Kevin O’Gorman is Professor of Management and Business History and Head of Business Management in the School of Languages and Management in Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He trained in Glasgow, Salamanca and Rome as a philosopher, theologian and historian. His research interests have a dual focus: Origins, history and cultural practices of hospitality, and philosophical, ethical and cultural underpinnings of contemporary management practices. Using a wide range of methodological approaches he has published over 80 journal articles, books, chapters, and conference papers in business and management.

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Now, before we go any further, clearly articulating you theory, context, data collection, and data analysis is not enough to get published, however, not doing this is enough to get your paper desk rejected.

Clear articulation of all three things is subject to a sensible selection process; a general review might not require the application of any particular theory, whilst a conceptual paper may not involve the collection and analysis of original data, but once you know what type of paper you are writing, you should be able to break it down. Being able to explain your paper in relation to each of these sections is of great help when considering both the ways in which to frame the paper, and the gaps that your research addresses.

Bryce, O’Gorman and Baxter’s (2013) exploration of the development of commercial hospitality in early modern Safavid Iran is here offered as an example of how to introduce a theoretical base in the opening paragraph of a paper:

“The theoretical aims of this paper are two-fold: to explore the development of an infrastructure of hospitality provision intended to facilitate commerce within the Islamic world, and to combine material culture research methods in an analytical framework. Material culture research analyzes the physical world to infer meaning on human function. By exploring three key aspects of material culture, a fresh research perspective is offered.”

Context duly follows in the second paragraph (and detailed in later sections):

“Contextually, this paper explores the place of hospitality in Safavid Iran during a period when a “capitalist” economy informed by Islamic propriety had existed for almost 1,000 years in the region”

Data collection and analysis are explained in the methodology section:

“A three-level methodological framework using archaeological, architectural and artifactual methods of data collection are used as a framework around which to construct material culture-based research. When applying material culture methods in a contemporary context to a populated and functioning business, the subjectivity of any study of this nature can be influenced by the human element of the organization.”

Now that is just one worked example, however, the table below provides another 12 examples for you to look at.  If you want more guidance on writing for publication in peer-reviewed business and management journals then have a look at “So you want to get published? It’s all about theory, context and data

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Paper Theoretical Context Data Collection Data Analysis
Bryce, O’Gorman and Baxter (2013)


Material culture research Development of urban areas in relation to commerce, hospitality, religious and imperial patronage (c. 17th century). Archaeological – 27 site visits over three years to 14 caravanserai six bazaar complexes. Created and applied a framework for material culture data analysis
Butler, O’Gorman & Prentice (2012)


Destination Positioning Iranian Culture Tourism Completed ‘Destination Appraisal


Agglomerative Hierarchical Content Analysis.
Butler, Curran & O’Gorman (2012)


Pro-Poor Tourism City suffering from Industrial Decline A single, in-depth, case study: Interviews, documents, artefacts, participant observation Template Analysis
Bryce, MacLaren & O’Gorman (2013)



Orientalism 19th Century Islamic Hospitality in the in the Middle East Diaries Content analysis of hospitality scenes
Alexander, MacLaren, O’Gorman, & White (2012)


Equity Theory

Social Justice Theory

Priority queues in theme parks Exploratory observation

Factorial experiments

2-way ANOVA using satisfaction as the dependent variable and wait time and cost of priority pass as independent variables
Alexander, MacLaren, O’Gorman & Taheri (2012)



Professional Formation

Training of chefs in professional kitchens Surveys (non-probability, purposive sampling)

Semi-structured interviews

Thematic analysis of interviews

Partial Least Squares (Component based structural equation modelling)

McMillan, O’Gorman & MacLaren (2011)



Critical feminist theory

Teahouse owners in Nepal Semi-structured interviews


Template Analysis
Jahandideha, Golmohammadi, Fang, O‘Gorman, Taheri (2014)


Consumer Complaint Behavior Chinese and Arab consumers in Iran Delphi technique


Semi-structured interviews

Thematic Analysis and Statistical Testing
Taheri, Gori, O’Gorman, Hogg, Farrington (2016)



Experiential consumption

The liminoid



Nightclubs Large Scale Survey Structural model (PLS).
Coulson, MacLaren, McKenzie, O’Gorman (2015)



Social Exchange Theory The Pashtunwali and tourism in Afghanistan Interviews

Weblogs / Netnography


Template Analysis
Hogg, Liao and O’Gorman (2014)



Translation Theory Museum websites as a form of purposive tourism information. Corpus-based approach based two sets of English and Chinese museum websites based on five leading museums in each country Three stage genre analysis:

1.       Textual Space

2.       Socio-Cognitive Space

3.       Social Space

Bryce, Curran, O’Gorman and Taheri (2015)




Japanese heritage sites. Large Scale Survey Structural model (PLS) using both formative and reflective scales.


Picture by theilr under CC license.