As the future of quantitative research is defined by Big Data, the future of qualitative study should be organised around Big Metaphor: a form of psychological understanding that it is uniquely qualified to provide.

Metaphors communicate meaning, but they also structure our perceptions and reveal the profound cultural and psychological context for everything we do – and everything we say. In this feature we explore how a form of expression that machines cannot recognise or analyse is crucial to framing the questions that Big Data will seek to answer:

  • How Big Data frees qual to focus on contextual understanding
  • How consumer responses contain three forms of information: rationalisation, association and metaphor
  • How metaphor is essential for placing the other forms of information in context – and how qual research is uniquely placed to provide that understanding.
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