Editorial Synthesis: Methodological Challenges in Social Innovation Research

Julia Wittmayer, Bonno Pel, Tom Bauler, Flor Avelino


In recent years, there have been substantial efforts towards theory-building and conceptual clarification in social innovation (SI) research further contributing to its consolidation as a research field. Taking a different angle, this special issue aims to contribute to such consolidation by introducing greater reflexivity about the underlying methodologies and logics of inquiry. It features eight contributions from the main methodological orientations in SI research, namely systematic knowledge development and action-oriented research that discuss particular methodological challenges and advances. This editorial synthesis serves to take stock and elicit their broader significance for SI research along the normative, temporal and comparative dimensions of methodology choices. Dimensions, which are salient to SI research without being tied to any specific methodological tradition. As such, they reflect our aim to transcend the methodological fragmentation of the SI research field and open up a methodological discussion through a methodologically pluralist stance.

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