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  • Reuber et al (2022)

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    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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Something Borrowed Something New: Challenges in using Qualitative Methods to Study Under-Researched International Business Phenomena

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of International Business Studies
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)2147-2166
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/08/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article responds to calls for IB researchers to study a greater diversity of international business (IB) phenomena in order to generate theoretical insights about empirical settings that are under-represented in the scholarly IB literature. While this objective is consistent with the strengths of qualitative research methods, novel empirical settings are not always well aligned with methods that have been developed in better-researched and thus more familiar settings. In this article, we explore three methods-related challenges of studying under-researched empirical settings, in terms of gathering and analyzing qualitative data. The challenges are: managing researcher identities, navigating unfamiliar data gathering conditions, and theorizing the uniqueness of novel empirical settings. These challenges are integral to the process of contextualization, which involves linking observations from an empirical setting to the categories of the theoretical research context. We provide a toolkit of recommended practices to manage them, by drawing on published accounts of research by others, and on our own experiences in the field.