The aim of this paper is to discuss the philosophical issues which are necessary to\ud consider when undertaking academic research into business or management. The paper also considers the research options or paradigms available and suggests how a researcher can make an informed and sensible decision as to how to proceed. The starting point in all research undertakings is to focus clearly on the fact that the objective of this activity is to add something of value to the body of accumulated knowledge and in this case accumulated business and management knowledge. This means that an unanswered question or unsolved problem will be identified and studied and that the researcher will attempt to produce a suitable answer or a solution or illustrate a specific area. Of course the focus here is on difficult problems to which the solution is not obvious and which when solved will add material value to the subject area being studied. There are at least three major philosophical1 questions which should be addressed at the outset of the research. These are why research? what to research? and how to research? It could also be argued that where to research? and when to research?\ud although of lesser philosophical importance, also deserve attention. In addition there\ud is the question of research ethics which is discussed in a later paper in this series\ud (Remenyi & Williams 1995)
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