High-Quality Qualitative Research: Getting Into Gear

Amber M. Epp, Cele C. Otnes

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In this editorial, we leverage the metaphor of the road trip to help those authors submitting to the Journal of Service Research and other publications craft high-quality qualitative research (HQQR). We outline three criteria as hallmarks of HQQR: relevant research addresses important problems or gaps, rigorous research makes data collection and analysis transparent, and responsive research reflects the ability to adapt to concerns and critiques as the project unfolds. We unpack four essentials of the road trip that enable authors to deliver on the above criteria: vehicle (theory), route (research design), traveling companions (coauthors, participants), and safety kit (planning, tools). We explain how choices made by researchers not only can foster HQQR but can also fuel the journey to publication. Our “Road Trip Checklist” provides a quick reference to specific questions researchers should ask to address each essential element and offers article exemplars that masterfully respond to these questions. We hope this editorial encourages researchers to draw on qualitative techniques to explore service-related topics that would benefit from immersive fieldwork and that it inspires the necessary guidance and confidence to get on the road.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021


  • fieldwork
  • qualitative how-to
  • qualitative methods
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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