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Business Research Methods

Sixth Edition

Emma Bell, Bill Harley, and Alan Bryman

30 March 2022

ISBN: 9780198869443

696 pages

In Stock

Price: £52.99

The gold standard textbook in business research: trusted, comprehensive, supportive.



The clearest, most relevant guide, written specifically to engage business students taking research methods courses or completing a research project. The sixth edition offers extensively-revised global examples throughout, as well as unique interviews with students and educators providing invaluable real-world insights and advice.

  • Highly comprehensive and exceptionally well-written: a complete and clear guide to the process of conducting business research.
  • The only business research book to use interviews with students and educators to provide invaluable real-world insights and advice on potential pitfalls to avoid, and successful strategies to emulate, when undertaking a research project.
  • Examples from various business functions - including marketing, strategy, accounting, and human resource management - span cultures and geographies, and clearly show the relevance of business research to the real world.
  • 'Tips and skills' and 'Checklists' boxes help students progress with their own project, and become equipped with the skills needed to become successful business researchers in life beyond university.
  • Extensive online resources include interviews with research students and educators, video tutorials, a research project guide, multiple-choice questions, and data sets - all designed to help students excel on their business research course.
  • Also available as an e-book enhanced with self-assessment activities and multi-media content to offer a fully immersive experience and extra learning support.

New to this edition

  • Two new chapters on quantitative data analysis cover descriptive and inferential statistics, offering students greater support in understanding and applying these techniques.
  • A new chapter on visual qualitative research provides extensive up-to-date analysis of this growing discipline, better enabling students to use this knowledge in their own projects.
  • Extended coverage of inclusivity and bias in research, feminist perspectives, and decolonial and indigenous research, reflects the significance of these issues to researchers today.
  • The 'Research in focus' features have been significantly updated throughout, providing students with fascinating examples of contemporary studies from around the world. Environmental activism in China, the US yoga market, critical incident interviewing in Korea, and a study of the future of work in Australia are just a few of the many new examples.
  • Expanded digital resources now also include new video tutorials covering the data analysis software packages SPSS, Nvivo, R, and Stata.
  • Now available as an enhanced e-book providing a more engaging, seamless, learning experience.

About the Author(s)

Emma Bell, Professor of Organisation Studies, The Open University, Bill Harley, Professor of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, and Alan Bryman, Professor of Organizational and Social Research, University of Leicester (formerly)

Emma Bell is Professor of Organisation Studies at the Open University, UK. Her research explores culture, belief, and materiality in organizations using qualitative methods of inquiry and has been published in journals including Organization Studies, Human Relations, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Organization, Management Learning and the British Journal of Management. Emma is currently joint Vice-Chair Research and Publications of the British Academy of Management and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Alan Bryman was Professor of Organizational and Social Research at the University of Leicester from 2005 to 2017. Prior to this he was Professor of Social Research at Loughborough University for thirty-one years. His main research interests were in leadership, especially in higher education, research methods (particularly mixed methods research), and the 'Disneyization' and 'McDonaldization' of modern society. Alan was also the author of the bestselling textbook Bryman's Social Research Methods (Oxford University Press, 2021) as well as contributing to a range of leading journals: he was an extraordinarily well-cited and internationally-renowned social scientist.

Bill Harley is Professor of Management in the Department of Management and Marketing at The University of Melbourne. Bill's academic research has been motivated by an abiding interest in the centrality of work to human life. His work has been published in journals including the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Journal of Management Studies, Academy of Management Learning & Education Industrial Relations, and Work Employment and Society. Bill was previously General Editor of Journal of Management Studies and is currently on the editorial boards of the same journal, as well as Academy of Management Learning & Education, Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences and Human Relations. He is Chair of the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.

Table of Contents

    Part 1 - The research process
    1:The nature and process of business research
    2:Business research strategies
    3:Research designs
    4:Planning a research project and developing research questions
    5:Getting started: reviewing the literature
    6:Ethics in business research
    7:Writing up business research
    Part 2 - Quantitative research
    8:The nature of quantitative research
    9:Sampling in quantitative research
    10:Structured interviewing
    11:Self-completion questionnaires
    12:Asking questions
    13:Quantitative research using naturally occurring data
    14:Secondary analysis and official statistics
    15:Quantitative data analysis: descriptive statistics
    16:Quantitative analysis: inferential statistics
    Part 3 - Qualitative research
    17:The nature of qualitative research
    18:Sampling in qualitative research
    19:Ethnography and participant observation
    20:Interviewing in qualitative research
    21:Focus groups
    22:Language in qualitative research
    23:Documentary data
    24:Visual qualitative research
    25:Qualitative data analysis
    Part 4 - Mixed methods research
    26:Breaking down the quantitative/qualitative divide
    27:Mixed methods research: combining quantitative and qualitative research


"The most complete and comprehensive Business Research Methods book available. " - Dr Manuel Alector Ribeiro, University of Surrey

"A student-centred textbook which demystifies research methods and makes it approachable for students. " - Dr Katherine Duffy, University of Glasgow

"The new edition of Business Research Methods by Bell, Bryman and Harley is the ideal guide for students on different levels to guide them through their project. It´s a very good full-size book on research methods, covering both essentials, as well as quantitative and qualitative methods. If you are to single out one book for the students to use, this is the one!" - Ms. Gunilla S. Andersson, Linköping University

"An excellent book on research which generally explains research and some of those hard to understand principles in an accessible way. Good examples are used to illustrate discussion. Definitely one of a few 'go to' books in this area." - Dr Lynn Thurloway, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources

The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks

This book is accompanied by the following online resources:
For students:
- Video tutorials covering SPSS, Nvivo, R, and Stata - Self-test multiple choice questions with answer feedback - Research project guide - Video interviews with students and lecturers - Links to additional resources (articles, data repositories, and third-party guides) - Guide to using Excel in data analysis - Flashcard glossary
For lecturers:
- PowerPoint presentations - Additional case studies - Discussion questions - Lecturer's guide (includes suggested lecture outlines, problem-spotting, and practical teaching tips) - Test bank containing multiple choice questions - Figures from the text