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Poetry and meditation power new research understanding – study

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Combining poetry and meditation may help to discover new angles on the world, by enabling researchers to take an unorthodox approach to data collection and analysis.

A new study reveals that ‘poetic meditation’ can enhance qualitative data analysis by offering researchers improved sensory experience and an ability to approach data analysis from unexpected directions.

The authors of the study explain that meditation allows researchers to train their body for data collection – improving their capacity to capture unexpected insights and deal with uncertainty and transformation as they incorporate novel interpretations into their research.

The skills enable researchers to understand novel cultural practices. Poetic meditations may prepare the researchers to see the world with different eyes.

Publishing their findings in Journal of Marketing Management, researchers at the University of Birmingham and Kedge Business School, Bordeaux, France, outline a radical new process to help researchers to enhance their work.

Pilar Rojas-Gaviria, from the University of Birmingham, commented: “Scientific wonder prompts us to ask questions about the purpose of consumption, the way markets are created and extended, and how life and human experience are attached to both.

“Academics have always developed theses to resolve questions and explain events, but mindfulness practice can make our bodies an instrument of research – gathering data from different environmental sources. Poetry offers qualitative researchers a useful tool to refigure their surroundings and shed new light on the data they work with.”

Poetic meditation allows researchers to reveal unexpected or previously unnoticed features of market and consumption environments – rather than simply reproducing existing categories and theories.

By recording and presenting poetic meditations through audio media, the researchers demonstrate poetry’s potential to stimulate new ideas that can influence how academics approach data collection or analysis.

The researchers demonstrate the technique with two poetic meditations focusing on the colours green and red. These audio presentations settle the listener into a relaxed state, before taking the listener on an intellectual journey into poetry and philosophy, and ending with a period of meditation.

Robin Canniford, from Kedge Business School, commented: “We believe this technique can inspire researchers to include sound recordings and data presentations in their publications – creating a different approach to communicating and understanding their findings.

“Creating a poetic meditation might be a first step in a researcher’s journey that uncovers new sensations, interpretations, and questions – reaching towards unconventional and impactful responses in our research, even when answers seem to be far in the future.”

Poetry in marketing is already proven to be an effective research method to challenge conventional thinking in areas such as branding. It has helped marketers understand markets and consumers – engaging in conversations that capture how people consume products and services.

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