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Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 35: Qualitative Research Methods for Investigating Business-to-Business Marketing Questions
Abbie Griffin Qualitative research methods started to be used for research in the management field in the mid-1980s, with the major texts explicating these techniques first published in the middle of that decade (e.g. Miles and Huberman 1994; Yin 1984). Shortly thereafter these research methods started to move into use in our field of B2B marketing. One of the first articles to be published in an A-level marketing journal using these methods was Kohli and Jaworski’s (1990) article developing the market orientation construct, published in the Journal of Marketing (JM). Shortly thereafter Workman (1993) published his ethnographic study of marketing’s role in new product development (NPD) in the Journal of Marketing Research (JMR). Both he and several other young academics had success publishing in JM and JMR in the 1990s, introducing these research methods to the field of marketing. This chapter uses several of these articles as examples and illustrations throughout. In the 10 years from 1997 to 2006 inclusive, 170 articles based on qualitative methods were published (about 16 per cent of the total published) in the three journals that focus exclusively on the B2B realm: Industrial Marketing Management (IMM), Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing (JBBM) and Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing (JBIM). Of those articles, 145 (85 per cent) used single or multiple case studies as the research method (Piekkari et al. 2010). Currently approximately 20 per cent of the articles published in IMM and JBIM, totaling about 30 articles per year, use qualitative research methods; again, predominantly...
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