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Research Methods


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:
    o Experiments
    o Survey
    o Field research
    o 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 develop an academic research/project proposal as a basis for a thesis by:

  • Acquiring skills in raising interesting and relevant research questions;

  • Conducting an in-depth literature review;

  • Rigorously design a research project, covering the complete process from conceptualization to operationalization;

  • Critically implementing various qualitative and qualitative research methods;

  • Rigorously developing a survey questionnaire.


Semester 1:

  • Course: November 15th – December 18th 2018
    Semester 2:

  • Course: April 12th – May 20th 2019

Please check the latest version of the schedule on the SBB website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, student discussion and presentation

Course Load

  • 10 3-hour lectures

  • Preparation and assignments

Assessment method

Individual assignment 1: Research question and hypotheses (5%)
Individual assignment 2: List of relevant articles (5%)
Individual assignment 3: Survey questionnaire (15%)
Individual assignment 4: Research proposal (50%)
Group presentation (15%)
Class participation (10%)

In order to pass students must have a total grade of at least a 6 (six). The final grade is rounded off to the nearest half or integer.


Yes (students will be enrolled in Blackboard one month before the start of the course).

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 for 2018-2019 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.