The International Journal of Management Education
Research projects form an integral part of pro-
grammes offered by most UK undergraduate
business providers (notably in final-year disserta-
tions, although many modules include empirical
and library-based research as part of assessed
coursework). In addition, many institutions provide
formal research methods courses intended to
support these research projects. Despite this pro-
vision, however, our search of the literature
revealed that there is little research available on
research methods programmes in UK undergrad-
uate business education. We therefore consid-
ered that this represents a fertile opportunity for
original research in this area.
The lack of a literature specifically related to
research methods teaching in business educa-
tion, and the potential limits of the literature on
this topic in disciplines such as sociology and
psychology, suggests some quite broad, but
exploratory, research questions:
What skills (practical, cognitive, affective) and
areas of knowledge should undergraduate
research methods programmes seek to develop?
What curricula, materials and learning processes
are required to deliver these outcomes?
What best practice is apparent in methods
programmes delivered in UK business and
What became apparent in the course of our proj-
ect was that institutional practices varied widely.
No two institutions offered identical or similar
models and programmes underpinning under-
graduate business research. Each institution’s
provision was affected by its local structures, cul-
tures and systems, and by historical factors.
Second, despite this local embeddedness, all the
institutions we visited were seeking to amend and
adapt existing models of provision, for pedagogi-
cal or resource reasons or a combination of the
two. A very common perception expressed by
staff interviewed was that they ‘hadn’t got it right’.
Third, we found that changes, tensions and
issues in the broader institutional context (of