Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 18 January 2011



Tiu Wright, L. (2011), "Editorial", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 14 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/qmr.2011.21614aaa.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Volume 14, Issue 1

A range of papers concentrating on qualitative methodologies is offered in this issue. The first paper has a discussion of the form of complementary validity in market research by academics and practitioners to give a holistic approach to marketing problems by including mixed methods’ designs in market research. It is acknowledged that mixed methods’ designs are also commonly found in academic courses on marketing research in universities and form a staple for many empirical articles that have been published, as supported in the paper. However, the power of inductive logic to be more diagnostic, to go beyond the surface and to uncover the complexities of beliefs, emotions and motivations of people in greater depth offers a different and powerful interpretation of the holistic approach in market research investigations. The following four papers and the review of Sheila Keegan’s book by Paul Henry, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal Book Reviews’ Editor, demonstrate the potential of qualitative researches in theoretical development and empirical work to lay foundations for market research.

From a methodological viewpoint, the first paper by Robert L. Harrison from Michigan, USA and Timothy M. Reilly from Nebraska, USA applies a qualitative method of content analysis of 2,166 articles published between 2003 and 2009 in nine prominent marketing journals to examine their publications of “mixed method research designs”. Interestingly, while they discovered a dominant 63 percent of their sampled articles prioritizing quantitative data, they also found that within the marketing discipline, scholars were not demonstrating more or better knowledge of the mixed method literature and procedures when only one article had established knowledge of mixed method procedures. It begs the question as to what sacrifices scholars have to go through when going for mixed methods’ designs in order to achieve publications in such journals.

A relatively new phenomenon made possible by the internet is a form of ethnographical research handled online. The second paper about “brand netnography” is a completely different qualitative methodological contribution by Drew Martin from Hawaii and Arch G. Woodside from the USA and Auckland. Their research examines first-person on-line stories from consumer discussions of experiencing places, people, situations, goods, services and brands from their travels in Japan. The authors present a persuasive argument of emic and etic interpretations of consumer experiences to suggest that such an autodriving methodology when extended to tourism research adds to theoretical development in a revisionist proposal […] for building destinations as iconic brands and […] tourism management.

What appears constant is that consumer experiences and their consumptions of products are traceable in overlapping and reciprocal interactions within personal, environmental, and situational inputs, which helps to underpin the offering of a “typology of contextualized chocolate consumption experiences through qualitative diary research”. This third paper by Lia Zarantonello from Milan, Italy and Harri T. Luomala from Seinäjoki, Finland takes us into the realm of Italian chocolate lovers and their consumption contexts to explore their sensations, feelings and behaviour. The qualitative technique employed in diary research appropriately allows for their nuances in chocolate consumption to be interpreted within various contexts and explored in depth. It should be interesting to see how the authors’ research contribution could be extended beyond Italy or with bigger samples to support their contention that past research has not explored how different chocolate consumption contexts shape and define these experiences, given the existing body of knowledge.

In “An exploration of men’s brand relationships”, Linda Tuncay Zayer and Stacy Neier explore the consumer-brand typology developed by Fournier (1998) by looking at how this can be applied to their research with heterosexual male shoppers for fashion and grooming products. Three distinct qualitative techniques of in-depth interviews, collages and shopping trip observations are applied. The researchers from Chicago, USA, found that 13 of the 15 brand relationships detailed by Fournier (1998) are affirmed, but with three emergent relationships that are new. The value of this fourth paper appears to be its contribution to a specific part of the existing body of literature and its defined implications for other consumption contexts in helping consumers with their brand identity construction.

The fifth paper by Stephen Lloyd from Auckland, New Zealand examines how the “nominal group technique” can afford insights into stakeholder specifications of the domain of the corporate reputation (CR) construct to obtain greater content validity of scale items. This research paper with stakeholders takes in content validity issues to confirm what the author has argued from the outset, that NGT has value. Through his rating of stakeholder involvement the author offers the argument that the NGT technique is a robust one based on what is in the minds of stakeholders that is appropriate for probing meaning as well as explaining their actions. His statement that stakeholders have not so far been involved directly in CR scale item development identifies a topic for further research.

This international issue ends with contributions from the southern and northern hemispheres. From Paul Henry in Sydney, Australia comes a book review that links in past and present qualitative offerings and an evaluation of Sheila Keegan’s book on “Qualitative Research”. From Sheila Keegan and Rosie Campbell in London, UK, a joint contribution for the “Practitioner Perspectives” section offers us vivid views into aspects of the practitioners’ world. In particular, Rosie Campbell’s exposition exposes the uncritical acceptance of statements at face value in the online world and questions whether this state of affairs adds to our knowledge of good market research.

Finally, my thanks go to the reviewers and all authors for their pertinent comments and contributions.

Len Tiu Wright

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