Advanced

Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization?

Sandberg, Jorgen and Alvesson, Mats LU (2011) In Organization 18(1). p.23-44
Abstract
This article examines ways of constructing research questions from existing literature, which are likely to promote the development of interesting and influential theories. We review 52 articles in organization studies and develop a typology of how researchers construct their research questions from existing literature. The most common way across paradigmatic camps is to spot various 'gaps' in the literature and, based on that, to formulate specific research questions. The dominance of gap-spotting is surprising, given it is increasingly recognized that theory is made interesting and influential when it challenges assumptions that underlie existing literature. The article discusses why assumption-challenging approaches are rare, and it... (More)
This article examines ways of constructing research questions from existing literature, which are likely to promote the development of interesting and influential theories. We review 52 articles in organization studies and develop a typology of how researchers construct their research questions from existing literature. The most common way across paradigmatic camps is to spot various 'gaps' in the literature and, based on that, to formulate specific research questions. The dominance of gap-spotting is surprising, given it is increasingly recognized that theory is made interesting and influential when it challenges assumptions that underlie existing literature. The article discusses why assumption-challenging approaches are rare, and it identifies a range of social norms that favour gap-spotting. Finally, the article proposes some ways of constructing research questions that move beyond gap-spotting, and discusses how these ways are likely to promote more interesting and significant theories. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
interesting theories, problematization, research methods, research, problems, research questions, theory development
in
Organization
volume
18
issue
1
pages
23 - 44
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • wos:000287233000002
  • scopus:79951498156
ISSN
1350-5084
DOI
10.1177/1350508410372151
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b3784fb2-62b8-4e2a-af84-e18c9cb079b3 (old id 1925769)
date added to LUP
2011-05-11 08:31:42
date last changed
2017-11-05 04:09:09
@article{b3784fb2-62b8-4e2a-af84-e18c9cb079b3,
  abstract     = {This article examines ways of constructing research questions from existing literature, which are likely to promote the development of interesting and influential theories. We review 52 articles in organization studies and develop a typology of how researchers construct their research questions from existing literature. The most common way across paradigmatic camps is to spot various 'gaps' in the literature and, based on that, to formulate specific research questions. The dominance of gap-spotting is surprising, given it is increasingly recognized that theory is made interesting and influential when it challenges assumptions that underlie existing literature. The article discusses why assumption-challenging approaches are rare, and it identifies a range of social norms that favour gap-spotting. Finally, the article proposes some ways of constructing research questions that move beyond gap-spotting, and discusses how these ways are likely to promote more interesting and significant theories.},
  author       = {Sandberg, Jorgen and Alvesson, Mats},
  issn         = {1350-5084},
  keyword      = {interesting theories,problematization,research methods,research,problems,research questions,theory development},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {23--44},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Organization},
  title        = {Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1350508410372151},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2011},
}