Logo Students

FOBE720 – Qualitative Research Approaches in Business and Economics

2018 – S1 Evening

General Information

Pdf icon Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
David Rooney
Lorne Cummings
Credit points Credit points
4
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
FOBE820
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides students with an introduction to theoretical and empirical research approaches informed by qualitative methods of inquiry within the business and economics discipline. It seeks to develop students' understanding of the contexts in which qualitative research can be undertaken. Topics covered include grounded theory, hermeneutical analysis, discourse analysis, and participant observational. Students will also develop the ability to analyse, conduct, and evaluate qualitative forms of research.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  2. Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them
  5. Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

General Assessment Information

Assessment information

All written assignments or written components of assignments must be submitted online through Turnitin.

All assignments are due at midday on the Thursday of the due week.

Assignments are to be your independent AND original work. Written assignments will be formal in style, include appropriate source citation and reference lists and use a standard 12-point font. You may use section headings in essays if you wish.

Please put a word count on the front page of your assignment and ensure that you reference appropriately using the APA style.

Standard penalties will be applied where assignments exceeded the prescribed length by 10% or more and for lateness.

Students may be required to discuss their knowledge of assignment content with their lecturer or tutor to verify student authorship.

There will be a deduction of 20% of the total available marks made from the total awarded a mark for each 24 hour period or part thereof that the submission is late (for example, 25 hours late in submission– 40% penalty). This penalty does not apply for cases in which an application for special consideration is made and approved.

Grade

Description of Grade

Fail

Falls short of satisfying most requirements for Pass. There are missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.

Pass

Satisfies all of the basic learning requirements for the course, such as knowledge of fundamental concepts and performance of basic skills (such as basic writing, research and referencing skills, skills in providing direct evidence for claims, application of theory, and analytical writing skills); demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered satisfactory or adequate in the course. Mistakes in execution of skills and grasp of fundamental concepts are frequently and consistently observable.

Credit

Demonstrates ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills of the course, going beyond mere replication of content knowledge or skill (such as basic writing, research and referencing skills, skills in providing direct evidence for claims, application of theory, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills) to show understanding of key ideas, awareness of their relevance, some use of analytical skills, and some originality or insight. Demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered good or effective in the course. Poor execution of skills and grasp of fundamental concepts are often observable.

Distinction

Demonstrates awareness and understanding of deeper and subtle aspects of the course, such as ability to identify and debate critical issues or problems, ability to solve non-routine problems, ability to adapt and apply ideas to new situations, and ability to invent and evaluate new ideas. Demonstrates mastery of basic skills (such as basic writing, research and referencing skills, skills in providing direct evidence for claims, application of theory, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills). Demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered very good or very effective in the course. Very Good execution of skills and grasp of fundamental concepts are mostly observable.

High Distinction

Demonstrates imagination, insight, originality or flair in relation to relevant learning objectives; and the work is interesting or surprising or exciting or challenging or erudite. Excellent execution of basic skills (such as basic writing, research and referencing skills, skills in providing direct evidence for claims, application of theory, critical thinking, and analytical writing), and excellent knowledge of fundamental concepts are uniformly observable. Demonstrates sufficient quality of performance to be considered outstanding or excellent or first-rate.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assignement 1 20% No 10pm, Thursday of Week 4
Assignment 2 40% No 10pm Thursday of Week 8
Assignment 3 40% No 10pm Thursday of Week 13

Assignement 1

Due: 10pm, Thursday of Week 4
Weighting: 20%

What are research problems and questions?

Your task in this assignment is to write a 1,000 word essay to critically explain:

(1.) What a research problem statement is and how it is developed in academic research,

(2.) What a research question is and how it is developed in academic research,

(3.) What should the research problem statement and research question enable a researcher to do in relation to contributing to knowledge, and

(4.) State your own research problem and question, explaining how you developed them, and how they will help you make an original contribution to knowledge.

 

This essay relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

 

•  Demonstrate an awareness of what research problem statements and questions are and how they are created

•  Demonstrate an ability to create your own research problem statement and question

 

You should consult research methods/methodology research in journal articles and research methods textbooks.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assignment 2

Due: 10pm Thursday of Week 8
Weighting: 40%

Identifying gaps that matter

In 2,000 words, critically appraise at least 3 of the most recent qualitative articles and one major (most recent) review article (i.e., a literature review article), plus any recent additional quantitative, mixed method or conceptual articles from top ranked journals that speak to your research question. If you cannot find a suitable review article you could consider a special issue related to your research in a top journal or an edited book that is relevant from a top academic publishing house.

 

Keep in mind that if you claim there are no qualitative research publications that are relevant to your research question, I will do a literature search myself and if I find that there are suitable publications out there I will fail your assignment for not answering the question.

 

Prepare a 2,000 word analytical, concept- and problem-focused literature review of these publications by, first, conducting a review of your publications substantive contribution relative to your research question. You should focus on problems in the literature (relative to your research question) around the scope of research, findings and theory. This includes identifying any theoretical gaps or problems and discussing methodological issues that are relevant and that would help you answer your research question.

 

This assignment will assist with writing the literature review for your thesis in year two of the M Res. and your final assignment.

 

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

 

•  Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research.

•  Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences

 

•  Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices;

•  Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them.

•   Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data.

Keep in mind that you are reviewing literature in this assignment and that literature reviews are analytical and synthesising rather than descriptive. You should think about structuring this assignment around the most important issues (relative to your research question) that arise from your synthesis. Do not structure the assignment on an article by article basis because you cannot create an effective synthesis that way.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assignment 3

Due: 10pm Thursday of Week 13
Weighting: 40%

Qualitative research design and analysis report

Prepare a research report of 3,000 words that contains an introduction that includes a brief statement of (1) your research problem and research quesiton/s, (2) a literature review that justifies (ontologically, epistemologically/axiologically) your choice of qualitative methods as a way to answer your research question/s, (3) an explanation of how you will conduct the analysis, (4) provides a significant example of your analysis and discussion of the data, and (5) a conclusion.

 

The paper is a chance for you to demonstrate that you can design a study, conduct your analysis, and communicate your findings. These are all skills that you need to have mastered before you begin your thesis in year two. You will have to collect a small sample of data for this assignment.

 

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:

 

•  Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research.

•  Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences

 

•  Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices;

•   Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments.

You can use assignments one and two as bases for this one. However, I do expect that you improve on your work in those assignments and make additions and subtractions to them based on your changing research question and growth in your knowledge.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences
  • Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Delivery and Resources

A number of digital tools for collaborative problem solving are useful in research. It will assist you to bring a laptop or tablet to the studio and to download the Chrome web browser.

 

Additional resources

Writing and grammar tools:

Unit Schedule

Week

Wisdom Studio Reading Topics

Notes

1

Introduction & expectations

 

2

Writing in the research process

Writing and grammar tools http://www.elearnhub.org/best-grammar-editing-proofreading-tools-everybody-know/

3

Research paradigms, & the research process

Clarifying how you will think about and do your research next year

4

Ontology & Epistemology

What are your assumptions and what approach will you take to creating knowledge?

5

Analysis & interpretation

What theoretical knowledge does your data address?

6

Case study method

Case study is more than you think

6

Interview method

It’s not just a chat

8

Interpretation practicum

Learning by doing

9

Ethnographic method

Learning by doing

10

Ethnography of the mall practicum

Learning by doing (field trip)

11

Grounded theory data coding practicum

Learning by doing

12

Discourse analysis practicum

Learning by doing

13

Back to basics

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Undergraduate students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

PG - Research and Problem Solving Capability

Our postgraduates will be capable of systematic enquiry; able to use research skills to create new knowledge that can be applied to real world issues, or contribute to a field of study or practice to enhance society. They will be capable of creative questioning, problem finding and problem solving.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences

Assessment tasks

  • Assignement 1
  • Assignment 2

PG - Capable of Professional and Personal Judgment and Initiative

Our postgraduates will demonstrate a high standard of discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgment. They will have the ability to make informed choices and decisions that reflect both the nature of their professional work and their personal perspectives.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices
  • Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them

Assessment task

  • Assignment 3

PG - Discipline Knowledge and Skills

Our postgraduates will be able to demonstrate a significantly enhanced depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content knowledge in their chosen fields.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assessment tasks

  • Assignement 1
  • Assignment 2

PG - Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Our postgraduates will be capable of utilising and reflecting on prior knowledge and experience, of applying higher level critical thinking skills, and of integrating and synthesising learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. A characteristic of this form of thinking is the generation of new, professionally oriented knowledge through personal or group-based critique of practice and theory.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand commonly used qualitative research approaches in business and management research
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of research methods and be able to make informed methodological choices
  • Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assessment tasks

  • Assignement 1
  • Assignment 2

PG - Effective Communication

Our postgraduates will be able to communicate effectively and convey their views to different social, cultural, and professional audiences. They will be able to use a variety of technologically supported media to communicate with empathy using a range of written, spoken or visual formats.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss different forms of data and outline their differences
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assessment task

  • Assignment 3

PG - Engaged and Responsible, Active and Ethical Citizens

Our postgraduates will be ethically aware and capable of confident transformative action in relation to their professional responsibilities and the wider community. They will have a sense of connectedness with others and country and have a sense of mutual obligation. They will be able to appreciate the impact of their professional roles for social justice and inclusion related to national and global issues

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary ethical issues in research and strategies for addressing them
  • Do qualitative research by constructing problem-oriented literature reviews, formalising meaningful research questions, handling and evaluating a range of evidence, and be able to deduce arguments on the basis of data

Assessment task

  • Assignment 3

Suggested Readings

Reading list

There is no set text for this unit because different students will require different approaches to their research depending on the discipline, the research question, and the kinds of ontological and epistemological assumptions they make. However, an indicative reading list follows:

Alvesson, M., & Karreman, D. (2000). Varieties of Discourse: On the Study of Organizations Through Discourse Analysis. Human Relations, 53(9), 1125 -1149.

Bell, A. (2011). Re-constructing Babel: Discourse analysis, hermeneutics and the Interpretive Arc. Discourse Studies, 13(5), 519-568.

Boje, D. M. (2001). Narrative Methods for Organizational & Communication Research. New Park: Sage.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (Second Edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches: Sage publications.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2003). Introduction: The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Landscape of Qualitative Research: Theories and Issues (pp. 1-46). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge.

Flood, A. (2010). Understanding phenomenology: Anne Flood looks at the theory and methods involved in phenomenological research. Nurse researcher, 17(2), 7-15.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making social science matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can succeed again (S. Sampson, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th Edition ed., pp. 301-316). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Given, L. M. (2008). The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods: Sage Publications.

Hansen, H. (2006). The Ethnonarrative Approach. Human Relations, 59(8), 1049-1075.

Heath, C., Hindmarsh, J., & Luff, P. (2010). Video in qualitative research: Analysing social interaction in everyday life. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Iggers, G. G. (2005). Historiography in the twentieth century: From scientific objectivity to the postmodern challenge: Wesleyan University Press.

Jepson, D. (2010). The importance of national language as a level of discourse within individuals’ theorising of leadership—A qualitative study of German and English employees. Leadership, 6(4), 425-445.

Johnson, P., & Duberley, J. (2000). Understanding Management Research: An Introduction to Epistemology. London: Sage.

Jorgensen, D. L. (1989). Participant observation: Wiley Online Library.

Kvale, S. (2008). Doing interviews: Sage.

Lee, T. W. (1999). Using qualitative methods in organizational research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Lemke, J. L. (1998). Discourse Dynamics and Social Change. Cultural Dynamics, 6(1), 243-275.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry (Vol. 75): Sage.

Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2006). Designing qualitative research (Fourth edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd edition ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Pullen, A., & Rhodes, C. (2008). Dirty writing. Culture and Organization, 14(3), 241-259. doi:10.1080/14759550802270684

Qu, S. Q., & Dumay, J. (2011). The qualitative research interview. Qualitative Research in Accounting  & Management, 8(3), 238-264.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2001). Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice: Sage.

Reinharz, S., & Davidman, L. (1992). Feminist methods in social research: Oxford University Press.

Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (Second edition ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Saldaña, J. (2015). The coding manual for qualitative researchers: Sage.

Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences, third edition. New York: Teachers College Press.

Sjöström, B., & Dahlgren, L. O. (2002). Applying phenomenography in nursing research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 40(3), 339-345.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Newbury Park: Sage.

van Dijk, T. (1997). The Study of Discourse. In T. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse as Structure and Process. London: Sage.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
01/03/2018 minor corrections