Courses Quality in Research: Philosophies, methodologies and qualitative methods

62238 Quality in Research: Philosophies, methodologies and qualitative methods , 8 sp

Doctoral studies
Teaching language
Course description

The aim of the course is (1) to help you form an informed view of how the quality of your research and research reports are evaluated, and (2) to assist you in improving the quality of your research from the point of view of theory, commitments (ontology, epistemology and methodology), critique and criticality, empirical work, reflexivity, and writing. The course is carried out in the form of joint sessions with lectures, student presentations and discussions, individual tutoring, and independent reading and writing. The focus is on qualitative research.
The course is compulsory for all doctoral students admitted to the doctoral program in Helsinki in the following subjects:

  • Management and Organization
  • Entrepreneurship, Management and Organisation
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility.
Learning Goal

You have developer up-to-date competences and skills in all aspects of doing research, with particular reference to working on your doctoral dissertation project.

After completing the course, you will be able to
  • evaluate and discuss the methodological implications of these approaches 
  • make use of and evaluate various qualitative methods in studying organizations and management
Target Group

Only for doctoral degree students within Management and Organization / Entrepreneurship, Management and Organisation / Marketing / Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility.
Other PHD students who are interested in taking the course should contact the course examiner.


Mandatory participation in 9/10 sessions. Students must be present in the first session to confirm their registration for the course.

Total Student Workload

214 hours divided into
Scheduled (contact) hours: 36 hours
Non-scheduled work: 180 hours


Five individually written short papers and an individually written essay.
In order to pass the course, you need to get at least 50% points in total and at least 50% of the points for each of the six assignments.

  • Alvesson, M., Hardy, C. & Harley, B. (2008). Reflecting on reflexivity: Reflexive textual practices in organization and management theory. Journal of Management Studies, 45(3), 480-501.
  • Antoniou, M. & Moriarty, J. (2008). What Can Academic Writers Learn From Creative Writers? Developing Guidance and Support for Lecturers in Higher Education. Teaching in Higher Education, 13(2), 157-167.
  • Bartunek, J.M., Rynes, S.L. & Ireland, R.D. (2006). What makes management research interesting, and why does it matter? Academy of Management Journal, 49(1): 9-15.
  • Calás, M.B. & Smircich, L. (1999). Past postmodernism? Reflections and tentative directions. Academy of Management Review, 24(4): 649-671.
  • Calás, M.B. & Smircich, L. (2014). Engendering the organizational: Feminist theorizing and organization studies. In: Adler, P. du Gay, G. Morgan & M. Reed (eds) (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Oxford Handbooks Online.
  • Cunliffe, A.L. (2003). Reflexive inquiry in organizational research: Questions and possibilities. Human Relations, 56(8), 983-1003.
  • Davis, M.S. (1971). That’s interesting! Towards a phenomenology of sociology and a sociology of phenomenology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 1(4): 309-344.
  • Grey, C. (2010) Organizing Studies: Publications, Politics and Polemic. Organization Studies, 31(6): 677-694.
  • Johnson, P. and Duberley, J. (2003) Reflexivity in management research. Journal of Management Studies, 40(5): 1279-1303.
  • Kiriakos, C.M. & Tienari, J. [forthcoming] Academic Writing as Love. Management Learning.
  • Locke, K. & Golden-Biddle, K. (1997). Constructing opportunities for contribution: Structuring intertextual coherence and ‘problematizing’ in organizational studies. Academy of Management Journal, 40(5): 1023-1062.
  • March, J.G. (2007). The Study of Organizations and Organizing Since 1945. Organization Studies, 28(1): 9-19.
  • Parker, M. & Thomas, R. (2011). What is a critical journal? Organization, 18(4), 419-427.
  • Prasad, P. (2005). Crafting qualitative research: Working in the postpositivist traditions. New York: M.E. Sharpe. Part I: Interpretive traditions, Chapters 2-6 (pp. 13-90).
  • Sandberg, J. & Alvesson, M. (2011). Ways of constructing research questions: Gap-spotting or problematization? Organization, 18(1): 23-44.
  • Van Maanen, J. (2011). Ethnography as work: Some rules of engagement. Journal of Management Studies, 48(1), 218-237.
  • Vesa, M. & Vaara, E. (2014). Strategic ethnography 2.0: Four methods for advancing strategy process and practice research. Strategic Organization, 12(4): 288-298.
  • Watson, T.J. (2011). Ethnography, reality, and the truth: The vital need for studies of ‘how things work’ in organizations and management. Journal of Management Studies, 48(1), 202-217.
  • Westwood, R. and Clegg, S. (eds.) (2003). Debating Organization: Point-Counterpoint in Organization Studies. Oxford: Blackwell. Chapters 1-5.