Green Consumer Behaviour

Outline of interview structure

The main purpose of a cognitive research interview is to discover the knowledge content of a person's mind. The interview itself should attempt not to change existing knowledge but only to retrieve it. Inferences in recall should be kept to a minimum. At the same time the problem of forgetting has to be dealt with and here, the positive and negative effects of part listings have to be traded off. As a consequence of these considerations, some structure has to be imposed on the interview...

Strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research

In the social sciences, the two main empirical research traditions are the quantitative approach that draws on techniques such as experiments, surveys, histories, analysis of archival information, etc., and the qualitative one that utilizes techniques such as case studies, participant observation, open interviews, etc. Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias 1996 281-6, 304-9, Creswell 1994 10-12, Patton 1990 14, 36-9, 162-6, Yin 1989 8, 17-22, Day and Castleberry 1986 94-5, Vinehall 1979 108-15,...

The operational dimension of knowledge structures

Cognitive Operations Meaning

Cognitive operations are of a largely subconscious nature Tulving 1985 387-8, Markus and Zajonc 1985 174 . They determine the development, organization and application of knowledge content. The idea of cognitive operations can be traced back to John Locke We have hitherto considered those ideas in the reception whereof the mind is only passive, which are those simple ones received from sensation and reflection But when it has got once these simple ideas it is not confined barely to observation...

The content dimension of knowledge structures

Product Knowledge Structure

Knowledge structures 'contain' stored information knowledge content or meaning. In order to solve a choice problem, a consumer attends to information, processes and evaluates it, and subsequently stores it in his or her memory. In contrast to other dimensions of knowledge structures, the knowledge content dimension is of a largely conscious nature Tulving 1985 88 . This explains why knowledge content has been focused on for empirical research. Physiological, neurological level, 'hardware'...

Alternative approaches to consumer research

In the following, the research problem of this study is demarcated negatively it indicates what aspects of green consumer behaviour were not researchednamely issues of motivational research, sociological research, socio-demographic research, and life-style research. The discussion outlines the 'negative heuristics' of the study to use Lakatos's term. It also puts the cognitive research conducted into perspective with regard to the wider context and complexity of green consumer behaviour....

Sampling of interviewees

In quantitative research, sampling aims at the statistical control of internal validity for statistical generalizations, randomized sampling is obligatory. This contrasts with sampling in qualitative research which is non-probabilistic here, interviewees are not chosen for statistical reasons, but they are selected purposively. 'Theoretical sampling' is conducted only particular instances of a certain phenomenon here green consumption are investigated. Theoretical sampling in the form of...

The Green Consumer

In recent years, environmental issues have received much attention, reflecting rising public concern and awareness of environmental problems. Pressure groups have been campaigning vigorously for the environment media reporting on environmental issues has increased dramatically the environment has moved up on the agenda in political decision making numerous regulations and laws for the protection of the environment have been passed and through the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and its...

Disciplines and research programmes

In the following, principles for the structuring of positive 1 interdisciplinary scientific research draw upon Karl Popper's and Imre Lakatos's suggestions on how to organize scientific research. In a broad sense, science as such can be understood as 'one big' research programme that is ruled and organized by certain principles, which are discussed and developed in a philosophy of science debate. In this sense, all scientific disciplines, e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, economics,...

The cognitive heuristic

Cognition refers to understanding and learning. The cognitive approach examines information processing and decision making behaviour. It addresses the question of how understanding occurs, and how in turn understanding affects behaviour. The 'cognitive how' of product evaluation and choice is investigated. In general, a scarcity of scientific research into cognitive aspects of green consumer behaviour has been observed Thorgesen 1994 154, 156-7, Coddington 1993 98, Smith 1992 2, 4, Petkus 1992...

Research questions and further course of study

The question has been raised as to how the term 'environmentally friendly product' is to be interpreted 'What does this all too common term really mean anyway ' Prothero 1990 97 . As has just been discussed, one could try to settle this question in a normative and theoretically abstract fashion through LCA. In contrast, the cognitive approach followed by this study addresses this question from a different angle the subjective reasoning processes underlying green consumer behaviour are examined...

The formatting dimension of knowledge structures

In the previous section 'applications software' was discussed this section turns to the 'systems software' of the mind that guides the categorizing activities of the mind. Categorizing appears to be a universal principle of human reasoning that is independent of cultural context Solso 1988 389, 445, Gardner 1987 129-30, 224, 257, Rosch et al. 1976 382-3, 428-34, L vi-Strauss 1966 chapter 2 see also Cazeneuve 1972 who refers to Levy-Bruhl 1926 . A categorizing activity of the mind is reflected...

Measurement of knowledge content

The study achieved, to a certain extent, a quantitative measurement of knowledge content characteristics. In the following, how the measurement of knowledge comprehensiveness, complexity, and abstractness was operationalized, and why and how a further knowledge characteristic knowledge specificity was distinguished, will be discussed. Measurement of knowledge comprehensiveness Knowledge comprehensiveness relates to the amount of knowledge a consumer had about environmentally oriented shopping....

How to research consumer behaviour

Consumer behaviour research, like any other type of research, has to examine critically what kind of problems it is interested in and what research heuristics it is applying for theorizing and empirical research. Traditionally, the psychological heuristic has been widely applied in consumer behaviour research Mittelstaedt 1990 303-8, Sheth and Gross 1988 11, 16-18, 21 . Stern criticism within psychology and within consumer studies, as voiced consistently over the past decades Shimp 1994 1-3,...

Reporting and handling of data

Information richness can be a problem in qualitative research. In this section, a framework is outlined for ordering and compounding the interview data. The reduction of data is a prerequisite for a later interpretation of the knowledge structures of green consumers. The primary data source consisted of the verbatim transcribed interviews. First, an analytical framework was developed through which the interview data could be taken apart. Subsequently, how this framework was applied to the...

Research Questions On Green Consumer Cognition

In the previous sections of this chapter, a number of psychological and anthropological constructs were introduced for the purpose of cognitive consumer research Along a knowledge content dimension, knowledge characteristics comprehensiveness, complexity, abstractness and specificity were distinguished. Along a cognitive operational dimension, five cognitive operational processes selection, specification, abstraction, interpretation and integration and two cognitive operational modes bottom-up...

Data collection through open semistructured interviews

Systematic interviewing is a principal data collection technique in qualitative and applied research (Mantwill et al. 1995 68-9, Robson 1993 228-31, Ackroyd and Hughes 1992 100-4, Strauss and Corbin 1990 18, Patton 1990 10, Yin 1989 19, Sampson 1986 32-3, Merton and Kendall 1945-6). Utilizing the language of the consumer is an essential requirement of empirical research that investigates a cognitive research problem such as that raised by this study semi-structured, open interviews were...

Conclusions

In this chapter, methodological issues that related to empirical research on green consumer cognition were outlined. A real-life setting was considered mandatory for research into green consumer cognition. Such an approach should give this study an external validity advantage in comparison to laboratory research. As indicated earlier, real-life research into cognition in general, and into consumer cognition in particular, has been called for. Also, for schema research, a qualitative approach...