By Mike Imms, Gill Ereaut
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A knowledge perspective: Here we consider the broad organisational need for ‘knowledge’ – and the type of knowledge that qualitative market research represents. In this we have used frameworks provided by the discipline of Knowledge Management to underpin our discussion. • A perspective from organisational cultures: We need to recognise that part of the appeal of qualitative market research is that it meets the needs of certain types of organisational cultures and the way some organisations make decisions.
Relies on principles of statistics and positivist scientific method for its authority. • Qualitative: understanding, meaning and context – focusing on questions of ‘why’ through creating a holistic understanding of the subject’s viewpoint. Relies on quite different sources of authority such as interpretivist, phenomenological or cultural models. It must be stressed here that, at the extremes, certain organisational questions clearly need a qualitative or quantitative approach. For example, it is hard to imagine a reason for trying to collect retail audit data (what was bought, from where and when) qualitatively – it would simply be less accurate and less meaningful.
Each qualitative market research project is a ‘contract’ – and once contracted, the practitioner has limited autonomy over such factors as the scale and nature of the enquiry, timing and fees. Similarly, the scope of the project is specified by the client. • A key characteristic of commercial qualitative market research is that it has been largely ‘systematised’ into a unit of service that can be bought and sold. This unit of service tends to be a unit of fieldwork (groups and depths). ) designed to facilitate interviewbased fieldwork.