Doing Research Projects in Marketing, Management and Consumer Research

By Chris Hackley | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

Major themes and concepts of interpretive research

Chapter outline

The interpretive research stance was introduced at the beginning of the book. The subsequent chapters offered practical suggestions for developing and writing a research project. Now it is time to discuss general interpretive research concepts and themes in more detail prior to developing specific interpretive research analytical perspectives.

Chapter objectivesAfter reading this chapter students will be able to
• appreciate what is meant by the 'interconnectedness' of interpretive traditions as part of the unity of social scientific research
• understand more of the technical vocabulary of interpretive social research
• understand better the role theoretical perspective plays in framing a research project

Philosophy of social science and the interpretive stance

Social science attempts to understand aspects of the social world in terms of broader theoretical schemes, and interpretive traditions have their role to play in this endeavour. Writing in the Journal of Consumer Research in 1988, Holbrook and O'Shaughnessy agree that 'all knowledge and all science depends on interpretation' (p. 398). Foxall (1995) has expressed a similar view in pointing out that no single model of science can capture the interrelation of different assumptions that act together in scientific research (p. 8). In its broadest sense 'science' refers to the search for a kind of knowledge that can be made public. However flawed our attempts, if we

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