Evaluating Conceptual Papers

Conceptual papers in JCR focus on new ideas and frameworks for understanding consumer behavior. They use conceptual thinking skills (e.g., identifying, delineating, differentiating, advocating, integrating, and refuting) to persuade the reader of the importance and validity of the idea. The focus is on logic, arguments, evidence, and creativity. A conceptual paper does not need to include data.

JCR is open to different types of conceptual papers:

  • Conceptual entity papers that argue in favor of a new or revised approach to a construct, phenomenon, domain, or dimension
  • Conceptual theory/integration papers that argue for a new or revised theory
  • Conceptual typology papers that argue for a theory-relevant new or revised typology
  • Conceptual advocacy papers that argue in favor of a topic, approach, or perspective

Evaluation Criteria

  • Does the paper provide a novel and “big” idea that provides considerably new insight?
  • Is the idea “unpacked”? Do the authors argue for the idea in a clear, powerful, coherent, and compelling way?
  • Is the idea differentiated from related ideas and concepts?
  • Do the authors indicate what is inside and what is outside the scope of the idea? Do they indicate why the idea is important (e.g., it shifts beliefs in ways that have implications for future research and/or marketplace stakeholders)?
  • Does the paper adequately represent prior research, and is it likely to lead to new future research? What novel research questions does the idea generate, and is a research agenda well specified?

Examples of Conceptual Papers

Bettman, James R., Mary Frances Luce, and John W. Payne (1998), Constructive Consumer Choice Processes,” Journal of Consumer Research, 25 (3), 187-217. https://doi.org/10.1086/209535

Bardhi, Fleura and Giana M. Eckert (2017), “Liquid Consumption,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44 (3), 582-597. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx050

Williams, Lawrence E. and T. Andrew Poehlman (2017), “Conceptualizing Consciousness in Consumer Research,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44 (2), 231-251. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucw043

Other Resource

MacInnis, Deborah J. (2016/2017), “Developing Conceptual Articles for JCR,” Journal of Consumer Research, Research Curation. https://academic.oup.com/jcr/pages/developing_conceptual_articles_for_jcr

See more: How Do We Evaluate JCR Papers?

The Editors

Bernd Schmitt, June Cotte, Markus Giesler, Andrew Stephen, and Stacy Wood are the current editors of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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