In this paper, we aim to answer these questions, based on our extensive experience of conducting qualitative research groups across Eastern Europe, namely in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Ukraine and Russia. In the first part of the paper - 'understanding the European consumer' - we establish the need for Western researchers to acknowledge and understand the current experiences of Eastern European consumers as people in transition, coping with a myriad of political, social and economic changes. However, we also show that, approached from a basis of understanding and sensitivity, consumers in Eastern Europe are not inherently different from those in the West and respond enthusiastically to research, offering considered, lively and creative discussion. This section also highlights the need to consider each country individually: despite their similarity of experience, each market must be regarded as a separate entity. Moreover, Eastern European countries are at markedly different stages of development in terms of consumerism, and therefore, have different levels of sophistication vis a vis brand perceptions and response to advertising. Just as in Western Europe, cultural differences are clearly at play, so in Eastern Europe each country has retained its own particular identity and heritage. In the second part of the paper - 'research resources and organisation' - we review the current research resources available in Eastern Europe. In our experience, research resources do vary quite considerably across markets, in terms of quality standards and overall experience. Drawing on our experience, we aim to provide practical guidance on how, through flexibility, sensitivity and close collaboration, research results can be produced of a reliability, depth and richness, readily comparable to that of Western experience. In the third part - 'research design and interpretation' - we discuss the extent to which both Western research approaches and techniques can be used in Eastern Europe, in markets where consumers have less experience of brands per se, and up to now less exposure to the sophisticated advertising and marketing practices of the West. The paper demonstrates which Western projective techniques have been successfully used by us among East European consumers, to achieve meaningful and rich response which may not have been obtained, had more conventional practices been used.