Online Action Research: How Interventions Can Be Understood Through Participant Storytelling

Josephine Hansom

INTRODUCTION

People more often than not take part in market research due to their desire to help. Such respondents view their participation as an altruistic exchange, sharing personal thoughts and experiences1) with the research team in order to improve a product or a service. This can be seen clearly in social/public opinion research, whereby the topics discussed provoke an emotional response as the topics have more resonance with participants, e.g. discussing the government’s position on child maintenance, the provision of healthcare treatment or how best to tackle anti-social behaviour.

This suggests that market research is seen by participants as an opportunity to disclose their experiences and attitudes to an understanding audience who can speak their language; a language that is often too opaque or lacking in context for clients. This positions market research as an information gatekeeper, a translator, and communicator for clients; and a middleman through which to gain access to the lives of everyday people.