Research Methods

Assessment Criteria

Please check the VLE for further assessment guidance that will help you demonstrate achievement against the module-specific learning outcomes.

Generic marking criteria

G1: Argument

G2: Structure

G3: Use of sources

G4: Referencing

G5: Presentation

Module specific learning outcomes relevant to this assessment

S1: Critically examine the key characteristics of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research in business/management studies

S2: Identify and critically reflect on the underlying philosophies, theoretical principles, methods, and techniques applicable to research in business/management

S3: Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to research in business/management

S4: Identify and critically reflect on ethical, legal and safety issues involved in conducting business/management research

S5: Select, apply and critically evaluate research methodologies and methods for specific business/management problems

Summative Assessment 

Essay – 2000 Word Limit

The Research Methods module has explored elements of the research process, including methodologies and methods used by academics and practitioners when conducting business research. We have learnt that there are different ways to approach research and that the methodology (approach and strategy) and methods used are determined by the research purpose – what you are seeking to know and discover. We have also learnt that all methodologies and methods have merits and limitations. 


In this assignment you are required to demonstrate your understanding of the research process and research design by identifying, discussing, and critically evaluating an appropriate research methodology and method[s] to address a research topic (see below).


Your work should be fully referenced, using appropriate literature sources, drawing from module materials and core readings, and supplemented by your own wider reading.



In a letter to partners, customers and stakeholders, Kevin Johnson, CEO Starbucks, introduced five environmental strategies to direct Starbucks towards becoming a resource-positive company in order to achieve the aim to ‘give more than we take from the planet’. One of the five strategies states: “we will shift from single-use to reusable packaging”.


Research can bring in-depth understanding of the complexities and potential consequences of these strategies for Starbucks stakeholders. The company intends to conduct comprehensive research to “better understand consumer behaviour and incentives to encourage the use of reusable containers” as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability. (, 2020).


Reference (January 21, 2020). A message from Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson: Starbucks new sustainability commitment [online]. Available at: Date Accessed: 25 August 2020.


Assignment Task


Write a 2000-word essay in which you discuss and critically evaluate an appropriate research methodology and method[s] to investigate the topic of “consumer behaviour and incentives to encourage the use of reusable containers” for Starbucks. 


Suggested structure:


The assignment follows an essay format which should include an introduction, main body (with headings and subheadings) and conclusions.  


Introduction (approx. 200 words)


Outline the purpose and relevance of business research for organisations. Briefly introduce the process of identifying a research topic and formulating a research question, using the example given, Starbucks.


Main Body (approx. 1600 words)


In this section, you should refer to the research process and the importance of methodological fit when designing research. You may wish to include:


Choosing an appropriate methodology: discuss and critically evaluate methodological issues in research design (philosophy, approach, strategy) and recommend an approach that would address the research topic you have been given. 


Selecting methods of data collection and analysis: discuss and critically evaluate the range of method[s] of data collection and analysis available and decide which would be most appropriate, highlighting strengths and limitations of your recommended method[s]. 


Ethical Considerations: demonstrate awareness of the ethical considerations required when conducting research.


Conclusion (approx. 200 words)


In this section, you should reflect on the research process and draw your own conclusions on the feasibility of the research design choices you have presented. 




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