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Fifth Edition

Emma Bell, Alan Bryman, and Bill Harley

Publication Date - February 2019

ISBN: 9780198809876

688 pages
10.4 x 7.7 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $119.99

The gold standard textbook in business research--trusted, comprehensive, supportive


Business Research Methods is the complete introduction to doing business research and an ideal guide for students embarking on a research project.

Developed specifically with business and management students in mind, this textbook explores the nature and purpose of business research and the issues it entails, while also providing students with practical advice through "Tips and Skills" boxes. In addition to a broad range of relevant examples, the book features a substantial discussion of ethics, and a strong emphasis on the most frequent challenges faced by students, such as choosing a research question, planning a project, and writing it up.

Fresh voices and perspectives run throughout this edition. New author, Bill Harley, further internationalizes the book's coverage, based on his expertise in the Australian business and management context. Also hear from an additional five students whose personal insights and advice in the 'student experience' feature help you avoid common mistakes, and follow their successful strategies when undertaking your own research project.

This edition has been extensively revised, updated, and streamlined. Coverage of E-Research is now woven
throughout the entire book to reflect the centrality of internet-based research methods.

The book is accompanied by a suite of online resources that include:

For students:
Multiple choice questions
Research Project guide
Interviews with students
Data sets
Using Excel in data analysis (in Excel)
Web links

For instructors:
Test bank
Discussion questions
PowerPoint slides
Lecturer's guide
Case studies
Figures and plates from the text
VLE cartridge

New to this Edition

  • An additional five students provide first-hand accounts of their experience of doing business research, with accompanying videos available online.
  • Extended material on 'ethics creep', 'big data', and writing academically.
  • E-Research is now woven throughout the text, better reflecting how internet research methodology is taught.
  • A new test bank and new discussion questions for lecturers are available as part of the instructor online resources.
  • This edition has been extensively streamlined to provide even more focused coverage of the key areas of business research.
  • Jargon has been simplified throughout and clear, full, explanations of methodologies and philosophies are provided.


  • Highly comprehensive and exceptionally well-written, this book provides a complete and clear guide to the process of conducting business research.
  • The only business research book to use interviews with real students to provide invaluable 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, and human resource management 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.
  • The book is augmented by extensive online resources including interviews with research students, a research project guide, multiple-choice questions, and data sets, all designed to help students excel on their business research course.

About the Author(s)

Emma Bell is Professor of Organisation Studies at the Open University, UK. She has an enduring interest in methods and methodological issues and has published widely in this area. Emma is a past Co-Chair of the Critical Management Studies Division of the Academy of Management, current joint Vice-Chair of Research and Publications, British Academy of Management, and joint Editor-in-Chief of Management Learning.

The late 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 Social Research Methods (Oxford University Press, 2015) as well as contributing to a range of leading journals.

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, 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 and Education and Human Relations.


"Undeniably the gold standard textbook in research methods" --Charlotte Smith, University of Leicester

"The perfect book for students starting a dissertation or first research project"--Jorge Gutic, University of Chichester Business School

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: structured observation and content analysis
    14. Secondary analysis and official statistics
    15. Quantitative data analysis
    16. Using IBM SPSS 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. Documents as sources of data
    24. Qualitative data analysis
    25. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis: using NVivo
    Part 4: Mixed methods research
    26. Breaking down the quantitative/qualitative divide
    27. Mixed methods research: combining quantitative and qualitative research