Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

ECRM 2017: 16th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies


The sizeable increase in doctoral business research in Ireland over past decades is characterised by a diversity of research paradigms and the methods applied. To achieve research objectives, doctoral researchers should identify the methodological framework of inquiry that they will use to address and answer their research question. This involves taking a stance on divergent philosophical assertions such as ontology and epistemology, which reflect how they view the world. Researchers often proceed to select what is believed to be the best- suited research approach – either qualitative, quantitative, or a mixture between them – with their corresponding subset of data collection and analysis techniques. This paper aims to examine extant doctoral research in business over a ten-year period within the Irish academic community to ascertain prominent methodological practices, recent trends, and the philosophical underpinnings surrounding the choices made. A comprehensive typology into the research methodologies applied by doctoral students in Ireland provides insights into the inherent and necessary philosophical assumptions underpinning the choice of methodology. The study is limited to a sample of 120 PhD dissertations published in Irish business school repositories. These were reviewed, analysed, and categorised within the proposed framework that gives an inclusive birds-eye view of doctoral business and management research in Ireland. Results indicate that the methodology of using mixed methods appears as the foremost choice for Irish business researchers. This study also offers academics with insights into current trends in business research approaches and introduces novice researchers embarking on their research journeys to methodological concepts and tools.