Purpose: This study argued that desipite what the content of the debate might suggest, there is
a conflict between the two concepts of rigour and relevance and their actual relationship is a symbiotic
one. Drawing on a definition of symbiosis, the study showed that the concepts of rigour and
relevance are actually two separate “organisms” that are bound by a long term relationship that
benefits both sides.
Methodology: The study reviewed selected literature concerning rigour and relevance and presented
the historical development of the debate and theoretical models of the relationship between the
Implications: The implications were presented from a PhD student’s perspective and included
suggestions on how to approach the issues of rigour and relevance in the research project and how
to cope with their seemingly conflicting nature.
Originality: The originality of this study resulted from approaching the issue of rigour and relevance
from a biology perspective and extending the definition of symbiosis to the relationship between
the two concepts.