Conducting field-based, discovery-oriented research: lessons from our market orientation research experience


The purpose of this article is to surface lessons we learned in course of doing our article on market orientation (Kohli and Jaworski Journal of Marketing, 54, 1-18 1990). These lessons are intended to provide specific guidance for scholars – particularly PhD students and junior faculty – interested in developing new constructs and theories related to them. We organize the lessons into four sections that reflect the end-to-end research process. Specifically, the paper is organized around issues relating to: (a) choosing whether and what to study, (b) with whom to study it, (c) doing the research, and (d) crafting the findings. For each section, we identify one or more lessons or principles that we believe generalize to a broader research context. We conclude with a set of ideas for future research on market orientation, especially those that could benefit from field-based studies.

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  1. 1.

    There are several discovery-oriented approaches including observation studies, videography, participant-observation, and so on. Our insights are also relevant to these approaches; however, our discussion in this paper focuses primarily on interviews with managers.

  2. 2.

    We believe the research process is quite general, though other types of field research may vary somewhat (e.g., some approaches may have a stronger intertwining of data collection and crafting of findings).


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We would like to thank Manjit Yadav for inviting us to write this paper and providing detailed comments on various versions of the paper. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Bernard J. Jaworski.

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Both authors contributed equally to the article.

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Jaworski, B.J., Kohli, A.K. Conducting field-based, discovery-oriented research: lessons from our market orientation research experience. AMS Rev 7, 4–12 (2017).

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  • Market orientation
  • Field work