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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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

Equipping the Constructivist Researcher: The Combined use of Semi‑Structured Interviews and Decision‑Making maps  pp87-95

Reza Mojtahed, Miguel Baptista Nunes, Jorge Tiago Martins, Alex Peng

© Nov 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECRM 2014, Editor: Ann Brown, pp75 - 167

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Abstract: An interview is a technique used by qualitative researchers to elicit facts and knowledge about the phenomenon under investigation using a series of interview questions. Nonetheless, the establishment of conversation and negotiation of meaning during the interview process is still challenging for those who conduct interviews, no matter how skilled or experienced researchers are with the process. It is felt in particular that researchers would benefit from the use of an instrument that, in the course of semi‑structured interviews, would foster an environment where the ideas and meanings conveyed by informants could be developed and further discussed in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. Therefore, th is paper attempts to develop and introduce decision‑making maps as a new instrument to be used during the process of conducting semi‑structured interviews. This newly proposed instrument is inspired by the concept and practice of perceptual mapping. The p aper discusses the rationale for proposing the development and application of decision‑making map in the context of semi‑structured interviews, and reflects on the range of implications for the researcher, for participants, and for the practice of qualita tive research that claims affiliation with constructivism.


Keywords: Keywords: inductive research, constructivism, qualitative interview, perceptual mapping, decision-making map


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Journal Article

Inciting Advanced Levels of Practitioner Reflection Through Progressive Graphic Elicitation  pp172-184

Gillian Green, Robert Campbell, Mark Grimshaw

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue, Editor: Ann Brown, pp87 - 197

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Qualitative research routinely requires experienced practitioners in a given field to be interviewed, and there are a range of methods known to elicit dialogue. The method for elicitation presented in this paper, however, goes a stage further it seeks not only to elicit dialogue but to provide subjects with additional knowledge, which they are encouraged to use as a lens for reflection on their own experience. Using a progressive series of related information graphics, accompanied by explanations, subjects are quickly taught a new topic and are asked to reflect on their own practice while the learning occurs. The research project is described to contextualise the elicitation method within the wider engagement. The approach was tested with a number of Information Technology (I.T.) specialists, each with extensive experience of encouraging users to participate in new I.T. environments. Subjects were provided with information graphics that incrementally increased their understanding of psychological theories related to attitude change, namely cognitive dissonance and the elaboration likelihood model. As their knowledge increased, they were guided to reflect on occasions where they had encountered phenomena related to such psychological theory, its effect and affiliated best practice. Over all, this approach was effective, with over 130,000 words of relevant, advanced discourse forthcoming. In this paper, the elicitation method, its affiliated epistemology, an overview of the project and the research methodology are presented, along with some early results.


Keywords: infographics, graphic elicitation, inter-disciplinary, inductive


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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 2, ECRM 2011 Special issue / Sep 2011  pp87‑197

Editor: Ann Brown

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The subject of research methods in business is showing an extra‑ordinary level of activity and innovation and this conference (the 10th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management) reflected this. These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. Many Papers offer help in applying new methods such as Mixed Methods and Design Science and introduce new ideas such the use of visual imagery as stimuli in research interviews. The final selection of papers was agreed by the senior editor of the Journal and the guest editors. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research and the degree of innovation in the subject matter.

The chosen Papers

Two papers constitute a useful introduction to mixed methods – one used case examples to illustrate the potential value of the method (Stefan Cronholm and Anders Hjalmarsson) and one assessed the challenges facing the researcher who opts for this approach.(Roslyn Cameron)

Design Science seems to be acquiring more supporters – particularly for research into Information technology. One paper explains the technique illustrating with a detailed description of an ongoing study (Carcary). The paper by Venables suggests that few research methods courses currently include this method.

The conference received a surprisingly large number of papers on the teaching of research methods and on Project Management. This issue includes three papers on teaching research methods. One addressed the issue of the expanding range of research methods available to business researchers and proposed a framework that would help teachers to introduce the full set of options (Venables). A growing trend is that of doctoral candidates coming forward from industry and the professions. Two papers offer some extremely valuable ideas on how supervisors can support the special needs of this group of doctoral candidates – One paper argues for choosing research methods that specifically exploits this experience for the empirical research work (Caroline Cole, Steven Chase, Oliver Couch and Murray Clark). The other paper offers a framework that could help such students to work through the bewildering first few steps in the research journey that often proves too confusing and time consuming for mature candidates (Rahinah Ibrahim). The papers on Project Management while of great interest to managers tended to focus on Project Management issues rather than research methods. However one paper identified the lack of research support for the existing sets of Project Management standards produced by the professional societies (BoK) and discussed the implications.(Miles Shepherd and Roger Atkinson)

An interesting paper presents a visual technique, infographics to aid interviewers in the elicitation of relevant experiences from interview subjects (Robert Campbell, Gillian Green and Mark Grimshaw ). Pearse contributed an unusual paper on the Likert scale. This is widely used but at low levels of granularity (no of scales) and this paper presents research suggesting that we should consider using a much wider range of scales.

The PhD paper that won the award for best PhD paper was by Nicola Swan. This dealt with the problems faced by researchers collecting data in the emerging countries where facilities and attitudes differ markedly from the developed countries.

I would like to thank the help given in the reviewing of the papers from the conference from Marian Carcary, Marie Ashwin, Martin Rich, Roslyn Cameron, Gill Green, Gary Bell and John Warwick.

Ann Brown

September 2011.


Keywords: body of knowledge; business research; case study; certification; critical reflexivity; critical discourse analysis; critical research; curriculum design; design science research; dissertation; eagle table; graduate study; graphic elicitation; hermeneutics; inductive profession; inter-disciplinary; IS; IT CMF; knowledge representation; likert scale; maturity models; method combinations; mixed approaches; mixed methods; paradigms; pragmatism; publishing; qualitative methods; qualitative research; quantitative methods; questionnaire design; research design; research framework; research into professional practice; research methodology; research methods; research proposal design; scale construction; scale granularity infographics; teaching design science; teaching research methods


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