problem and related hypothesis, theoretical framework, research designs, qualitative research, sampling techniques, measurement and scaling, use of primary and secondary data sources, construction of questionnaires, interviewing techniques, sources of qualitative data, observation and participative research, data preparation and analysis,  writing research reports, citation and  referencing styles, and writing research proposals.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the basic knowledge of research and relate the importance of research as a management decision tool.
  • Describe the paradigm shifts in research and apply quantitative and qualitative research procedures.
  • Analyze and summarize key issues and themes from existing literature.
  • Formulate clearly defined theoretical framework, research questions and hypotheses.
  • Understand, classify and apply the major types of research designs.
  • Describe and apply sampling, scaling and measurement techniques.
  • Identify the sources of data and the use of questionnaire, interview and observation techniques of data collection.
  • Prepare and present data for analysis and effective report writing.
  • Generate research topics for the Graduate Research Project (GRP).
  • Prepare a research proposal for the graduate research project assignment that you are expected to undertake later in the sixth trimester.

Learning Activities and Procedures

The instructor decides on the teaching methods for this course, which may include lectures, exercises, and supervised reading. Part of this course will be project-based preparing students for their directed graduate research project. The learning activities will be centered on the following activities:

  • Class lectures and discussion centered on specific study matter. You are expected to come prepared for class with assigned work done in advance of class. You are expected to contribute ideas, thoughts, experiences, and arguments to the class discussion.
  • Class presentation and discussion following the presentation. Each student will be responsible for making presentation; some of the presentations will be done in groups.
  • Review of articles and similar submissions involving research work will be assigned. Although overviews of key points and issues are provided, you have to comprehend the materials in detail, raise questions and ideas, and create a “lively” class.
  • Examinations (mid-term and final) will be given during the trimester. These tests purport to examine students’ knowledge and understanding on concepts learnt in the lectures. You will be evaluated through a 4-hour final examination.

Unit Contents

Course Outline

The classes will be organized into the following sections and sub-sections:

Introduction to Methodological Foundations

                        Social science research: concept, nature, purpose and types

                        Scientific research: concept, process and features

Paradigm shifts in research philosophy: positivism vs interpretivism; theory-driven vs data-driven research; qualitative vs quantitative research

                        Management research: role, nature and types

                        Ethical issues in management research

                        Texts and Supplementary Reading:

                        Zikmund, W (Chapter 1 &5)

Pant, PR (Chapter 1 & 2)

Whitley, R.D. (1984). The scientific status of management research as a practically oriented social science. Journal of Management Studies, 21/4: 369-390.

Lee, AS (1991). Integrating positivist and interpretive approaches to organizational research. Organizational Science, 2/4: 342-365.

Jick, TD (1979). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24/4: 602-611.

Beginning Stages of the Research Process

Literature review and meta-analysis

Theoretical framework

Role of theory in research

Problem definition

Approaches to research: theory testing vs theory building

Formulating research questions and hypotheses, types of hypothesis

Criteria of good hypotheses

Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 3 & 6)

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 2)

Pant, PR (Chapter 3 & 4)

Baker, MJ (2000). Writing a literature review. Marketing Review, 1/2: 219-247.

Whetten, DH (1989). What constitutes a theoretical framework? Academy of Management Review, 14/4: 490-495.

Hamlin, RP (2003). Induction, deduction and the pig headed decision-maker: Why we should learn to love them all. Marketing Review, 3/3: 329-341.

Research Design

Research design: concept and elements

Types of research design: exploratory, descriptive, developmental, case study, survey, correlational, and experimental.

Qualitative research: concept, features, and research design.

Grounded theory and participative research

Common sources of errors in research design

Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 7)

Pant, PR (Chapter 5)

Baker, MJ (2001). Selecting a research methodology. Marketing Review, 1/3: 373-397.

Calder, BJ, Phillips, LW, & Tybout, AM (1981). Designing research for application. Journal of Consumer Research, 8/2: 197-207.

Measurement, Scaling and Sampling Concepts

Variables: concept and types

Scales of measurement

Attitude measurement and scale construction

Attitude scales commonly used in business research

Validity and reliability of measurement

Sources of measurement problems

Sampling: concept, process, types, and errors

Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 13, 14 & 16)

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 8 & 9)

Pant, PR (Chapter 6 & 7)

Devlin, SJ, Dong, HK, & Brown, M (2003). Selecting a scale for measuring quality. Marketing Research, Fall: 13-16.

Mitchell, TR (1985). An evaluation of the validity of correlational research conducted in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 10/2: 192-205.

  1. Data Collection Methods and Procedures

      Data and its types

      Sources of data

Questionnaire: types, design, principles of questionnaire writing, components,    pretesting, and administration.

Research interview: structured vs unstructured, in-depth and focus group interviewing.

Qualitative data: nature, types and sources

Observation: participant and structured

Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 15)

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 10)

Pant, PR (Chapter 9)

Webb, J (2000). Questionnaires and their design. Marketing Review, 1/2: 197-218.

Pawson, R (1996). Theorizing the interview. The British Journal of Sociology, 47/2: 295-314.

Presentation and Analysis of Data

      Getting data ready for analysis

Data analysis process

      Qualitative data analysis – content, thematic and narrative analysis.

Quantitative data analysis – analysis of basic association, difference, and causal relationship 

An overview of statistical methods – descriptive and inferential statistics, parametric and non-parametric statistics.

Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 20, 21 23, 24)

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 15, 16 & 17)

Pant, PR (Chapter 9)

Diamantopolous, A (2000). Getting started with data analysis: Choosing the right method. Marketing Review, 1/1: 77-87.

Peters, LD (2002). Theory testing in social research. Marketing Review, 3/1: 65-82.

Topic Selection and Proposal Writing

Sources of research topic

Attributes of a good research topic

Research proposal: function, types and components

Structure of the academic research proposal


Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 4)

Pant, PR (Chapter 13)


Baker, MJ (2000). Writing a research proposal. Marketing Review, 1/1: 61-75.


Writing a Research Report

Research report process

Procedures for writing

Conventions of academic writing

Format of the academic research report

Citation and references


Texts and Supplementary Reading:

Zikmund, W (Chapter 25)

Cooper & Schindler (Chapter 20)

Pant, PR (Chapter 14)


Baker, MJ (2001). Writing up and getting published. Marketing Review, 1/4:


Baker, MJ (2001). Making a presentation. Marketing Review, 2/3: 357-372.                       

Indicative Assessments

Assessments include individual projects, article reviews, class presentations, Web exercises, and in-class assignments and exercises. These assessments are used as stepping stones for the final product of this course: a thesis proposal. At the end of the course, students will have a written proposal on a topic of their own choice.

There will be two examinations – mid-term and final. Mid-term exam will be of 1.5 hour duration. Final examination will cover all course materials. This examination will focus on applying skills and knowledge learnt in the course. In these examinations, questions may come from the assigned readings, lectures, and other materials presented in class. The mid-term and final term examinations will be closed book and closed notes.


The evaluation scheme will be as follows:

                        Review of articles and presentation                           10%

                        Attendance                                                                  10%

                        Class participation                                                     10%

                        Mid-term examination                                               20%

Graduate research project proposal                           10%

Final examination (four hours comprehensive

written examination)                                                  40%                

Work Load

3 hours class work per week (12 weeks in total)  plus private study time and library work.

Class Participation

Each student is expected to attend every class and participate in all activities of the class. This requires that you devote some thoughtful time to the readings prior to the class so that you have ideas to contribute to the class discussion. Good participation also includes asking questions and helping others to develop or clarify their ideas or questions. Lack of participation will be interpreted as lack of adequate preparation which will result in a lower participation grade. Students’ must respect others’ opinions by allowing everyone to speak without interruption. You are also strongly encouraged to provide feedback to the instructor throughout the trimester in order to improve this class.

Class Attendance

Attendance is expected and absences must be justified. Absences from class do not excuse you from being responsible for contents missed. Because a portion of your grade for this course is based on class participation and attendance, missed classes will mean that you did not participate on those days. Therefore, attendance will definitely result in a poor class participation grade. Eighty percent class attendance is required. If you must miss class, contact the instructor in advance and make arrangements to get assignments, announcements, etc. from your colleagues.

Proposal and Proposal Presentation

The main exercise for this class is the completion of your research proposal. However, this is not a one-time activity. You are expected to do extensive outside reading in connection with your research proposal. The proposal must contain enough details so that most readers can understand and follow the rationale and the research methodology. Please consult the instructor in selecting the your research topic and preparing your proposal. The formats and contents of research proposal will be discussed during the lectures.

Text and Reference Books


Zikmund, William G. (2007). Business Research Methods. New Delhi: Thomson.

Cooper, Donald R. & Schindler, Pamela S. (2003). Business Research Methods. New Delhi:     Tata McGraw Hill.

Pant, Prem R. (2009). Social Science Research and Thesis Writing. Kathmandu: Buddha Academic Enterprises.

Students are also supposed to actively search and use other Research Methodology books. Journal articles assigned for reading will be discussed in the class. Be sure to have a copy of these articles. You can get the copies of these articles from the Photocopy Shop.


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  • Short Name N/A
  • Course code RES 611
  • Semester Third Trimester
  • Full Marks 100
  • Pass Marks 60
  • Credit 2 hrs
  • Elective/Compulsary Compulsary