Sensemaking helps researchers find meaning in qualitative research data.
Sensemaking looks not just at 'what people said' (or did) but at the frame of reference and assumptions they used for that point or action to be meaningful.
It is used to help make sense of :
- Qualitative text data (transcripts)
- Artifacts (e.g decorative objects)
- Visual data (images)
- Public discourse (media, social media)
Sensemaking explains the evolving vegetarian experience perfectly
The vegetarian landscape is evolving rapidly, with the advent of plant-based foods. Becoming a vegetarian was always a big decision but now it has become more complicated. Our research based on sensemaking shows that becoming a vegetarian is not just a choice between different food products; it's a manifestation of someone's self-identity at a stage in their life. The decision to stop eating meat is only one part of it - vegetarians, pescatarians, flexitarians and others review and revise their diet on an almost daily basis as they 'make sense of' how to balance their diet, their social beliefs and their social relationships.
We know that some vegetarians and vegans will never eat anything that looks or tastes like meat. However, plant-based meat substitutes do appeal to a segment of the vegetarian and vegan market. However, there are some strict rules that marketers must follow. There must be no risk - perceived or real - that a product sold to look like meat actually contains meat. This fear is a strong deterrent for some consumers.
We have uncovered key 'identity flashpoints' that show us the inner tensions and conflicts that are often the trigger for behaviour change.