chapter  4
Qualitative Research for Consumer Psychology 1
WithDipankar Chakravarti, Rowena Crabbe
Pages 32

In this paper, we make the case that qualitative approaches have a parallel, stand-alone, legitimate scientific position in the methods toolkit that consumer psychologists use to interpret and understand events, actions, and objects that comprise consumers’ subjective experiences. These qualitative methods reveal what is plausible about people’s mindsets and motivations as opposed to a focus on quantitative cataloguing of prevalence. We advocate the value of examining the phenomenology of consumption by expanding and linking observations, moving inductively and iteratively toward a holistic theory grounded in subjective experience. Although such calls are by no means new in psychology, the conceptual and empirical tenets of contemporary qualitative methods are documented more richly today than ever before, both in the social sciences generally (e.g., Denzin & Lincoln, 2018; Taylor, Bogdan, & DeVault, 2016) and for psychology particularly (Willig & Stainton Rogers, 2017). We hope that this overview of the foundations and core methods will serve as a high-level road map for researchers planning to investigate the psychology of consumption using qualitative and interpretive methods in stand-alone formats, and in mixed or pluralistic modes of inquiry.