In this autoethnographic exploration, we engage in a dialogic investigation to examine how templating and crystallization shape rigor in qualitative research. The use of templates in qualitative research has been widely used as a means of enhancing rigor in organizational research design yet comes with caveats especially when wanting to push boundaries. With the interplay of templates and crystallization, the researcher is encouraged to apply iterative and reflexive modes. The aim here is to inspire and invite researchers to pursue the multiplicity offered by qualitative methodologies and expand the discipline through authentic, trustworthy, and credible approaches. To explore the development of rigor we reflect on five narrative vignettes to abductively review the interplay of templating and crystallization within our academic experiences. The autoethnographic lens provided the scope to engage in our discourse, and practices and to question our emerging insights in pursuit of informed understandings. Whilst the focus is limited, we bring an organizational research view that highlights some of the challenges of the discipline. Three themes that we term tenets – purpose, reflexivity, and transparency – were key in the interplay of templates and the appreciation of crystallization. We found that utilizing a template is a valuable starting point for structure or direction, but the researcher must move beyond to find purpose, extend knowledge, and advance thinking. Transparency is essential to evidence the rigor, authenticity, and transferability of findings. This autoethnographic exploration adds value to the body of qualitative research as we call for rigor especially when there is a tendency for overuse or misuse of templates. To be clear, crystallization is not about doing as you please, but fostering rigor to encourage new ways of sense-making.


templating, crystallization, autoethnography, reflexivity, rigor

Author Bio(s)

Heather Stewart is a senior lecturer in the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, at the Griffith Business School. Heather has over 20 years of management experience in both corporate and small businesses. As a qualitative researcher, Heather has contributed to qualitative methodology in the management discipline, with a focus on female leadership and sustainable management practices. Please direct correspondence to h.stewart@griffith.edu.au.

Harsh Suri, PhD, is an honorary associate professor at Deakin University. She has developed a methodologically inclusive research synthesis framework that has been published as a monograph in Routledge Research in Education Series. Her publications focus on research synthesis methods, higher education, digital education, and sustainability education. Please direct correspondence to harsh.suri@deakin.edu.au.

Deborah Delaney is an adjunct associate professor, educator, and researcher with Griffith University in the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, at the Griffith Business School. She has held senior leadership positions in academia and offers expertise in corporate governance and financial reporting, as well as working with women to develop their leadership capability. Please direct correspondence to d.delaney@griffith.edu.au.

Vishal Rana is a management academic in the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation at Griffith Business School. He completed his PhD in the Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources Management from Griffith Business School. His passion lies in entrepreneurship and innovation from a management perspective. Please direct correspondence to v.rana@griffith.edu.au.

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