Maybe Europeans do exist?

Date of publication: September 1, 1990


The paper based on the premise that there is a growing interest in international qualitative approaches, examines the potential values and dangers in the conduct of pan-European qualitative research. A study conducted by the IRIS (International Research Institutes) network on the attitudes of the 55-65 year old Europeans was used to help determine: a. Whether that segment represents a homogeneous or a disparate market at European level b. The most appropriate methods of co-ordinating such a study regardless of the degrees of homogeneity existing. The paper concludes that a flexible methodological approach adapted to national peculiarities is the most relevant and the most valuable. For whilst it was discovered that in fact, target respondents across the countries held remarkably consistent views, the need for close co-operation between participating countries and the requirement for some adaptations in the methodology used was also evident. To ensure accurate communication of the research objectives across all countries, and to allow for any changes or additions to these objectives to be made, all participating agencies should maintain frequent contact with the co-ordinating agency and be prepared to discuss and justify any changes that they would like to make to the methodology initially outlined. To this end, it would be preferable if the timescales and budgets for international projects could be more flexible, to allow for potentially valuable improvements in the methodology to be made as the project progresses.

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