Fifty Years of Methodological Trends in JIBS: Why Future IB Research Needs More Triangulation

Bo Bernhard Nielsen*, Catherine Welch, Agnieszka Chidlow, Stewart Robert Miller, Roberta Aguzzoli, Emma Gardner, Maria Karafyllia, Diletta Pegoraro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We analyze methodological trends in empirical research in JIBS from 1970 to 2019. Our results point to the prevalence of the following patterns: there has been an increase in the use of (1) large-scale longitudinal, cross-national datasets, (2) complex analytical techniques, including the incorporation of multiple analytical techniques within the same study, but (3) a decline in the diversity of methods in use. We relate these trends to the underlying social, technical, and communicative conventions in the journal during the 50-year period. The observed patterns are consistent with theory that posits scientific fields entrench a dominant paradigm over time, resulting in a restricted set of methodological options being selected. Such restrictions jeopardize the quality of research because the study of any phenomenon requires the use of multiple methodological procedures to avoid the systematic biases, errors, omissions, and limitations introduced by any single option. Therefore, we propose the use of triangulation as a strategy for building methodological alternatives into research designs. Institutionalization of this principle in the field of international business has the potential to enhance both the rigor and scope of future inquiry.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1478-1499
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 26. October 2020.


  • Triangulation
  • Methodological rigor
  • Methods diversity
  • Methods complexity
  • IB paradigm
  • Methodological bandwidth
  • Methodological innovation
  • Methodological trends

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