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Keywords:

  • research design;
  • theory development;
  • theoretical contribution

Defining the Ph.D. research topic is a non-trivial task, and will influence a young scholar's career way beyond the actual defence of the thesis. This note makes a case for allowing the research topic to be inspired by real-world problems and phenomena, and to let the world of practice challenge the resulting findings. This, it is argued, will lead to a personally more satisfying and sustainable research career, as well as act as an effective safeguard against so called “insignificant” or “counter-intuitive” findings.