This book is dedicated to the memory of Stuart Rooks who inspired and enormously encouraged us in our teaching and writing. It is also for our children Edmund, Olivia, Aidan and Ella with love.
POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH IN BUSINESS A Critical Guide Sarah Quinton and Teresa Smallbone
© Sarah Quinton and Teresa Smallbone 2006 First published 2006 Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers. SAGE Publications Ltd 1 Oliver’s Yard 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP SAGE Publications Inc. 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 91320 SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd B-42, Panchsheel Enclave Post Box 4109 New Delhi 110 017 British Library Cataloguing in Publication data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN-10 1-4129-0835-3 ISBN-10 1-4129-0836-1 ISBN-13 978-1-4129-0835-1 ISBN-13 978-1-4129-0836-8 (pbk)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2005931794
Typeset by C&M Digitals (P) Ltd., Chennai, India Printed in Great Britain by The Cromwell Press Ltd, Trowbridge, Wiltshire Printed on paper from sustainable resources
Acknowledgements About this Book 1 What is Management Research and What Does it mean at Masters’ Level? Developing a Critical Approach Generating, Developing and Mapping Ideas for Research Topics Making your Project Manageable Sources of Secondary Information How to Read Critically Organizing and Analysing What You Have Read and Researched Reflection – How to Learn to Be a Better Researcher and Business Manager from Doing Research Reliability, Validity and Generalization Writing Up and Beyond vi vii
28 44 67 81
4 5 6 7
110 125 141 162 167
We would like to thank the many people who have helped us in writing this book, in particular, our editor Patrick Brindle for his patience and support, and our colleagues at Oxford Brookes Business School, especially Sally Harridge-March and Jackie Clarke. Emma Coles from the Business School resource centre provided invaluable help with the production of the manuscript and the design of the artwork. Niall O’ Dochartaigh gave us permission to use his work on the reliability of internet sources and we are grateful to him. We would also like to thank Chris Blackburn and Mark Saunders for their encouragement to write this book and our many students, particularly on the Oxford Brookes MSc in International Management and the Named Awards, who have contributed to our learning about what makes a good researcher. Chris Peach and Janis Millers, both former students, have allowed us to use some of their work.
About this Book
Who Is It For?
This book is for all Masters’ students, including MBA and DMS students, in business and business-related subjects, who are about to embark on some research or to write a dissertation. We also think that PhD students will find a lot of it very helpful. Supervisors of research may also find it a useful tool for helping their students to unravel the mysteries of research. The book is the culmination of many years’ experience of teaching and supervising business and management students. It includes much material that we have developed as teaching aids to help communicate the concept of ‘good’ research and the processes required to make research ‘good’. We discovered while teaching research methods and...