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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing

Edited by Russell W. Belk

The Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing offers both basic and advanced treatments intended to serve academics, students, and marketing research professionals. The 42 chapters begin with a history of qualitative methods in marketing by Sidney Levy and continue with detailed discussions of current thought and practice in: research paradigms such as grounded theory and semiotics; research contexts such as advertising and brands; data collection methods such as projectives and netnography; data analysis methods such as metaphoric and visual analyses; presentation topics such as videography and reflexivity; applications such as ZMET applied to Broadway plays and depth interviews with executives; and special issues such as multi-sited ethnography and research on sensitive topics.
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Chapter 24: Framing the Research and Avoiding Harm: Representing the Vulnerability of Consumers

Stacey Menzel Baker and James W. Gentry


Stacey Menzel Baker and James W. Gentry Researchers who work with qualitative data, like photographers, are instruments of data collection and at the center of the interpretive process (Patton, 1990). When a photographer prepares to take a picture, he/she examines the context through the camera’s viewfinder and focuses on the subject so that the context does not overwhelm the desired theme of the photograph. If the picture is to document and preserve the story, the focal subject must be illuminated and viewers must regard the picture as a credible representation of the central theme. Similarly the way a researcher focuses on and experiences data has a profound impact on the story the data tell and the meaning readers derive from that story. Like a photograph, documentary film or slice-of-life painting, the interpretation presented in the write-up of a contextual inquiry represents the perspective and creativity of the researcher who follows the conventions of the research paradigm or perspective within which he/she is working. Thus the researcher’s bias limits data analysis and interpretation, as do the biases inherent in the audience to whom the story is presented (Joy, 1991; Sherry, 1991; Stern, 1998a). Specifically, a bias is a predisposition or preconceived notion about the way that research should be framed in terms of theory, paradigm, method or perspective. If a researcher’s bias is recognized by readers, it may weigh heavily on the readers’ willingness to accept research findings. If a researcher’s bias is not recognized by readers, it may...

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