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Research Methods


Subject to changes

Admission requirements

Master students


Sound research design skills are critical for business students’ long term success, either for designing and executing their own research to solve various business problems or for engaging with academics and consultants to gain insights for business development. The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of research design, for business research in particular and social research in general. The course covers the logic of scientific research and research design across a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, in order to develop a general understanding of the problems of research design and the specifics of implementing various research methods.

The course consists of lectures, student presentations, discussions, and assignments. Students are expected to come to class having completed the readings. Class lecture and discussion aim at gaining a deeper understanding of the arguments and problems that each week’s readings are addressing.

Topics covered:

  • Logic of science

  • Principles of research design

  • Theory and hypothesis

  • Measurement

  • Sampling

  • Different modes of observations:

  • Experiments

  • Survey

  • Field research

  • Unobtrusive research

Course objectives

This course provides students with skills and knowledge which are necessary in the research process and the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to solve the business problems. At the end of this course students will be able to

  • Raise interesting and relevant research questions;

  • Develop good hypotheses;

  • Conduct an in-depth literature review;

  • Think critically about prior studies, in particular various threats to validity;

  • Understand principles of research design;

  • Understand basic components of various research methods, as well as their strengths and weaknesses;

  • Design a rigorous research project, covering the complete process from conceptualization to operationalization;

  • Draft an academic research/project proposal with scientific rigor.


Preliminary schedule
Semester 1:

  • Course: November 11th – December 11th 2019
    Semester 2:

  • Course: May 7th – June 11th 2020

The latest version of the schedule can be found on the SBB website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, student discussion and presentation

Course Load

  • Attending lectures (10 2-hour lectures, 20 hours)

  • Studying the compulsory literature (20 hours)

  • Group presentation (10 hours)

  • Individual assignments (90 hours)

Assessment method

Individual assignment 1: Research question and hypotheses (10%)
Individual assignment 2: Research proposal (60%)
Group assignment: Presentation (20%)
Class participation (10%)

In order to pass the course, students must (a) have a total grade of at least 5.5 and (b) each grading component (i.e., individual and group assignments, class participation) at least 5. The final grade is rounded off to the nearest half or integer.

Students who get a grade below 5 for class participation will automatically fail the course, and there will be no re-take opportunities.

Students who fail individual or group assignment can re-take the assignment, which will be graded using the same criteria as the initial attempt, but with a 2-point grade penalty. Students who fail the second attempt will not have a third chance for re-take.


Yes, students can go to Blackboard to enroll themselves.

Reading list

Earl Babbie, (2016). The practice of social research (14e). Cengage Learning. ISBN-10: 1-305-10494-3, ISBN-13: 978-1-305-10494-5.

Additional reading on Blackboard.


Students have to register for the course in uSis. The registration in uSis will open two months before the start of the academic year. Click here for instructions.

There is limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme coordinator.

More information on the different types of registration can be found here.