• Summary
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All researchers want to produce interesting and influential theories. A key step in all theory development is formulating innovative research questions that will result in interesting and significant research.

Traditional textbooks on research methods tend to ignore, or gloss over, actual ways of constructing research questions. In this text, Alvesson and Sandberg develop a problematization methodology for identifying and challenging the assumptions underlying existing theories and for generating research questions that can lead to more interesting and influential theories, using examples from across the social sciences. Established methods of generating research questions in the social sciences tend to focus on ‘gap-spotting’, which means that existing literature remains largely unchallenged. The authors show the dangers of conventional approaches, providing detailed ideas for how one can work through ...

Gap-Spotting: The Prevalent Way of Constructing Research Questions in Social Science
Gap-spotting: The prevalent way of constructing research questions in social science

In Chapter 2, we discussed the larger context of constructing and formulating research questions. The aim of this chapter is to investigate more specifically how researchers within the social sciences construct their research questions in relation to the existing literature. We will do so by reviewing a number of research texts in management, sociology, psychology and education. We will also refer to a few studies in other areas but believe that these four give a representative view of the current state of research in the social sciences. We do, however, recognize variations between and within disciplines as well as between various regions of the ...

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