[INTRO SFX][Researching Consumer Identity Using Qualitative MethodsPart 2]
SAMREEN ASHRAF: Hi, this is Samreen Ashraf.I'm a Senior Lecturer in Marketingat Bournemouth University.I've just submitted my PhD thesis,and I hope that my PhD journey will be helpful for you as wellto hear.So my research areas are consumer identities,consumer behavior, religion, culture, social media.But identity is more in the context of financial services
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and banking in particular.So in the last video, you have seenthe kind of more theoretical considerationsthat you have to take while conducting research.We have spoken about why it's important to havea good research question, we spoke about consumer identityas a topic, and who are the main contributors in the topicif you are studying that topic.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: We have also spoken about the importance of conductinga good, rigorous literature review,and also then how that can lead to selecta good method for your data collection for your thesis.So this was all we've discussed in the previous video.This video, we will talk more about what happens next.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: So up until this point, you have your research question,you know what you're doing.Second thing, you have done your literature review.Then you have also realized, or you have already selectedthe context of your study.And then on the basis of all these thingsyou have decided upon a research method,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you know you're doing either a qualitative or quantitativemode of inquiry.Now where to go next?And this is what we're going to talk about in this video.Here quite a few things are very important to remember for you.First of all, all of these thingswhich we have discussed so far are interconnected.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: So the things we have discussed in the previous video,and as I just explained earlier as well,those things have led us up until to this point.And similarly, the research methodshave led us to decide on what kind of sampling techniquesyou're going to use.Now you can't have quantitative methodand then you decide to use purposeful sampling
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: for example, or convenience sampling.That would look too wrong, and bad as well, for your research.So it's very important for you to see how each link,how each of these parts of your research are aligned together.And they should align.So for example for my research, it was qualitative research.I had a few options to do my sampling.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: For example, I had snowball sampling,or a purposeful sampling.Whereas if you're doing quantitative research,you would rather go through a systematic sampling,or a random sampling, or a cluster sampling.And so on and so forth.Again, depending on your research questions and whatyou're after to find out.In my case, it was more about purposeful along with snowball.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Now why?Why did I use these two methods of sampling?When you want to interview people, first of all,it's not easy to recruit your participants.And there are various reasons for that.People don't want to share their life stories with you,they feel insecure, also the confidentiality
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: matters a lot as well.And on top of it, if your topic is somewhere sensitive,which was the case for my research,it makes it even more harder.So if you look at my topic, it's consumer identitiesin relation to banking.And it's not any banking, Islamic bankingversus non-Islamic banking.So it brings in the element of religion.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And if you read more about religion,you would realize that people are notreally open to talk about their religious beliefsor their religious practices.And it's too of a personal question for them.Similarly, when it comes to financial matters,equally people do not want to talk about the money matters.And that's the same thing I heard when I wastrying to reach out to people.The first thing I would hear is that, why
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: would I tell you about my bank?Because the first question in people's head was,oh, she's going to ask us about money or our financial choicesin that respect.Second thing I heard was, oh it's religion, no.It's my personal matter, why should I disclose it to you?So it's very important for the researcher,then, to be understanding and empathetic
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: towards their participants.And therefore what I did, I used a combinationof purposeful sampling along with snowball sampling.And the reason was because I had a certain criteria attachedto my participants selection, and I couldn't reallyrecruit anybody.And considering my thesis topic, so Iwanted people who had their own bank accounts so that Ican ask them about their bank choices and the reasons
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: why they're choosing one bank over the other.Second being was that I needed my participantsto be educated at degree levels so that theycould understand my questions.So these were the few criteria attachedto my participant selection.So when I, initially, when I interviewed 15 or 20 people,I then asked my participants if theywould be able to put me in touch with any of their colleagues,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: friends, family members so that I could interview them.And the benefit I had in the whole processwas that since I have conducted these interviewswith these participants, we have kind of built that rapportand relationship with each other,a trustworthy relationship.My participants knew that I'm notgoing to ask them anything confidential,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: or I'm not asking them any controversial questions.So they had that kind of trust in me,therefore they were happy to recommend more peoplefrom each interview.So when it comes to sampling, we have to really considerall these things and also the kind of questionsyou are going to ask them.Don't try to make them uncomfortable,especially when it comes to interview.So sampling does play a very significant role
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: when it comes to conducting good research.And also when it comes to gettinggood data collection done.And the good data you have, then that also of coursehelps you to address your research objectivesmore smoothly.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: It's so, so important to conduct a pilot studybecause it's pretty much a trial run.In fact, many authors you would study--and when you're doing your research,you would read that as well--many authors call pilot study a trial run of your actual datacollection.And the reason being because if you go in your data collection
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: without conducting any pilot, youwon't to know what to expect, youwon't know what may go wrong, and youwon't be able to improve on any of the process.Because you have done well so farin terms of your literature reviewand designing a really good sound research question and soon and so forth, and at the point of conducting a data
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: collection, it becomes really crucialthat you do collect your data in a really sound manner whichwould help you to conduct good research.So when I did my pilot study, it helped me immensely.From my interview questions to my interview style
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: to the questions I should perhaps notask my participants, the questionsI should refrain from asking them.It also really helps you especially whenit comes to interviews, because it also helps you to understandyour own interviewing style.Because as an interviewer, you haveto be a really good listener.And no matter if there's a silence,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you have to wait for the participants.And when you read about how would you do your research,you would see that they say silences reallygives you the best answers.Because silences are of course awkward, we all agree on that.But when you give your participants some timeto think and ponder and reflect upon a question,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you get the best answers.And you can only learn that through pilot study.So when I did my pilot study, initially the things I learnedwas how to improve my interview style, howto take my participants back to my question,because people have a tendency to movefrom one point to the other very quickly.And some people are really more interested to talk
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: about their lives and their experiences,whereas others are not that talkative.So you really have to manage a good balancebetween the ones who are really out there and want to talk,and the ones who are kind of shy and don't want to talk much.So you need to learn how to make the people who are notthat talkative speak, and how to takewhat you want from the most talkative participants.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: So that's one thing.Second thing which is very importantis to design your interview questions.And you would not know if interview questions are sound,feasible until you want to run your pilot study.That's second thing.Third thing is also about when you're goingto schedule your interviews.When you're going to do a pilot study
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you would of course schedule your interviewswith your participants.And if they are on time, if they havechanged a date, any things, the placeyou're going to interview.All of these things you would learn,and you would apply the same knowledgewhen you're going to collect your final data.Also, qualitative is a reiterative process.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Nothing is set in stone.Even your research question is not.You have your research question, yes, but youwould keep on revisiting it after you do your lit review,after method, after data collection, somethingyour participant said.So that's also very important, and that'sa reiterative of process where youwould keep on revisiting it.And the pilot study also helps you in doing that.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And finally, why pilot study is alsovery important is for you to understand which directionyour research is taking.And which questions are giving you more in-depth answersand which questions are not reallymaking much sense for you.And keep a diary, keep your notes.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: I used to keep an idea diary with meall the time, because you always get clues and ideaswhen people speak.And keep a note in that.And you would also learn that in your pilot study when you'reinterviewing people, you would keep on taking your notesand that would also give you good practice,and you can use that in your final data collection.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Whenever it comes to field work, although it'sthe most interesting bit of my PhD journey, but fieldworkhas its challenges.Because as I said in the beginning,things happen which you haven't eventhought about at least once.And when I did my data collection,initially the challenge, the major problemor the major challenge was recruiting participants.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: That was really hard to do because peoplewere kind of apprehensive initially,and they didn't want to talk about all the thingswhich I have mentioned earlier.So that was one thing.Secondly, the challenge was how longthese interviews should be.And you may think it can't be a challenge,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: but imagine if somebody you speak to speaks for two hours,and somebody you speak to speaks for 15 minutes.And I remember sitting with this one participant,interviewing him, and he won't really say much.So I would ask him a question and he would give mea very short, brief answer.And I would just think, what should I do now?And this was after of course the pilot study,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: so it was doing my actual data collection.And I was just thinking, what should I do to help him speak?But then, in some cases, you can't really do much.So what then you do, you try to just pick outthings which are the most relevant or which are the mostsignificant to your research.So that's also one thing.Also you have to be really very careful if you're
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: going out and interviewing peopleat their suggested places.So there's a massive risk implication,and you have to make sure that you do follow risk assessmentprocesses, whatever are outlined in your universityor your organization.And that's really, really very important.You can't just go anywhere without taking external factors
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: into consideration.That's very important.Also when it comes to interviews, as I said earlier,the advantages of conducting a pilot studyis that you have to really learn about how you're going to it.Because when I did my first interview for my pilot studyin fact, I thought, you know what?Yeah, I know how to interview, it's OK.But it was really hard, considering the factthat you have to listen to people.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And also, you have to be tolerant of the factthat they are not really giving you the answer you want.Or they're not really addressing the questionyou have asked them.So that's, I think, really very important as well.I had interviewed 40 people.And I have the tapes of--I mean, each interview lasted 75 minutes on average.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And it's a lot, there's so much of data now.And once I was conducting my interviews,I was probing them and I was asking them more questions,and because it was an interesting process peopleare opening up about themselves and opening upabout their lives and their experiences.But once I finished my data collection,then I had to work with all the data.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: That was quite a task to do.Also one thing I can't really focus enough onis that keep a journal, a diary, a copy, notebook,whatever you want to call it, your laptop,anything with you all the time, when you'redoing your data collection.Take notes, because of course youwill be recording your interviews,you would be audio recording or video recording
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: depending on the arrangements you havehad with your participants.But make sure that you take notes whenyou're interviewing people.Because these things come to your mind and thenthey go, vanish, very easily as well.And if you have kept notes of every idea, every thought whichhave come to your mind during that process,that would really help you later on in analyzing the data as
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: well.So few things, please remember that.It becomes really crucial for any kind of researchwhere you're involving human participants.Ethics becomes very, very, very important.And again, it depends on the institution
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: or the organization, university youare working, because every organization havetheir own processes laid out for their researchers to follow.But there are some generic criteriawhich one has to follow.So for example, informed consent.And what does that mean?That you need to have that informed consent form
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: signed from your participants beforehand.And what does that form include?It includes that they are giving youtheir consent to record them, and anything reallywhich you have kind of agreed with themand whatever your reasons are with them.So in my case what I did before conducting my interviews,once I knew my participants and once I knew the people I'm
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: going to interview, I sent them a participant information sheetand a participant consent form.Now what it does and how it reallyhelped me, the participant information sheet,it had five to seven questions.And it talked about what kind of research is it.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Why I'm doing this research.What kind of questions might be asked to the participants.Of course, not the whole list of questions,but what kind of questions.It also includes the details of me, my email address, and alsodetails of my research supervisor.So if there's anything which participants are not reallysure about, or they want to have some more knowledge,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: or they want to have some more information later on,they can get in touch with my research supervisor.And similarly, the consent form alsohas a few boxes that for them to take and signso that they read it thoroughly and they completed it as well.So when we started the data collection process
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and when we started the interview,they knew what they're getting into.So a few things to consider, also anonymity of the data.It's very important, because peopledon't want to really be out there and be in the publicand just tell everybody what they've said.I mean some people are OK with it,but not everybody is, so as a researcher
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: it's our responsibility then to make sure the data whichwe are collecting from our participants remains anonymous.And that's another clause which we kind ofagree with the participants in advance,that whatever information they're providing usin any capacity, that would not be leaked to any third person.Yes, equally, you would use it in your publications,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you would use it in your PhD, and you would use itin your research tasks.But you would use pseudonyms for them.You would never use the actual names, their jobs,where they work, or anything.Anything to which you can trace your participants,you would never use that.So that's also important.And then another important ethical consideration
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: is your relationship with your participants, the researcherand participant relationship.Because there has to be trust.There has to be trust between the person who is interviewingand the person who's is being interviewed.Because we have to appreciate and respect the factthat people are opening up about their lives to us.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: For example, in my case, I'd ask questionsabout their religious beliefs, about their families,about their bank choices, about their careers.Because when you think about identity,it comes pretty much everything within that realm of identity,and you can't really exclude all these different factors.And this is why it makes it such an interesting research.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Because it's a totality, it bringsin all the different facets of our lives in one topic.So I had to be really very carefulthat when I'm conducting my research,I do not really give the impression to anyof my participants that their views are not valued,or their views are not respected.No matter if I agree with them or not.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And that's where the relationshipbetween interviewer and intervieweeplays a massive role, because we have to respect their views.They can have very different views from ours,but then that's the whole idea behind it,that you're interviewing people.You're trying to know their views,you're trying to understand their perspective
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: from their views as well, but you're not judging them.And that's really very important as well as a researcher,to have that kind of respectful relationship between youand your participants.It all comes down to this one point, data analysis.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Because disconnecting back to everythingwhat I've discussed so far, from your research questions,to your lit review, to your methods, to your sampling,and considering ethics and everything else,this is the point where you're going to get the results onlyand only if you have done the previous process
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: in the right way.And this is a point for which we have worked so far,from point A up until here.So it's very crucial that we spend enough timeto understand, to apply, and to select the right data analysisapproach.Because now, in my case, I've struggled on this a bit.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Because initially, if you look at the wayqualitative data has been analyzed,there are various many methods to analyze it.You can use content analysis, you can use template analysis,you can use thematic analysis, and so on and so forth.So my data was pretty much tellingme to do a thematic analysis, and I decided to do that.I've never done that ever before in my life
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and it's quite abstract in nature.So I started doing thematic analysis,and what a thematic analysis means,it means that you have your pages and pages of transcriptslined there for you.You need to make sense of it.Yeah, that's right, I know.It sounds, I mean how would you make sense of it?
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And that's where the true challenge lies,how are you going to make sense of these hoursand hours of recordings?And how are you going to identifywhat you need to identify?Which would really link back to your objectivesand your research question.So I started doing it manually.I used color markers to highlight similar patternsin my transcripts.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: I used doing numbering, line numbering feature, on MS Word.But it was just not happening.And I kept on losing track of it for so many times,and I realized that the main challengeof qualitative research is, within analysis, is reallydepositing your transcript in a secure way where you can access
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: it just with a click of it.Or maybe perhaps right now, these daysyou're so used to technology, that wefind it kind of easier than when itcomes to doing it all on paper.So the paper thing didn't work for me,although I know it worked for some of my friends,but it didn't work for me.So what I did then, I decided to use NVivo.Now that is a computer-based qualitative analysis software,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and the basic advantage of using a software like thatis that it's a really good repository of your data.Now many people get it wrong.They think that the software would do the analysis for you.For example, what SPSS does for you,you would put all your data in, and then itwould just tell you the significant numbervia doing correlation, aggregation,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and so on and so forth.But here, you still have to do analysis yourself.It only assists you to deposit all your data in it,and it has various many functions.For example, you can use codes and youcan code your data according to what you think your coding is.For example, there's a code function where
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: you can put a description.So anything where people spoke about their parent's happiness,my code name was "Parents' Happiness" and the descriptionI said I'm putting everything related to parents' happinessin this code.So every single time I would put a quotation on my participant'sinterview, I would put into that,I would know what I'm putting it under for.So that was the way or kind of logistics I followed.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And how did I do my thematic analysis?I used Braune and Clarke, 2005.This is a really good article where Braune and Clarke haspretty much described or laid out howto do a thematic analysis.It's a six-step process.Starts with you have to familiarize yourselfwith the data, which you do it if you're conductingyour interviews yourself, and you further on
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: do it when you transcribe your data yourself.Later on, it asks you to refine your data.And you keep on defining up until the point whereyou reach to your final themes.And so initially, you have familiarized yourselfwith the data, then you group similar patterns together.And just keep on grouping them together
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: unless you find the theme you're looking for.And it doesn't end there.Once you identify the themes, then youhave to write a report.This is where the massive challenge lies.That now you have to make sense of what you found,and how does that link to the literatureyou have discussed earlier?So it's really a nice story of your research.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Where you started from, what you found,and what does that really mean?And what does that really mean is the part wheremost of the people struggle.And this is where you need to invest more time and energyand effort as well, to understandhow you're going to discuss the findings of your research.How you're going to discuss them in relation to the literatureyou've already explored and discussed
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: in your second chapter.So when it comes to data analysis,few things to remember here.First of all, what kind of analysis methodyou're going to use.Secondly, how are you going to do it, logistics of it.Software, manual.But whatever you decide, make sure that youdo know why you're deciding it, and that you havethe skills to do it as well.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: If not, please seek help.Very important.And finally, whatever you have found,how that is going to be linked to your research,how that could help you to address your objectives,and how it would fit in in this jigsaw puzzle, whichyour research is so far.Because so far, you have everythingbut what you've found.And this is fitting it in it, and if it's not
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: really well-fitted, that would be a problem for your research.So very important, very significant partof your research, data analysis.Which would help you to address your research objectiveand also help you, then, to find your contributionand what you are going to contribute to the existing
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: knowledge.And this is where your research completes.Where you can tell the reader what was out there already,what you have done, and how are yougoing to contribute to the existing knowledge.Very briefly.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: First of all, I would have startedmaking notes everything I would have read.And I think that's what I said while I was talkingabout literature review.You guys, do make notes.Don't think that oh, it's only one small articleand I can just read it.It's good to read it, absolutely perfect, read it.But what happens is when we read so many articles,and when it comes to writing, we struggle
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: to remember who said what.Because there's a really nice point you remember, and youthink that it really fits in well in this argument,but when it comes to reference that point,you don't know which author had that had that pointand that article.So very important to make notes when you're conductingyour literature review.Spend time, give time in designing your research
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: questions, because that would really help you in setting youup in the right direction.When it comes to your method, make surethat you select the method depending on the researchobjectives which you have set up.Data analysis, again, try to learn the skills.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And also, give it enough time.What happens sometimes when we are allocatingtime for the project, we try to be all-efficient sometimes.I mean, I have been that when I was doing a PhD.I was just thinking, oh you know what,yeah I can do it in a week.That would always take me longer than whatI'd intended to, because the research is like that.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: It doesn't really happen in that limited time.So always give yourself that extra window of time,and always tell yourself that it's OKif I'm taking two more days.Because at the end of the day, the quality of the researchis something which really matters a lot.Also if you're doing qualitative research,I would strongly recommend you use a software.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: Not necessarily NVivo, I know there are other softwares aswell available.Use any software, just as a repository of your data.Because you would really be pleasedonce you use it, because everythingis just a click away.And you don't have to fiddle through all your papers,and then all your notes, all your colors.And it's all quick and easily accessible as well.
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: And just be patient, really.Of course you work really hard when you're conductingany kind of research.But you have to be patient, and youhave to remember that it is kind of a roller coaster.You would have great days and thenyou would have some down days as well.And it's OK, because this is how it proceeds.It's a journey.So you have to take it all in and be patient with yourself,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: and be kind to yourself as well.Very important to remember.OK, so we have come to the end of this video series.And in this video series, I have spoken about my researchjourney, my research topic.So initially this started with selecting your research
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: topic, your motivation behind selecting a research topic.In my case it was consumer identity.Then I spoke about designing research questions,and the importance of designing sound, rigorous researchquestions and how it can really lead youin the right direction.Then we moved onto the research context,and it could be any context from industry to a country,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: depending on the topic you have chosen.That then led us to select a research method for your study.Which is, again, very important, because the research methodis a stepping stone towards findingthe answers of your questions that youhave developed initially.So every step is equally important,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: because all of these steps are stepping stonesfor the next stage in your research.And all of them build together in orderfor you to reach the final stage.So after selecting the right method the question was,I know I am going to select qualitative method,but how I'm going to speak to my participants,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: how I'm going to select my participants?And that was done in sampling sections, which you have justseen in this video.Later on I spoke about how to do interviews.Why should we conduct a pilot study,and what are the benefits of conducting a pilot study?What can be a good interview, and what are the skillsto be a good interviewer, and what
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: can really help you to conduct good interviewsfor your research.And finally we spoke about research ethics,and how it's important to have a trustworthy relationshipwith your participants and respect them.And also about anonymity, informed consent,and their voluntary participation.And we ended up on talking about how we
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: are going to analyze our data.Very important, very crucial.Once you follow the whole processyou'll be able to finish your research journey,hopefully in a smooth and nice journey.And I really hope that you enjoy your research processand I really hope this video has helped you a lot as well.We'll also put some links on the screen,
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: which you will find useful.For example regarding interviews, regardingidentities, the major contributions in the field,and also on your data analysis.And I hope that this video you find helpful.I wish you all the best in your research journey.Thank you.Take care.[FURTHER READING]
SAMREEN ASHRAF [continued]: [OUTRO SFX]
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Publication Year: 2021
Video Type:Video Case
Keywords: anonymity; consumer culture; ethical considerations; fieldwork; identity theories; in-depth interviews; informed consent; interview guide; interview schedule; interview techniques; multiple identities; notetaking; participation (research); pilot studies; qualitative data analysis; qualitative data collection; qualitative interview; qualitative research methods; recruitment; recruitment sources; research design; research questions; Sampling techniques; Sensitive topics; Snowball sampling; Software; thematic analysis; trust and credibility ... Show More
Segment Num.: 1
Samreen Ashraf, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Bournemouth University, discusses her research on consumer identity using qualitative methods, including participant recruitment, use of a pilot study, data collection and analysis, and ethical considerations.
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Samreen Ashraf, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Bournemouth University, discusses her research on consumer identity using qualitative methods, including participant recruitment, use of a pilot study, data collection and analysis, and ethical considerations.