Objectives: Qualitative methods come along with specific methodological backgrounds and related empirical strengths and weaknesses. Research is lacking addressing the question of what it precisely means to study mindfulness practices from a particular methodological point of view. The aim of this paper is to shed light on what qualities of mindfulness different qualitative methods can elucidate. Methods: Based on interviews stemming from participants of a consumer-focused mindfulness training (BiNKA), we undertook a comparison of four different analyses, namely content analysis (CA), grounded theory (GT), interpretative-phenomenological analysis (IPA), and discourse analysis (DA). Results: Independently applying the four methods on our data material led to the following findings: CA demonstrated that the training had effects on self-awareness, well-being, and the development of ethical qualities and influenced pre-consumptive stages of participants; GT revealed the complex set of conditions determining whether and how the mindfulness training influenced the attendees; IPA highlighted the subjectivity of the mindfulness experience, suggesting that (1) different training elements have varying effects on participants and (2) it is often not the meditation practice, but other course elements that cause the effects experienced by the attendees; DA demonstrated that the course experience was influenced by subjective theories held by the participants. In particular, they showed typical strategies of rationalizing their consumption. Conclusions: A pluralistic qualitative research assists in identifying blind spots and limitations of a single method, increases the self-reflexivity, and helps to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of mindfulness practice or other processes of covert lived experience.
- Pluralistic qualitative research
- Reflexive methodology
- Sustainable consumption