Academic and Professional Development Unit


The self-development of new skills within your professional career and the consequent increase in professional capabilities is itself considered a key competency in today’s commercial and business environment. Many parallel routes can be followed to achieve this self-development goal, some more effective than others, with a successful outcome not always guaranteed. You may often have little prior knowledge of a new area or skill and will be faced with a steep and off-putting learning curve. Often in your professional development you will be expected to achieve certain objectives with little or no knowledge of how to go about it. This unit opens up one such route to professional self-development namely the academic or research oriented approach.

Courseware slide

Previous educational and professional training has been directed at ensuring that you accumulated and learned to apply a body of professional knowledge. Future professional development will be mainly self directed and you will be expected to define the development requirement, research the optimum approach and apply the learning. This unit is aimed at imparting some of the key ideas and skills used by academics to develop new knowledge.

Courseware slide

With the research skills that you develop in this unit, you will be able to identify the relevant requirements and approach needed, apply the skills and knowledge, and confidently plan your achievement of your professional goals.


The primary aim of this unit is to develop students’ research skills to help attain professional objectives and to prepare for a successful dissertation at a Master’s level. The key research skills developed are those of critical reading, reflective writing and accurate referencing.

However, the unit will touch on and raise awareness of a broader range of topics that are important to the student’s knowledge of research practices, ranging from what makes good research, to the nature and philosophy of “knowing” and to the collection and analysis of evidence.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  1. Reflect and evaluate on diverse behavioural, ethical and sustainability issues associated with organisational control and performance
  2. Reflect on how professional development can help improve the individual’s contribution to an organisation and its business performance.
  3. Apply a systematic academic approach to identifying and commenting on an organisational or business issue.
  4. Critically read and synthesise relevant literature in a subject area, identifying relevant data sources to support the critique.
  5. Develop an appropriate methodology or research approach from a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.
  6. Integrate, interpret and present evidence clearly, and critically discuss the findings.

Reading list

The recommended text for this unit is:

  • Saunders, M., P. Lewis and A. Thornhill (2009), Research Methods for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall.

This text, along with all other additional reading referenced throughout the learning unit, is available via the Manchester Metropolitan University digital library. Students enrolled on the programme will have access to this digital library and as such, do not need to purchase any text books.