Definition of Business Research Methods

by Vanessa Cross; Updated September 26, 2017
Analyzing statistical data is one method of research a firm uses to understand its business.

A business research method is a careful and diligent study of a market, an industry or a particular company's business operations, using investigative techniques to discover facts, examine theories or develop an action plan based on discovered facts. Businesses use a number of research methods to help grow their operations or to solve problems in the company.

Operational Research

A study of a firm's operational systems identifies each production step. This type of business research helps a firm to "reduce waste, inefficiency and poor performance by examining procedures on a step-by-step basis -- an approach sometimes called methods improvement," according to the authors of the book "Business Essentials."

Case Studies

One method of conducting business research is through case studies that allow for investigation of industries, companies and business situations. A firm's patterns of action communicate business policies, conventions and practices. This type of research can uncover business trends and strategies.

Statistical Data

Examination of information and statistical data is another method of business research. Financial data is one important area of statistical analysis that helps a firm to evaluate performance and predict trends. It can lead to strategy revisions that translate into changes in a firm's internal policies and procedures.

Surveys and Focus Groups

Surveys and focus groups are a common business research method. It helps a firm to better understand the potential customer for its products and services. This includes understanding who the customer is, what the customer values and how the customer buys. This type of research focuses on identifying demand trends.


  • "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary"; 1975
  • "Business Essentials"; Robert J. Ebert and Ricky W. Griffin; 2000
  • "Managing the Non-Profit Organization"; Peter F. Drucker; 1990

About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article