TU Berlin

Bibliothek1. Defining research questions

Page Content

to Navigation


Briner & Denyer (2009, p. 347ff.) have developed the CIMO scheme to establish clearly formulated and answerable research questions in the field of economic sciences:

C – CONTEXT: Which individuals, relationships, institutional frameworks and systems are being investigated?

I – Intervention: The effects of which event, action or activity are being investigated?

M – Mechanisms: Which mechanisms can explain the relationship between interventions and results? Under what conditions do these mechanisms take effect?

O – Outcomes: What are the effects of the intervention? How are the results measured? What are intended and unintended effects?

The objective of the systematic literature review is used to formulate research questions such as “How can a project team be led effectively?”. Since there are numerous interpretations and constructs for “effective”, “leadership” and “project team”, these terms must be particularized.

With the aid of the scheme, the following concrete research questions can be derived with regard to this example:

Under what conditions (C) does leadership style (I) influence the performance of project teams (O)?

Which constructs have an effect upon the influence of leadership style (I) on a project team’s performance (O)?          

Research questions do not necessarily need to follow the CIMO scheme, but they should:

... be formulated in a clear, focused and comprehensible manner and be answerable;

... have been determined prior to carrying out the SLR;

... consist of general and specific questions.

As early as this stage, the criteria for inclusion and exclusion are also defined. The selection of the criteria must be well-grounded. This may include conceptual factors such as a geographical or temporal restrictions, congruent definitions of constructs, as well as quality criteria (journal impact factor > x).


Proceed to Step 2. Selecting literature databases and other research sources


Quick Access

Schnellnavigation zur Seite über Nummerneingabe