Research Methods for Business Students

Mark N. K. Saunders / Adrian Thornhill / Philip Lewis  
Total pages
May 2019
Related Titles


Support your students on their journey to a successful dissertation with this best-selling text.

Research Methods for Business Students, 8th edition is the ideal textbook for students conducting research-led projects.

This revised edition provides the methodology for their research, from choosing topic and collecting data to finalising their report.


Hallmark Features of This Title

A comprehensive textbook covering the entire research process.

  • From choosing their topic and critically reviewing the literature to collecting and analysing data, this text will offer your students the methodology to complete and present their project report.
  • Your students can delve deeper into the understanding of philosophies and ethics and the significance of secondary data in the quality of their work.

A book with a clear structure, including chapter checklists, help your students organise their work.

  • Chapter boxes and end-of-chapter cases explore topical examples, support reflection, and encourage your students to generate material for their project.
  • Appendices and glossary of over 700 research-related terms further support their work.

New to this Edition

The most highly cited text in business, marketing, accounting, and economics

Research Methods for Business Students is now the most highly cited text in business, marketing, accounting, and economics, according to the global Power Teaching Rankings, 2021, a new ranking measure compiled for the Financial Times coming from 5m titles and cited in more than 7m syllabuses.

Source article: Harvard's ‘teaching power’ puts business school in the lead for influence.

New and updated features of this title

Chapters fully updated and revised according to the latest developments in research methods.

  • New case studies: The recent research undertakings help your students keep their research up to date.
  • Innovative observation research methods: The additional research tools explore the use of audio recordings, visual images, and videography, encouraging your students to expand their research skills.
  • Technological development: Reflection on the latest research developments using online survey tools and general analysis software.

Updated features for your students' successful collection of sophisticated data.

  • Research diaries: A new section on the use of diaries to collect data.
  • What does it mean to be 'critical': Discussion and analysis for a successful critical literature review.
  • Academic posters: Advice and guidance on how your students can prepare and present a poster.

Table of Contents

Brief Contents

  1. Business and management research, reflective diaries and the purpose of this book
  2. Choosing a research topic and developing your research proposal
  3. Critically reviewing the literature
  4. Understanding research philosophy and approaches to theory development
  5. Formulating the research design
  6. Negotiating access and research ethics
  7. Selecting samples
  8. Utilising secondary data
  9. Collecting data through observation
  10. Collecting primary data using research interviews and research diaries
  11. Collecting primary data using questionnaires
  12. Analysing data quantitatively
  13. Analysing data qualitatively
  14. Writing and presenting your project report



Back Cover

“This accessible and clearly written textbook provides a comprehensive and in-depth treatment of philosophical, methodological and ethical aspects of conducting business and management research. Illustrative case studies drawing on published research studies are used throughout and readers are given multiple opportunities to consolidate their learning through review and discussion questions, quizzes, and other exercises. At the end of each chapter a case study takes the reader through the realities and practicalities of applying the knowledge to a specific student research project. This will be an invaluable guide for all students seeking to understand and undertake business and management research.”

Professor Natasha Mauthner, Newcastle University


With over 400,000 copies sold, Research Methods for Business Students, is the definitive and market-leading textbook for Business and Management students conducting a research-led project or dissertation. The fully revised 8th edition answers key questions such as:

How do I choose my topic and design the research?

Why is research philosophy relevant to my research?

How do I collect and analyse my data?

When and what do I need to write?

With the 8th edition you will discover:

ü  Fully updated chapters incorporating visual methods throughout, detailed insights on drafting the critical literature review, the latest EU data protection regulations, using audio recordings and visual images in observation research, collecting data using diaries, the use of online survey tools, and preparing and presenting an academic poster

ü  New cases using up-to-date scenarios at the end of each chapter

ü  Boxed examples throughout of research methods in the news, from student research and in published management research

ü  A glossary of clear definitions of over 700 research-related terms

ü  Practical guidance and opportunities for checking your learning and self-reflection to enable you to progress your own research

ü  Detailed chapters on choosing your topic, critically reviewing the literature, understanding philosophies, research design, access and ethics, secondary data, data collection methods and analysis techniques and writing about and presenting your research

ü  Teach yourself guides to research software available at with practice data sets


About the authors

Mark NK Saunders is Professor of Business Research Methods and Director of Postgraduate Research Programmes at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Philip Lewis was a Principal Lecturer and Adrian Thornhill was a Head of Department, both at the University of Gloucestershire.


Mark NK Saunders is Professor of Business Research Methods and Director of Postgraduate Research Programmes at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham.

Philip Lewis was a Principal Lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire.

Adrian Thornhill was a Head of Department at the University of Gloucestershire.