Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies

By Jenny Phillimore; Lisa Goodson | Go to book overview

Foreword

This is a compelling book, to be read and thoughtfully considered by every serious researcher involved in tourism at the planning and management level.

The linguist Wick Miller once observed that no one has ever written an ethnography of academia - their goals, their methods and their behaviours. This unique volume might be the catalyst to prompt such a study. Dating to Aristotle, scholars in every discipline have diligently sought 'the truth' but their philosophies and products have varied according to the dictates of the individual field of study.

The global importance of tourism has generated the need for answers to problems such as economic development, social impact, stakeholder conflicts, environmental degradation and political control. These questions all seek 'the truth' but the orientation is different. The business world wants to know 'who, what, when and where' for that is their 'bottom line'. Their approach is essentially quantitative, and statistically oriented for forecasting. By contrast, researchers involved in heritage, habitat and history quest for 'why': what roles did or do these elements play in human society and its survival? To what degree have they changed, and how should they be interpreted now? What is appropriate authenticity?

As the editors point out, a resurgent interest in the qualitative methodology as it applies to the study of tourism surfaced a little over a decade ago but lacked a substantive base. Here, in this first-of-a-kind compendium, a body of recognised scholars have outlined diverse research techniques and illustrated them with case studies. Culture, as a set of human survival customs, may be a collective noun but the behaviours of individuals operating within their respective ethnic bonds can seldom be ranked on a scale of 1 to 10.

The phenomenal growth of tourism in the past five decades has dramatically changed global lifestyles to include tourism, and the impetus for still greater growth is rooted in globalisation and the expanding economies of Asia. We in the West have much to learn about these future 'new' tourists who will have discretionary income, leisure time, and even government

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