A Review of Research Methodologies Employed in Serendipity Studies in the Context of Information Research

Xu Sun, Xiaosong Zhou, Qingfeng Wang, Sarah Sharples, Yaorun Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The concept of serendipity has become increasingly interesting for those undertaking serendipity research in recent years. However, serendipitous encounters are subjective and rare in a real-world context, making this an extremely challenging subject to study. Methods: Various methods have been proposed to enable researchers to understand and measure serendipity, but there is no broad consensus on which methods to use in different experimental settings. A comprehensive literature review was first conducted, which summarizes the research methods being employed to study serendipity. It was followed by a series of interviews with experts that specified the relative strengths and weaknesses of each method identified in the literature review, in addition to the challenges usually confronted in serendipity research. Results: The findings suggest using mixed research methods to produce a more complete picture of serendipity and contribute to the verification of any research findings. Several challenges and implications relating to empirical studies in the investigation of serendipity have been derived from this study. Conclusions: This paper investigated research methods employed to study serendipity by synthesizing finding from a literature review and the interviews with experts. It provides a methodological contribution to serendipity studies by systematically summarizing the methods employed in the studies of serendipity and identifying the strengths and weakness of each method. It also suggests the novel approach of using mixed research methods to study serendipity. This study has potential limitations related to a small number of experts involved in the expert interview. However, it should be noted that the nature of the topic is a relatively focused area, and it was observed after interviewing the experts that new data seems to not contribute to the findings owing to its repetition of comments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)72-90
Number of pages19
JournalPacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Information Research
  • Research Methodology
  • Serendipity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management

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