MDD2IAR1-Introduction to Academic Research: Scoping Literature Review

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 15 [7.5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Marc Day

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces the skills required in order to undertake doctoral-level research. It explores and facilitates questions of identity, growth and development and through a process of self-awareness and reflection.  Requirement includes engagement in dialogue (intrapersonal and inter-personal) that informs personal and professional development during the programme of study.


  1. To introduce the framework of the DBA programme, including learning process, progression, assessment and support.

  2. To identify key personal, consultancy and research competences required to complete the programme.

  3. To establish effective group working to be the basis of collegial support and collaboration.

  4. To outline the purpose and requirements for critical analysis of research and writing a literature review.

  5. To outline useful software applications for research.

  6. To allow for reflection about the student’s specific intellectual project, and subsequently to deepen its practical and theoretical basis.

Assessable learning outcomes:

This module is assessed by both Research Outline Interview and the Literature Scoping Paper:


Research Outline Interview - Intended learning outcomes:

Assessable outcomes: 

It is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Identify an initial research problem and state it clearly

  • Provide evidence of identification of, and critical engagement with, sources of relevant academic literature

  • Identify the potential contribution (both to theory and practice)

  • Identify and justify the choice of an appropriate thesis to critique related to the research problem.


Literature Scoping Paper - Intended learning outcomes:

< em>Assessable outcomes: 

By the end of the module it is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability, through the literature scoping paper, to:

  • Identify a specific topic, issue or research questions for investigation

  • Explain the steps taken to prepare and execute a literature review to form the content of the scoping paper, reflecting good practice for a critical review of academic litera ture.

  • Identify the main concepts, perspectives, theories and models relating to the topic as well as the main questions that have been addressed to date, the major debates and issues and key shortcomings in current knowledge relating to the area

  • Use criteria to exclude and include evidence in the literature scoping paper.

  • Adopt a critical approach to evaluate the literature and so demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the literature

  • Demonstrate, from summarising literature, what knowledge claims (theoretical and practical) are the most important to address with a research project.

  • Provide a novel synthesis of existing work and a coherent argument towards a specific research question, hypotheses or research model that is grounded in the literature

  • Write concisely, comprehensively and clearly, and adopt good practice in referencing


Additional outcomes:

By the end of the Research Outline Interview, it is expected that programme members will be able to:

  • Confirm that a three-way conversation has taken place between the student, their Mentor and their provisional Supervisor

  • Present a clear action plan for progressing the Doctoral study

  • Demonstrate coherence of argument for the intended project

  • During the Research Outline Interview:

  • Demonstrate appropriate balance and identity of “beginning”‚ “middle” and “end” (summary, development, conclusion), with good “sign posting

- Demonstrate well managed time keeping

- Clearly identify key messages and effectively use supporting resources (such as PowerPoint Slides).

- Maintain the interest of the audience, demonstrate effective presentation skills: e.g. use of pace, tone and energy, fluency and audibility of speech, body language, gesture and eye contact with the audience

-Respond to questions demonstrating effective listening and adequacy of response

By the end of the Literature Scoping Paper it is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Work autonomously, as well as collaboratively, managing their process of study, prioritising appropriately

  • Provide clarity about the intellectual project that the author is intending to undertake

  • Manage the research process to gather required information and data with minimum of guidance

  • Reflect on their own understanding and ability to communicate with others in the subject area

Outline content:

The module teaching is structured around the Introductory to Academic Research Workshop which involves a combination of lectures, group and individual activities including meetings with a Mentor. In addition, programme members are expected to undertake guided self-study, including set readings and tutor-monitored learning journal entries.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Introductory 5-day workshop (mandatory), followed by meetings (in person or via Skype) with the allocated mentor, in order to prepare for the Research Outline Interview.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 40
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20 40
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Advance preparation for classes 5
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Essay preparation 30
Total hours by term 80 70 0
Total hours for module 150

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Working Paper - 4000-word assignment (+20% / -10%) (April in Spring term) which accounts for 100% of the module mark. A gateway assessment element is Research Outline Interview (ROI), a submission of 5-10 Powerpoint slides one week prior to presentation date in December in Autumn term. The ROI would be marked with pass/fail only.

Programme members need to pass BOTH assessment elements to pass the module.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Up to 30 days late (with no extension requested) – 10-mark reduction and only one re-submission permitted

More than 30 days late (with no extension requested) – 0 mark applied and only one re-submission permitted

Assessment requirements for a pass:

In accordance with assessment criteria as set out in the Programme Handbook:

  • ROI: This module will be assessed as Pass (100) or Revise (0)

  • Working Paper: A percentage mark is given (50-59% pass, 60-69% merit, >70% distinction).  A pass at threshold level equals a mark of 50% or above for the working paper.

Reassessment arrangements:

  • ROI: One re-submission is permitted

  • Working Paper: One re-submission is permitted for failed assignments (capped at 50%)

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Travel to, and attendance at 6-day workshop (may require accommodation/subsistence)

Last updated: 11 November 2021


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