Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
Advertising firms in Los Angeles greatly benefit from the research performed by research scholars in advertising and marketing. Advertising in Los Angeles, although the city stands as one of the capitols of advertising, also looks to information provided by research professionals on the other side of the world to consider their practices and the concept of advertising. Research performed on practices such as Internet marketing search engine placement has brought about results that influence how marketers put their client’s name up on the worldwide billboard that is the Web.
When it comes to advertising and marketing research, however, there comes the question of how advertising and marketing scholars should approach the research in obtaining viable information. What methods should be used and how to researchers come about to making these decisions?
Usually, a good researcher will use the most appropriate method of approach in any study performed. Yet this may not be the case in reality.
Perhaps some researchers simply use the methods they’re used to, or the methods they learned in graduate school, their culture, the just the most popular choice amongst their colleagues. If researchers are influenced by their own cultural leanings, then certainly that would mean researchers of different cultural backgrounds would approach the same study differently. If that’s true, then what can we learn if we take a look at advertising research from a wider international scope?
Let’s take France, for example. French advertising researcher generally approach studies in accordance to the French media market structure, as well as the advertising laws and culture. The intellectual culture in France persists of semiotics and post modernism, thus the advertising research reflects a more of an “enlightenment era” angle, focusing on emotions, hyper reality versus authenticity, and nostalgia. The results of these French studies are thus more generally “grounded theories” than of practicality.
Italian research, on the other hand, consists of a more interpretive, “explanation-based” approach. The main subjects Italian researchers favor include phenomenological sociology, ethnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism. Italy most commonly performs its research based on in-depth interviews with its subjects.
Japanese research usually takes a more holistic approach, as the culture in Japan is also very complex and holistic. The methods through which Japanese researchers– and the Japanese culture as a whole – go about their studies varies greatly with that of Western Europe and North America. Japan tends to use Zen Buddhism, meditation and other intellectual questions to discuss and reason with test subjects. Because Japan and the West are so vastly different in the methods through which they obtain “the truth,” there may be great disagreements in research between the two regions.
In the U.S., advertising research has grown and evolved. Research in the U.S. was once purely based on historical evidence and previous descriptions. Nowadays, advertising researchers lean towards a logical empirical approach, as well as using the scientific method to first conjure a hypothesis and use experiment to pursue that hypothesis.
The U.S. generally adopts what is called a positivistic approach or post-positivistic approach, which involves using a qualitative technique in the beginning of the study, then transitioning to a quantitative technique in order to examine the generality of such an outcome.