The Federation Press

Researching Industrial Relations


The first edition of this book has been the favoured text for students of research methods in all aspects of employment studies (industrial relations, employment relations, labour studies, HRM) since 1991.

It provides a coherent introduction to qualitative research methods and processes for employees undertaking research at work and for the senior undergraduate or new graduate commencing a research degree.

Contents are expanded and rewritten to include:

  • dealing with the choices of approach in beginning a research project
  • explanation and analysis of particular approaches (analysing literature, action research, interviews, surveys, legal research, case studies, multi-method research)
  • writing up a thesis or a commissioned report
  • beginning a thesis, multi-method research and case studies
  • extensive revision of the legal chapter
  • an appendix of legal internet sources.


The main strength of this edited collection is its strong focus on the ‘how to’ and guidelines for walking early stage researchers through the development of research strategy and design, research methods, and writing up research theses or reports. The authors of each of the individual chapters strike a balance between simplified and accessible explanation of the complexities of industrial relations research and integrity and rigorous explanation of research methodology. ... The text is an excellent guide for the novice researcher in industrial relations as well as a useful tool for more experienced researchers who can use it as a supplementary reference to maintain the rigour of their research. - Labour History, 89 (November 2005)

Table of Contents

Methods and methodology: the problem of industrial relations
Di Kelly

An essay on method and industrial relations
Braham Dabscheck

Tackling a thesis
Robert Castle

Research design and research strategy
David H Plowman

’Hopeful but modest’: research design for industrial relations
Margaret Gardner

The literature search and review
Bradon Ellem

Analysing documents
Bradon Ellem

Researching labour law
Andrew Frazer

Designing and administering questionnaires
Ron Callus

Making a good case: the case study
Di Kelly

Interviewing, observation and ethnography: techniques and selection criteria
Paul Sutcliffe

The multi-method approach: benefits and challenges
John Buchanan

Put it in writing! Some guidelines for commissioned report writing
Michelle Brown

Righting it up
Norm Dufty


Of interest...