Self introspection as a research method in exploring consumption behaviour at a special event

Document Type

Journal Article


Association for Qualitative Research.


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Ryan, M. M., Ogilvie, M., & Pettigrew, S. (2002). Self-introspection as a research method in exploring consumption behaviour at a special event. Qualitative Research Journal, 2(2) 47-57. Available here


The use of introspection as a data collection method has been keenly debated in recent literature. This paper explores introspection and its use in examining peoples' feelings and consumption behaviours at a significant event. The event chosen for this research was the night of New Year's Eve, 1999. This time symbolised the turn of the century for many people, providing a unique opportunity to conduct research into consumers' thoughts, feelings and behaviours during a significant event. The authors of this paper participated in the research process as part of the sample. Guided introspection in the form of an open-ended question survey instrument was employed to obtain data from a sample of 126 consumers (including the authors). Respondents recorded their feelings and expectations for New Year's Eve on the morning of the 31December 1999. They were prompted to outline if they had purchased any special items for the night, what reflections they had at 1999 and their thoughts for the year ahead. Numerous themes emerged from the rich, descriptive data. This paper focuses on the authors' own introspections, discussed with reference to the emerging themes from the total sample and detailing added insights obtained from the authors' self-analysis of their introspections. The paper supports the use of introspection for obtaining experiential data from participants of significant events. Furthermore, the combination of researcher and respondent introspection methods provide a rich and meaningful view of consumption behaviours.