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Rethinking consumer disadvantage: the importance of qualitative research

Lucy Woodliffe (Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 November 2004



This paper provides insight into the behaviour and attitudes of an under‐researched group of consumers, and identifies some useful pointers for future research on consumer disadvantage. More specifically, the paper explores the relationships between the potential causes of consumer disadvantage, forms of consumer disadvantage and accessibility. The exploratory study consisted of a combination of quantitative (diary survey) and qualitative (semi‐structured interviews) methods. The diary survey data were used to measure grocery retailing accessibility for each participant, while the semi‐structured interviews captured participants’ attitudes, preferences and expectations with regard to grocery shopping, which were then used to construct a context for the accessibility findings. The findings suggest a way in which consumer disadvantage can be conceptualised, recommend the use of qualitative methods when researching this area, and highlight issues of interest (such as identifying whether an individual shops through choice or constraint) which could be considered by future research designs.



Woodliffe, L. (2004), "Rethinking consumer disadvantage: the importance of qualitative research", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 32 No. 11, pp. 523-531.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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