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The declining share of primary data and the neglect of the individual level in international business research

Jelena Cerar (), Phillip C. Nell () and B. Sebastian Reiche ()
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Jelena Cerar: WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Phillip C. Nell: WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
B. Sebastian Reiche: IESE Business School

Journal of International Business Studies, 2021, vol. 52, issue 7, No 8, 1365-1374

Abstract: Abstract Complementing Nielsen and colleagues’ (2020) analysis of methodological trends in the Journal of International Business Studies over the past 50 years, we examine similar data on methods published in a wider range of leading international business (IB) journals. Our analysis shows a clear decline of studies based on primary data relative to secondary data, and a persistently low level of individual-level studies among the growing body of research using secondary data across all IB journals considered. We discuss the main mechanisms driving these trends and identify the problems of IB’s increasing exposure to the risks inherent in secondary data. We also discuss the implications related to neglecting individual-level data for theory advancement in IB, such as a disregard for novel secondary data opportunities at the individual level and the risk of reduced theoretical pluralism. In doing so, we substantially extend the debate initiated by Nielsen and colleagues (2020).

Keywords: primary data; secondary data; individual-level research; level of analysis; methods diversity; methodological rigor; methodological trends; IB paradigm (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1057/s41267-021-00451-0

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