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Constructing Research Questions
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Constructing Research Questions
Doing Interesting Research

First Edition


February 2013 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
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 such problems and formulate novel research questions that challenge existing theories and produce more imaginative empirical studies.

Constructing Research Questions is essential reading for any researcher looking to formulate research questions that are interesting and novel.

 
Research Questions: A Core Ingredient in Developing Interesting Theories
 
The Context of Constructing and Formulating Research Questions
 
Gap-Spotting: The Prevalent Way of Constructing Research Questions in Social Science
 
A Critical Evaluation of Gap-Spotting Research: Does It Lead to Interesting Theories?
 
Problematization as a Methodology for Generating Research Questions
 
Applying the Problematization Methodology in Practice
 
Why Does Gap-Spotting Dominate When It Reduces the Chance to Create Interesting Theories?
 
Constructing Interesting Research Questions: Problematization and Beyond

Researchers usually puzzle about how to move from the scientific literature to a fruitful research topic. Alvesson and Sandberg address these puzzles in this sensible, practical book which deserves to become required reading for researchers.

Professor David Silverman
Goldsmiths' and King's College, University of London


This book is not for the faint hearted. It will appeal to those who already have some experience of research, or those at postgraduate level formulating their ideas for study. It will stimulate new ways of thinking about the design of research, something that is well overdue. Even if the problematization methodology and the frameworks the authors propose are not adopted wholesale, the book will encourage critical reflection at a level rarely seen in this area.

Karen Laing, Newcastle University
International Journal of Research and Method in Education

Interesting for developing research questions

Professor Andrea Prencipe
Business & Management, Luiss Guido Carli University
March 17, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


Mats Alvesson

Mats Alvesson holds a chair in the Business Administration department at Lund University in Sweden and is also part-time professor at University of Queensland Business School and at City University, London. He has done extensive research and published widely in the areas of qualitative and reflexive methodology, critical theory, organizational culture, knowledge work, identity in organizations, gender, organizational change, leadership etc. His latest books include Reflexive Leadership (with Blom and Sveningsson, SAGE, 2016) and Return to Meaning: A Social Science with Something to Say (with Gabriel and Paulsen,... More About Author

Jorgen Sandberg

Jörgen Sandberg is Professor in Management and Organization in the UQ Business School, Australia, and Distinguished Research Environment Professor in Organization Studies at Warwick Business School, UK. He is Co-Lead of Practice and Process Studies, a multidisciplinary research group within UQ Business School. His main research interests include competence and learning in organizations; practice, process, sensemaking theory; theory development; philosophy of science; and research methodology. He has published extensively in top-tier journals, as well as several books including Skillful Performance: Enacting Capabilities,... More About Author

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