The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how traditional ethnography as an established methodology can promote and strengthen both rigor and relevance in qualitative service research.
This paper is based on ethnographic methodology literature and experience of ethnographic studies in the field.
In particular, the three ethnographic aspects of fieldwork, prolonged time in the field and sensitivity to language and cultural codes can increase rigor in service research, while the central ethnographic premises of flexibility and reflexivity can contribute to its relevance.
Service researchers are encouraged to consider engaging in ethnographic research and to realize its potential to increase both rigor and relevance in service research endeavors.
Rigor and relevance are central and important research quality criteria, and these are often referred to as being mutually exclusive. This paper suggests how traditional ethnography can promote and strengthen both rigor and relevance in qualitative service research and thereby further advance this research area.
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