Because AMD seeks empirical studies of poorly understood yet important phenomena, we expect they will be directed by specific research questions and conjectures rather than testing refined hypotheses. This implies several distinct goals for the different sections of your manuscript.
Introductory paragraphs: The introduction should clearly ground the phenomenon and the research question. While this can be done many ways, we encourage this grounding to clearly describe a particular case or instance of the phenomenon, and the context or settings in which it exists. This grounding should also include a statement of the specific research question that guides the study of the phenomenon, why it is important, and how it is addressed in the paper.
Findings. The findings will be focused on your empirical exploration, culminating in one or more discoveries. For example, a discovery may highlight new boundary conditions for some theory. A discovery may question accepted understandings of the mechanisms underlying a relationship, or completely overturn basic assumptions underlying a particular theory. A discovery may demonstrate some relationship that is simply inconsistent with a variety of relevant theories and provide a plausible explanation as to when and why this is the case.
Discussion. The aim of most AMD papers is to use empirical findings to provide plausible, data-driven descriptions of and explanations for phenomena, relations, and anomalies for which extant theory falls short. In contrast to other empirical journals, which require extensive theorizing in the manuscript’s front end, in AMD papers most of the theory-relevant material is presented post-hoc and found in the paper’s discussion. This is why AMD is described in terms of being context-forward rather than theory-forward. In this way, the discussion provides a framework to guide further theory generation and a basis upon which to ground propositions and even testable hypotheses.
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