Longitudinal tracer studies: Research methodology of the middle range

Vinh Sum Chau, Barry Witcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the longitudinal tracer study in the context of the researcher–practitioner relevance gap. It proposes the tracer as a methodological middle-range approach that takes account of relevancy and which involves practitioners in the research process. An ESRC research project about hoshin kanri (policy deployment) is used as an example to explain the longitudinal tracer study approach. The methodological approach is consistent with middle range theory and thinking, and involves skeletal prior theory, tags, a practitioner network, and continuous reflexivity. It is concluded that the longitudinal tracer study can be a useful middle-range solution to help close the researcher–practitioner gap.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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