Research Seminar I



Smirnov Marat V., Ph.D., Senior lecturer, Department of Finance and Accounting, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg University


20 contact hours


Research Methods, proficiency in Management and English confirmed by student’s GMAT and TOEFL tests results exceeding the acceptance rate.

Course Description:

The 2 years long Research seminar is aimed at developing knowledge needed for preparation and writing master thesis. To this end, the research seminar addresses the main approaches to research, research methods, research process and writing of master thesis. The course output is a prepared master thesis.

The first year of Research seminar introduces students to the process of formal inquiry and helps them develop the skills needed to collect research relevant information, to read and evaluate the research of others. It makes students familiar with the development of structured questions to guide their inquiry, bibliographic research to set their inquiry in the context of the work of other scholars, research design and the selection of research methods. The first year of the course is finalized with critical literature review on a selected research topic.

The course aim is to give students understanding how to manage the research process successfully and write the master thesis. During the course students learn how to:
– identify proper research topic and formulate research problem
– determine the information requirements of a research question, problem or issue,
– use information resources for academic research and lifelong learning,
– identify different types of databases that may be used to gather research information,
– make literature review,
– create research design,
– select different research methods,
– write a research paper.

This 1-st semester part of the course is an open-topic Research seminar, hence, the students may develop a research question about topic of their choice, which is expected to be studied later in their Master thesis.

Course Content (Topics and subtopics):

Topic 1. Introduction. The nature of business and management research
Topic 2. The scope of management research at GSOM SPbU
Topic 3. The Literature search techniques
Topic 4. Formulating and clarifying the research topic
Topic 5. Preparation of Research proposal draft & presentations

Course Organization:

– in-class discussions of home assignments, research articles and of cases
– written reports and written reports presentations
– peer review of written reports

Course Reading (the full list):

Core reading:
• Saunders M., Lewis Ph., Thornhill A. Research Methods for Business Students. Prentice Hall, 2012/2017

Supplementary reading:
• Adams J., Khan H. T. A., Raeside R. Research Methods for Business and Social Science Students. SAGE, 2014
• Easterby-Smith M., Thorpe R., Lowe A. Management Research: An Introduction, 2nd edition. London: Sage Publications, 2003.
• Gabbott M. Undertaking a Literature Review in Marketing // The Marketing Review, 2004, # 4, pp. 411-429.
• Fendt J. Grounded Theory Method in Management Research: Users’ Perspectives // Organizational Research Methods, 2007, August 8.
• Eisenhardt K., Graebner M. Theory Building from Cases: Opportunities and Challenges // Academy of Management Journal, 2007, Vol. 50, # 1, pp. 25-32.
• Jackson S.L. Research Methods and Statistics: A Critical Thinking Approach. Cengage Learning, 2008.
• Yin R. 2003. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage.

Exam format:

The 1st semester course concludes with a midterm examination 

Grading Policy (% or points):

Assignments, research proposal drafts, peer-review reports

Alumni reviews