Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies

By Jenny Phillimore; Lisa Goodson | Go to book overview

14

The life and work history methodology

A discussion of its potential use for tourism and hospitality research
Adele Ladkin
Aims of the chapter
To provide an overview of life history analysis.
To examine the historical development of the life history method.
To outline the appeal of and the criticisms of the life history method.
To explore work history analysis and its relevance to the labour market.
To examine the life and work history methodology applied to tourism and hospitality research.
To draw conclusions regarding the implications for tourism research and knowledge.

Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the life and work history methodology, and to discuss its potential use in tourism and hospitality research. The intention is both to discuss the historical developments of the methodology and, using a selection of qualitative findings, to illustrate both the current application and the potential use of this type of research. Life and work histories are a distinct methodology in the sense that they are concerned with a particular branch of activity - in this case, all historical aspects of an individual's life. The methods used to collect life and work history information are varied, and comprise both quantitative and qualitative techniques.

Despite the well-documented usage of both the life and the work history methodology for a range of different applications (Dex 1991:1), as with many of the less well established research methods, the use of the methodology is at the infancy stage in relation to tourism and hospitality research. As a consequence, this chapter contains a degree of speculation on the future applicability of the methodology for tourism research. Fur-

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