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Cover art: Qualitative Research Methods (Routledge)

Daymon, C., & Holloway, I. (2011). Qualitative research methods in public relations and marketing communications (2nd Edition). London: Routledge.
Reviewed by: Richard Varey

This book is for developing researchers who want clear guidance along the pathway to holistic organic understandings of social phenomena in the realms of advertising, marketing, corporate communication, public relations and public affairs, managerial and employee communication, and other forms of managed communication.

Christine Daymon and Immy Holloway set out with the first edition (2002) to provide authoritative nurturing assistance to foster confident and expert exploration of communication motives, actions, and effects. They have, with this revised, substantially expanded, and updated edition, further accomplished this with some considerable flair.

This edition systematically examines the critical, reflective process for the novice, covering how qualitative research is conceived, conducted, and written. All undergraduate and postgraduate students who need to complete a high quality dissertation or perform well and confidently in a taught research methods course should read this book. PhD students will benefit from this overview of qualitative methods, and practitioners will find valuable alternatives to their usual resort to quantitative evaluation methods.
The text is designed to develop and support informed judgement about the appropriateness of qualitative methods and its special purpose and nature in accessing understandings of social processes. It supports the engagement of novice researchers with managed communication realities through getting close to motivated communicative acts and processes in their cultural contexts, so as to appreciate their depth, diversity, and complexity. Necessarily, this requires careful reflexivity and transparency in considerations of the ethics of communication and the ethics of research, and this text addresses this thoroughly.
In 21 chapters, the authors cover the total research process: getting started through from awareness and relevance of research problem and method options to writing a proposal; design considered from the differing philosophical bases of interpretive/social constructivist research; sampling and data; analysis, interpretation, and writing and presentation. Throughout, practical guidelines offer specific advice on choosing methods to achieve research goals. Explanation and examples are clear and engaging, and real experiences of students actually doing research abound. There's a really helpful final section addressing personal issues in getting a project finished, along with an example interview guide, and a comprehensive glossary of terms, with full references to a valuable body of supportive literature.
A number of important enhancements have been made to make this text contemporary and even more comprehensive, and crucially, both the testing problems of getting started and researcher choice making are given strong focus.  There is discussion of the skills and strategies needed for authentic, trustworthy research, as well as specific analytical techniques, and the Internet as a resource and tool, with particular consideration of ethical issues in this situation. Discussion has been added on discourse, phenomenology, and documentary sources, and topics have been expanded to include critical discourse analysis, historical research, and action research. Mixed methods strategies are examined, along with the associated debates.
When research students need a complete yet friendly guide to support their learning about designing, planning, executing, and reporting research strategies and methods, and their scholarly products, this is a comprehensive and accessible source. On reading, I particularly warmed to the friendly supportive tone and the tutorial feel in the extensive inclusion of a range of voices of practically experienced researchers.
I really like this book's purpose and style, and enthusiastically recommend it for research-based learning, for both students and supervisors. With this one at hand research students won't have to overly rely on my necessarily limited opinion and advice, for here are confident and humane inquirers who bring forth an enriching wealth of research experience and a realistic sense of both quality and success in challenging research endeavours.
About the reviewer: Dr Richard J Varey is Professor of Marketing at The Waikato Management School, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Richards research and teaching interests are marketing and society and the future of marketing in a sustainable society, Relationship Marketing, and Marketing Interaction.
He is a member of the editorial boards of the
Journal of Communication Management, the Journal of Marketing Communications, Corporate Reputation Review, the Journal of Management Development, the Journal of Business Ethics, and PRism. He was Editor of the Australasian Marketing Journal in 2006-2008. His is presently Associate Editor (Asia-Pacific) of the Journal of Customer Behaviour.

Purchase information: The book is available from good bookstores or direct from Routledge at

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