Evaluating Substantive Phenomena Papers

Papers focused on substantive phenomena in JCR provide evidence for and insights into an important and relevant contemporary consumer behavior phenomenon. They richly describe and conceptualize the phenomenon, provide empirical evidence for it, and show that it is real and consequential. The effort put into such research is as deep and as careful as any other JCR paper. Thus, processes and explanations for the phenomenon should be provided but do not need to be fully conclusive, extensive, or advance a novel theory.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Does the paper feature an important, contemporary and relevant substantive consumer phenomenon? Could the findings change what is currently done in the consumer marketplace?
  • Do the authors immerse the reader in the domain so that the richness of the phenomenon is understood? Realism is preferable to “isolation of variables.”
  • What are the boundaries of the phenomenon? Does the paper communicate these boundaries effectively and test what context(s) the phenomenon does (not) work for? Does it make clear where the phenomenon might generalize or not?
  • Is the theoretical component or process/explanation well conceptualized? Note that the “theory” does not need to be as elaborate as in a theory-based empirical paper, but some sort of explanation should be provided.
  • Is the paper generative of future research? What new ideas and theories may be generated based on the phenomenon? Would the insights about the consumer phenomenon be of interest to other disciplines?
  • Can we confidently believe these findings? Are we comfortable to give advice to a phenomenon stakeholder based on this evidence?

Examples of Substantive Phenomena Papers

Goldstein, Noah J., Robert B. Cialdini, and Vladas Griskevicius (2008), “A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels,” Journal of Consumer Research, 35 (3), 472-482. https://doi.org/10.1086/586910

Dholakia, Utpal M. and Vicki G. Morwitz (2002), “The Scope and Persistence of Mere-Measurement Effects: Evidence from a Field Study of Customer Satisfaction Measurement,” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (2), 159-167. https://doi.org/10.1086/341568

Botti, Simona, Kristina Orfali, and Sheena S. Iyengar (2009), “Tragic Choices: Autonomy and Emotional Responses to Medical Decisions,” Journal of Consumer Research, 36 (3), 337-352. https://doi.org/10.1086/598969

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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