Business Research Methods (4th edition)

Alan Bryman; Emma Bell
Pub date
Apr 2015
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  • Drawing on their own extensive research experience, and delivered with the clarity for which both authors are renowned, Alan Bryman and Emma Bell provide a complete guide to the process of conducting business research.
  • Each chapter is filled with examples of 'real world' research, placing the theories and concepts being discussed in context.
  • A wide range of examples from various business functions - including human resource management, marketing, and strategy - demonstrate the relevance of research to business and management students.
  • Coverage of all aspects of business research ensures that students are fully prepared for conducting their own research projects.
  • A 'telling it like it is' feature draws on interviews with real research students and their supervisors to give invaluable advice on potential pitfalls to avoid and successful strategies to emulate when undertaking a research project.
  • 'Key concepts' are drawn out throughout the text and explained with unrivalled clarity, ensuring that students gain a full understanding of business research terminology and processes.
  • The text is augmented by extensive online resources, including interviews with research students, data sets, discussion questions, and an Excel tutorial, designed to help students develop practical skills in business research.

New to this Edition:

  • A new introductory chapter on the nature of business research explains to students the relevance and importance of studying research methods, while also considering the 'messiness' of business research by giving guidance to students on how to proceed if things do not go to plan.
  • A new chapter on sampling in qualitative research complements the existing chapter on sampling in quantitative research, providing full coverage of this important topic.
  • New material on the use of technology in research, including the use of Skype for interviewing and work blogs as sources of data, keeps the book fully up-to-date with the latest trends in research methods.
  • New coverage of shadowing in organizations, experience and event sampling, thematic analysis, and global and multi-site ethnography.
  • Increased coverage of writing for academic audiences and mixed-methods research.
  • Fully updated to include coverage of SPSS 22.

A complete introduction to doing business research, Business Research Methods is the ideal guide for students embarking on a research project. Together with real students and supervisors, the authors draw on their own extensive experience to give readers tips for success and provide advice to help them avoid common mistakes. 

Developed specifically with business and management students in mind, this bestselling textbook explores the nature and purpose of business research and the issues it entails, while also providing students with practical advice on carrying out their research. In addition to a broad range of relevant case studies, the book features a substantial discussion of ethics, a chapter on internet research methods, and a strong emphasis on practical content such as planning a project and writing it up. 

With a new chapter on the nature of business research that explains why an understanding of research methods is so important to the broader study of business and management, and a new chapter on sampling in qualitative research, Business Research Methods remains the book of choice to help you build a full understanding of the subject.

Business Research Methods is an excellent resource for all students of business research, providing both breadth and depth to this very important topic. The format and structure, along with the supporting online resources and real examples, make this a very accessible and helpful resource to all those interested in business, management and leadership research. - Dr Jean-Anne Stewart, Henley Business School -

Still the most accessible text available on research methods. - Dr Orna O'Brien, University College Dublin -

A superb introduction to social science research that combines the soundness of philosophy of science with an elegant presentation of critical aspects in social research practice for anybody interested in finding out reliable answers about management and business phenonmena' - Dr Nuno Oliveira, London School of Economics and Political Science -


Part One: The research process
1: The nature and process of business research
2: Business research strategies
3: Research designs
4: Planning a research project and formulating research questions
5: Getting started: reviewing the literature
6: Ethics and politics in business research
Part Two: Quantitative research
7: The nature of quantitative research
8: Sampling in quantitative research
9: Structured interviewing
10: Self-completion questionnaires
11: Asking questions
12: Structured observation
13: Content analysis
14: Secondary analysis and official statistics
15: Quantitative data analysis
16: Using IBM SPSS statistics
Part Three: 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 Four: Mixed methods research and other considerations
26: Breaking down the quantitative/qualitative divide
27: Mixed methods research: combining quantitative and qualitative research
28: E-research: Internet research methods
29: Writing up business research

About the author: 

Alan Bryman, Professor of Organizational and Social Research, University of Leicester, and Emma Bell, Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Keele University
Alan Bryman is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Management, University of Leicester

Emma Bell is Professor of Management and Organization Studies and Director of the Centre for Economics and Management at Keele University.

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