The modal scientific approach in consumer research is to deduce hypotheses from existing theory about relationships between theoretic constructs, test those relationships experimentally, and then show “process” evidence via moderation and mediation. This approach has its advantages, but other styles of research also have much to offer. We distinguish among alternative research styles in terms of their philosophical orientation (theory-driven vs. phenomenon-driven) and their intended contribution (understanding a substantive phenomenon vs. building or expanding theory). Our basic premise is that authors who deviate from the dominant paradigm are hindered by reviewers who apply an unvarying set of evaluative criteria. We discuss the merits of different styles of research and suggest appropriate evaluative criteria for each.
Lynch, John, Joseph Alba, Aradhna Krishna, Vicki Morwitz, and Zeynep Gurhan. "Knowledge Creation in Consumer Research: Multiple Routes, Multiple Criteria." Journal of Consumer Psychology 22, no. 4 (2012): 473-485.
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