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Exploring researcher vulnerability: Contexts, complications, and conceptualisation

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Research involving vulnerable consumer populations is on the increase, and understanding the social consequences of consumption within different marketing contexts has become a common theme across Consumer Culture Theory, transformative consumer research, and critical marketing. Yet the diverse difficulties faced by researchers who investigate consumer vulnerability have not been sufficiently addressed. In line with the need for greater reflexivity in research, this paper reflects on our own research experiences, and highlights the complexities associated with conducting research on sensitive topics in challenging contexts. With reference to such experiences, we illustrate the phenomenon of researcher vulnerability and discuss its implications for knowledge generation within the marketing domain.
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Keywords: interpretivist research; knowledge generation; researcher vulnerability; vulnerable consumers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Strathclyde Business School, UK 2: University of Edinburgh Business School, UK 3: University of Strathclyde Business School, UK 4: Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Publication date: 2013-07-01

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