Narrative text biases attending the critical incidents technique

Alvin C. Burns (Alvin C. Burns is Chairman and Professor of the Department of Marketing, E.J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.)
Laura A. Williams (Laura A. Williams is Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Management and Marketing, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, USA.)
James “Trey” Maxham, III (James “Trey” Maxham, III is Assistant Professor of Commerce at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Publication date: 1 December 2000

Abstract

The critical incident technique (CIT) wherein informants describe their experiences and feelings attendant to a specific occasion is an attractive qualitative technique because it is easy to administer in a group setting, computer textual analysis is readily available, and it provides insight into marketplace phenomena. However, self‐disclosure theory predicts and studies have found that the informant’s gender, the target of the disclosure, and similarity between informant and target affect the quality of the informant’s narrative text. Using hypotheses from this knowledge base and adding the consumer construct of involvement, the authors conduct an experiment using CIT. Three hypotheses are supported: females disclose more than males, more is disclosed to friends than to strangers, and a high involvement topic produces more disclosure than does a low involvement one. Qualitative marketing researchers are warned that subtle biases exist in narrative text generated by the use of CIT, and precautions are suggested.

Keywords

Citation

Burns, A., Williams, L. and “Trey” Maxham, J. (2000), "Narrative text biases attending the critical incidents technique", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 178-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/13522750010349279

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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