What Is Experimental Vignette Methodology?

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07ORM13_Covers.indd[We’re pleased to welcome Herman Aguinis and Kyle J. Bradley, both of Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Their article entitled “Best Practice Recommendations for Designing and Implementing Experimental Vignette Methodology Studies” appeared in the October 2014 issue of Organizational Research Methods.]

How can we balance concerns about internal validity and external validity—simultaneously? This seems to be an inescapable catch-22: We either conduct an experiment that maximizes internal validity (at the expense of external validity), or conduct a field study that maximizes external validity (at the expense of internal validity).

Our article that appears in Organizational Research Methods titled “Best Practice Recommendations for Designing and Implementing Experimental Vignette Methodology Studies” offers a possible solution for the aforementioned dilemma. Our article offers an in-depth analysis of experimental vignette methodology (EVM), which consists of presenting participants with carefully constructed and realistic scenarios to assess dependent variables including intentions, attitudes, and behaviors, thereby enhancing experimental realism and also allowing researchers to manipulate and control independent variables. As our article documents, EVM is underutilized in management and related fields—fewer than 1% of articles published in 30 management-related journals have used it in the past 20 years. However, all of the major journals have published at least some. So, it is possible to conduct a high-quality EVM study that makes an important contribution and is publishable in a top journal. You are probably asking: “How can I do this?” The “how-to” portion of our article address this point by providing best-practice recommendations, including an analysis of trade-offs, associated with 10 decision points involved in planning, implementing, and reporting results of an EVM study.

We are very excited about the potential of EVM to address important questions addressing causal relationships in organizational behavior/human resource management, entrepreneurship, and strategic management studies. We hope that our article will not only serve as a catalyst to inspire the future use of EVM in management and other fields, but also research that will lead to methodological improvements regarding EVM itself.

You can read “Best Practice Recommendations for Designing and Implementing Experimental Vignette Methodology Studies” from Organizational Research Methods for free by clicking here. Want all the latest news and research from Organizational Research Methods sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

haguinis_medHerman Aguinis is the John F. Mee chair of management and the founding director of the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness in the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. His research interests span several human resource management, organizational behavior, and research methods and analysis topics. He has published five books and about 120 articles in refereed journals. He is the recipient of the 2012 Academy of Management Research Methods Division Distinguished Career Award, a former editor-in-chief of Organizational Research Methods, and a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

Indiana University Kelley School of Business 09.06.2013Kyle J. Bradley is a doctoral student in organizational behavior and human resource management in the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. His research interests include performance management, the work-life interface, and research methods and analysis. His work has appeared in Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice and Organizational Research Methods and has been presented at the meetings of the Academy of Management and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

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2 Responses to “What Is Experimental Vignette Methodology?”

  1. Susan Says:

    The link to the free article does not work, unfortunately.

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