Purpose: This paper offers key methodological insights for scholars new to qualitative transformative service research (TSR). Design/methodology/approach: The paper offers ten lessons on conducting qualitative TSR that the authors have gleaned, across more than 30 years (combined) of qualitative inquiries and engagement with other scholars conducting and publishing what may be now termed TSR. Findings: The key lessons of conducting qualitative TSR work include: displaying ethics in conducting and presenting qualitative TSR; preparing for and understanding the research context; considering design, mechanics and technical elements; being participant-centric; co-creating meaning with participants; seeking/using diverse types of data; analyzing data in an iterative fashion, including/respecting multiple perspectives; presenting evidence in innovative ways; and looking inward at every stage of the research process. Social implications: The paper provides implications for addressing the vulnerability of both research participants and researchers with the aim of improving research methods that lead to improved service research and well-being outcomes. Originality/value: Clearly, the complexity and importance of the social problems TSR scholars investigate – poverty, war, disaster recovery, inadequate healthcare – requires preparation for how to engage in transformative service research. Importantly, the paper fits with recent persistent calls within the broader literature of services marketing to: use service research and design to create “uplifting changes” within society and broaden the paradigmatic underpinnings of service research to include dynamic, process-oriented approaches, which capture the dynamic and relational aspects of service ecosystems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes