Analysing Blogs in Market Research

Analysing Blogs in Market Research

Leng Ho Keat (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6371-8.ch008
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There are many research methods available to market researchers. The most common methods are the use of survey questionnaires and interviews. However, these methods are dependent on respondents' ability to recall their experiences accurately. The use of diaries in market research has been argued to be a more valid research method. Respondents record their experiences almost immediately after an event, and the data is thus subjected to less distortion. In addition, diaries generate a regular stream of undirected data in chronological order, which allows for deeper insights into consumption patterns and changes in attitudes or behaviours. More recently, the development of blogs or electronic diaries opens new possibilities for researchers interested in the use of diaries as a research method. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use of blogs as a market research tool. The chapter first reviews the arguments for using blogs in market research. This is followed by an examination of two case studies using blogs in market research and a discussion on how blogs can be used effectively in such studies.
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Using Blogs In Research

Questionnaires and in-depth interviews are commonly used in market research. These methods are used variously to collect information on customer profile, attitudes, behaviours and other variables of interest to marketers. However, such methods are dependent on the memory of respondents and unfortunately, respondents are unable to recall their experiences accurately all the time. More importantly, it has been shown that memories can be easily distorted by environmental factors (Zaltman, 2003). As such, especially in collecting data on customers’ past experiences, the market researcher will need to be aware that the validity of the research depends to a large extent on the consumers’ ability to recall information accurately.

Using diaries in research has been argued to be a more valid research method. Subjects record their experiences much more immediately when compared to the other methods. As such, the information collected is subjected to less distortion (Alaszewski, 2006; Broderick, 2008; Brooks, 1987; Lines, 2007). More importantly, diaries generate a regular stream of undirected data in chronological order. It thus allow the researcher to analyse changes in attitudes or behaviour and gain deeper insights into consumption patterns (Broderick, 2008; Leigh, 1993; Lines, 2007; Zillinger, 2008).

The use of diaries as a research method is well established in the fields of history and medical studies. Diaries are useful in such fields as they are able to provide longitudinal data for analysis. This is important in these fields for researchers to examine changes over time. For example, in medical studies, the use of diaries allow researchers to examine the experience of patients over time and provide better medical assessments (Adams, 2010; Broderick, 2008). More recently, there has been an increase in interest in the use of diaries in other fields. For example, in the field of leisure and hospitality, several studies using diaries and blogs were conducted (Crotts, Mason, & Davis, 2009; Y. J. Lee & Gretzel, 2014; Magnini, Crotts, & Zehrer, 2011; Schiano, Elliott, & Bellotti, 2007; Zillinger, 2008).

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