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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 ...

Constructing Interesting Research Questions: Problematization and beyond
Constructing interesting research questions: Problematization and beyond

The aim of this chapter is to summarize the general arguments of the book. We discuss the main contributions generated by the problematization methodology and the overall framework for identifying and challenging assumptions in a research field and, based on that, constructing research questions that lead to the development of more interesting and influential theories. We also briefly address how ‘non-mainstream’ research questions can be generated from existing literature and supplemented by the problematization of empirical material (data), both during fieldwork and analysis. In other words, we look beyond the construction of research questions from existing studies and link up with subsequent stages of the overall research process. In addition, we discuss ...

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