ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Use the literature to explain and justify the route you have chosen,
and the approach within that route

Remember that when you chose your route (i.e., Route A: Duplication, Route B: Generalisation or Route C: Extension), you also chose a specific approach within that route (e.g., a population, context/setting, treatment or time-based generalisation within Route B: Generalisation). Now that you have a much better understanding of (a) the broader literature, (b) the main theoretical components of your main journal article, and (c) the support for and criticisms of the main journal article, you need to explain and justify the route you have chosen, and the approach within that route.

Common justifications for replication-based dissertations include reasons related to (a) improving the internal validity of a study, (b) testing the generalizability of a study, (c) building the construct validity and reliability of a measurement procedure, (d) testing whether different methods lead to the same results, and whether existing measures are sufficient, and (e) assessing the data analysis techniques used. However, from the understanding you have gained about the literature and your main journal article, you need to explain and justify the route you have chosen, and the approach within that route, in as much detail as possible. To start this process, ask yourself:

  1. To what extent do the theoretical components that I have identified in my main journal article differ from those inapproach my chosen route, and the I have adopted within that route?

  2. What do I need to look for in the literature in order to address these differences in theoretical components?

Now consider your route and approach:

Route A: Duplication

If you are pursuing Route A: Duplication, there should be very little variation in the theoretical components between the main journal article and your route and approach since the essence of duplication is to replicate the research set out in the main journal article as closely as possible. Instead, the critical evaluation of the main journal article in the previous step (i.e., STEP TWO) should form the basis of your explanation and justification for adopting Route A: Duplication. Therefore, when you come to write up your dissertation, as well as set the research strategy for your dissertation (i.e., in STAGE SIX), you are likely to be able to rely on the theoretical components already set out in your main journal article. If you pursued Route A: Duplication, you may want to jump forward to STEP FOUR: Set the theoretical model for your dissertation.

Route B: Generalisation

For Route B: Generalisation, the majority of the theoretical components in the main journal article should be the same as those used in your route because generalisations only involve making changes to specific theoretical components based on the approach you have adopted.

When it comes to writing up your Literature Review chapter (usually Chapter Two: Literature Review), you will need to be able to explain (a) what the differences in your population, context/setting, treatment or time are when compared with the main journal article, (b) why they are different (i.e., the differences in their characteristics, and perhaps any theoretical reasons for such differences), and (c) how this will affect the theoretical components that you will build on when it comes to setting the research strategy for your dissertation (i.e., in STAGE SIX). However, at this stage, the most important reason for looking to the literature to understand the what, why and how of such differences is because of the impact that these differences having when it comes to STAGE SIX: Setting your research strategy. For example, differences in the population or context/setting between your dissertation and the main journal article will affect the sampling strategy that you adopt, and may even affect the choice of research methods to collect your quantitative data, while differences in the treatment between your dissertation and the main journal article could affect everything from your choice of research design, through to your sampling strategy, research methods and data analysis techniques.

To identify the differences in theoretical components between your dissertation and the main journal article, we would recommend that you start by identifying the theoretical components that speak directly to the approach that you have adopted:

When taking on Route B: Generalisation, you should also search the literature to see whether your main journal article has already been generalised in some way, as well as recognize whether your main journal article is, in fact, a generalisation of another study. This is important irrespective of the approach that you take within Route B: Generalisation. After all, some research, especially research that has produced a reliable measurement procedure (e.g., a reliable 22-item survey on service quality), will already have been replicated in another population, context/setting, treatment, or time. You should be able to find such research either by looking closely at the introduction, literature review, research strategy or reference list of your main journal article, or looking for those sources that have cited your main journal article (i.e., as we discussed in STEP C).

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