Historical approaches for hospitality and tourism research

Niall Mackenzie, Zoi Pittaki, Nicholas Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


This paper aims to show how historical approaches can better inform understanding of hospitality and tourism research. Recent work in business and management has posited the value of historical research and narrative frameworks to explicate business phenomena – here the authors propose an approach to hospitality and tourism studies could be similarly beneficial.

Three principal historical approaches are proposed: systematic study of historical archives, oral histories and biography and prosopography. The paper further proposes that such work should be aligned to Andrews and Burke’s framework of the 5Cs: context, change over time, causality, complexity and contingency to help situate research appropriately and effectively.

This paper suggests that historical methods can prove particularly useful in hospitality and tourism research by testing, extending and creating theory that is empirically informed and socially situated. The analysis put forward shows that undertaking historical work set against the framework of the 5Cs of historical research offers the potential for wider and deeper understandings of hospitality and tourism research by revealing temporal and historical dynamics in the field that may hitherto be unseen or insufficiently explored.

Much of the existing work on the benefits of historical approaches in business and management has focussed on the why or the what. This paper focuses on the how, articulating how historical approaches offer significant potential to aid the understanding of hospitality and tourism research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1485
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2019


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