Qualitative marketing research: theory and practice
An assessment of qualitative market research is prcvided in which it is proposed that the analytic form of qualitative research is the most scientifically valid and practically useful. Analytic qualitative research is "aided introspection," which is a unique analyst's product of data 1 (consumers' phenomenological reports) and data 2 (the analyst's inferences), resulting in a mini-theory of action in the behavioral domain of interest. The validity of the mini-theory, and thus of the analytic qualitative research, is purely predictive validity via a field experiment (such as a new product test or the running of a new advertising campaign). Compared with quantitative market research, analytic qualitative research has to accomplish much more and therefore is much more difficult. The analyst has to (1) discover the relevant variables in the minitheory, (2) decide what the causal relationships are between the variables, and (3) infer consumers' scores on these variables - thereby engaging in measurement. In quantitative research (suNeyS or experiments) the first two steps are predecided and the researcher only has to carry out the last step of measurement. The assessment concludes by discussing the limited teachability of analytic qualitative research and positions it as primarily a practitioner science.