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

Inductive theory generation: A grounded approach to business inquiry  pp37-44

David Douglas

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 77

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Abstract

Grounded theory has frequently been referred to, but infrequently applied in business research. This article addresses such a deficiency by advancing two focal aims. Firstly, it seeks to de‑mystify the methodology known as grounded theory by applying this established research practice within the comparatively new context of business research. Secondly, in so doing, it integrates naturalistic examples drawn from the author's business research, hence explicating the efficacy of grounded theory methodology in gaining deeper understanding of business bounded phenomena. It is from such a socially focused methodology that key questions of what is happening and why leads to the generation of substantive theories and underpinning knowledge.

 

Keywords: grounded theory methodology, qualitative, inductive, small business

 

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Journal Article

Issues in Online Focus Groups: Lessons Learned from an Empirical Study of Peer‑to‑Peer Filesharing System Users  pp121-136

Jerald Hughes, Karl R. Lang

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

The development of easy‑to‑use Internet tools for synchronous communications has made a new research method possible: online focus groups. Attempts to apply them to questions formerly addressed by face‑to‑face focus groups have resulted not only in promising avenues for research, but also in substantive criticism. We have chosen to adopt online focus groups as a research methodology for a qualitative study of user beliefs and attitudes concerning peer‑to‑peer filesharing systems. This project is still in its early stages, so herein we describe not confirmatory findings of rigorous research, but the issues raised by our exploratory study, and indications of important issues to address in the use of online focus groups. This paper also demonstrates a novel analysis method which visually maps one of the unique characteristics of such groups, multi‑threaded simultaneous conversations, and uses such maps to identify some notable tendencies and behaviors. We also identify some typical participant strategies we have observed, describe some skills and techniques for use in moderating such sessions, identify some powerful advantages provided by the instant and automatic transcript generation capabilities of chat session software, and characterize some important research questions to be addressed in future research.

 

Keywords: online focus groups, qualitative, focus group methodology, file-sharing, digital music, digital media

 

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Journal Article

A Researcher's Dilemma ‑ Philosophical and Methodological Pluralism  pp145-154

Karl Knox

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

In many research textbooks the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is inadvertently linked with philosophical perspectives. This in essence creates a mutually exclusive relationship between method and philosophy. Initially researchers are led to believe, from these textbooks, that research is neatly divided into mutually exclusive categories, these being quantitative and qualitative research and 'never the twain shall meet'. This divide is further strengthened with the inference that the relationship extends further; associating deduction with quantitative methods and similarly induction with qualitative methods. "What happens in most texts is that qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods are set against each other as polar opposites. (Crotty 1998, p19)". This paper argues that methodological pluralism is acceptable but what is not acceptable is philosophical pluralism. By naively linking methods and approaches to specific philosophy researchers and students may miss out on potentially innovative or creative data collection methods. Alternatively and more importantly by feeling tied or constrained by their philosophical stance to particular methods and approaches, associated with them by textbooks, they may in fact reduce the credibility, validity, and or significance of the research. There maybe an elective affinity between certain philosophies and methods but this should not necessarily constrain the methods chosen.

 

Keywords: Methodology, Philosophy, Pluralism, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

 

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Journal Article

Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory  pp81-92

Bruce H. Rowlands

© Sep 2005 Volume 3 Issue 1, Editor: Arthur Money, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

This paper provides guidance for carrying out research using an interpretive framework to build theory of IS practice. The purpose of the paper is to provide an example of (a) factors influencing the choice of interpretive methods, (b) developing a theoretical framework, (c) particulars of data collection and analysis, and (d) an application of evaluative criteria applicable to interpretive research. This paper is different in that the focus is on describing the research process, conceptual issues and the research methods used rather than the findings. This format is important given that there is no accepted general model for communicating interpretive research, and few guidelines exist for conducting the inductive process central to interpretive research.

 

Keywords: interpretive perspective, case study, grounded theory, qualitative research

 

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Journal Article

Interpretivism and the Pursuit of Research Legitimisation: An Integrated Approach to Single Case Design  pp123-132

Felicity Kelliher

© Nov 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp93 - 148

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Abstract

While interpretive research is recognised for its value in providing contextual depth, results are often criticised in terms of validity, reliability and generalizability, referred to collectively as research legitimisation. This paper explores the criticisms levied on interpretive case studies and presents a research design that seeks to address these criticisms. The paper describes the research template developed by the author and applies it to a longitudinal case study carried out on a micro firm in the Republic of Ireland. Following some detailed evaluation and analysis the author concludes that legitimisation of an interpretative case study is improved when an integrative approach involving the combination of specific research techniques to relevant and appropriate standards is adopted.

 

Keywords: interpretive case study, qualitative research, legitimisation

 

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Journal Article

Tell me a Story —A way to Knowledge  pp133-140

Dan Remenyi

© Nov 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp93 - 148

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Abstract

A narrative or a story (and these terms are synonyms) is a fundamental way of understanding our environment and relationships in it and thus it is a key feature of sound research whatever methodological approach has been taken. The skills of story telling are important in both qualitative or interpretive and quantitative research. But it comes into its own in qualitative research where story telling especially as it appears in case studies and action research is of prime importance. In quantitative research a story or narrative is also required to contextualize the work. The argument developed in this paper balances the idea that numerical analysis underpins the most powerful research paradigms.

 

Keywords: Story telling, narrative, qualitative research, quantitative research, rhetoric, argument

 

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Journal Article

Active Exploration of Emerging Themes in a Study of Object‑Oriented Requirements Engineering: The "Evolutionary Case" Approach  pp29-42

Linda Dawson

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

The evolutionary case approach provides a framework for qualitative case study research in information systems (IS). It uses revelation, reinforcement, reflection and re‑examination to explicitly explore emerging themes in interpretive case study research. The method is based on the progressive development of a theoretical model grounded initially in the literature and then refined using sequential case studies grounded in practice. The method addresses the gap which often separates data from conclusions in qualitative case study research by documenting the "revealed" and "reinforced" changes in the theoretical model as it evolves from the empirical data. The paper provides an illustrative study of the use of models in object‑oriented requirements engineering to demonstrate the use of the evolutionary case approach.

 

Keywords: Case study, action research, qualitative, object-oriented, requirements engineering

 

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Journal Article

Issues and Challenges in the Use of Template Analysis: Two Comparative Case Studies from the Field.  pp85-94

Teresa Waring, David Wainwright

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

One of the most problematic issues for researchers who conduct qualitative research using semi‑structured, unstructured interviews or story telling data collection methods is the analysis of large quantities of rich data. In the past this has often led to fairly unmethodical approaches to analysis which in turn has led to qualitative business and management research being seen as insubstantial and unworthy of consideration. A relatively recent development in organisational research has been the application of Template Analysis to rich unstructured qualitative data following the primary data collection phase. Template Analysis appears to have emerged from the USA during the 1990s and academics familiar with the Grounded Theory approach to data analysis may see similarities in the techniques used. Nevertheless, it has gained credibility in the UK through the work of Nigel King and other colleagues researching in health and sociology related fields. This paper provides an overview of the origins of Template Analysis and discusses how it has been used to structure qualitative data. It then goes on to examine through the two case studies how Template Analysis has been extended and used by the authors in two different research projects. In the first case study the research team worked within a Primary Care Trust in the North East of England on a project that explored the Diffusion of Innovation of clinical and administrative computer systems across General Practice within the Trust. Seventeen Trust members were interviewed for approximately one hour and this led to over 85000 words of rich data. The second project focused on the NHS Secondary Care sector and examined IT project management practice related to the development of integrated pathology computing systems across eight separate laboratories in the North of England. Eight senior managers were interviewed and this, combined with participant observation and over 3 years of document collection, also resulted in a large volume of rich textual material. The use of template analysis, combined with a critical success factors methodology, resulted in a novel approach for learning about current IT project management practices. This paper critically examines these two case studies in terms of their particular research philosophy, epistemological approach and the lessons learnt from the techniques employed. The paper then provides a discussion of the principles and practicalities of template analysis and explores the benefits to the business and management research community at large.

 

Keywords: template analysis, qualitative, NHS, interview, information

 

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