The research design canvas: A tool for creating better studies

David J. Ketchen, Donald D. Bergh, Brian K. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Designing a top-quality research study is a complex challenge. We introduce the research design canvas as a tool to help researchers manage this complexity and create better studies. Completing a research design canvas requires researchers to a priori articulate one or more research questions, identify a gap in the literature in need of closing, select a guiding theory or theories, construct hypotheses, choose a sample, select measures, recognize boundary conditions, plot a data analysis strategy, ascertain a study’s limitations, clarify the value added of key research partners, pinpoint a target journal for potential publication, and think ahead about their backup plans in case the research process goes awry. Many studies are doomed to bad fates by poor decisions about these elements. Using the research design canvas can help researchers ensure that they have selected a valid approach to each element, reason through the interrelationships among each decision point within the canvas to ensure that there is consistency among them, and critically assess whether the design as a whole provides the basis for a new advance. By doing so, scholars may be able to improve their chances of defying the high rejection rates of leading journals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Methodology in Strategy and Management
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Construct measurement
  • Data analysis
  • Hypotheses
  • Research design
  • Research questions
  • Sampling
  • Theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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