Reality Check: Re-establishing context at the heart of intelligent research

Bob Cook and Jessica Salmon
Firefish, UK


Behavioural economics continues to gain popularity and importance on both the client and practitioner side of the market research equation. In doing so, it introduces a new paradigm for market research to exist in. For some this is a dark world where the credibility of the industry and its work comes under question, as the traditional mainstay qualitative methodologies struggle to cope with the need to understand the instinctive, non-rational forces that really guide our behaviour. For others, it provides an exciting opportunity to develop new working practices and analytical models to harness the benefit of applying behavioural economic principles to client issues.

This paper highlights how this change in the research environment has created a greater need than ever to consider relevant context throughout the research process – from project planning right through to analysis and reporting. It argues that common 'traditional' market research practice evolved as much to bring convenience as it has to bring ever better answers to client briefs.