• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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 ...

Why Does Gap-Spotting Dominate When it Reduces the Chance to Create Interesting Theories?
Why does gap-spotting dominate when it reduces the chance to create interesting theories?

In Chapters 5 and 6, we described and illustrated how the problematization methodology offers a distinct alternative to the dominant mode of using the literature in a field for formulating research questions. However, in order to more fully be able to embrace the problematization methodology as a possible option, it is important to also investigate the social aspects of doing non-conventional research, in particular to what extent such a methodology is supported by the broader research community. It is vital for the individual researcher to learn how to navigate academic fields that sometimes do not welcome ideas that go against ...

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