The DBA is more structured than a PhD, combining taught elements and independent research. The overall course comprises:
- Directed study on research methods (60 credits);
- Directed study on areas of specialist knowledge (60 credits);
- A mini dissertation, pilot study, or first phase research project (60 credits); and
- A scheme of research leading to a thesis in an approved area of study.
Research methods training is provided through the schedule of classes that comprise the SBS Master of Research Methodology (MRes) degree (www.sbs.strath.ac.us/researchers). DBA candidates are required to complete a minimum of 60 credits from this schedule, of which, classes in Research Philosophy and Research Methods are compulsory. In addition, students must take a sufficient number of researcher training classes from the MRes schedule to make up the 60 credit requirement. Upon completion of these 60 credits of researcher training, candidates not progressing further in the DBA course will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methodology.
Specialist knowledge areas for directed study are intended to lay the foundations for understanding theory and practice relevant to each candidate’s proposed research. Topics will be agreed by the supervisors and student and will typically explore the evolution of a specific field, its key writers and schools of thought, the contested domains and consequent debates, and opportunities for new research in these topic areas. This specialist knowledge curriculum may also include advanced methods classes from the MRes schedule, Special Topics classes for practical project-based learning, or any other Level 5 class that enhances the candidate’s knowledge of research. The overall requirement is that students complete the equivalent of 60 credits of directed study into specialist areas of knowledge. Candidates not progressing further in the DBA course will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methodology, having completed the 120 credits of these first two taught elements.
The courses could include:
- Research Philosophy & Methods (equivalent of 3 days – 24hrs)
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods: Survey Design and Analysis (eq. 4 days – 24hrs)
- Advanced Quantitative Methods (eq. 4 days – 32hrs)
- Advanced Qualitative Methods (eq. 4 days – 32hrs)
- Special Topics in Business I; Covering Marketing Management, Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management (eq. 6 days – 40hrs)
- Special Topics in Business II; covering Accounting and Finance, Management Science, Strategy and Organisation, Economics (eq. 8 days – 40hrs)
- Writing and Presenting Research (eq. 3 days – 24hrs; if possible together with MRes)
The third element of the SBS DBA is a practical project, mini dissertation or pilot study, which would normally comprise a piece of preliminary research that allows students to try out some of the ideas that have emerged from their research training and specialist knowledge classes. This project is worth 60 credits. On completion of this element of the DBA, the candidate’s work will be reviewed to assess the progress of the student and determine whether the student should be permitted to continue to complete the DBA degree. Students not progressing further in the DBA programme, may be considered for the award of a Masters degree in Research Methodology in Business and Management. Such an award would be subject to satisfactory examination by approved external and internal examiners.
The final element is the DBA thesis, which is a major piece of independent research (50, 000 to 60,000 words in length) that draws lessons from, and builds upon the mini dissertation. Successful completion of all the preceding elements is a pre-requisite for embarking on the thesis. Students will be required to defend their thesis in a Viva examination conducted by approved external and internal examiners.