Research Heresy


Heresies in Business Research? Special issue of Journal of Business Research, Edited by Barry J. Babin, Joe F. Hair, Jr. and Mitch Griffin; Deadline 31 Jan 2014

Call for Papers:
Journal of Business Research Special Issue:
"Heresies in Business Research?"

Special Issue Editors:

Merriam-Webster defines heresies as “dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice.” This Journal of Business Research special issue seeks to examine heresies in marketing research – challenges to the generally accepted practices. The special issues provides a forum for non-traditional thought and methodology in marketing research and promotes critical evaluation and creative thinking about the research in our field.

The purpose of this special issue is to examine commonly held believes about marketing research. Both authors and reviewers embrace a set of standards that guide research activities and manuscript evaluation. Once established, these standards are slow to change and provide the structure for marketing research for decades. Research failing to conform to the standards is difficult to publish, which may actually hinder our knowledge development. We want to provide an outlet for conceptual or empirical manuscripts which examine heresies in marketing research.

The special issues seeks manuscripts related, but not limited, to:

  • Common Methods Bias – Is the reporting of extended procedures examining common methods bias worth the trouble? Is it misunderstood? A large percentage of papers report procedures of varying complexity intended to address concerns about "common methods bias." What do these procedures reveal? Is common methods bias examined at the expense of other potentially more serious biases and data shortcomings? Are problems from common methods bias common?
  • Internal and External Validity – A great deal of consumer research presents method descriptions focusing entirely on internal validity. Samples are comprised predominantly of students or M-turk workers. How relevant is external validity? Should the discipline abandon external validity as a criteria? Should authors discuss generalizability or is it too risky to even talk about in research articles? To get published, should we avoid a discussion of generalizability?
  • Survey Response Rates – A recent survey reported in a special session at the Academy of Marketing Science World Marketing Congress suggests that academic researchers, in their role as journal reviewers, believe research should obtain a response rate of at least 25 percent for publication. Are primary data efforts yielding lower response rates and thus lower sample sizes than decades ago? What does a response rate mean in the current research environment? Is response rate really unimportant?
  • Measurement – Can single item measures adequately represent latent constructs? More sophisticated measurement structures are better received by reviewers…or are they? Is the formative – reflective distinction an important one or a meaningless distinction? Today’s models need formative indicators?
  • Multiple Studies – Reporting multiple studies in a manuscript submission enhances the possibility of acceptance. Do multiple studies actually enhance the contribution? Should authors report the number of studies conducted that did not turn out desirably? Are reviewers seduced by the allure of more studies? Why can’t one study make a contribution?
  • Theoretical Research – Does research need to be theory based to enhance our knowledge base? Authors expect reviewers to demand a rigorous theoretical development for all papers or face a high probability of rejection. Is this the case?
  • Mediator/moderator – Baron and Kenny have been cited 40,000 times….but recently new approaches to assessing these relationships have been introduced. Is this a change due to enhanced statistical methods or a change in conceptualization? Is this paradigm shift a positive one? What is the role of SEM in the mediation debate? Do users and reviewers understand the issues including specialized macros and do the macros have any practical significance? Do they imply a false level of precision? Is moderated-mediation better?
  • Reject the null – Can studies with insignificant results be published? Does a bias for studies with supported hypothesis lead researchers to reconfigure/rethink the conceptual development to provide an argument that is supported by the data? Are researchers obsessed with statistical significance? Does it lead to testing only the safest hypotheses? What can we learn from insignificant results?
  • Contributions are Complex – The belief today is that the world is complicated and therefore contributions should be complex. Authors are often encouraged to examine moderators and mediators and ignore main effects because such simple relationships cannot make a contribution. Are contributions tied to the complexity of the testing approach? Do studies need moderators to make a contribution?

Submission details:

The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 1/31/2014. Manuscripts should follow JBR manuscript submission guidelines


The paper should be submitted to the JBR editorial manager with the note clearly indicating that the paper is intended for this special issue. The review process will be overseen by the guest editors and all submissions will be subject to review by special issue reviewers.

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