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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Kathryn Korostoff

I also use a chart to map research methods (old/new, off and online), but I use 2 different axes: "Immediacy" and "suitability for extrapolation". Immediacy is about how long it takes to conduct research with the methodology in question: Can you get data "NOW" or will it more realistically take weeks? "Extrapolation"...well that is obvious, but is still important. I think folks sometimes need a reminder that both are important but often trade-off's need to be made.

Ray Poynter

@Diane, I will post on this topic, but as a simplification post-postivism is usually similar to quant research, constructionism is usually similar to qual. The nuances are what I will post about shortly.

@ubu.roi, A lot of this comes down to what we mean by New. Most new things have been around for a while, but they are new when they take off or when they challenge existing paradigms.

A good example of the ambiguity of new is given by the SLR camera. The first patent for an SLR camera was in 1861, the first production began in 1884, but it was not until the 1950s that this New type of camera was widely adopted by leading edge buyers and not until the 1960s that it was truly common, throughout the 1950s and 1960s the SLR camera was New, because it was changing the world and reaching people for the first time.

Online access panels have shifted the market research consensus from random probability sampling to convenience sampling. Outside the US, panels were not used for most quant research until about ten years ago (new in my book), and the wide awareness and agreement that the random sampling model was dead in the developed markets has happened over the last six months.

Ethnography was barely visible until video-ethnography created a new lease of life. Netnography is clearly new, dating back to the mid-1990s and is beset with unsolved ethical and practical dilemmas.

Participatory research (with the exception of projects such as mass observation) was a niche until mobile phones, online, and web-cams made it possible for large, quick, inexpensive projects to be conducted.

Not all new research is online research, and not all online research is new. But, in the developed markets almost all of the new research approaches are able to use either mobiles or online and are often dependent on online.

The contrast with telephone is interesting. In most of Europe telephone never became a default method, in Europe face-to-face has always been larger than telephone. It was never accepted as being sufficiently representative or sensitive. So, most European research using CATI was described as CATI research.


How come all these are new? Ethnography isn't new, data mining isn't new, participatory research isn't new, panels aren't new. Maybe prediction markets are, for all I know.

But it all seems to me like "new" just means "online".

And have you ever thought about this whole online/offline dichotomy that seems to describe the separation of two parralel universes, where everything that isn't on the internet is offline (or "IRL")? Why didn't we ever call telephone research - or merely speaking on the phone for that matter - something like "going on air", and then speak about "onair" and "offair" research?

Does that make sense?

Diane Hessan

Ray, can you please define "post-positivist" and "constructionist"? :)

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