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Decoding momentum returns: an integrated bibliometric and content analysis approach

Mayank Joshipura (School of Business Management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies Deemed to be University, Mumbai, India)
Sangeeta Wats (School of Business Management, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies Deemed to be University, Mumbai, India)

Qualitative Research in Financial Markets

ISSN: 1755-4179

Article publication date: 13 September 2022

Issue publication date: 28 March 2023




Over the past three decades, numerous conceptual and empirical studies have discussed momentum investment strategies’ presence, pervasiveness and persistence. However, science mapping in the field is inadequate. Hence, this study aims to comprehend and explore current dynamics, understand knowledge progression, elicit trends through thematic map analysis, synthesize knowledge structures and provide future research directions in this domain.


The study applies bibliometric analysis on 562 Scopus indexed articles from 1986 to 2021. Biblioshiny version 3.1.4, a Web-based application included in Bibiliometrix package developed in R-language (Aria and Cuccurullo, 2017), was used to examine: the most prominent articles, journals, authors, institutions and countries and to understand the thematic evolution and to elicit trends through the synthesis of knowledge structures including conceptual, intellectual and social structures of the field.


Motor themes, basic transverse, niche and emerging and declining themes were identified using (Callon, 1991) strategic thematic map. Besides, four major clusters based on a cocitation network of documents were identified: empirical evidence and drivers of momentum returns, theories explaining momentum returns and implications for asset pricing and market efficiency, avoiding momentum crashes and momentum in alternative asset classes, alternative explanations for momentum returns. The study infers that momentum research is becoming multidisciplinary given the dominance of behavioral theories and economic aspects in explaining the persistence of momentum profits and offers future research directions.

Research limitations/implications

The study deploys bibliometric analysis, appropriate for deriving insights from the vast extant literature. However, a meta-analysis might offer deeper insights into specific dimensions of the research topic. Besides, the study’s findings are based on Scopus indexed articles analyzed using bibilioshiny; the database and software limitations might have affected the findings.

Practical implications

The study is a ready reckoner for scholars who intend to recognize the evolution of momentum investment strategies, current dynamics and future research direction. The study offers practitioners insights into efficiently designing and deploying momentum investment strategies and ways to avoid momentum crashes.

Social implications

The study offers insights into the irrational behavior and systematic errors committed by market participants that helps regulators and policymakers to direct investors’ educational efforts to minimize systematic behavioral errors and related adverse financial consequences.


This comprehensive study on momentum investment strategies evaluates research trends and current dynamics draws a thematic map, knowledge progression in the field and offers future research directions.



Author contribution: The authors have contributed equally across all segments of this study.

Declaration of competing interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


Joshipura, M. and Wats, S. (2023), "Decoding momentum returns: an integrated bibliometric and content analysis approach", Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 254-277.



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