The Future of Research Methods in Work and Occupational Health Psychology

Paul E. Spector, Shani Pindek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A content analysis of the two leading WOHP journals (Journal of Occupational Health Psychology and Work & Stress) from 2010 to September 2014 revealed current practices in research design, sampling, and statistics, as well as the popularity of six major topics. Five suggested future trends are discussed that we feel will move the field forward in a positive way. First, the field is too dominated by the theory-based deductive approach, and needs to make better use of exploratory/inductive methods that are more common in medical and natural sciences. Second, more explicit approaches are needed to illuminate processes, that is, the temporal sequence of events, whereby organisational conditions lead to health-related outcomes. Third, qualitative approaches should be more widely utilised, not only in the beginning stages of research, but as a means of studying process and testing hypotheses, as well. Fourth, researchers need to make more frequent use of complex research designs that go beyond cross-sectional self-reports by incorporating multiple methods and/or longitudinal structures in order to draw more definitive conclusions. Fifth, the rapid increase in the use of multilevel modeling statistics is likely to continue, having opened the door to isolating the effects of group phenomena, as well as investigating daily fluctuations in variables over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-431
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Association of Applied Psychology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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