An editorial perspective on judging the quality of inductive research when the methodological straightjacket is loosened

Kevin Corley, Pratima (Tima) Bansal, Haitao Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


As inductive research has moved from the fringe to the mainstream, it not only has come to look more like deductive research, but has started to look more formulaic as well (i.e. standards, templates, checklists). The very thing that makes inductive research unique is its ability to challenge what is known and to do so creatively. The question, thus, needs to be asked: why does inductive research continue to become more formulaic when many inductive editors, reviewers, and authors celebrate novelty and creativity? We believe it is because reviewers and editors find it difficult to judge “quality” when there is no guidebook. The quality of science-based research is easier to judge than creative inductive research, which is often assumed to be in the “eye of the beholder.” From our SO!apbox, we tackle this challenge head-on by asking: what is “quality inductive research” when we loosen the science-based methodological straightjacket so as to deliver the novelty and creativity promised by inductive methods? In this editorial, we explore how editors can judge quality inductive research and offer innovative editorial practices that can help to foster creative inductive research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalStrategic Organization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ethnography
  • field research
  • grounded theory
  • qualitative comparative analysis
  • qualitative methods
  • research methods

Cite this