Course Title: Research Philosophy and Design

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research Philosophy and Design

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Note: This course is taught fully online for this teaching period, and not face-to-face.

Flexible Terms

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


625H Economics, Finance and Marketing


RSCHYr2023 (RD31),

RSCHYr2023 (RD33)


City Campus


625H Economics, Finance and Marketing


RSCHYr2024 (RD41)

Course Coordinator: Professor Francis Farrelly / Professor Simon Feeny

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5906

Course Coordinator Email: /

Course Coordinator Location: Building 80

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Provisional entry to RMIT CoBL Masters of Business by Research or PhD program or completion of an approved undergraduate program. 

Course Description

This course will provide candidates with the philosophical and research design considerations to fully meet the expectations of HDR qualifications at RMIT. 

Candidates will critically analyse the ontological, epistemological and theoretical foundations, intellectual traditions, research design and impact considerations taking a multi-disciplinary perspective. 

The course will expose candidates to the implications of philosophical assumptions on the conduct and outcome of research. 

The course will be modular in structure allowing candidates to complete the components they need to prepare for their research project and to enable more granular recognition of prior learning. 

This course is:

  • Compulsory for all PhD candidates prior to CoC  
  • Optional for MRes prior to 2MR  

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course will develop candidate capabilities of: 

a. critical analysis, reflection and synthesis of Business and Law research paradigms, theories and designs and impact.  

b. effective communication through oral presentations, written reports, and participation in group discussion, 

c. collaboration through working with groups and creating group reports and presentations, 

d. problem solving by exposure to complex research questions, their analysis, solutions and impact. 

e. responsible research behaviour through consideration of research integrity and ethical frameworks in business, and in the conduct of research. 

On successful completion of the course, candidates will be able to:​ 

CLO1 Appraise alternative research paradigms, and design considerations and their impact on the generation of knowledge, 

CLO2 Assess the role of scientific theory in relating and representing knowledge and the business and social world, 

CLO3 Critically analyse the intellectual and theoretical traditions of Business and Law disciplines,  

CLO4 Evaluate the implications of research paradigm and design choices on research practice, outcomes and impacts,  

CLO5 Reflect and justify research paradigm, design and theory choices and articulate the reflection into competent essays by critically assessing implications on research impact.  

Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be conducted in seminar style. Candidates will be provided with readings and be required to independently research topics around research paradigms, designs, traditions, and theories. Discussion groups will analyse, synthesis, discuss and report on these readings. Candidates will also be required to independently research their topic areas, identify and analyse seminal works and their impact, evaluate current work and provide oral and written reports. 

Overview of Learning Resources

Where appropriate, candidates will be provided with a list of micro-creds to complete. Involvement of supervisors will be helpful in guiding the candidate’s mini-literature surveys.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment tasks, their weighting and the course learning outcomes to which they are aligned are as follows.  

Assessment Task 1: 40% 

Linked CLOs: 1, 2, 3 

Assessment Task 2: 20% 

Linked CLOs:  3, 4, 5  

Assessment Task 3: 40% 

Linked CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5