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Behavioural economics and qualitative research - a marriage made in heaven?

Wendy Gordon International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53, No. 2, 2011

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Behavioural economics and qualitative research - a marriage made in heaven? Wendy Gordon International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53, No. 2, 2011

Behavioural economics and qualitative research a marriage made in heaven?


Wendy Gordon Acacia Avenue Limited Introduction The relationship between academic theory and practice in the social sciences and commercial qualitative research has changed dramatically in the last five years. There used to be a huge and seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the two disciplines. A hefty 700-page textbook, The Handbook of Qualitative Research (Denzin & Lincoln 1994), was completely unknown to practising researchers, and probably still is. It makes no reference at all to commercial qualitative research or indeed any commercial context, and even fails to mention the fatherof qualitative methods, the motivational researcher Ernst Dichter. By 1997, the author predicted that although the worlds of academia and commercial research appear to be two worlds existing in different galaxies, the two planets have influenced each other indirectly and will do so more directly in the future, due to the efforts being made today by many academic institutions and commercial organizations to exchange learning and practice(Gordon 1999, p. 20). By the end of the noughties, a new qualitative textbook (Keegan 2009, p. 20) had pointed out the differences in focus and method between academic qualitative researchers and their commercial counterparts. Keegan identified the fact that commercial researchers are now exploring disciplines outside their frame of reference, and referred to the idea of honeybees that flit between the two communities, achieving cross-pollination, first mentioned at an MRS conference in 2006 (Nancarrow & Tinson 2006, pp. 912). Today, it takes no time at all to find easy-to-understand academic theories and their applications through YouTube, TED talks (www.ted.com/talks) and popular books making academic theories highly relevant to those working in communications, marketing, advertising and research. Malcolm Gladwell (2001, 2005) is a good example of an author who has popularised ideas of how human behaviour diffuses through society and how intuition can be understood through neuroscience. The wide audience he reaches through writing articles for prestigious magazines like the New Yorker and through bestseller listings in the mainstream press, has done much to foster the idea that intuition can be one of the influencing factors in making good decisions. Although commercial researchers have come to the same conclusion (Heath 2001; Gordon 2006), the impact has
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been insignificant in comparison. In the past few years, academics like Jonah Lehrer (2009), Thaler and Sunstein (2008), Dan Ariely (2008), John Kay (2010) and Daniel Khaneman (2003), who won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for Economic Sciences, have made behavioural economics highly visible and relevant to commercial organisations as well as to those whose business it is to change societys behaviour, e.g. government policy, health initiatives, NGOs, etc. The inexorable rise of social media and influential books like Mark EarlsHerd (2007), Christakis and Fowlers Connected (2009), and James Surowiekis bestseller, The Wisdom of Crowds (2004), has led to the emergence and increasing popularity of concepts such as open sourcing, co-creation, mass collaboration, we-thinking(Kearon & Earls 2009) and WOM (word of mouth). What does this mean? For those of us connected with qualitative research as practitioners or end-users it means we are now operating in a dramatically changed theoretical landscape. This in turn must make us re-examine the fundamental principles on which qualitative theory and practice have been built. We have to ask ourselves what we must hold on to, what is valid, what is outdated and what we need to change. The apocryphal story about frogs seems appropriate: if one were to drop a frog into a pan of boiling water, the frog would scramble to get out; if one drops a frog into cold water and then gently boils it, the frog dies because it doesnt notice the water temperature gradually rising the rising temperature is never quite uncomfortable enough, until its fatal. Qualitative researchers and their discipline need to take care that they do not to become proverbial frogs being ever so gently boiled alive. Fundamental principles of behavioural economics Let us begin with an exploration of behavioural economics and the gauntlet that is being thrown down to commercial research (both qualitative and quantitative). The central tenet of behavioural economics is that most human choice is not made deliberatively and consciously by weighing up and evaluating all the possible variables and permutations. People make choices (both big and small) comparatively rather than absolutely; from what is available rather than taking a census; and in terms of how this makes me feel(emotionally, instinctively, rather than rationally). For these reasons human beings make less than perfect decisions because of the inherent biases built into our brains and bodies. This is in direct contrast to classic economic theory of rational man, who is supposed to make the best possible decision (maximising benefits and minimising costs) to obtain the most advantageous economic outcome. BE is a science backed up by 40 years of experimentation and research. It is interested in how human choice and decisionmaking work the hardwiring in our brains and bodies. Its theorists concentrate on the way that human judgements and perception operate, and it evidences the distortions and inherent biases that occur irrespective of background or culture. The key point to grasp here is that, within the BE model of thinking, behaviour is king. Peoples intentions (to lose weight, take out a pension, visit the doctor for a check-up, change current bank accounts) are not valid evidence that consequent behaviour will follow. It usually doesnt. To encourage a particular behaviour (or to change an existing one), people have to be presented with a choice that makes the decision feel easy and automatic a no-brainer. This is called choice architecture (Thaler & Sunstein 2008). Choice
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architecture describes the fact that there is no neutral way to present a choice. People choose according to what is available rather than what they absolutely want. Furthermore, they do not make much effort when they make a choice they use rules of thumb called heuristics. The simple truth is that people do not have a master strategy for making decisions. However and heres the rub when asked why a particular decision was made, most people are completely unaware of the heuristic or contextual factors that influenced the decision. The whyinformation is simply unavailable to conscious recall. They might be able to answer heuristically (e.g. its a habitor its what I bought last timeor I dont know, I just like the colour of the pack), but this is as far as they can go in terms of introspection. Contextual influences are far more significant than we like to believe. Behavioural economics makes it clear that each time a decision has to be made it is newly constructed and depends on context who, how, when, where?
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Who? People make decisions based on the observation that lots of people have made the same choice. When conducting a study among luxury car owners, for example, it was apparent that the neighbours exerted a huge influence BMWs and Mercedes of the same year or two tended to be found in close geographical clusters, a fact of which the individual was seemingly unaware. Instead, owner after owner chose to justify the choice by referencing its brand reputation, performance, resale value, previous experience, and so on. Identity issues often underpin behaviour, but these are not necessarily top of mind. How? Often, the howunderlying a decision is important in terms of encouraging immediate action, e.g. paying a parking fine online is easier to do now than anticipating dealing with an automatic answering service (It will take too long and I might get cut off ); being opted in automatically to a scheme is more likely to result in desired behaviour than having to make the choice to opt in. When? People are more likely to procrastinate when given a choice about the timing of an unpleasant task, e.g. writing a will, beginning a diet or visiting a doctor to check out a disturbing symptom. The future is abstract. The future may never come. That is how most human beings think! Where? This simple fact influences an outcome. Paying 40 for a T-shirt in Selfridges may seem good value, but paying that amount in a street market or Primark is unthinkable. Why is it that Birmingham seems harder to get to from London than getting to Paris from London? The question Do I have to travel far to do this or should I do it here where it is convenient?often determines a decision, rather than price or value.

In all of these examples, people are probably unaware of the impetus that drove the decision. People are unreliable witnesses to our motivations our true motivations are often hidden from us(Kearon & Earls 2009). This is beautifully illustrated by a neat experiment which proved that when people are asked to explain the reasons for choice they begin to think about variables that do not really matter; they lose touch with the power of sensory and emotional judgement (Wilson & Schooler 1991). Expert jam-tasters ranked 45 jams in terms of quality. Five of them were selected (numbers 1, 11, 24, 32 and 44). When college students were asked to rank the five jams in terms of quality, their rankings correlated with those of the experts. A new batch of students was recruited for the same test and this time they were asked to give reasons for the ranking. Interestingly, the poorest-quality jam was judged to be the best quality, and the overall rankings correlated poorly with the experts and with the first batch of students. When students were asked to give reasons for their rankings, they began to focus on criteria that were extraneous to taste and quality. So, today, BE is being embraced by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA 2010) in the UK under its President, Rory
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Sutherland, because it describes situations that are highly relevant to advertising and marketing problems such as planning a campaign, purchase decisions, brand experience journeys, the influence of communications, how to change behaviour, the way that choice works in complex situations, and so on. Fundamentally, BE is about gathering insight into the way that human beings operate in todays world. Qualitative research and behavioural economics: a match Behavioural economics and qualitative research operate in the same territory. Qualitative research is generally defined in terms of understanding the meaning of behaviour: Understanding why individuals and groups think and behave the way they do lies at the heart of qualitative research(Keegan 2009, p. 11). Qualitative research in recent years has become almost synonymous with the word insight, and it is common to evaluate both qualitative research companies and projects in terms of insight that is shed on a thorny problem. In this sense, qualitative research has much in common with BE. Both disciplines are intent on gaining insight into human behaviour; both are very much involved with understanding choice, preferences and decisions, and both are eclectic disciplines whose practitioners come from a very wide variety of backgrounds. Both disciplines share a socio-psycho-culturalperspective on human behaviour, namely that human beings are influenced by three broad and equally important factors that need to be addressed, in order to achieve behaviour change: 1. personal factors such as levels of knowledge or education, attitudes, habits and routines, past experience, sociodemographic factors, etc. 2. social factors to do with the influence of other people on behaviour, cultural and social norms, tribal factors (segments) that cross geographic boundaries, etc. 3. environmental factors to do with where one lives and works (e.g. urban vs rural, suburbs vs inner city), and broader factors such as the economy, technology, population density, etc. The match between behavioural economics and qualitative research seems irrefutable each could support the other. However, one cannot generalise about qualitative research. Not all qualitative researchers work within the same model of thinking. The positivist school and behavioural economics Broadly, the response to BE from a qualitative research perspective depends on the school of research the practitioner belongs to. Keegan (2009, p. 24) and Gordon (1999, p. 112) describe two schools of qualitative research: the positivistand the dynamic. The positivist model of qualitative thought and practice is as follows.
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Qualitative research is a rational forum/process of collecting information. Participants in the research process have information that can be extracted through asking direct questions. The question Why?is frequently asked of people to account for their attitudes, beliefs, opinions and behaviour. What people say about their behaviour is what they do and what they say is what they mean. People are able to articulate feelings and emotions when asked.
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There is an objective truth that can be found and then acted upon.

From a BE perspective, this approach flies in the face of recent advances in the cognitive sciences about how people form beliefs and make decisions. And, of course, from a positivist qualitative research point of view, this new landscape of human behaviour threatens customary research practice. Positivist researchers are taught how to ladder(see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualitative_marketing_research); how to use Kellys Repertory Grid techniques (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repertory_grid23), to force the criteria of decision making to the surface; how to probe in order to get deeper, richerand more insightfulanswers. Projective techniques, when used, are applied by rote (the discussion guide indicates it) and the interpretation is literal (e.g. Domestos is Maggie Thatcher, a Mars bar is a lorry driver). All of these qualitative techniques are heavily dependent on asking the question why? directly of respondentswho are there to do exactly that respond and react rather than contribute to a dialogue. Positivist researchers are also taught (albeit informally through the apprentice system) how to moderate focus groups so that people give their individual views as well as taking part in a group view and to keep in control of both the agenda of client-generated questions or topic areas as well as the research environment. Focus groups and individual interviews are increasingly conducted in sanitised viewing rooms remote from where the behaviour in question takes place. There is no place in this research model to uncover and observe the fundamental principles of decision making and choice as described by the behavioural economics body of theory. It is simply not possible to observe heuristics in action from the comfort of a chair behind a one-way mirror. It is virtual madness to believe that the behaviour the group of individuals is describing (either past behaviour or intended future behaviour) has actually occurred or is likely to take place, e.g. descriptions of usage or purchase behaviour at home or in-store, or intentions to purchase. So instead of focusing too heavily on behaviour, the emphasis shifts to generating attitudes, opinions and beliefs that are taken as proxy indicators of behaviour. The research literature has been discussing the attitude vs behaviour debate for years. In terms of a really authoritative point of view, the COI (2009) distillation of academic theories states that: Attitudes are specific to particular behaviours. Early psychological models show attitudes leading to intention in a predominantly linear fashion. In later models, attitude still plays a role but appears alongside other factors. While attitudes can influence behaviour, evidence now suggests that the link is not as strong as we might previously have thought. The so-called Value Action Gapdescribes those situations where a person holds values that are inconsistent with their behaviour. The Gapis constantly evident when conducting qualitative research. People will agree wholeheartedly with the need to protect the environment, yet cannot be bothered to consistently recycle their rubbish. An obese woman will intend to lose weight and yet chocolate bars or crisps appear in her handbag as if by magic! People intend to switch their bank account because of poor service, yet somehow the moment to do so never seems right. The result of the Value Action Gapwhen it surfaces is that marketing clients demand qualitative researchers to dig deeper and to get under the skin of the consumer. For positivist researchers and their commissioning clients this results in more intensive questioning and probing. Forcing rational explanations, as the jam experiment shows, leads to spurious responses.

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In case it is not already clear, this author is not a positivist. For many positivist qualitative researchers, the change in water temperature remember what happens to frogs is hardly felt. They are unaware of the challenges coming at them from the world of communications and marketing (with behavioural economics as the weaponry) and indeed disregard the new theoretical landscape being described by their own tribe: the dynamic school of qualitative thought and practice. The dynamic school of qualitative research The disillusionment with conventional qualitative methods (the positivist model) among qualitative researchers as well as endusers has led to the development and increasing popularity of pure observation, adapted ethnographic approaches and collaborative approaches where ordinary peopleobserve their own or other peoples behaviour (using video, mobile, online blogs or photos to capture the observations) before or during a research project. What these methods and the thinking underpinning them have in common is the prioritisation of behaviour over beliefs, opinion and attitudes. A further development has been the normalising of cultural analyses (e.g. semiotics, emerging cultural trends and linguistic discourse analysis) that provide insight into the behaviour of broader groups of people through the eyes of the media, editorial in newspapers and magazines, as well as the products of communication (e.g. websites, ads, PR). Again, the insights delivered by these approaches are behaviour based and illustrate cultural influences in action. Understanding human behaviour is best achieved through triangulation, a term used in the social sciences to describe the use of more than two different research methods to come to a firm view about, say, the factors influencing behaviour. In the UK/Europe the use of multi-strand research approaches is called bricolage. The advantage of multi-strand research is that it enables the researcher to have different perspectives on the problem a bit like having the freedom to use a wide-angle lens, a telescopic one and a specialised one for low light conditions when trying to capture as much as possible on holiday. The dynamic school of qualitative research is built on a very different set of principles from the positivist school. Seven key insights about the qualitative research process are discussed here all are evidence-based thanks to disciplines both outside and inside the social sciences, e.g. neuroscience, linguistics, social and evolutionary anthropology. Each of them has also been instrumental in leading to research approaches that substitute for (or can add to) the ubiquitous group discussion and one-to-one interview. People dont say what they mean or mean what they say; what they say they will do in the future usually doesnt happen Most of what drives behaviour is not accessible to conscious introspection. Giving reasons whyis a way of making sense of our actions, usually to others but to ourselves too, because we may not know why we do what we do. What people say about intended behaviour is not what happens in the real world. Intentions to purchase may at best be regarded as an indication of positive or negative perception rather than predictive of a particular behaviour. The dynamic model of qualitative research accepts that why?questions often lead to a dead end. This has been one of the primary reasons for the development of more innovative ways of understanding human behaviour, and continues to be so. Big questions and analytic tools relating to the take-up and diffusion of behaviour through society how things spread are

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being developed and are already in current use (Bentley et al. 2011; Bentley & Earls 2008). These kinds of investigation will help qualitative researchers understand behaviour transmission and copying, and lead to hypotheses that are more easily explored within the qualitative remit. Behaviour is context-dependent People behave differently in different circumstances. Behaviour changes depending on the where, how, what, whoand whenof the situation. Nick Southgate (2010) points out that, in the BE model of thinking, there is an absence of the question Why?so beloved of qualitative researchers. During a group discussion or individual interview held in a sanitised viewing venue, participants are so far removed from the moment of decision (in time and place) that they are indeed unreliable witnesses of their own behaviour. Words are poor tools There is no objective meaning of a word. Words are fuzzy and imprecise. It is difficult for people to articulate thoughts and feelings (internal milieu processes) when they are asked to do so. Peoples vocabulary is often limited, especially compared to that of the university graduates who work in marketing, advertising and research. Dynamic qualitative research practice has many different ways to help research participants express their thoughts or beliefs indirectly, or help clients express concepts in ways that are linguistically relevant. The unconscious exists and so does intuition This means that no matter how hard qualitative researchers try to reveal the cause of behaviour or the factors that influence it, and no matter how hard the research participant tries to introspect, the information may not be available to the conscious mind. Intuition can be trusted at times. There is a distinction between the dark and mysterious unconscious that we associate with Freud and the adaptive unconsciouspostulated by Gladwell (2005) that allows us to conduct much of our lives on automatic pilot a brain process he describes as thin slicing. Dynamic qualitative research has found ways to tap into peoples intuitive responses and to work at levels below conscious thought through the use of enabling techniques such as encouraging people to become amateur researchers in their own worlds. Such techniques need the cooperation of the meaning-maker(Gordon 1999, p. 150), since the only person who can understand automatic behaviour is the individual him/herself, perhaps with the help of others in the dialogue. Emotions rule all decision-making Emotions constitute an integrated element of the seemingly most rational decision-making. Whenever thinking contradicts with emotions, emotions win(Stanovich & West 2000). There is no such thing as a separation between rationaland emotional the two are intertwined. This is well explained by the conceptualisation of System 1 and System 2 thinking (Stanovich & West 2000). These systems roughly correspond to the ideas of rationaland emotional/sensorylearning. System 1 thinking cannot be easily explained, e.g. being able to talk about all the sensory processes and external/internal cues involved in riding a bicycle successfully. System 2 thinking is easier, e.g. multiplying numbers or recalling historical events by date.
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Sometimes rational thought processes (System 2) appear to take the high ground but, in reality, the emotional and sensory wayofthinking(System1)istheunderlyingforce.Thetwosystemsaresymbiotic. Memory is dynamic Memory is not static and fixed like a photograph. Memories can be distorted or changed. Brand associations or recalled memories about a specific behaviour are likely to change depending on the context of recall. All human beings are innate storytellers and we narrate recalledevents differently each time we remember them. Equally, stories are often told together by groups rather than just individually, and reveal hidden group or cultural influences. This has obvious implications for the validity of individual accountings. In a research context, what people tell you is an appropriate story, not necessarily a truth that is factually correct. We-research A plea for a new generation of qualitative research methods has been made by Mark Earls, keynote speaker at the QRCA conference in Prague (QRCA Conference 2010). He talks about We-research(contrasting with I/Me-research) a new kind of research that relies heavily on the fact that human beings are a social species and that others influence our behaviour without us necessarily being aware of the source of influence. It is this social nature of our species that is beginning to be harnessed for the development of new approaches. Dynamic qualitative research is beginning to combine more conventional face-to-face and online qualitative approaches with the huge amount of free data available on the internet or via mobiles such as blogs, tweets, YouTube uploads, Facebook communities, keyword analyses, Google analytics and more. Research without respondentsis a real challenge to conventional research. The epidemic of swine flu was spread by a mind virusrather than by the medical viruson its own. Using free analytics available on Google, and plotting the actual incidence of swine flu (based on hospitalisation and other medical interventions) vs the number of searches on the internet, the authors neatly proved the existence of the mind virus (Kearon & Earls 2009). In addition to what can be learned by intelligent sleuthing, there are online qualitative methods that create a space for people to converse with each other, across geographies, about a subject with different levels of possible intervention and guidance from minimal to very controlled. Lessons to learn Behavioural Economics: Red Hot or Red Herring? (IPA 2010) cites a number of UK industry heavyweights who were asked their views about behavioural economics: Behavioural economics applies the latest scientific research into how people think, feel and behave to help us understand how they really make economic decisions. If youre interested in how and why people buy things you cant afford to ignore this stuff. (Les Binet, European Director, DDBMatrix) Qualitative research objectives are usually framed by a Why?question, e.g. people postpone thinking about life insurance why is that? Why is there a high penetration of category X among one customer segment, and a low penetration among another? BE thinking helps reframe the objectives and desired deliverables from the qualitative project so that the insights are
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actionable in terms of developing strategies and tactics that focus on behaviour rather than attitude change. The mistake that those embracing BE will make is to attempt to ask people to solve the why-problemfor them by transferring the question from research objectives to direct questions to research participant(s). But lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Qualitative research has particular strengths in its ability to provide understanding on issues such as brand imagery and competitive brand landscapes, values and beliefs, segmentation, organisational culture, global issues, new product/service development and so on. In order to change behaviour, we first have to identify the way in which a number of interrelated variables are shaping behavioural outcomes. BE has much to learn from dynamic qualitative research, otherwise it might fall into the trap of generating linear formulae for behaviour change of the AIDA or DAGMAR variety. There is no single truth out thereand human behaviour has defied many hundreds of years of attempts at explaining it in a simple way simplicity is no more the truth than complexity. Beware It is ironic that the very principles that explain much of human behaviour will limit the acceptance of BE among professionals within the communications, marketing and research communities. We all must examine our own decision-making behaviours when it comes to thinking how to apply behavioural economics. The three barriers that stand in the way of success are those that behavioural economics describes so well. 1. Loss aversion people highly value something that they already own (current behaviour or an established way of thinking about a problem). They will therefore work harder to avoid losing what they trust and value than they will to gain something that is offered instead. 2. Heuristics triggering standard operating procedureinstead of embracing the challenge and doing something different. 3. Social norms conforming to the invisible rules within the organisation that will influence their choice of research(er) and method, without realising it. Behavioural economics can provide qualitative researchers with new energy and a very different frame of reference for certain kinds of research problem. Dynamic qualitative research can provide those working with behavioural economics with the practical skills and applications they need to solve the problems that face them in an increasingly complex world context. A true marriage of equals. References Ariely, D. (2008) Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions. London: HarperCollins Publishers. Bentley, A. & Earls, M. (2008) Forget Influentials, Herd-Like Coping is how Brands Spread. Henley-on-Thames: WARC. Bentley, R.A., Ormerod P. & Batty M. (2011) Evolving social influence in large populations. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65, pp. 537546 Christakis, N. & Fowler, J. (2009) Connected: The Amazing Power of Social Networks and how They Shape Our Lives. New
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York: Little, Brown and Company. COI (2009) Communications and Behaviour Change. London: COI Publications. (The COI appointed a Behaviour Change and Communications team that drew on academic, government, commercial and COI experts to write this document, including A. Darnton (2008) The Government Social Research Behaviour Change Knowledge Review. London: HMT Publishing Unit.) Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (eds) (1994) The Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications. Earls, M. (2007) Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature. London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Franzen, G. and Bouwman, M. (2001) The Mental World of Brands.London:WorldAdvertisingResearchCentre. Gladwell, M. (2001) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Abacus. Gladwell, M. (2005) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Gordon, W. (1999) Goodthinking: A Guide to Qualitative Research. Henley-on-Thames: Admap. Gordon, W. (2006) Out with the new, in with the old. International Journal of Market Research, 48, 1, pp. 726. Heath, R. (2001) The Hidden Power of Advertising. London: NTC Publications. IPA (2010) Behavioural Economics: Red Hot or Red Herring? London: Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. Kay, J. (2010) Obliquity: Why Our Goals are Best Achieved Indirectly. London: Profile Books. Kearon, J. & Earls, M. (2009) Me-to-we research. ESOMAR Conference. Congress 2009: Leading the Way Ethically, Responsibly, Creatively. Montreux, 1518 September 2009. Keegan, S. (2009) Qualitative Research: Good Decision Making Through Understanding People, Cultures and Markets. London: Kogan Page. Khaneman, D. (2003) A psychological perspective on economics. American Economic Review, 93, 2, pp. 162168. Lehrer, J. (2009) How We Decide. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Nancarrow, C. & Tinson, J. (2006) Academic-practitioner symbiosis. BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Newsletter, 1. QRCA Conference (2010) Inspiration in Action. Prague. 1921 May 2010. Southgate, N. (2010) Presentation at IPA behavioural economics training event. London: Institute of Practitioners of Advertising. Surowieki, J. (2004) The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Thaler, R. & Sunstein, C. (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness. Yale University Press. Wilson, T. & Schooler, J. (1991) Thinking too much: introspection can reduce the quality of preferences and decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, pp. 181189.
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About the author Wendy is a co-founder and partner at Acacia Avenue, a research and strategy consultancy. Previously she was a founding partner of The Fourth Room a strategic brand consultancy and before that a founder of The Research Business International. Wendy is a Fellow of the Market Research Society, a visiting professor at Birmingham Business School and has been honoured by the Womens Advertising Club as one of its Women of Achievement. She has written two books, is a frequent speaker at conferences, teaches qualitative master classes worldwide and has published papers in many industry publications. Address correspondence to: Wendy Gordon, Acacia Avenue Limited, 353 City Road, London, EC1V 1LR. Email: wendy@acacia-avenue.com

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