Attaining high response rates in survey‐based supply chain management (SCM) research is becoming increasingly difficult, but small samples can limit the reliability and validity of empirical research findings. The purpose of this article is to analyze the status quo and provide a discussion of methodological issues related to the use of small samples in SCM research.
An in‐depth review of 75 small sample survey studies published between 1998 and 2007 in three journals in the field that frequently publish survey‐based research papers (TJ, IJPDLM, and JBL) was conducted, and key characteristics of these studies were compared with the characteristics from 44 small sample survey studies published in leading operations management (JOM) and management (AMJ) journals.
The review of papers published in TJ, IJPDLM, and JBL shows that small samples are frequently used in SCM research. This study provides an overview of current practices, opportunities for improvement, and a number of specific recommendations that may help increase the analytical rigor of (future) survey‐based studies that rely on small samples.
The recommendations provided in this article can greatly benefit researchers in the field of SCM. By following these proposals, the reliability and validity of research findings will be increased, researchers will be better equipped to investigate interesting questions where small samples are the norm rather than the exception (e.g., the study of dyadic supply chain relationships), and important and valid contributions to the theory and practice of SCM will be generated.
De Beuckelaer, A. and Wagner, S. (2012), "Small sample surveys: increasing rigor in supply chain management research", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 42 No. 7, pp. 615-639. https://doi.org/10.1108/09600031211258129Download as .RIS
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