Contribution Matters …!

32 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2022

See all articles by Robert W. Faff

Robert W. Faff

University of Queensland; Bond University

Date Written: April 2, 2022


With some trepidation I confront an ambitious topic … What is this thing called “contribution” …? In this essay, I strive to provide a workable framework to help guide our thinking on the nature of research contribution that will assist all researchers – and, especially novices – to do a better job at this task. First, I recognise a dichotomy between scholarly vs. non-scholarly contribution. Second, focusing on the scholarly side, I identify a second dichotomy – ex post vs. ex ante perspective of scholarly contribution. Third, focusing on the ex-ante side, I identify yet another dichotomy – “internal” vs. “external” contribution. I discuss alternative ways to characterise internal contribution, versus various different ways in which external contribution can be classified. Finally, I canvass and discuss a range of great feedback I have received on earlier versions of this paper. … I hope you read … I hope you learn … I hope you enjoy!

Keywords: contribution; the one bottom line; the holy (research) grail; pitching research; responsible science

JEL Classification: G00; M00; B40; A20; B00; C00; D00; E00; F00; H00; I00; J00; L00; Q00; R00; Z00

Suggested Citation

Faff, Robert W., Contribution Matters …! (April 2, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. Faff (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072

Bond University ( email )

Gold Coast, QLD 4229

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