Handbook of Research Methods for Tourism and Hospitality Management
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Handbook of Research Methods for Tourism and Hospitality Management

Edited by Robin Nunkoo

As research in tourism and hospitality reaches maturity, a growing number of methodological approaches are being utilized and, in addition, this knowledge is dispersed across a wide range of journals. Consequently there is a broad and multidisciplinary community of tourism and hospitality researchers whom, at present, need to look widely for support on methods. In this volume, researchers fulfil a pressing need by clearly presenting methodological issues within tourism and hospitality research alongside particular methods and share their experiences of what works, what does not work and where challenges and innovations lie.
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Chapter 8: Theory building and evaluation in tourism research

Ekaterina Sorokina and Youcheng Wang


Tourism research is often critiqued for the ‘stretching’ and ‘contextualizing’ of concepts from other related disciplines and fields. This chapter, therefore, offers theory building and theory evaluation tools that may facilitate the development of knowledge unique to tourism and hospitality. The chapter begins with a review of two dominant paradigms that have greatly influenced all social science research; it then explores methodologies that represent each of the paradigms and provides examples of methods that are relevant to them. Specifically, the chapter provides a snapshot of the methods, and highlights their application in practice, as well as their benefits and disadvantages. Description of the methods is followed by a discussion of two theory building strategies that researchers may apply. The chapter additionally explores an ongoing process of theory building to demonstrate a general process of its development. Lastly, the chapter examines various theory evaluation criteria, and develops a framework that integrates them. Each of the criteria is discussed in detail to facilitate researchers’ understanding of how they may be applied to evaluate an existing theory.

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