Using vignettes to study family consumption processes


  • This research was partly financed by the Danish National Research Agency (FSE-24-02-0305), whose support is gratefully acknowledged. Birgitte Steffensen is thanked for her assistance in translating an earlier version of the manuscript into English. Also, the reviewers and the editor are thanked for constructive comments and suggestions.


The use of vignettes for qualitative consumer research is discussed in this article. More specifically, vignettes are proposed as a useful research technique for conducting systematic and rigorous studies of consumer interaction processes, in particular as these relate to family consumption issues. Following an overview of methodological and practical problems of studying consumption interaction processes in families, a discussion of how vignettes may be used to enhance knowledge of family decision-making processes in real-life contexts is presented. Design implications are discussed and strategies for applying the vignette method are outlined and illustrated by two recent studies of pro-environmental consumer behavior in a family context. The paper concludes with a discussion of the benefits and the possible pitfalls of using vignettes. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.