Reflexive Methodology

Time: 24-25.9 and 22-23.10.2015

Place: Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki

Learning goal and objectives: The course aims to develop the participants’ knowledge and skills in conducting qualitative research through exploring how various ideas on reflexivity can increase the quality and creativity of investigations.

In principle, there are two major routes to producing credible research texts. One is to follow rules and procedures indicating rationality. The other is to deal competently and innovatively with the interpretive, political, linguistic, theory-data fused nature of the research process. Awareness of the various elements influencing the research process and the research results is seen as crucial. Reflexivity emphasizes these aspects and tries to develop ideas for how to avoid traps and pitfalls in the process and how to deal creatively with the various elements in the research process. The ambition is to produce more interesting and unexpected research results through re-thinking conventions and open up for more varied and challenging uses of research questions, fieldwork practices, modes of interpretations and styles of writing.

Target groups:The course is intended for PhD students that have participated at introductory PhD courses in qualitative methodology and junior faculty members in management and other social sciences.


Reflexivity: various views

Reflexivity-stimulating research perspectives

Producing (novel) research questions

Reflexive interviews

Representations in research

Combining research perspectives

Interpretations and re-interpretations

Theory development in empirical work


Discussion of participant’s research interests and projects

Four days á 6h of lecturing and seminars. The course starts at 10.15 a.m. on the 24th and 22nd to give participants time to arrive from their destinations. The course ends by 4 p.m. on the 25th and 23rd. Students have to find their own accommodation for the overnight stays. Participation in all four days are required to pass the course, see examination below.

Credits: 3 ECTS

Grading: Pass or Fail. Active participation in all four days of the course is necessary to pass the course and receive 3 ECTS. The student’s home university makes the decision on whether to accept the course as part of the doctoral degree.

Literature: The seminar discussions are based on the literature and students are required to have read the literature before coming to class.

Part 1, 24-25.9.2015, required pre-readings:

  • Alvesson & Sköldberg: Reflexive Methodology, 2nd ed. Sage 2009,
  • Alvesson (2003). Beyond neo-positivism, romanticism and localism: a reflexive approach to the research interview. Academy of Management Review, 28/1: 13-33.
  • Alvesson & Sandberg (2011). Generating research questions through problematization. Academy of Management Review 36/2: 247-271.
  • Davis (1971). That’s interesting. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 1: 309–344.

Part 2, 22-23.10.2015, required pre-readings:

  • Alvesson & Kärreman: Qualitative Research and Theory Development. Sage 2011
  • Bartunek, J. M., Rynes, S. L., & Ireland, D. R. (2006). What makes management research interesting, and why does it matter? Academy of Management Journal, 49: 9–15.
  • Corley, K. G. & Gioia, D. A. (2011). Building Theory About Theory Building: What Constitutes a Theoretical Contribution? The Academy of Management Review. 36: 12-32

Instructors: Professor Mats Alvesson, Lund University & Professor Dan Kärreman, Copenhagen Business School. For more information on the instructors:

Prof. Alvesson:

Prof. Kärreman:

Course coordinator: Marianne Sepp,

Application deadline: Please send your application, including the information below, to Marianne Sepp by the 16th August. A maximum of 25 participants are accepted to the course. Students will be informed of acceptance on August 19. Copy the information below to a separate file, fill in your information and send the file to

Application for the KATAJA course on Reflexive Methodology


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