Qualitative Paper Development Symposium

A Qualitative Paper Development Symposium took place at the Business School from 20-22 May 2019.

About the symposium

Our first Qualitative Paper Development Symposium was initiated by Professor Julia Kotlarsky (ISOM) and Professor Ilan Oshri (GSM), and involved three additional mentors: Professor Michael Myers (ISOM), Suprateek Sarker (University of Virginia and Editor in Chief, Journal of Association of Information Systems) and Suzanne Rivard (HEC Montreal and former Department Editor, MIS Quarterly). 

The symposium targeted early-career researchers and PhD students at advanced stage of their studies in the field of Information Systems. 15 participants from the Business School and other faculties at the University of Auckland, other New Zealand universities, as well as UNSW and UQ, engaged in learning the craft of conducting and publishing rigorous qualitative research and receiving feedback from five top scholars in the field who are also editors of top-ranked journals in Information Systems. 

This event was designed to help early-career academics and PhD students working on qualitative papers relating to technology and organization studies across the IS, strategy and organisation behaviour domains, to develop their journal articles to a stage where they can submit to a top IS journal. 

The team of five mentors was put together based on their extensive experience publishing qualitative articles is the top IS journals, as well as serving in editorial roles in top IS journals.

One participant provided the following feedback on behalf of the group:

“This is a great initiative and life-changing experience. I wish I could have this earlier. I feel that I have been reborn as a researcher. I'm not only doing qualitative research, but also shifting my mindset towards being a qualitative researcher. Presentations, mentoring, and reflections are insightful. Particularly for in-group discussion and sprint, I have never had such in-depth discussion on my papers with other people (except for my dissertation with my supervisor). Even for co-authors, it's not easy to build such a close bond and engage in intensive discussion.”

The symposium will be an annual event, to be held next time around May 2020.

Workshop mentors

Guest mentors

University of Auckland mentors

Symposium format

The symposium was run as a three-day event between 20-22 May 2019, during which participants took part in interactive sessions, discussions and “sprint” writing sessions facilitated by the mentors. These three days were planned to allow enough time for feedback, discussions, and actual writing, as well as informal interactions with the mentors.

Interested participants were expected to submit a paper to be allocated to a mentor who reviewed and provided feedback. In addition, each participant reviewed and provided feedback for two papers within their working group.

Participants worked in small groups based on topic proximity guided by a mentor. There were three points of feedback: at the beginning of the event based on the submitted paper, after two days, and after the event. Participants needed to make significant progress during the workshop as part of the time was allocated to writing and further refinement of ideas (we coined this approach “sprint writing”).

There were two formal plenary sessions, one at the opening, and one as the event came to an end. The rest of the time, the participants worked closely with mentors on improving ideas and re-writing their papers. In-between “sprint writing” sessions, mentors ran interactive clinics within their working groups, dedicated to specific issues identified during the process of writing and relevant to all/most group members. 

Admission criteria

To ensure that participants were fully committed and able to make significant progress during the workshop in preparing their paper for a journal submission, we looked for the following:

  1. A draft of the paper, at least 70% complete (i.e. some sections may be more developed then others but overall 70% of the paper is written) to be submitted prior to the symposium. 
  2. In addition to the draft of the paper, we requested applicants to provide a short letter explaining what journal (s)he is targeting with this paper, and the main challenges that they face with regard to the current version.

More information

For any questions regarding the 2019 Qualitative Paper Development Symposium, or future symposia, please contact:

Julia Kotlarsky
Symposium Organiser
Phone: +64 9 923 3305