SCIENT 720 : Science Enterprise Research Methods


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Students will become familiar with underlying theory and best practices in the principal qualitative and quantitative methods applicable to, and useful in, thesis research on commercialisation and science-based enterprise.

Course Overview

This course is aimed at students with a science background venturing into a different discipline to do their research. To establish legitimate knowledge in the largely qualitative study of  enterprise/business   can be challenging for someone coming from quantitative scientific research. For example, the analysis of texts transcribed from  interviews (a major source of data for case studies in enterprise research) requires a radically different approach to making meaning of the findings. Students new to this way of inquiry need to come to terms with very different research philosophies and theories. Class time  is designed to work through a range of conceptual barriers via discussions and collaborative analysis of materials  to build a methodological and theoretical foundation for the upcoming Master research.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify and critically evaluate the literature surrounding an issue or case in the field of science enterprise to understand the use of appropriate theory and research methods including qualitative (e.g., interviews), quantitative (e.g. surveys) and mixed methods approaches. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Understand the different research philosophies (ontologies, epistemologies) underpinning business and social science research and how these are incorporated into published journal articles and written theses. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Formulate a well-motivated research question and develop a strategy to researching the question(s). Ensure reliability and validity of the research through appropriate data collection and analysis processes, and triangulation. (Capability 3)
  4. Demonstrate verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills, at a level where you can communicate knowledge clearly and succinctly. Academic communication skills will be developed via a small in-class research project using a qualitative approach (interviews). (Capability 4)
  5. Independently develop a research proposal that will form the basis of the Master thesis research. (Capability 5)
  6. Develop ethical awareness when conducting research involving human participants, applying core principles of ethics in research in general and ethical approval processes at the University of Auckland in particular. (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Research Report 30% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Peer Coursework
Research Proposal 30% Individual Coursework
Test (final) 20% Individual Coursework
Activities (x 5) 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Research Report
Research Proposal
Test (final)
Activities (x 5)

Key Topics

Doing research
•    Epistemologies and ontologies
•    Linking paradigms and methodologies
 •  Research ethics

Qualitative research (interviews, focus groups)
•    Introduction to interviews and focus groups
•    Understanding threats to reliability and validity
•    Saturation & thematic text analysis (coding)

Mixed methods & qualitative research examples
•    Mixed method designs
•    Indigenous research approaches
•    Case study research
•    Action research
•    Ethnography

Introduction to NViVo (hands-on computer lab)
•    Navigating NVivo
•    Preparing data and importing into NVivo
•    NVivo coding techniques

Preparation for Assignment 1: Data collection & writing tips
•    Formulating semi-structured interview questions
•    In-class peer review of interview questions
•    Structuring and writing a research report

Presentation of research data
•    How to present research findings
•    Writing for publication
•    Examples from business research

Survey research
•    Questionnaire design
•    Quantitative data analysis
•    Defining variables, levels of measurement

Introduction to SPSS (hands-on computer lab)
•    Data screening
•    Descriptive statistics
•    Comparing groups
•    Correlation, regression and related procedures

Research proposals and ethics
•    Writing a good research proposal
•    Critiquing example proposals
•    Tips for Assignment 2
•    Ethics processes at the University of Auckland

Learning Resources

 Software (free for postgrads, downloadable form UoA software centre)
IBM SPSS software for quantitative data analysis
NVivo 12 (QSR International) software for qualitative data analysis

No text book, all resources are in Canvas!

Special Requirements

Lecture attendance is highly encouraged as the course is designed as a collaborative, interactive learning experience.
No other special requirements.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures per week.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Please note that this information is a digital image of the course and only provides a snapshot for orientation purposes.  Canvas is the 'go to' for enrolled students and should therefore be consulted rather than this course outline.
Published on 12/02/2020 08:13 p.m.