You are here

Understanding Research for Business Students

Understanding Research for Business Students
A Complete Student's Guide

  • Jonathan Wilson - Associate Professor in Marketing and Business Research, Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia
Additional resources:

November 2021 | 576 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Are you conducting business research for the first time and aren't sure where to begin? This book gives you everything you need to successfully complete your research project.

From choosing your research direction and considering ethics to data collection and writing up your results, it offers straightforward guidance on every step of the research process. Covering topics such as social media research, working with primary and secondary data, and researching your own organisation, it provides a thorough overview of research for business and management students.

The book:

  • Enables you to visualise how each research stage links to the next, and makes sure you don’t miss a step with a handy 'Research Project Wheel'
  • Helps you increase your employability and develop transferable skills, such as proposal writing and data analysis
  • Provides student research examples that show common challenges you might face - and how to address them.

Key features include: research snapshots, offering short helpful tips for each stage of your research, and concept cartoons, which put forward different views about research to help you think critically about your approach. This book also has end-of-chapter questions, online multiple-choice questions and Kahoot! questions so you can test your understanding. 

Chapter 1: Introduction to business research
Chapter 2: Getting started: choosing your research direction
Chapter 3: Writing your research proposal
Chapter 4: Searching and critically reviewing the literature
Chapter 5: Research philosophies, approaches and strategies
Chapter 6: Formulating the research design
Chapter 7: Plagiarism and ethics in business research
Chapter 8: Doing work-based projects and researching your own organization
Chapter 9: Sampling techniques
Chapter 10: Secondary data
Chapter 11: Social media for research
Chapter 12: Interviews and focus groups
Chapter 13: Observational research
Chapter 14: Questionnaires
Chapter 15: Analyzing and managing qualitative data
Chapter 16: Analyzing and managing quantitative data
Chapter 17: Getting started with IBM SPSS Statistics
Chapter 18: Writing up and disseminating your work


Click for online resources
Student Resources (Free to access)

Watch and learn!
Author videos for each chapter bring key research concepts life and provide a clear summary of each step of the research process. 

Instructor Resources (Log-in needed)

containing questions related to the book’s key concepts, which can be downloaded and used in class, as homework or exams.

PowerPoint slides for each chapter featuring interactive tasks and questions, which can be downloaded and customized for use in your own presentations. 

Introductory videos explain how you can use the book and the Research Wheel in your teaching.

If you are a module leader or a supervisor, Understanding Research for Business Students will prove to be invaluable. Whether this is your core text, you are adding this to a reading list, or taking this under your arm to meet a student for a supervision, you will find that students find this book to be  invaluable.If you are a student embarking on a research project, Understanding Research for Business Students will not leave your side and I have no doubt that you will soon be sleeping with this book under your pillow!

Fran Hyde
Deputy Dean in Suffolk Business School at University of Suffolk

Its clear, comprehensive and student-focused approach makes this an indispensable companion for the research journey - from initial conceptualization to final completion. The use of student scenarios and concept cartoons is particularly inspired, as is the attention it gives to group work, work-based projects and using social media. I have no doubt that this book will become a business student’s best friend!

Sally Everett
Vice Dean (Education) and Professor of Business Education, King’s College London

The structure of this book is easy to follow and read for undergraduate students. The vocabulary and supporting graphics are not not too overwhelming for the students who will use this book with. The objective is to introduce them to research and engage with the subject in contrast to feeling overwhelmed by the academic rigour that accompanies a research module. The supporting online resources are useful to engage students in out of class study. I plan to recommend this as part of the indicative reading list and pilot its use over the 23 24 academic year. Subject to a good pilot and learner feedback (because it needs to be a book students return to for dissertation projects), I will consider adopting it as the preferred module text book the following year.

Miss Victoria Prince
Business, Coleg Llandrillo Cymru
June 29, 2023

Ideal for undergraduate students to get them into the process of learning to plan and carry out their research project. Has an excellent chapter on research philosophies to engage students in a greater understanding of the importance of underlying philosophical principles in their research.

Ms Sara Whinnett
Education, Liverpool John Moores University
April 29, 2022

A good book indeed, and easy to understand.

Dr Alice Lungu
Urban Studies, Copperbelt University
August 14, 2023

I used this book for the HRM Dissertations module. I found Chapter 2 the most useful for my students as there aren't many textbooks talking well on choosing research direction, in particular, how to generate research ideas, how to narrow a research topic, and the differences among research aims, objectives and questions.

Dr Yujie Hu
Faculty of Business, Leeds University
February 18, 2022

This is a clear and user friendly text that will be a great addition to the support we offer our Masters students.

Mrs Catherine Botting
Management, York University
February 21, 2022

Comprehensive text, clearly written. Accessible addition to the serious research student's toolkit.

Mr Joe Riordan
Faculty of Business, Law and Applied Social Studies, University of Central Lancashire
February 18, 2022

Excellence and clarity of the narrative and the book covers everything a final year students needs to know in order to carry out their final project/dissertation.

Mr Ian Godfrey Finlayson
Business Administration, European School of Economics
December 19, 2022

Adopted having in mind my students who are embarking on a research project for the first time. Its simple language makes it easy to follow for business students getting introduced to the rudiments of research, although the resource is lacking in-depth coverage of concepts and techniques. The quiz questions and Kahoots a useful feature.

Dr George Zifkos
Lifelong Learning, Leeds University
April 27, 2022