COMMERCE 7039 - Business Research Methods (M)

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 2 - 2024

This course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to determine the information necessary to address an identified research problem (basic or applied) and, using this understanding, develop and use an actionable research proposal. In this process, the students will gain an understanding of relevant approaches and elements of undertaking a research enquiry specifically to provide insights to solving a relevant problem. They will develop critical core competencies and skills required to carry out such an enquiry. These competencies and skills include: defining research questions; setting appropriate research objectives; study design that incorporates research objectives and budgetary constraints; secondary and primary data collection and instruments; sampling and analysis methods; and effective reporting of results; as well as the importance of ethical conduct in conducting research in both a domestic and in international business contexts.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMMERCE 7039
    Course Business Research Methods (M)
    Coordinating Unit Management
    Term Trimester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 36 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge MARKETNG 7104, ECON 7200, ACCTING 7025 and COMMGMT 7006. This course assumes foundational learning and should only be taken in the second half of your program.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Chia-Yen (Chad) Chiu

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The course is being presented in Intensive mode with seminars, workshops, and group discussion. All activities will be streamed and recorded for the benefit of students that are studying remotely.

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from the Course Planner. Note: this course is run on a participatory seminar-basis , and a considerable degree of the course assessment will occur during seminars (Intensives' sessions). Intensives tend to be run on irregular weekends.  For specific dates, see your Course Calendar and/or MyUni. 

    The distribution of materials covered, topics, workshops, and other seminar details can be found in the Learning Activities session below. 

    Note 2:  topics sometimes shift from one intensive to another, but any change in required readings is always posted well in advance in MyUni. The information below is presented here for your convenience; however, any changes to the timetable will be recorded in the Course Planner.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The course provides a strong grounding in understanding the research process enabling students to either engage an external research organisation to undertake a study on their behalf in a business environment or, alternatively, action and complete a research project themselves as either the sole researcher or as part of a research team. In addition to the technical skills and knowledge required to be successful in these endeavours, the course also provides students with a clear understanding of the ethical considerations involved in undertaking research and the special challenges evidenced in international and cross cultural studies.

    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. Apply an advanced understanding of business research design options, methodologies and analysis methods (both qualitative and quantitative), including respective terms, definitions and applications to the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
    2. Distil an identified business problem into a succinct research problem (or problems) and articulate this into a comprehensive research brief for investigation by a research team locally or internationally.
      • This brief will include a statement of the resulting research problem and the objectives that need to be achieved to provide the information necessary to tackle the business problem and the decisions that need to be made respective to it.
    3. Complete, from the brief created, a research proposal for implementation at either a local or international level.
      • This will include (but not be restricted to), a literature summary at the necessary level of depth to ensure a thorough understanding of what is already known about the problem to be addressed, the proposed research design, data collection, sampling, analysis methods to be employed along with an indicative time frame for each stage of the research proposed and budget.
    4. Apply a broad understanding of issues specific to undertaking business research across international boundaries, including cultural, geographical, language and cost related challenges and respective strategies and approaches that may be employed to solve them to the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
    5. Recognise, and take account of, the importance of ethical conduct in undertaking research, including potential implications for business relationships, effects on potential respondents and sensitivity to cultural differences and honesty and integrity in analysis and reporting in the design, implementation and evaluation of a research project.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1 - 5

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1 - 5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3, 4

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1 - 5

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    4, 5

    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    1 - 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Business Research Methods, 2nd Edition, 2019 (ISBN: 978-1-4737-6035-6)

    Authors: Quinlan, Babin, Carr, Griffin, & Zikmund

    Note: The University of Adelaide library has an e-copy of this book. 

    Recommended Resources


    Course Website: 

    Online Learning
    All topic lectures will be recorded for the benefit of those that can't attend the sessions. (Interactive discussions and sessions cannot be recorded without permission from every person participating). A comprehensive reading list will also be available in addition to lecture slides (although this is not a 'slide intensive' course) etc. All resources will be available via the course MyUni site.

    All assessments are to be provided electronically and will be marked and returned electronically, where possible, mostly via the Turnitin portal on the MyUni site. Online discussion tools will be available for students to maintain contact with each other between intensive sessions.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    In order to perform well in this course, students must have a strong command of the relevant research theories and concepts covered in preparation and in class and successfully apply them in their assessment and project. Therefore, students are expected to have completed all the preparation and engagement work every week (including non-seminar weeks) and be fully prepared. In addition, there is a strong assumption that students will engage in seminar discussions in an informed way. The communication skills developed in seminars by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours for private study (i.e., the study time outside of your regular classes). Students are required to attend all class sessions.

    Learning Activities Summary


    This course is taught in intensive mode fortnightly (6 sessions in total). Each intensive session will incorporate revision, lecture, group and individual discussion and Q&A. Topics presented in each intensive session are structured as below:

    Intensive Session Topic

    Course Introduction;
    Research Topic and Research Question
    Ethics and Research Philosophy

    Role of Theories
    Literature Review and Hypothesis Development

    Research Methodology and Design
    Quantitative Research Method: Introduction and Measurement


    Quantitative Research Method: Populations and Samples
    Quantitative Research Method: Surveys and Experiments

    Quantitative Research Method: Introducing Data Analysis
    Qualitative Research Method

    Qualitative Data Analysis
    Course Review and Presentations

    This course is preparatory to the culminating Research Project. Each School and Discipline has specific Research Project criteria, so students undertaking the Business Research Methods course must prepare for their Research Project specific to their home Discipline’s criteria rather than in a uniform manner across the course.

    Students are responsible to be familiar with their own Discipline’s criteria for length and style of written work.

    This course is inherently conducted for development of individual Research Projects. Teamwork and small group discovery may be part of the class activities, but all assessment and primary focus is on individual accomplishment.

    Specific Course Requirements
    This course is preparatory to the culminating Research Project. Each School and Discipline has specific Research Project criteria, so students undertaking the Business Research Methods course must prepare for their Research Project specific to their home Discipline’s criteria rather than in a uniform manner across the course. Students are responsible to be familiar with their own Discipline’s criteria for length and style of written work.

    Proper class attendance must be observed (this includes, for instance, proper attendance, punctuality, returning from a break in a timely way, and the like).

    Academic writing sessions are available from the Writing Centre in Hub Central. Students must attend at least one session.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Item Assessment Task Task Type Weight Length(Word,Time) Learning Outcomes

    Engagement and participation

    Individual 10% N/A 1 - 5
    2 Literature review and Research Brief


    35% 2500 words 1,2,3
    3 Proposal Presentation


    15% N/A 1 - 5
    4 Research Proposal


    40% 4000 words 1 - 5

    Assessment Related Requirements
    The critical things to note about the assessments in this course are that:

    • Active engagement in discussion forum are required.
    • The assessment activities contribute significantly to your actual research project. 
      • be timely - meet deadlines
      • but be sane - when you can only do it by half-killing yourself - negotiate
      • collaborate (note: acknowledged collaboration is a powerful professional and academic strength; UNacknowledged collaboration is called 'collusion' and is seen as cheating)
      • have fun (if you don't learn to enjoy it now, it will be 'unpleasantly hard work')
      • know that it DOES get easier - every piece you do makes the next one easier; every impossible-to-understand article you read makes the next one more possible and more readable - and your blogs will help you scale that wall faster and more easily than you can expect... the discussion board collaboration with your peers will make a world of difference. Therefore, your feedback to one another is critical!
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment task 1: Engagement and Participation
    This assessment requires students to attend all classes and participate in individual exercises and group work in face-to-face and online discussion forums.

    Assessment task 2: Literature Review and Research Brief

    This assessment is the stage 1 for your final research proposal. Students are required to submit a research brief with a specific section on the literature review that summarises a problem requiring specific information for managers to solve a business challenge/issue/dilemma.

     Your paper should be organized as follows (2500 words +/- 10%):

    •  Chapter 1: Introduction (800 words +/- 10%):

    In this chapter, you are going to briefly highlight the research context, research question, and why this research is particularly needed. The topic MUST be related to your area of study (e.g. marketing, management, etc.)

    •  Chapter 2: Literature Review and Hypotheses (1700 words +/- 10%):

    In this chapter, you are expected to introduce the theoretical framework of your study and your hypotheses. If you choose to adopt a qualitative approach, you will need to make a strong case why the inductive approach is needed.

    Other requirements: 

    • This assignment (minimum 15 references) is limited to 2500 (±10%) words (excluding appendices, references, and figures). 
    • Remember that your Word document should be in Times New Roman style, 12-point type and double-spaced. 
    • There is a requirement of minimum 15 references where at least 12 of them are from ACADEMIC sources. You are required to use APA 7.0 throughout your assessment and include an accurate reference list.
    Assessment task 3: Proposal Presentation

    Students are required to RECORD a 5-minute PowerPoint presentation outlining the key parts of their research proposal and upload it.

     In the presentation, students need to explain: 

    • Research Novelty: Why is this study needed? What is the problem this study intends to address/solve? How this study is different from previous research?
    • Research Impact: Who are the major beneficiaries of this study? Which aspect of literature that this study intends to advance?
    • Theoretical Framework and Hypotheses
    • Proposed Research Methods
    Assessment task 4: Research Proposal

    This assessment marks Stage 2 of your final research proposal. Here, students are tasked with integrating the feedback provided in Assessments 2 and 3 into their final research proposal. Essentially, your proposal serves as an expansion of your initial research brief assignment, but with a more comprehensive approach, particularly in the methodology section. I will assess your progress by comparing your initial submission with this proposal, and evaluating how effectively you've addressed the key points raised in the previous assignments.

     Your paper should be organized as follows (4000 words +/- 10%): 

    • Abstract: Please write a one-page abstract (not included in the work counts). At the end of the abstract, please provide 4 to 6 research keywords. 
    • Chapter 1: Introduction (800 words +/- 10%):
      • Explain the purpose of the study and the research problem or issue it will address, defining key terms where appropriate;
      • Describe the background to the study and explain why it is important and/or of interest, and to whom;
      • State the aims, objectives and context of the proposed study; and
      • Briefly describe the structure of the remainder of the proposal
    • Chapter 2: Literature Review and Hypotheses (1700 words +/- 10%):
      • Majority of the literature should be drawn from academic publications.
      • Your review should be a critical analysis of previous research and other relevant academic/business literature on the topic of your research. 
      • Main theories and models that are relevant to your research should be identified.
      • Clearly show where your research fits into the literature and state your research questions.
      • Develop a conceptual framework and hypotheses at the end of the literature review, if your research is quantitative. 
    • Chapter 3: Research Methods (1200 words +/- 10%)
      • Explain your choice of methodology for selecting a sample or cases, and for collecting and analysing your research data.
      • Justify your choice with evidence (references) as to why this is the best way to address your research question.
      • Explain the scope/delimitations of the research (eg the particular group of people, organizations, industry, geographical sector, and period).
      • Discuss any limitations and how you will address ethical issues.
    • Chapter 4: Workplan and Timetable (300 words +/- 10%)

    In this section, you should provide a schedule for the completion of your research with proposed deadlines for each major chapter and for submission. Often a Gantt chart outlining the work plan and timetable is useful in this section.

    All assignments are to be submitted by the due date using the Turnitin facility on the course MyUni site, unless an alternative submission site is required. Software-based assignments (qualitative and quantitative) will require additional electronic submission. Assignments will be marked and returned electronically, when possible. Please remember to keep a copy of all your work. Each assignment must also have a cover sheet as its first page and title page after that.

    Late Assignment Submission
    Students are expected to submit their work by the due date to maintain a fair and equitable system. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits. A late assignment (without prior arrangement) will be penalised by a 5% mark reduction for each day that it is late.

    Return of Assignments
    Lecturers aim to mark and return assignments to students, with written feedback, within two (2) weeks of the due date.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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