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In future, I would love to see … a reflection on the state of quantitative tourism research

Sara Dolnicar (Tourism, UQ Business School, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




This paper reflects on the state of quantitative tourism research.


Prior literature, observation and introspection form the basis of this article.


Key questions raised include: Do we choose methods because they are suitable or because they impress? Are our results just another number? Why temperature is temperature and loyalty not loyalty? Why are we retesting the same things over and over again? Do we have enough suitable reviewers? Why don’t we study what we are trying to understand: tourist behaviour?

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited, in that it does not conduct a comprehensive review to provide information on how frequently the observed phenomena are occurring in tourism research.

Practical implications

This paper calls for a change in quantitative tourism research. Specifically it calls for refocusing on the study of actual behaviour, tackling novel research problems or – when existing constructs are studied –building on existing definitions, applying the simplest possible appropriate methodological approach rigorously, dedicating manuscript space to a detailed interpretation and discussion of findings and being open-minded and generous as reviewers while not compromising on methodological rigour.


To the best of the author’s knowledge, this special issue of Tourism Review – including the present article – represents the first attempt to critically reflect on the state of quantitative tourism research.



The author is grateful to the Australian Research Council (ARC) for supporting this research through project DP110101347. The author thanks Logi Karlsson for providing feedback on previous versions of the manuscript.


Dolnicar, S. (2015), "In future, I would love to see … a reflection on the state of quantitative tourism research", Tourism Review, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 259-263.



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