Date of Original Version
In marketing, qualitative data are used in theory development to investigate marketing phenomena in more depth. After qualitative data are collected, the judgment-based classification of items into categories is routinely used to summarize and communicate the information contained in the data. In this article, the authors provide marketing researchers with a method that (1) provides useful substantive information about the proportion and degree to which items belong to several categories and (2) measures the classification accuracy of the judges. The model is called the fuzzy latent class model (FLCM), because it extends Dillon and Mulani's (1984) latent class model by freeing it from the restrictive assumption that all items are crisp for a given categorization. Instead, FLCM allows for items to be either crisp or fuzzy. Crisp items belong exclusively to one category, whereas fuzzy items belong—in varying degree—to multiple categories. This relaxation in the assumption about the nature of qualitative data makes FLCM more widely applicable: Qualitative data in marketing research are often fuzzy, because they involve open-ended descriptions of complex phenomena. The authors also propose a moment-based measure of overall data fuzziness that is bounded by 0 (completely crisp) and 1 (completely fuzzy).
Varki, Sajeev, et al. “Modeling Fuzzy Data in Qualitative Marketing Research.” Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 37, no. 4, Nov. 2000, pp. 480–489, doi:10.1509/jmkr.37.4.480.18785.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.37.4.480.18785