New technology, new paradigms, and the attributional cloak: Qualitative research shall go to the (scientific) ball

Date of publication: June 15, 1993


Within market research, as in the social sciences generally, qualitative research is increasingly recognised as the only possible route to certain kinds of information. We argue that, rather than grafting isolated pieces of new technology onto the old paradigms, it will be both more valuable and entirely possible in practice to reconceptuaiise the entire process in terms of the new paradigm. Constructivism, social constructionism and the new physics are reviewed and the practical implications indicated. New ways of understanding and specifying the requirements of qualitative interviewing and the analysis of qualitative data are derived. Out of the analysis, the causal explanations offered by respondents are identified as the core phenomenon that interviewing must elicit and that can form the basis of a rigorous analysis of interview material. Attribution analysis is briefly described as one way of implementing this proposal. A system for brand positioning which is rooted in the meaning and value systems of consumers is described. BrandAudit software is presented as a concrete exemplification of the various themes of the paper.

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