Reality TV and the growth of ethnographic/qualitative research - coincidence or context?

Date of publication: April 18, 2004

Author: Neil McPhee


All research and media exist by definition, like everything else, in context. The cultural shaping of (expectations) of methodologies, presentations, analytics, and values is not a surprise and while it is easy to deride the trivialisation brought about by reality TV, it has nonetheless done research a service by at least opening the door to ethnographic/ immersion techniques and presentation styles. More significantly this context has reframed our research world and its focus. These concepts and contexts are explained by a variety of writers but a critical effect on researchers and research has been and continues to be the re-framing of marketing - and thus research - on the basis of individualism and less on mass markets. By studying this and understanding it, we gain some insight into the future, as well as the past requirements and expectations of research and the ways in which it is presented to clients.

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