The role of qualitative methodology in cross-cultural research

Jackson, M and Niblo, D 2003, 'The role of qualitative methodology in cross-cultural research', Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 18-27.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The role of qualitative methodology in cross-cultural research
Author(s) Jackson, M
Niblo, D
Year 2003
Journal name Qualitative Research Journal
Volume number 3
Issue number 1
Start page 18
End page 27
Total pages 10
Publisher Association for Qualitative Research
Abstract There has been a long-standing debate in cross-cultural research between those who propose working intensely with a single culture in order to discover unique indigenous phenomenom (EMIC approach) and those who seek to research extensively across cultures in order to discover universal laws of behaviour (ETIC approach). Reviews of actual cross-cultural research, however, indicate that an overwhelming majority of published research (up to 93%) used 'imposed ETIC' designs, which evaluate Western generated theories and perspectives. Such designs inevitably lead to ethnocentric comparisons that are biased towards Western perspectives. This paper recommends that future cross-cultural research should use qualitative methodology within a 'parallel-EMIC' design. In this design, qualitative methodology is replicated across (at least) two cultures. Research findings indicating similarities support the ETIC perspective while divergent findings can be explored within the cultural context and highlight the EMIC perspective. The paper illustrates this approach using qualitative research within two cultures (Australian and Indian) to explore the meaning of tourism. Fundamental methodological issues are explored with specific recommendations regarding: the use of parallel EMIC studies to inform derived-ETIC generally; the use of a qualitative approach involving indigenous researchers; the employment of culturally aware sampling procedures: and, focusing on the broader cultural context.
Copyright notice Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2003
ISSN 1448-0980
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