Redefining qualitative research

Abstract:

This paper defines the character of qualitative research and investigates the potential lack of objectivity. Reasons, why different researchers arrive at different results, are identified: one major reason is the existence of different qualitative schools. These schools tend to stress their own uniqueness but often disregard similarities to other schools. Using a case study, it is shown that single schools’ analyses tend to become too tunnelvisioned. Future qualitative research needs a wider perspective. Secondly, the paper discusses the tendency of existing models to reduce complexity and work with monocausal explanations. But they are similar enough to each other to share a number of assumptions. These are worth consideration for building a modern model of consumer behaviour. The authors present an action-orientated model with an emotional (world of meaning) and a cognitive (world of probability) sub-system and describe the interaction of both systems for behavioural control. Finally, the paper points to a number of methodological implications of the model including the unconscious clustering method.

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