Doing Research Projects in Marketing, Management and Consumer Research

By Chris Hackley | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Gathering qualitative data for interpretation

Chapter outline

This chapter offers practical advice on a range of qualitative data-gathering techniques. Since analytical standpoints are often implied in particular data-gathering methods, the chapter also begins to introduce some of the themes of research theory that will preoccupy much of the rest of the book. Indeed, data-collection methods are intrinsically theoretical in that they carry assumptions about what qualifies as 'good' data and also about how that data might be 'read' and understood.

Chapter objectivesAfter reading this chapter students will be able to
• use various differing techniques of data gathering
• understand some of the theoretical implications that are associated with particular data-gathering techniques
• appreciate some of the major difficulties of data gathering
• understand the influence of the researcher in qualitative data gathering and interpretation

Introduction: interpretation, data and theory

As was mentioned in the previous chapter, in many cases student research projects do not need to gather primary empirical data. The rules of many university business schools allow that a research report based entirely on secondary sources (a 'conceptual' project) is legitimate. However, there are few projects that are entirely empirical or conceptual. Most combine elements of each. It is important also to note that whatever the sources of the research project, all research entails interpretation. When the student researcher is interpreting the literature or other secondary sources such as

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