MIS40910 – Skills for Business Enquiry Syllabus

University College Dublin
College of Business and Law
Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
MIS10040 Skills for Research Enquiry
MSc in iBusiness – Innovation through ICT (F/T and P/T)
Prof Donncha Kavanagh
Centre for Innovation, Technology & Organisation (CITO),
email: research.ft@ucd.ie (full-time students)
research.pt@ucd.ie (part-time students)
website: http://donnchakavanagh.com

Office Hours:
Tuesdays 3.30-4.30pm
Q252 UCD (Quinn) School of Business

1. Module Coordination
Donncha Kavanagh is the module coordinator.

2. Module Overview
The aim of this module is to help students to develop an understanding of good research
practice in management studies. Specifically, students will learn about the broad
philosophy of social science research as applied in management and technology studies,
different kinds of research strategies and designs, and the processes of conducting and
evaluating research outputs. The emphasis will be on developing skills in the areas of
design of research studies and, importantly, in the evaluation of research outputs and their
associated knowledge claims.

3. Module Learning Outcomes
On completing this module you will be expected to be able to:
(a) Explain and discriminate between underlying philosophies of social science
(b) Actively engage in different kinds of research strategies and designs;
(c) Understand and be able to apply key research concepts such as validity, reliability
and generalisation;
(d) Competently demonstrate the processes of conducting and evaluating research
(e) Critically evaluate third-party research studies, their associated assumptions and
claims, and arrive at sensible critiques of their research contributions;
(f) Demonstrate knowledge and application of methods addressing ethical issues in
conducting investigations within organisations;
(g) Conduct an industry-based or research-based project and write it up as a report.

4. Session Times
You should only attend the lecture slots to which they have been officially assigned in your
timetable in UCD Connect.
MSc iBusiness Full-time: Wednesdays, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. in N304 GSB
MSc iBusiness Part-time: Wednesdays, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in N304 GSB

5. Module Themes
What follows is an indicative list of lecture topics, which may be subject to change as the
module progresses. The weekly reading list can be found on Blackboard. Any changes to
lecture topics or readings will be posted on Blackboard at least one week prior to the
lecture in question, and all changes will be announced on Blackboard. Key
questions/exercises relating to each week’s readings will be presented in the preceding
• Critical Thinking
• Knowing, Believing and Acting.
• Research Questions
• Research Paradigms
• Rhetoric, Fallacies and Argument
• Theory and Theorizing
• Collecting and Analysing Evidence
• Research Ethics
• Writing Up and Presenting Research
• Research Design and Project Management

6. Session Format
This is a seminar rather than a lecture course, which means that the main class activity will
be discussion, with my role being primarily a ‘guide on the side’ rather than a ‘sage on the
stage’. You are expected to come to class having read the assigned readings and be
prepared and willing to discuss and debate the issues addressed in the readings. There is
a heavy reading load in this module, and you should allocate about six hours per week to
reading the material. In addition, there will be other group exercises and an individual
project, giving a total estimated workload of 200 hours for the module.
The first half of each class will involve two group presentations on the weekly topic. The
purpose of presentation – which should include, at a minimum, a critique of the assigned
readings – is to provide a critical commentary on the key issues to be covered that week
and in the readings. Your role is something akin to a theatre critic writing a review of a
play; your job is not to simply summarise the play/readings, rather you are expected to
identify and analyse what is good (and not so good) in the material, and present your
analysis in a convincing and captivating way. Presentations should be at least 8 and no
longer than 12 minutes, and should include no more than 3 slides (which should only be
used for summary points, pictures or diagrams).
Student participation in the module must abide by the provisions of the UCD Student

7. Assessment Strategies
Your performance in the module will be assessed as follows.
1. Research Proposal (3000 -3500 words) (in pairs): 40%
(due at 1pm on 4th December)

2. Preliminary Research Proposal (300–500 words) (in pairs): 5%
(due at 5pm on 3rd October)

3 Groupwork (groups of 4 or 5)
3(a) In-class Group Presentations 10%
3(b) Class contribution 10%
3(c) 2 No. two-page critique of readings 10%
3(d) Fallacies Exercise (due at 5pm on 17th October) 10%
3(e) Minutes of class discussion 5%

4. Individual Learning Log (due at 1pm on 5th December) 10%
The above word counts exclude the cover page and bibliography. Further details on
each of these components will be posted on Blackboard.
Each group must provide a single agreed peer evaluation, in which the group should
agree a qualitative adjudication of each person’s contribution. This should be submitted
by email by 1pm on 4th December.
Group members may be graded differentially to reflect varying contributions to class
discussions and/or based on other information such as peer evaluations.
The deadlines for submission of essays will be strictly enforced, in line with UCD’s late
submission policy. A penalty of one grade mark for each day the submission is late will be
applied to late submissions, e.g. from B- to C+.
Written submissions must meet the format and referencing requirements as posted on
Blackboard and conform to UCD’s policy on plagiarism. All submissions must include the
standard cover page and declaration of authorship (provided on Blackboard), and all will
be scrutinised by our anti-plagiarism software. In addition to the electronic submission,
students will also have to submit a hard copy print out. Failure to meet those standards will negatively affect the essay grade. More detailed submission instructions will be provided closer to the time.
There will be no end of semester examination.

8. Assessment Criteria and Descriptors
The group presentations will be graded on the content, organisation and presentation of
the critical analysis. Note that there is normally a penalty when the word count limits are
All deliverables, whether individual or group, must comply with UCD policies on Academic
Integrity and Plagiarism.

9. Learning Supports
The main material for this module consists of a text book and electronic articles as well as
power point presentations. Please note that other materials/elements might be added
during the module.
These three books are highly recommended, especially if you are considering doing the
Business Research Project (MIS40720) in the second and third semesters:
• Bryman, Alan and Bell, Emma (2011) Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
• Silverman, David (2013) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book
About Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
• Cottrell, Stella (2011) Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. The first (2005) edition of this book is also acceptable.
The books are available in the Campus Bookshop. In addition, there are a number of
required readings specified for each lecture. These will be available via Blackboard.
Copies of lecture slides will be made available on Blackboard, following the last session of
the week on Friday afternoon.

10. Student Communication and Feedback
Announcements will be posted on Blackboard, so it is important to log in daily. Full-time
students should send all emails to research.ft@ucd.ie while part-time students should send
emails to research.pt@ucd.ie. Please, do not send emails to any other email address.

11. Statement of Inclusivity
This module strives to be a module of inclusion where student diversity is respected and
valued. The aim is to provide and promote equal access and opportunity to all students
regardless of disability, race, gender, sexuality or socio-economic status. Teaching
Materials will be provided in any format which can be reasonably obtained/created.
Students are encouraged to approach the facilitator to discuss their learning needs. Any
information disclosed will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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