What Makes a Good Case Study? A Positivist Review of Qualitative Case Research Published in Industrial Marketing Management, 1971–2006

Michael Beverland, Adam Lindgreen

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Business-to-business marketing research has a long tradition of using qualitative case studies. Industrial Marketing Management (IMM) has actively encouraged the use of case methods, resulting in many important theoretical advances in the field. However, debate still rages over what constitutes “good case research”. This article addresses this issue from a positivist standpoint. We examine the how authors address issues of quality in the 105 qualitative case studies published in IMM between 1971 and 2006. Four periods were identified: 1971–1979, 1980–1989, 1990–1999, and 2000–2006. Findings demonstrate that, from a positivist viewpoint, there has been a steady improvement in how authors addressed issues of research quality in published qualitative case studies. Suggestions for changes in data presentation, reviewer expectations, the IMM reviewer feedback form, and the use of web-based appendices containing data pertinent to reader judgments of research quality are suggested.
TidsskriftIndustrial Marketing Management
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)56-63
StatusUdgivet - 2010
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Qualitative case research
  • Positivism
  • Reliability and validity
  • Research quality