A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Exploring Researcher Vulnerability

Kathy Hamilton, Queen's University Belfast
Hilary Downey, Queen's University Belfast
Miriam Catterall, Queen's University Belfast



Kathy Hamilton, Queen’s University, Belfast

Hilary Downey, Queen’s University, Belfast

Miriam Catterall, Queen’s University, Belfast




Methodological concerns surrounding the research of vulnerable consumers tend to focus on respondents’ welfare, that they are not harmed or further disadvantaged by the research process (Reinharz 1992; Finch 1984).  Consequentially, researcher vulnerability has been largely neglected within the consumer research literature.  This paper aims to identify the ways that research with vulnerable consumers can impact on consumer researchers.  Reflecting on our doctoral research experiences with vulnerable consumers, namely low income families and consumers confined to the home due to disability, we identify areas where the physical and psychological vulnerability of the researcher was exposed and the resulting strategies employed.
[ to cite ]:
Kathy Hamilton, Hilary Downey, and Miriam Catterall (2006) ,"A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Exploring Researcher Vulnerability", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 672-677.