Doing Research in Business and Management

Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis

Research output: Book/ReportBook


What’s in the book?

Chapter 1 deals with the first issue you will encounter in the research process: choosing the right research topic. We suggest some novel ways in which you may decide upon your topic, offer guidance in deciding what constitutes an effective research topic, and consider some topics which may be problematic. In the latter part of the chapter we deal with the issue of defining suitable research questions and objectives. The chapter ends with a discussion on what is meant by the all-important term ‘theory’.

In Chapter 2, we approach the subject of the critical literature review. We offer some practical suggestions on the way you may go about approaching your literature review and actually conducting it, using full text databases of academic articles. The chapter also explains what constitutes an effective critical literature review and offers guidance in how it may be structured.

Chapter 3 is concerned with practical issues regarding gaining access to organisations from which you may collect your own research data. In this chapter we also consider the issues of self-management you may face in conducting your research, particularly the effective use of resources such as time. The management of other aspects of the research process is also discussed, such as your supervisor, university and those from whom you collect your data. We also help you to think about the ways in which you adhere to the code of research ethics that you will be required to observe.

In Chapter 4 we consider the use of secondary data. We discuss the valuable role which secondary data may play in your research and the reasons you may use secondary data. The ready availability of a wealth of secondary data online is considered. We also warn you about some of the pitfalls inherent in the use of secondary data and how to assess its value to your own research project.

The subject of Chapter 5 is research strategy. This involves a consideration of the main philosophies you may adopt and the ways in which they affect choice of strategy. We discuss the different types of research strategy, with an emphasis on the possibility of mixing strategies in one research project. We end the chapter with a discussion of the importance of validity and reliability: ensuring that your research results and conclusions are believable.

Chapter 6 gets to the core of the research process: the collection of data. We first explain how to choose a sample. We then consider three frequently used methods of collecting primary data in more detail. In this we look at how to design and distribute an effective questionnaires, including the use of Internet questionnaires; conduct face-to-face, telephone and Internet mediated interviews; and undertake structured and unstructured observations.

In Chapter 7 we deal with the process of data analysis. We discuss the two types of data: quantitative and qualitative and the ways in which these data may be prepared for analysis and actually analysed. The use of statistics in both the presentation and analysis of data is explained with particular emphasis on the use of different software packages. We also discuss ways in which qualitative data may be prepared for analysis and analysed. As with the analysis of quantitative data, we emphasise the way in which you may develop theory from the analysed data.

Chapter 8 is devoted to the writing of your research proposal. We explain how the process of writing clarifies your ideas, and we emphasise the importance of treating the research proposal as an item of ‘work in progress’ by constantly revising it. The chapter also includes a discussion on what content the proposal should contain; how it may be structured and the appropriate writing style to be adopted. Finally, we suggest some of the criteria against which the quality of your research proposal may be assessed.

We hope you will learn a lot from this book: that’s why it exists! But we also hope that you will enjoy reading it. Doing your research project should be fun!
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHarlow
Number of pages256
ISBN (Electronic)9781292222318
ISBN (Print)9781292133522
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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