This model was originally developed in the US in the 1950's as a model of interpersonal communication, but has been adapted to provide a useful framework for thinking about the nature of information that can be accessed through different types of market research interviewing.
In the adapted form, it suggests two dimensions. That is, some material is easily accessible to participants themselves and other material is more difficult to access or articulate; also there is material people will be willing to disclose and that which they are less willing to share. Combining these dimensions gives four kinds of material:
- accessible/will share
- inaccessible/will share
- accessible/won't share
- inaccessible/won't share
Of these, the first three are of key use in qualitative market research, but require various different approaches. The last (material inaccessible to respondents, and which they would anyway be unwilling to share) is generally considered out of bounds to responsible market research practice.