What women want – Exploring quantitative patterns underlying qualitative stories

Annelies Jansen and Wieke van der Borg
Ferro, Netherlands


There have been many claims regarding integrating qualitative and quantitative data. In this paper we present a completely new approach to the fusion of qualitative and quantitative data analysis: narrative research in which storytelling and exploring quantitative patterns in complex human data are combined.

The method of narrative and complexity research was originally developed in the context of business (Kurtz and Snowden, 2003). Although this research theory is grounded in contextual exploration in areas of knowledge management and business dynamics, it can be applied to many other fields. Based on theory developed by Snowden (founder of Cognitive Edge, 2005, www.cognitive-edge.com) narrative research has been introduced as a new explorative method that offers a refreshing, different way to shed light on marketing issues – not by testing hypothesized assumptions, but by exploring the actual force field in an open, undirected way; not by asking questions, but by collecting naturally occurring stories – a process in which intervention by the researcher is kept to a minimum.