This paper aims to offer both a practical and reflective stance on a longitudinal multi-method interpretive consumer research project carried out with tween girls.
This multi-layered approach to data collection, involving qualitative diaries, accompanied shopping trips, e-collages and in-depth interviews, addresses the need, as articulated by Morrow and Richards (1996, p. 96) to “move away from the narrow focus of socialization and child development” toward a research approach that prioritizes children’s own experiences of their lives as children, thereby reconsidering the richness of children’s voices.
In line with those whose work seeks to privilege children’s knowledge of the world they inhabit while also emphasizing the need, as in the case of adult “doing” to place that existence within its broader social context (Russell and Tyler, 2005, p. 227), diaries, in-depth interviews, shopping trips, e-collages and researcher diaries were used to access the world of these social neophytes as they mediate their social worlds through the ever pervasive prism of consumer culture. The light and shade of their worlds cannot be captured by adult-oriented perspectives on research which assume that young consumers are incompetent, worthy of debate merely to ascertain levelness of agency or of interest merely to quantify degrees of participation in and comprehension of the semiotic markers of our consumer society.
Only female consumers were involved in this study which underlines the need to engage with both genders when it comes to researching young consumers.
This paper offers a tangible contribution to the movement of research toward understanding young consumers’ worlds through engagement with multi-layered discourses and representations.
This multi-layered, multi-method research project acknowledges the enthralling complexity of these young consumers’ social worlds, giving a richness and immediacy to their accounts of the compelling intimacy between young adolescent identity and the marketplace.
Cody, K. (2015), "Hearing muted voices: the crystallization approach to critical and reflexive child-centric consumer research", Young Consumers, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 281-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-10-2014-00482Download as .RIS
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