The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

Is Research that is Both Causally Adequate and Adequate on the Level of Meaning Possible or Necessary in Business Research? A Critical Analysis of some Methodological Alternatives  pp1-10

D.A.L. Coldwell

© Jul 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 36

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Abstract

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in both statistical methods aimed at generating causally adequate explanations in business research and criticisms of these. Running parallel with this discussion has been critical discussion on the adequacy of such explanations at the level of meaning and specific attempts to address this issue with techniques such as those used in grounded theory. All too often the two methodological approaches have remained separated from each other‑ as a qualitative and a quantitative mainstream in business research. This is partly because of the different skills of the researchers involved andor their different attitudes regarding the validity of the methods used. The Weberian methodological paradigm of explanation that is both causally adequate and adequate at the level of meaning has to some extent been lost sight of since Denzin's triangulated model was put forward as a possible solution in the 70's. However, the issue remains: is causally adequate explanation possible with statistical ‑type analyses and are idiographic techniques such as grounded theory able to capture explanations that are valid at the level of meaning? The paper critiques some older and more recent methods aimed at implementing statistical analyses in generating causally adequate explanation and qualitative techniques aimed at providing explanations that are adequate at the level of meaning. The paper reviews an empirical study aimed at providing such a complete explanation and questions, building on the perspectives of evidence‑based management and critical realism, whether such fully adequate explanations are practically possible or, indeed, fundamentally necessary in generating knowledge that is practically useful for solving specific managerial problems.

 

Keywords: Causal adequacy, adequacy at the level of meaning, phenomenology, grounded research, imponderable evidence, dialectical triangulation, methodological triangulation, critical realism, evidence-based research, dualism, piecemeal social engineer

 

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Journal Article

Subtextual Phenomenology: A Methodology for Valid, First‑Person Research  pp106-118

Jocene Vallack

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

This paper presents a methodology for first‑person, intuitive research. It argues that it is possible to do rigorous research using subjective, first‑person data. The methodology, which I call Subtextual Phenomenology (sometimes shortened to Subphenomenology), provides a theoretical framework for such practice.

 

Keywords: subtextual phenomenology, phenomenology, arts-based research, first-person research, transcendental phenomenology, intuitive research

 

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Journal Article

Looking at the Past to Enrich the Future: A Reflection on Klein and Myers’ Quality Criteria for Interpretive Research  pp77-88

Ana Cardoso, Isabel Ramos

© Dec 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, ECRM, Editor: Ann Brown, pp53 - 153

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Abstract

In the last two decades, interpretive research has become more established and more popular in information systems field. The work of Klein and Myers (1999) consists of a set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive research, which provide fair and appropriate criteria for assessing the validity and reliability of such studies and, given the number of citations, has had a significant impact in the interpretive research literature. Our article focuses on understanding how this set of principles has informed research articles published in two of the highest‑ranked information systems journals and, specifically, questions if these principles have been translated into common practices when conducting interpretive research in the field of information systems and whether authors incorporate them explicitly when they communicate the results of their research. We reviewed articles published in Management Information Systems Quarterly and Information Systems Research, collected any explicit or implicit evidence of quality criteria that informed the research, and highlighted direct or indirect reference to Klein and Myers criteria. We summarize and compare our findings in a comprehensive table, and note that, apparently, the principle of hermeneutic circle and the principle of suspicion are the most explicitly discussed in this sample. Moreover, Klein and Myers’ set of principles seem to have had a greater influence in the papers published in the period from 2002 to 2006. This study provides a reflexion about methodological rigor in interpretive research that, to our knowledge, had never been done. Thus, the findings here presented may be useful for junior researchers and doctorate level students to understand how validity and quality criteria are enacted in high‑quality interpretive research and, we hope, may encourage them to build on the exemplary work of the authors we reviewed and thus to contribute to enriching the literature of qualitative research methodology in information systems field.

 

Keywords: interpretive research evaluation, quality and rigor criteria, information systems, Klein & Myers’ set of principles, hermeneutics, phenomenology.

 

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Journal Article

Promoting the case for Using a Research Journal to Document and Reflect on the Research Experience  pp84-92

David Lamb

© Dec 2013 Volume 11 Issue 2, ECRM 2013, Editor: Ann Brown, pp53 - 117

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper draws upon a personal research journey and makes the case for recording this experience using a research journal. tol The context for this paper is based on a study of family life and leisure, which collected data using more tradition al qualitative methods, namely focus groups and interviews with pre‑birth and post birth couples and leisure managers in New Zealand. The research design for this study was based on phenomenology, where the experience of the subjects being studied was sig nificant and involved developing an understanding of the lived experiences of pre‑birth and post‑birth couples, where the way they acted was dependent upon their understanding and meaning of their behavior (Waters, 1994) This paper draws on the research ers own reflections recorded in a research journal, whilst undertaking this research study over a five year period. The paper discusses the meaning and importance of reflection as a way of evaluating the researchers own research journey and highlights a number of issues with reference to the validity of such data. The paper concludes by revisiting the key benefits of reflection and affirms the belief that research journals are a useful tool, which enables the researcher to record personal thoughts and o bservations in a systematic manner.

 

Keywords: Keywords: personal, research journey, phenomenology, observing, writing, journal, reflection, y, qualitative research

 

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Journal Article

A Strategy for Delayed Research Method Selection: Deciding Between Grounded Theory and Phenomenology  pp35-46

Sebastian Reiter

© Jan 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp1 - 87

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Abstract

TThis paper presents a strategy for delayed research method selection in a qualitative interpretivist research. An exemplary case details how explorative interviews were designed and conducted in accordance with a paradigm prior to deciding whether to adopt grounded theory or phenomenology for data analysis. The focus here is to determine the most appropriate research strategy in this case the methodological framing to conduct research and represent findings, both of which are detailed. Research addressing current management issues requires both a flexible framework and the capability to consider the research problem from various angles, to derive tangible results for academia with immediate application to business demands. Researchers, and in particular novices, often struggle to decide on an appropriate research method suitable to address their research problem. This often applies to interpretative qualitative research where it is not always immediately clear which is the most appropriate method to use, as the research objectives shift and crystallize over time. This paper uses an exemplary case to reveal how the strategy for delayed research method selection contributes to deciding whether to adopt grounded theory or phenomenology in the initial phase of a PhD research project. In this case, semi‑structured interviews were used for data generation framed in an interpretivist approach, situated in a business context. Research questions for this study were thoroughly defined and carefully framed in accordance with the research paradigm’s principles, while at the same time ensuring that the requirements of both potential research methods were met. The grounded theory and phenomenology methods were compared and contrasted to determine their suitability and whether they meet the research objectives based on a pilot study. The strategy proposed in this paper is an alternative to the more ‘traditional’ approach, which initially selects the methodological formulation, followed by data generation. In conclusion, the suggested strategy for delayed research method selection intends to help researchers identify and apply the most appropriate method to their research. This strategy is based on explorations of data generation and analysis in order to derive faithful results from the data generated.

 

Keywords: research method selection, qualitative research, grounded theory, phenomenology

 

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Journal Article

Using the Multiple Case Study Design to Decipher Contextual Leadership Behaviors in Indian Organizations  pp54-65

Veena Vohra

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 1, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 74

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper demonstrates how the complex phenomenon of contextual leadership in business organizations was studied in a unique manner by using the multiple case study design. In the current context of fast paced change, uncertainty and ambiguity, leadership roles in organizations assume great significance. Recent studies have indicated the relevance and importance of studying leadership behavior in the context in which they appear and not away from it. In this study, the multiple case study desig n was used for the twin purposes of capturing rich descriptive contexts of the leader and strengthening the patterns of findings using Yins (1984) replication logic.Within the case studies, mixed methods were employed to generate qualitative and quant itative data simultaneously on the contextual leadership behaviors of senior Indian managerial leaders. The methodology,based on the social phenomenology paradigm, used interviews to capture the interpretation of the leaders about their environments. Qual itative data was collected through interviews, company documents, industry reports and analysts reports. Quantitative data collection methods included a scale based on Ansoffs model, the adaptive capacity scale as well as the Multifactor Leadership Quest ionnaire. The study proposes a model of leadership based on rich synthesis of patterns of leadership behavior across contexts in an emerging markets scenario using the multiple case study design, mixed methods in data collection and analysis, a combinat ion of data driven and theory driven codes in the coding framework and mixed methods for transforming the raw dataThe objective of this study was to provide insights into designing a multiple case study research and carrying out cross case analysis using matrices. Additionally the study describes the usage of the multiple case study design to study leadership embedded in its context in a novel manner.

 

Keywords: Keywords: multiple case study design, leadership, mixed methods, social phenomenology

 

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Journal Article

Alchemy Methodology ‑ Applying the Arts to Research  pp134-141

Jocene Vallack

© Oct 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp57 - 141

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Abstract

The difference between art and research is that, whereas art can speak for itself, research must be explained. Unlike research, art invites open interpretation from the viewers, without any need to justify or explicate its existence or the artist’s intentions. Research however, by its very nature, is a cognitive and rational product – at least in its final stages. The appreciation of postmodern perspectives in academia has given rise to methodologies for first‑person inquiries and arts‑based methods. Arts methods may provide the researcher with great insights into a research question, however the inquiry needs to be situated in a rational and philosophically aligned research framework. In this paper I present Alchemy Methodology as a theoretical framework for such research. It has been developed as an application of the pure phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, and it uses arts practice and subjective insights to inform and transform this data into universal, phenomenological insights. Alchemy Methodology is based on three principles: • that the unconscious mind is far superior to logic and cognition when it comes to navigating the complex research question, but ... • that the unconscious can only speak through images and metaphor, which ultimately must be translated through rational thought and language • that the arts‑based methods embedded in Alchemy Inquiry, can take the researcher from the most subjective reflections to the most intersubjective, universal outcomes This paper shows how the researcher can use arts practice to inspire unconscious responses to a research question, and frame these methods in a research construction, which is rigorous and informed by pure, European Phenomenology. It takes issue with a common misconception of phenomenology in research, arguing that twentieth century modernism has skewed Husserl’s transcendental philosophy into something obscure and nonsensical.

 

Keywords: Phenomenology, Arts Research, Qualitative Methodology, Alchemy Methodology, arts-based research, Husserl

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 1 / Jul 2007  pp1‑36

Editor: Ann Brown

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Editorial

For Business Schools and management departments, research methods are emerging as a subject not only as a core for staff and business students at all levels but also of increasing complexity. The subject is ramifying into a number of separate but related issues. The four papers in this issue of EJBRM reflect a number of these current concerns:

The quality and nature of business and management research methods and the practical value of the results achieved (Coldwell)

The scale and nature of the ethical responsibility of organizations, researchers and students (Lindorff, Naimi)

The training and supervision of doctoral candidates (Iqbal)

Coldwell argues that although truly causally adequate explanation is beyond the capacity of social science and management research and that adequate explanation on the level of meaning also is, at best, problematical, nonetheless it is possible to adopt a methodological approach that is capable of producing practically useable research outcomes. He proposes a methodology based on critical realism and offers considerable help in the practical steps to be taken when following this approach.

Two papers consider ethical issues in business research and teaching (Lindorff, Naimi). Lindorff is concerned with researchers’ ethical obligations to participants in their research. She presents a fairly bleak view of current practice, contrasting the comparatively indifferent attitude of almost all published business research with the central role that ethical practice takes within medical and psychology research methods literature. Her view that business researchers lack training on this aspect of research is neatly met by Naimi’s paper. This paper argues that we live in a cheating culture and claims that there has been a decline in ethical conduct and “right thinking” in society today. It proposes that universities need to incorporate modules on ethics into their degree courses and suggests some of the topics that such courses might include.

Iqbal provides a road map for the process of writing a suitable doctoral proposal. He is particularly concerned with the range of choices facing the new candidate at each step of the proposal. He offers a structured approach for navigating these decisions based on his own experience.

 

Keywords: adequacy at the level of meaning, alignment, beneficence, business, case study, causal adequacy, critical realism, dialectical triangulation, dualism, enterprise integration, ethics, evidence-based research, framework, grounded research, imponderable evidence, informed consent, justice, metadata interoperability, methodological triangulation, phenomenology, piecemeal social engineer, postgraduate study, research ethics, research proposal, respect for persons, social sciences

 

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