Case studies research in the bioeconomy: A systematic literature review

Tassinari G., Drabik D., Boccaletti S., Soregaroli C. (2021): Case studies research in the bioeconomy: A systematic literature review. Agric. Econ. – Czech, 67: 286–303.

supplementary materialdownload PDF

Case study research plays a crucial role in studying the development of the bioeconomy. The versatility of the empirical method coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the bioeconomy concept requires a consistent and comparable application of the method to obtain valid and generalizable results. To stimulate such systematization, we first need to know the state of case studies in bioeconomy research. This article reviews the recent literature with a qualitative content analysis facilitated by systematic text coding. Our results provide an overview of how the narratives of the concept of bioeconomy affect the versatility of the case study research. Based on the low density of the illustrated semantic networks, we conclude that future empirical research on bio-based phenomena should be more transdisciplinary and rely more on cross-sectoral approaches. Further work is also required in developing common research protocols that support transparency and replicability of case studies in the bioeconomy.

Aagaard-Hansen J. (2007): The challenges of cross-disciplinary research. Social Epistemology, 21: 425–438.
Aghaei C.A., Salehi H., Yunus M.M., Farhadi H., Fooladi M., Farhadi M., Ale Ebrahim N. (2013): A comparison between two main academic literature collections: Web of science and Scopus databases. Asian Social Science, 9: 18–26.
Aksnes D.W., Sivertsen G. (2019): A criteria-based assessment of the coverage of Scopus and Web of Science. Journal of Data and Information Science, 4: 1–21.
Angelstam P., Naumov V., Elbakidze M., Manton M., Priednieks J., Rendenieks Z. (2018): Wood production and biodiversity conservation are rival forestry objectives in Europe's Baltic Sea region. Ecosphere, 9.
Barratt M., Choi T.Y., Li M. (2011): Qualitative case studies in operations management: Trends, research outcomes, and future research implications. Journal of Operations Management, 29: 329–342.
Battaglia M.P. (2008): Non-Probability Sampling. Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods. California, SAGE Publications: 1–4.
Bauer F., Hansen T., Hellsmark H. (2018): Innovation in the bioeconomy – Dynamics of biorefinery innovation networks. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 30: 935–947.
Benbasat I., Goldstein D.K., Mead M. (1987): The case research strategy in studies of information systems. MIS Quarterly, 11: 369–386.
Bentsen N.S., Nilsson D., Larsen S. (2018): Agricultural residues for energy – A case study on the influence of resource availability, economy and policy on the use of straw for energy in Denmark and Sweden. Biomass and Bioenergy, 108: 278–288.
Binz C., Truffer B., Coenen L. (2014): Why space matters in technological innovation systems – Mapping global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology. Research Policy, 1: 138–155.
Boons F., Wagner M. (2009): Assessing the relationship between economic and ecological performance: Distinguishing system levels and the role of innovation. Ecological Economics, 68: 1908–1914.
Borge L., Bröring S. (2017): Exploring effectiveness of technology transfer in interdisciplinary settings: The case of the bioeconomy. Creativity and Innovation Management, 26: 311–322.
Bugge M.M., Hansen T., Klitkou A. (2016): What is the bioeconomy? A review of the literature. Sustainability, 8: 691.
Carraresi L., Berg S., Bröring S. (2018): Emerging value chains within the bioeconomy: Structural changes in the case of phosphate recovery. Journal of Cleaner Production, 183: 87–101.
Cavaye A.L.M. (1996): Case study research: A multi-faceted research approach for IS. Information Systems Journal, 6: 227–242.
Corcelli F., Fiorentino G., Vehmas J., Ulgiati S. (2018): Energy efficiency and environmental assessment of papermaking from chemical pulp – A Finland case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 198: 96–111.
Creswell J.W., Hanson W.E., Clark Plano V.L., Morales A. (2007): Qualitative research designs: Selection and implementation. The Counseling Psychologist, 35: 236–264.
Dautzenberg K., Hanf J. (2008): Biofuel chain development in Germany: Organisation, opportunities, and challenges. Energy Policy, 36: 485–489.
Denscombe M. (2014): The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects. 5th Ed. UK, McGraw-Hill Education: 36.
Dubé L., Paré G. (2003): Rigor in information systems positivist case research: Current practices, trends, and recommendations. MIS Quarterly, 27: 597–636.
Eisenhardt K.M. (1989): Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14: 532–550.
Etikan I. (2016): Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5: 1.
European Commission (2018): A Sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe: Strengthening the Connection between Economy, Society and the Environment. Publications Office of the EU: 1–103. Available at (accessed Jan 3, 2020).
European Commission (2019): The European Green Deal, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. European Commission. Available at (accessed Jan 9, 2020).
FAO (2019): Towards Sustainable Bioeconomy Guidelines. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Available at (accessed Jan 10, 2020).
Flood R.L. (1999): Rethinking the Fifth Discipline: Learning within the Unknowable. London, New York, Psychology Press: 92.
Fuldauer L.I., Parker B.M., Yaman R., Borrion A. (2018): Managing anaerobic digestate from food waste in the urban environment: Evaluating the feasibility from an interdisciplinary perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production, 185: 929–940.
Georgescu-Roegen N. (1977): Inequality, limits and growth from a bioeconomic viewpoint. Review of Social Economy, 35: 361–375.
Golembiewski B., Sick N., Bröring S. (2015): The emerging research landscape on bioeconomy: What has been done so far and what is essential from a technology and innovation management perspective? Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 29: 308–317.
Greene J., Hall J. (2010): Dialectics and pragmatism: Being of consequence. In: Tashakkori A.M., Teddlie C.B. (eds): Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research. United Kingdom, SAGE: 119–144.
Grünbaum N.N. (2007): Identification of ambiguity in the case study research typology: What is a unit of analysis? Qualitative Market Research, 10: 78–97.
Harzing A.W., Alakangas S. (2016): Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: A longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison. Scientometrics, 106: 787–804.
Kabyanga M., Balana B.B., Mugisha J., Walekhwa P.N., Smith J., Glenk K. (2018): Economic potential of flexible balloon biogas digester among smallholder farmers: A case study from Uganda. Renewable Energy, 120: 392–400.
Kardung M., Cingiz K., Costenoble O., Delahaye R., Heijman W., Lovrić M., van Leeuwen M., M'Barek R., van Meijl H., Piotrowski S., Ronzon T., Sauer J., Verhoog D., Verkerk P.J., Vrachioli M., Wesseler J.H.H., Zhu B.X. (2021): Development of the circular bioeconomy: Drivers and indicators. Sustainability, 13: 413.
Maimbo H., Pervan G. (2005): Designing a case study protocol for application in IS research. In: Proceedings Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems, PACIS 2005, Bangkok, Thailand, July 7–10, 2005: 106.
Markard J., Raven R., Truffer B. (2012): Sustainability transitions: An emerging field of research and its prospects. Research Policy, 41: 955–967.
Mengistu T.W., Gupta S., Birner R. (2018): Analysis of maize biomass use in Ethiopia and its implications for food security and the bioeconomy. Food Security, 10: 1631–1648.
Merriam S.B. (1998): Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass: 26–43.
Miles M.B., Huberman A.M. (1994): Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. London, Sage Publications: 117.
Naumov V., Manton M., Elbakidze M., Rendenieks Z., Priednieks J., Uhlianets S., Yamelynets T., Zhivotov A., Angelstam P. (2018): How to reconcile wood production and biodiversity conservation? The Pan-European boreal forest history gradient as an "experiment". Journal of Environmental Management, 218: 1–13.
Newton R.W., Little D.C. (2018): Mapping the impacts of farmed Scottish salmon from a life cycle perspective. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 23: 1018–1029.
OECD (1998): 21st Century Technologies: Promises and Perils of a Dynamic Future. Paris, OECD Publishing: 30.
Patermann C., Aguilar A. (2018): The origins of the bioeconomy in the European Union. New Biotechnology, 40: 20–24.
Purkus A., Hagemann N., Bedtke N., Gawel E. (2018): Towards a sustainable innovation system for the German wood-based bioeconomy: Implications for policy design. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172: 3955–3968.
Riffe D., Lacy S., Fico F., Watson B. (2014): Analyzing Media Messages: Using Quantitative Content Analysis in Research. 3rd Ed. New York, London, Routledge: 101.
Robson C., McCartan K. (2016): Real-World Research. 4th Ed. Chichester, West Sussex, Wiley: 45–66.
Runeson P., Höst M. (2009): Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Empirical Software Engineering, 14: 131–164.
Saldaña J. (2013): The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers. 2nd Ed. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, SAGE: 1–41.
Sheppard A.W., Gillespie I., Hirsch M., Begley C. (2011): Biosecurity and sustainability within the growing global bioeconomy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3: 4–10.
Singlitico A., Goggins J., Monaghan R.F.D. (2018): Evaluation of the potential and geospatial distribution of waste and residues for bio-SNG production: A case study for the Republic of Ireland. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 98: 288–301.
Skvortsova T.A., Denisova I.P., Romanenko N.G., Sukhovenko A.V. (2018): Innovations and support for quality in agriculture: A case study. European Research Studies Journal, 21: 423–431.
Staffas L., Gustavsson M., McCormick K. (2013): Strategies and policies for the bioeconomy and bio-based economy: An analysis of official national approaches. Sustainability, 5: 2751–2769.
Stake R.E. (1995): The Art of Case Study Research. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications: 49–68.
Starik M., Rands G.P. (1995): Weaving an integrated web: Multilevel and multisystem perspectives of ecologically sustainable organizations. Academy of Management Review, 20: 908–935.
Stern T., Ploll U., Spies R., Schwarzbauer P., Hesser F., Ranacher L. (2018): Understanding perceptions of the bioeconomy in Austria – An explorative case study. Sustainability, 10: 4142.
Stewart P. (2001): Complexity theories, social theory, and the question of social complexity. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 31: 323–360.
Talavyria M.P., Lymar V.V., Baidala V.V. (2015): Improvement of the bioeconomy development analysis instruments: European Union Projects and Germany experience. Економіка АПК, 11: 89–95.
Toledo D., Briceño T., Ospina G. (2018): Ecosystem service valuation framework applied to a legal case in the Anchicaya region of Colombia. Ecosystem Services, 29: 352–359.
Vivien F. D., Nieddu M., Befort N., Debref R., Giampietro M. (2019): The hijacking of the bioeconomy. Ecological Economics, 159: 189–197.
Wang D., Li J., Wang Y., Wan K., Song X., Liu Y. (2017): Comparing the vulnerability of different coal industrial symbiosis networks under economic fluctuations. Journal of Cleaner Production, 149: 636–652.
Wesseler J., von Braun J. (2017): Measuring the bioeconomy: Economics and policies. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 9: 275–298.
Yin R.K. (2014): Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 5th Ed. Newbury Park, SAGE: 3–68.
supplementary materialdownload PDF

© 2022 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Prohlášení o přístupnosti