What Constitutes a Methodological Contribution?

Donald D. Bergh, Brian K. Boyd, Kris Byron, Steve Gove, David J. Ketchen

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Disciplinary advances are dependent on two intertwined pillars: refinements in theory and refinement in methods. Numerous guides exist for making a theoretical contribution, yet mystery surrounds what exactly constitutes a methodological contribution. Our goal is to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, this mystery. We draw on decades of collective experiences as authors, reviewers, and editors of methodologically oriented inquiry to offer insights about how to develop and evaluate methodological contributions worthy of publication in premier management journals. We provide a typology of different kinds of methodological advancements, describe contributions across a method's life cycle phases, and provide recommendations for avoiding common mistakes in developing and publishing papers that offer a methodological contribution. In doing so, we consider works whose methodological contributions are their sole source of value added as well as empirical studies that have a methodological contribution as one of multiple sources of value added.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1835-1848
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • philosophy of science
  •  research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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