HR9786 - Research Methods for HRM

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about a comprehensive range of research methods and data analysis techniques. This will equip you with the knowledge and practical skills necessary for you to conduct HR research at Masters’ level and prepare you to complete a Master’s HRM Dissertation, HRM Consultancy Project or HRM Enquiry. By the end of the module, you will know how to apply both quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analysis techniques. In quantitative techniques you will learn about sampling, questionnaire design, statistical inference, and hypothesis testing while qualitative techniques covered will include methods such as interviewing and focus groups. Analysis methods such as content analysis and thematic analysis will also be covered. In addition, you will gain some understanding of research philosophy (positivism and interpretivism) and research ethics, and you will be able to write a research proposal to bring these ideas together. This module will provide clear, critical, and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a combination of formal sessions, tutor-directed study and independent reading. The sessions will be highly interactive and will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and your own experiences. Throughout, the emphasis will be on high levels of participation, both individually and within small groups or teams. Most classes will be workshop or seminar based facilitating practice and experimentation with the methods and techniques covered. This will allow you to learn in an extremely hands-on way whether you are working with a set of quantitative data and using statistical techniques and software such as SPSS to analyse it or conducting interviews and considering how to analyse qualitative data that results from them. A smaller number of lecture sessions will be used to communicate vital areas for Masters’ researchers at Northumbria University such as the University Ethics policy, and also to provide some subject-specific input which may be helpful in providing guidance on possible areas for your choice of topic in the Master’s HRM Dissertation, HRM Consultancy Project or HRM Enquiry. Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading and preparation for interactive activities. Independent learning will centre upon you identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to your subject area, since by the end of this module you will be writing your research proposal for the dissertation, identifying consultancy opportunities or, management enquiry. Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and practice underpins the learning and teaching philosophy along with the explicit development of competence

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module tutor in addition to various subject experts. These staff will deliver lectures, workshops and seminars relevant to their areas of expertise. Workshops and seminars will be in small groups so that there is ample opportunity for exploring the issues raised in detail. A comprehensive eLP site will store all the appropriate materials needed for the lectures, workshops and seminars. As part of the module, you will also make use of SPSS for processing quantitative data, and there is an electronic reading list indicating which texts, academic reports, conference papers and journal articles should be consulted as the module progresses. You will be supplied with formative feedback on your performance through postal presentation, seminar and workshop discussion and reflection, case study activity, and theory/practice related discussions. Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module, particularly in relation to seminar tasks where the practical nature of the work will naturally lead to several opportunities to give and receive feedback from your tutors and from peers. In addition, there will be several opportunities for you to discuss your potential research ideas with staff who have expertise in your chosen subject area. This will provide you with formative feedback on your proposed dissertation or management enquiry research or possible consultancy interests and will help you to put together your report.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Develop a working proposal and project plan to lead to a Masters Dissertation, Masters Consultancy Project or Masters Management Enquiry [MLO1]
2. Propose and justify data collection and analysis relevant to your chosen research topic. [MLO2]
3. Present your research proposal to an audience of Masters’ students and academics using an appropriate poster display. [ML03]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Reflect on your own ethical values. [MLO4]

How will I be assessed?

You will receive formative feedback from subject specialist staff regarding your research poster presentation. This will be face-to-face feedback and will take place during consultation sessions.

Summative Assessment
The summative assessment will comprise two individual-based components: 2,000 word extended research synopsis (weighted 70%) and a poster presentation of intended research work (weighted 30%).

These are based explicitly on your choice of Masters HRM Dissertation, Masters HRM Consultancy Project or Masters HRM Enquiry. Guidance on the choice of option will place during semester informing individual students on which of these options to use as the basis of this submission.

Component 1 (30%)
A poster presentation of intended research work. [MLOs 2, 3]

Component 2 (70%)
An individual based 2,000-word extended research proposal synopsis. A comprehensive illustration of the proposed project in any of Masters’ HRM dissertation, HRM consultancy project or HRM enquiry. [MLOs1, 2, 4]

You will be provided with a mark and feedback on your assignment, which will include any actions to be taken to improve performance. This will be written feedback on individual work and returned to you electronically (eLP). The faculty office will inform you of the date this will be made available to you.

Electronic written feedback will be provided on individual work and released through the eLP.





Module abstract

Human Resource Management increasingly relies on data and evidence for strategic decision making, drawing on management information systems, predictive models of behaviour and statistical analysis of trends to do so. In this module you will be introduced to the key concepts behind this practice in a way that will enable you to operate as an effective manager. Through a hands-on approach to data analysis and decision making you will learn how to best apply and use your knowledge of analytics to improve the effectiveness and direction of organisations.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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