International Journal of Mobile Marketing (IJMM) Vol. 1 No. 1 Editors Letter

The writings of academics and practicing managers can take many forms and can serve many purposes. For instance, conceptual pieces are used to espouse ideas, case studies and white papers are used to explain concepts and establish position, and research articles are used to detail the solution to problems, explain phenomena, and demonstrate the validity and advancement of knowledge, to name just a few. While the research methods employed by practitioners and academics are often very similar (Gill & Johnson 2002), the compositional methods used by them are not. In fact, academics often find managerial writing lacking in detail while practicing managers find academic writing confounding. Given that many of the articles in this journal are academic in nature, the following is intended to explain the structure of academic writing in order to help those unfamiliar with it process and understand it.

As noted, the purpose of the research is to find answers and problem solve, explain how and why something occurs, and to validate and extend our knowledge. Over the years a number of approaches have been and continue to be developed and refined to support the research process, these include qualitative, quantitative (largely empirical), and mixed methods approaches (Creswell 2003). The qualitative approaches employ a myriad of methods to develop new theory and models, uncover previously unknown concepts and ideas, and to explore the inner workings of specific phenomenon, while the quantitative approaches employ experiments and surveys to verify theory and models, evaluate cause and effect relationships between variables, and the mixed methods approach combines the latter two (Creswell 2003; Yin 2003). Within each approach, there are a myriad of methods and techniques used to formulate and refine the research problem, position the study within the literature, collect and analyze data, ensure study validity, and document and tell the story of the findings.

The typical academic research study consists of a number of different sections, including the introduction, a review of the literature, detailing of study design and methods, report of results, discussion of findings, statement of limitations, managerial implications, future research, and conclusion (Creswell 2003; Cooper 1998). Not all of these sections will be found in all studies, nor will all studies be organized in this exact sequence. Depending on the research objective and the extent that a researcher has completed the data collection and analysis phases of a study one or more of these general sections may not be included in an article. The introduction is intended to frame the study and provide the necessary background to help focus the reader’s attention. The literature review is intended to convey the importance of the current study by positioning it within the extant literature. The literature review is critical, as a historian of ideas (Fouts, 2006) the researcher will use the literature to explain the pre-existing work relevant to the current study and demonstrate how the current work is unique, i.e. will extend our knowledge. The study design and methods section is important for establishing the validity of the research by demonstrating to the reader that the study was properly conceptualized and executed. The results section is an unbiased reporting of the findings, while the discussion section is used to position the findings within a specific context. The next sections in a study, the statement of limitations, implications, and future research, are there to help the reader with understanding the possible flaws of the study (since no work is perfect), how practitioners may be affected by the findings, and what additional work should be done to continue with the path set by the research. Finally, researchers will wrap-up their piece with concluding remarks. In addition to these structural elements, it is worth noting that depending on the style dictated by the publication, the reader will often find author references (with the date of publication) and footnotes scattered throughout the piece. These are important elements of a study since they establish the validity and credibility of the work as well as explain nuances of the author’s argument not appropriate for the body of the work.

Deepening on the literary prowess of the author(s), or lack there of, academic studies can often be very difficult to read and comprehend; however, by understanding the structure and purpose of each element of the typical study the reading of the most difficult piece of research becomes significantly easier.


Cooper, H. (1998). Synthesizing Research (Third Edition, Vol. 2). (Applied Social Research Methods Series). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research Design. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Fouts, P. (Golden Gate University/Professor). (2006, 08/03). DBA 822. In Class discussion. San Francisco.

Gill, J., & Johnson, P. (2002). Research Methods for Managers (Third Edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (Fifth Edition). (2002). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Yin, R. (2003). Case Study Research. (Vol. 5). Applied Social Research Methods Series). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Managing Partner at Identity Praxis, Inc. | Website | + posts

Michael Becker is an intentionally recognized identity & personal information management solutions strategic advisor, speaker, entrepreneur, and academic. He advises companies on personal information economy business strategy, product development, business development, and sales & marketing strategies. He also represents them at leading trade groups, including the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. Michael is an advisor to Assurant, Predii, Privowny, and Phoji. He is the co-author of Mobile Marketing for Dummies and a number of other books and articles related to mobile marketing, identity, and personal information management. He is on the faculty of marketing of the Association of National Advertisers and National University. A serial entrepreneur, Michael founded Identity Praxis, co-founded mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute, was a founding member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and was on the MMA board of directors for ten years and was MMA’s North American Managing Director for three years. In 2004, Michael co-founded iLoop Mobile, a leading messaging solutions provider. In 2014, Michael was awarded the 2014 Marketing EDGE Edward Mayer Education Leadership Award for his commitment to marketing education.