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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 38: Doing Research on Sensitive Topics: Studying Covered Turkish Women

Güliz Ger and Özlem Sandikci


Güliz Ger and Özlem Sandikci Scholars studying sensitive topics encounter various challenges at different stages of the research. Although any topic can be perceived as sensitive, areas where the potential of physical and/or emotional threat to the researcher and the researched is substantial are generally regarded as highly sensitive. These include, for example, studies on terminal illnesses, death and dying (e.g., Alty and Rodham, 1998; Cannon, 1989; Johnson and Plant, 1996), deviant and criminal behavior (Bergen, 1993; Braithwaite, 1985; Herzberger, 1993) and political and interest groups (Brewer, 1990; Hoffman, 1980; Punch, 1989). Despite the fact that many of the topics that are addressed by the marketing scholars, such as the homeless (Hill and Stamey, 1990; Hill, 1991), aids (Raghubir and Menon, 1998), breast cancer (Pavia and Mason, 2004) and subcultures (Schouten and McAlexander, 1995; Kates, 2004) are all potentially sensitive, there is little guidance on how to conduct research on sensitive topics (Hill, 1995). The purpose of this chapter is to discuss potential dilemmas that marketing researchers might encounter while studying sensitive topics and to present possible solutions. However we should stress that our discussion draws from our personal experiences and does not claim to encompass all possible complexities experienced during different phases of research. Specifically, we talk about the problems we faced while we were studying the consumption practices of covered women in Turkey. We believe that the study of covered women provides a good case to trace how methodological, ethical and political problems...

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