In 1997, I bought a book called 'Research on Judgement and Decision Making: currents, connections, and controversies' edited by Goldstein and Hogarth. It was here that I first came across Kahneman and Tversky and their work on such things as representativeness heuristic. I was hooked. I think my favourite piece was one on 'arguing with yourself', because it is something I do often!
I was working on insurance projects at the time, trying to figure out why some people saw risks, where everyone else saw opportunity. I used many of the insights I learned here with my clients, but did not make them public.
Twenty or more years later, I still find this whole field fascinating, but I am also frustrated.
This is the second of two posts about using Behavioural Economics (B.E.) and qualitative research together. The first post described ways in which qualitative research could benefit from a ‘broadened’ view of B.E. This second post describes how B.E. and qualitative research can work together, by making the best of both worlds.
B.E. and qualitative research can work well together because they share a parent – contemporary social science.
B.E. was revolutionary because it applied the same social science to economics that has been used by social-science trained researchers for decades. ‘Everything is relative’, ‘people are influenced by what others think’, and ‘behaviour is best researched in context’, are all part of the B.E. canon and have also been part of the best kind of qualitative approach for a long time.