Research methods for subsistence marketplaces

Madhu Viswanathan, Roland Gau, Avinish Chaturvedi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses the sense providing some data, and then place our insights in a broader context by discussing implications for research methods. It highlights issues of low literacy and low income in an advanced economy, providing a comparison point for the subsequent discussion of Indian subsistence contexts, additionally characterised by extreme poverty. Research in the social sciences has often focused on relatively resource-rich, literate individuals and societies. Commonly used tasks in social research can be too abstract and artificial for low-literate consumers. Research on low-literate consumers suggests that emotional considerations, such as the management of stigma and self-esteem, are very salient. Transcription was performed by research associates fluent in Tamil and moderately fluent in English. Market research is crucial for businesses to better understand the life circumstances and economic realities of individuals in subsistence marketplaces. In subsistence marketplaces, translation should be done at the level of language, and also customised for the local context in terms of content.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability Challenges and Solutions at the Base of the Pyramid
Subtitle of host publicationBusiness, Technology and the Poor
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781351279871
ISBN (Print)9781906093112
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

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