The Research Degrees Programme aims to provide for its students a Research Methods Course (RMC) that will equip them with the essential grounding in the research skills necessary to undertake their specific research project as well as providing a full research apprenticeship for those seeking a professional career as a researcher. The RMC is designed to be flexible enough to satisfy the needs of both internal full-time students and part-time distance-learners as well as being adaptable to the specific research skills needs of individual students.
The RMC comprises four modules, taken over the first year for full-time students and for the first two years for part-time students. All modules are assessed by course work and must be passed before research students can progress onto their research project. In addition, MSc in Management Research students are required to take one Post Graduate Taught Module.
The RMC is taught by expert staff in management research and is designed to lead to the development of a qualifying report which will be examined by viva voce at the end of year one for full-time students and the end of year two for part-time students.
The RMC consists of four modules with Modules I, II & IV focusing on fundamental research skills and methods and Module III allowing students to specialise in the specific empirical and analytical techniques appropriate to their individual project
RMC I – Basic Skills within the Management Research Process
The intention of this one week block module is to establish the foundation for future performance as well as to begin to build critical basic research skills, for example library searches, literature review, and article analysis.
RMC II- The Philosophy of Management Research
This module looks at the nature of knowledge, the logic of argument and the process by which new knowledge is created. A range of social theories will be presented but participation, application, and criticism are vital. Lectures will be combined with debates, discussion around cases of knowledge building, and individual application to doctoral students' own research. Key concepts related to qualitative and quantitative methodologies will be introduced, as a forerunner to RMC III.
RMC III – Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design and Analysis
This module will build upon the quantitative / qualitative theoretical principles and approaches introduced in RMC module II. The module consists of 14 different workshops with alternate “quantitative” and “qualitative” concentration. A total of 7 workshops have to be completed with a possibility of taking more if desired.
RMC IV - Communication and Advanced Research Skills
The intent of this one week module is to provide research students with the fundamental skills required to communicate research findings to a broader audience, with a focus on peer reviewing, refereed journals, media/material support and presentation skills.
For full-time internal students the RMC is offered by taught on-campus lectures and workshops. For part-time distance-learners, Modules I & IV are taught together with full-time students and on-campus attendance is compulsory. Modules II & III are available online via Aston University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard. However, distance-learners are welcome to attend some of the workshops on campus should the days and times these are arranged be convenient to them.
Full-time students are expected to complete all four RMC modules in their first year of study. For part-time distance-learning students the RMC is designed to take place over two years, i.e. RMC Modules I & II have to be completed by the end of Year 1 and Modules III & IV by the end of Year 2. However, there is a possibility for part-time students to complete the RMC in less than two years, as they can chose to do Module III (or parts of it) and/or Module IV in Year 1 in addition to Modules I & II.