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Consumer research, interpretive paradigms and methodological ambiguities

Christina Goulding (Wolverhampton Business School, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 1 October 1999



The 1980s and 1990s have witnessed a growing application of qualitative methods, particularly in the study of consumer behaviour. This has led to some division between researchers on the basis of methodological orientation, or a positivist/interpretivist split. Much of the criticism regarding qualitative research centres on issues of clarity, methodological transgressions, and the mixing of methods without clear justification and explication of “why” and “how”. Offers the example of phenomenology and grounded theory, two methods which are often treated as one. Compares and contrasts them in relation to underpinning philosophies, procedures for sampling, data collection and techniques for analysis. Suggests that methods are “personal” and that researcher introspection and the philosophical basis of a given methodology should form the starting‐point for enquiry.



Goulding, C. (1999), "Consumer research, interpretive paradigms and methodological ambiguities", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 9/10, pp. 859-873.




Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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