Macro-iterativity: a qualitative multi-arc design for studying complex issues and big questions

Christina Hoon*, Alina McCandless Baluch

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    The impact and relevance of our discipline's research is determined by its ability to engage the big questions of the grand challenges we face today. Our central argument is that we need innovative methods that engage large-scope phenomena, not least because these phenomena benefit from going beyond individual study design. We introduce the concept of macro-iterativity which involves multiple iterations that move between, and link across, a set of research cycles. We offer a multi-arc research design that comprises the discovery arc and extension arc and three extension logics through which scholars can combine these arcs of inquiry in a coherent way. Based on this research design, we develop a roadmap that guides scholars through the four steps of how to engage in multi-arc research along with the main techniques and outputs. We argue that a multi-arc design supports the move toward more generative theorizing that is required for researching problems dealing with the complex issues and big questions of our time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages24
    JournalOrganizational Research Methods
    Early online date17 Apr 2023
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2023


    • Research design
    • Iterativity
    • Theorizing
    • Qualitative
    • Complex issues


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