Research Methods in International Business

Module lead: Mark Saunders

Credits: 10

This module is delivered in Semester 2.


This module is designed to introduce postgraduate students of international business (IB) to principal research methods applied to IB. It begins by discussing the evolution of IB as a field and, the emerging questions for research. This discussion provides a basis for the choice of the dissertation topic and also leads to a better understanding of IB foundations as a field of research. The module aims to develop students’ research skills so as to endow them with competencies to design a feasible and consistent research proposal. These will be achieved by developing students’ skills to choose a compatible and feasible research methodology. In addition, this module introduces the fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative researches. The emphasis will be on encouraging and enabling students to develop their analytical and technical research skills, so that they are better able to undertake dissertation projects.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the importance of evidence-based research;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the applicability of different methodologies within International Business research;
  • Demonstrate research skills on data collection methods, including designing a survey questionnaire and an interview guide;
  • Make an informed choice of data collection methods for a given research area or research question in international business;
  • Carry out advanced basic quantitative and qualitative data analysis;
  • Demonstrate writing skills for proposal development and writing up a dissertation.


  • 2500 word assignment (75%) and group presentation (25%)
  • Reassessment: 2500 word assignment (100%)

Reading list

  • Turabian, K L. 1996. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 
  • Easterby Smith M, Thorpe R & Lowe A. 1992. Management Research: an Introduction; 
  • Saunders, M P & Thornhill, L A. 2003. Research Methods for Business Studies. 3rd ed. FT-Prentice Hall; 
  • Blaxter L, Hughes C & Tight M. 2001. How to Research. 2nd ed. OUP; 
  • Bryman, A & Bell, E. 2003. Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 
  • Bryman, A. 1988. Quantity and Quality in Social Research. Routledge; 
  • Ragin, C. 1987. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Berkeley: University of California Press; 
  • John, G & Johnson, P. 2002. Research Methods for Managers. 3rd ed. London: Sage; 
  • Barzun, J & Graff, H F. 1985. The Modern Researcher. 4th ed. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovichl; 
  • Collis, J & Hussey, R. 2003. Business Research: a Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. Basingstoke: Macmillan; 
  • Yin, R K. 2003. Case Study Research, Design and Methods. 3rd ed. London: Sage;