The paper aims to look at some of the problems commonly associated with qualitative methodologies, suggesting that there is a need for a more rigorous application in order to develop theory and aid effective decision making.
The paper examines three qualitative methodologies: grounded theory, ethnography, and phenomenology. It compares and contrasts their approaches to data collection and interpretation and highlights some of the strengths and weaknesses associated with each one.
The paper suggests that, while qualitative methodologies, as opposed to qualitative methods, are now an accepted feature of consumer research, their application in the truest sense is still in its infancy within the broader field of marketing. It proposes a number of possible contexts that may benefit from in‐depth qualitative enquiry.
The paper should be of interest to marketers considering adopting a qualitative perspective, possibly for the first time, as it offers a snap‐shot of three widely‐used methodologies, their associated procedures and potential pitfalls.
Goulding, C. (2005), "Grounded theory, ethnography and phenomenology: A comparative analysis of three qualitative strategies for marketing research", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 39 No. 3/4, pp. 294-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090560510581782
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