Sub-theme 01: (SWG) Doing Career Research: Applying Varieties of Disciplines, Theories and Methods

Polly Parker
University of Queensland Business School, Australia
Hugh Gunz
University of Toronto, Canada
Monika Hamori
IE Business School in Madrid, Spain

Call for Papers


Career studies, as many writers have pointed out, cover a very broad territory. An extraordinarily wid range of social sciences play an interest in careers, including sociology, vocational, developmental and social psychology, demography, labour economics, organizational theory, and strategic management among many others. These writers have typically commented on the variety and disparity of the kinds of issues studied as a result of this multidisciplinarity. However, this also results in a fragmented field in which scholars are studying the same things from many different perspectives, making it hard for them to combine the results of their work or, even, to be aware of what each other is doing.

The approach we take to our research defines what we see when we do it, and differentiates our findings from those of others taking different approaches. We may adopt single methodologies or multiple methodologies (sometimes referred to as triangulation), and our methods and methodologies are likely to reflect not only our discipline of origin, but also the scholarly tradition in which we have been "brought up", in the sense that within any discipline there are many often very different traditions.

In this sub-theme we are interested in papers that

  • are multi-disciplinary (i.e. use insights from several disciplines to investigate a research question in the careers domain);
  • combine theories that have been rarely combined in the extant literature;
  • use multiple methodologies (e.g. survey and interviews; archival data and interviews, survey and direct observation, etc.); or
  • use a novel methodological or theoretical approach to examine a research question in the careers domain.

We are also looking for submissions that address the question of how we do careers research.

  • What trends can be seen in the approaches taken to study careers?
  • How may methods and methodologies be combined? What are the benefits in so doing?
  • What may we have missed by adopting the methods and methodologies we have in the past? What can we do about this?
  • What can we learn from other areas of research or disciplines in terms of methods and methodologies that could be used in careers research, but haven't hitherto?
  • What differences can be seen in methods and methodologies used in different parts of the world? Why do these differences arise? How do they help or hinder careers research?
  • How do methods and methodologies affect the kind of questions asked and issues studied in careers research?
  • What impact do the methodologies used in careers research have on the application of outcomes in practice?


Polly Parker 
Hugh Gunz 
Monika Hamori