MGMT 336 Management Research Methods Course Guide

Course Description

MGMT 336, Management Research Methods, is an upper-level course designed to provide students the opportunity to learn the objective process of collecting and analyzing data to aid managerial decision making. Students develop and practice the knowledge and skills necessary to review, apply and conduct organizational research. Major topics include the scientific method, sampling, secondary data gathering, observation and interviews, survey construction and experimental design. Students engage in research projects, conduct and interpret statistical analysis, and communicate their findings. Emphasis will be placed on conducting and using research in an ethical manner.

To succeed in this course, students will have to assume an active, participative role in the learning process. Faculty will create an environment that mirrors the type of interactive communication and analytical processes experienced by mangers in organizations. The course should be challenging, interesting and relevant; providing students with practical methods to generate the information required by decision makers in all types of organizations.

Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate an essential knowledge and ability to apply and conduct organizational research. Specifically each student will:

1.    Understand fundamental concepts and research methods that can be applied to problems faced by managers working with a diverse workforce in a changing global environment.

2.    Recognize and review relevant research, integrate findings, and develop meaningful conceptual models that can be applied to specific organizational settings.

3.    Identify potential problem areas for organizational research, and design studies that increase probability of detecting effects while minimizing threats to validity.

4.    Conduct research that protects the rights of participants, demonstrates responsibility to research and sponsoring organizations, credits the work of others, and respects stakeholders and the natural environment.


Course Outline

Faculty will challenge students to think about how they come to know things and introduce them to the scientific method as a time tested approach for generating unbiased and valid information. Students will explore the components of the scientific method (Figure 1) and develop confidence in moving through the inductive and deductive reasoning processes from what can be observed and measured to what can only be conceptualized and operationally defined. Students will develop the ability to identify relevant populations and define samples that allow for meaningful inferences. Through a variety of applied exercises, students will develop confidence in their ability to augment their experiences with published research, create conceptual and measurement models (Figure 2), collect and analyze data, conduct interventions and communicate their findings.

Specific topics include:

·         Scientific method (induction, deduction, verification, reporting and replication),

·         Constructs and variables (operational definitions, data properties, reliability and validity),

·         Covariation, causation and threats to validity,

·         Sampling (populations, samples, inferences and design),

·         Connecting concepts (exploration, observation, interviews and construct maps),

·         Demonstrating relationships (measurement models, collection instruments and analyses),

·         Conducting interventions (random and quasi experiments and analyses), and

·         Presenting results, limitations of findings, and implications to theory and practice.

Throughout the course, instructors will emphasize the importance for researchers to protect the rights of participants, act responsibly to the research and sponsoring organizations, and demonstrate concern for stakeholders and the natural environment.


Recommended Teaching Methodology


To keep the course engaging and to address the wide variety of student learning preferences, instructors will use an assortment of pedagogical methods. Students should be encouraged to read, reflect on and apply concepts as a way to prepare for class discussions. Prepared students will reduce the amount of class time dedicated to lectures about the concepts, terms and theories, and allow more class time for activities and exercises that require students to apply course content.  Teaching methods such as group work, library and electronic media research, case analysis and discussions, experiential exercises, current event discussions, and service learning can be used to give students the opportunity to apply course content. The readings will come from the required text as well as relevant materials obtained from current periodicals and publications. Class discussions will be centered on relating the outside readings to the textbook materials. 

A substantial portion of this course should focus on the application of the scientific method. Interactive cases, simulations, sponsored organization studies or problem based service learning opportunities can be used to guide students through the complexities of the research process and allow students to develop their ability to create meaningful information for management decisions. The approaches outlined below can be used individually or in combination to provide students an experiential format for learning:

·         Exercises that require students to identify a focal research question from a management scenario, review several journal articles, integrate research findings into a conceptual model (e.g., construct map), and apply the model to the situation. Applications can include requiring students to: suggest recommendations, develop measurement models, design sampling strategies to further assess the situation, analyze data to demonstrate relationships between constructs, and/or design assessable interventions (i.e., quasi-experimental and experimental designs).

·         A case or simulation where students are given information on a specific organization at several points during the semester. Students complete activities relevant to the appropriate step in the scientific method, conduct analyses, make oral or written presentations, and receive feedback from the instructor and classmates. Data for analyses can be given to the students by the instructor or be created by the students.

·         A live case, in which a guest business executive visits the classroom several times during the semester to discuss a decision situation where information is required. The initial visit provides an overview of the organization and an introduction to the decision(s) facing the organization. The decision could be a challenge currently facing the organization or one the organization has dealt with in the past. Subsequent visits would provide opportunities for data collection and additional dialogue as the students work through the research process.

·         Sponsored research projects where students work individually or in teams with an organization of their choice. Students would identify the decision situation, review and synthesize appropriated literature, collect additional information through observations and/or interviews, develop conceptual and measurement models, create data collection instruments, collect and analyze data, and communicate their findings.  

·         A problem based service learning project where the entire class works with a single community partner throughout the semester to learn about that organization’s unique information and decision challenges. Student teams work closely with community partner representatives through the entire semester to design and implement research projects.

Regardless of the approach chosen, students should be provided opportunities to gather information, conduct analyses, and create products both individually and in teams. Class discussions should provide opportunities for students to share progress made and problems encountered, and seek suggestions from the professor and classmates. Revise and resubmit assignment provide students the opportunities to develop depth to their ideas and hone their communication skills.


Recommended Assessment Measures


The following evaluation instruments will be used to assess the learning outcomes for each individual student in this class:

Outcome 1: Multiple-choice and short answer tests to assess students’ knowledge of management research methods.

Outcomes 2, 3 and 4: Homework, class exercises, short essays and/or exam questions that require students to individually apply concepts to a given situation or reflect on their experiences from class related research activities.

Outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4: A cumulative final exam question will require each student to design and then critically assess a research proposal in terms of threats to validity, ability to make meaningful inferences, protection of participant’s rights and respect for stakeholders and the natural environment. Student’s proposals will be evaluated using a modified version of the School of Business rubric for problem solving and moral consideration.


Statement of Expectations


This course is required for Management majors. The knowledge and skills student gain in this course will help to enhance their understanding of how management research is conducted. Further, it will enhance the student's ability to analyze the effectiveness of research completed by others. The course should also help enhance the ethical and critical thinking skills of the students. Students are expected to come prepared for class discussion and activities and to actively participate in class. The amount of effort students put into preparing for class will be directly related to the amount they learn.


Academic Integrity


Student-teacher relationships in this class are built on trust. Any student found violating this trust undermines the educational process and is subject to significant disciplinary action.

The concept of academic integrity lies at the heart of any college. This is true of Siena with its strong Franciscan tradition and its dedication to fostering sound moral growth. In such an environment, academic dishonesty cannot be tolerated. Students who commit such acts expose themselves to punishments as sever as dishonorable dismissal from the college. Academic dishonesty can take different forms, including, but not limited to, cheating (dishonesty in a test situation), plagiarism (dishonesty in the presentation of materials in a paper or report), and computer abuse. In any situation in which a student is unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty, it is the student’s responsibility to raise the question with his or her instructor. It is also the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the student guidelines on academic honesty, “Academic Integrity and the Siena Student.” Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College’s policy on the subject will not be considered a valued explanation or excuse.

Students suspected of violating academic integrity will be referred to the Academic Integrity Committee for final determination

Prerequisite Knowledge

MGMT 336 is a required course for students earning a degree in Management. Students must complete MGMT 211 Management Principles and QBUS 200 Business Statistics prior to taking this class.

Institutional Mechanism for Providing Feedback for Continuous Quality Improvement

The Management department will review the assessment results for this course every semester. The assessment results for each learning outcome will be analyzed and any deficiencies in the achievement of the learning outcomes will be addressed. The faculty who teach this course will meet at the end of each semester to determine what appropriate changes will be made in the process in order to improve students’ mastery of the learning objectives.