All research methods have strengths and weaknesses. The two dominant empirical methodologies in operations management are the survey and the case study. Reliance on a limited number of methodologies can influence the body of knowledge that that a field generates - and even the problems that the field collectively chooses to investigate or not investigate. The special issue attempts to "push the envelope" in terms of the data sources used in operations management. In particular, the following data sources are used: laboratory study, customer comment data, third-party web site quality ratings, process characteristics collected from e-commerce web sites themselves, environmental performance reports, and a publicly available research database. Researchers contemplating their data gathering strategy must consider the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. The introduction to special issue discusses positives and negatives of both conventional and innovative data sources. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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