An Introduction to Qualitative Market Research by Mike Imms, Gill Ereaut

By Mike Imms, Gill Ereaut

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Key practitioners involved in developing this approach to research in the UK, which now informs many accepted ideas of ‘good practice’, have included Bill Schlackman, Peter Cooper, Wendy Gordon and Mary Goodyear. 1. Note that although she sought to compare common practice in the USA and Europe, it is by no means true that all qualitative market research in the USA follows the cognitive model, nor that all qualitative market research in Europe follows the conative model. As might be clear by now, this book is primarily concerned with research following the ‘conative’ model, this reflecting the bulk of mainstream practice in the UK, and we continue to use this term throughout.

Chapter 4 examines the forms of training given in a little more detail. The Sector has an Essentially ‘Oral’ Tradition Relatively little of qualitative market research sector knowledge is written down (unlike academic qualitative research). There are a few monographs by experienced practitioners (for example Gordon 1999; Gordon and Langmaid 1988; Robson and Foster 1989) and a number of papers appear in industry journals and conferences, but in comparison with academic qualitative research, the literature is very sparse.

This is just not so, and the list of influences given above, along with the detail within each of the books in the series, shows how dramatically actual practice differs from this picture. However, there are (at least) three ways to think about the role of ‘theory’ in qualitative market research, and it is important to distinguish them because commercial researchers take a quite different view of each. The first is methodological theory, the theory of what we do and how we do it – the implications of assumptions made and epistemological positions taken, or the theory of what we can know and how we can know.

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