We live in a post modern world, so why do we still use modernist ideas?

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Market Research, as we currently understand it, started in the mid-20th century as TV advertising began to evolve.  This was the end of the modernist period when consumers were assumed to be rational human beings and everything could be measured. Truth was thought to exist independent of human consciousness – it could be known through the application of reason.

Since this time, however, the world has moved on to a post modernist perspective (and some believe that we are now in a post-post modern era).  The core to this view point is the belief that truth may exist independent of human consciousness, but there is no objective means of nailing it down.  In other words, we can’t know everything!  In addition, this philosophy assumes that humans are not rational (at least, not all the time).

From a research perspective, this should mean that a more probabilistic approach should be taken – much like modern weather forecasts.  Rather than trying to put people in neat boxes to appease the marketing director, we (as researchers) should be more willing to stand up for the things that we know, but equally open to discussing the areas of uncertainty.

What do you think?


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