The Association for Qualitative Research
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Typology

A way of describing groups of respondents displaying different clusters of behaviours, attitudes or views of the world.

A typology generally consist of a set of descriptive names or "types", attached to thumbnail sketches of typical behaviour and/or attitudes for each group. Typologies might be based on some specific behaviour (weekend hobbyist cooks v everyday pragmatic cooks) or on response to the client's brand (young aspirers v sceptical rejectors). But they can go much further, claiming to categorise far broader attitudes and lifestyles.

Typologies have been very popular and very useful in market research, but they rely on the assumption that individuals have stable attitudes, consumption patterns and a stable identity, assumptions that are now increasingly questioned.

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