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Addressing the challenge of building research capabilities in Business Management Undergraduate students

Rich, M., Brown, A. & Banerjee, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-8961-7223 (2019). Addressing the challenge of building research capabilities in Business Management Undergraduate students. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 17(3), pp. 130-142. doi: 10.34190/JBRM.17.3.001


The research process is complex, involving many conceptually different steps that require a variety of skills. For instance, early on in the research process the task of identifying and articulating a suitable research problem often involves, amongst other skills, a high level of creativity and critical thinking, whereas later on in the process, application of a suitable research method would require deep knowledge of the state of art in that methodology. As the techniques used by researchers to iterate between current discipline theory, subject knowledge and research methodology gets increasingly specialized, it is also becoming more opaque to people outside the research community. Management students with little or no exposure to research find this puzzling because they are being encouraged to do something creative and original, and at the same time they are expected to build on existing knowledge using a set of conventions associated with the chosen methodology. Business students in their 1st year face many new situations. Most of them have little experience of what research is about or the various elements that are necessary for a successful project. The teaching at school level mostly focuses on imparting subject knowledge and instilling basic numeracy and literary skills. It does not prepare them so well for setting their own goals and working independently ‑ the core of research. Traditional teaching methods can help them acquire the relevant subject knowledge and basic research methods. But putting these together in a piece of practical research requires in depth understanding and creative thinking. Problem‑based learning (PBL) is a way to help UG students at the beginning of their research attempts to develop the mindset and skills needed. This paper makes the case for introducing Critical Thinking skills to Business Management students in their 1st year, using a problem‑based Learning (PBL) approach. It assesses what was involved in developing and delivering such a course. Both staff and students found the experience challenging, but the overall response was positive establishing that the approach taken was fundamentally effective.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Problem-based learning, teaching research methods, first year UG business students, business research process
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

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