Advertisement

How do successful scholars get their best research ideas? An exploration

  • Cathy Cao
  • Xinyu Cao
  • Matthew Cashman
  • Madhav Kumar
  • Artem Timoshenko
  • Jeremy Yang
  • Shuyi Yu
  • Jerry Zhang
  • Yuting Zhu
  • Birger WernerfeltEmail author
Article
  • 98 Downloads

Abstract

We interview 24 marketing professors to ask how they got the ideas for 64 of their papers. More than three-quarters of the papers were inspired by holes in the literature, by a “stylized fact” that the current literature cannot explain, or by an interaction with a manager. The rest fall into several smaller categories that to a large extent can be seen as special cases of the three big ones. We describe how papers from each of the three big categories help move the literature forward. We also illustrate the range of situations contained in each category by way of several examples. Among the authors we interview, most do not use a single source. As these authors become more senior, managerial contacts play an increasing role, while the balance between literature and stylized facts appears to be unchanged.

Keywords

PhD students Research ideas Marketing academia 

Notes

Supplementary material

11002_2019_9506_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24 kb)

References

  1. Anderson, P. F. (1983). Marketing, scientific progress, and scientific method. Journal of Marketing, 47(4), 18–31.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, E., & Simester, D. (2014). Reviews without a purchase: low ratings, loyal customers, and deception. Journal of Marketing Research, 51, 249–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, E., Lin, S., Simester, D., & Tucker, C. (2015). Harbingers of failure. Journal of Marketing Research, 52, 580–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aral, S., & Nicolaides, C. (2017). Exercise contagion in a global social network. Nature Communications, 8, 14753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banker, S., Fong, N., Nguyen, H., Nistor, C., Selove, M., & Silinskaia, D (2009). Where do successful research ideas come from? young scholars interview experienced scholars. Working Paper, MIT.Google Scholar
  6. Bass, F., & Wind, J. (1995). Introduction to the special issue: empirical generalizations in marketing. Marketing Science, 14(3), G1–G5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bronnenberg, B., Dhar, S., & Dube, J.-P. (2007). Consumer packaged goods in the United States: national brands, local branding. Journal of Marketing Research, 44, 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chandy, R., & Tellis, G. (1998). Organizing for radical product innovation: the overlooked role of willingness to cannibalize. Journal of Marketing Research, 35, 474–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, Y., Narasimhan, C., & Zhang, J. (2001). Individual marketing with imperfect targetability. Marketing Science, 20, 23–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, Y., Koenigsberg, O., & Zhang, J. (2017). Pay-as-you-wish pricing. Marketing Science, 36, 780–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chevalier, J., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The effect of word of mouth on sales: online book reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, 43, 345–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, D. (2001). PhD thesis research: where do I start? www.columbia.edu/~drd28/Thesis%20Research.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov 2019.
  13. Dukes, A., & Zhu, Y. (2017). Prominent attributes under limited attention. Marketing Science, 36, 683–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dukes, A., Geylani, T., & Srinivasan, K. (2009). Strategic assortment reduction by a dominant retailer. Marketing Science, 28, 309–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dunn, E., Aknin, L., & Norton, M. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687–1688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frederick, S. (2012). Overestimating others’ willingness to pay. Journal of Consumer Research, 39, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghose, A., & Yang, S. (2009). An empirical analysis of search engine advertising: sponsored search in electronic markets. Management Science, 55, 1605–1622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Godes, D., & Mayzlin, D. (2004). Using online conversations to study word-of-mouth communication. Marketing science, 23, 545–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Godes, D., & Mayzlin, D. (2009). Firm-created word-of-mouth communication: evidence from a field test. Marketing Science, 28, 721–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Golder, P., & Tellis, G. (1993). Pioneer advantage: marketing logic or marketing legend? Journal of Marketing Research, 30, 158–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldfarb, A., & Tucker, C. (2011). Privacy regulation and online advertising. Management Science, 57, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Horton, J., Rand, D., & Zeckhauser, R. (2011). The online laboratory: conducting experiments in a real labor market. Experimental Economics, 14, 399–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Iyer, G. (1998). Coordinating channels under price and non-price competition. Marketing Science, 17, 338–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Laudan, L. (1977). Progress and its problems. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Montgomery, A., Li, S., Srinivasan, K., & Liechty, J. (2004). Modelling online browsing and path analysis using clickstream data. Marketing Science, 23, 579–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Norton, M., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2012). The IKEA effect: when labor leads to love. Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 453–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pischke, S. (2009). How to get started on research in economics? www.econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/spischke/phds/get_started.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov 2019.
  28. Roberts, J., Kayande, U., & Stremersch, S. (2014). From academic research to marketing practice: exploring the marketing science value chain. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31, 127–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rutz, O., & Bucklin, R. (2011). From generic to branded: a model of spillover in paid search advertising. Journal of Marketing Research, 48, 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmitt, P., Skiera, B., & Van den Bulte, C. (2011). Referral programs and customer value. Journal of Marketing, 75, 46–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Villas-Boas, M., & Winer, R. (1999). Endogeneity in brand choice models. Management Science, 45, 1324–1338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilbur, K., & Zhu, Y. (2009). Click fraud. Marketing Science, 28, 293–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhang, J. (2009). The sound of silence: observational learning in the U.S. kidney market. Marketing Science, 29, 315–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MIT Sloan School of ManagementCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.NYUNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.NorthwesternEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations