The Evolution of Research Methods in Tourism: Personal Reflections
Author(s)Hampton, Mark P.
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AbstractTourism research has evolved significantly since the phenomenon of tourism started to be studied by academics from the 1930s. Initial work mainly considered domestic tourism but as international tourism expanded rapidly from the 1950s, academic research turned to examine these growing international tourist flows. The paper briefly reviews the location of tourism and tourist academics within universities and the early pioneers’ work on international tourism from the 1970s exemplified by Hills (Geography), Archer (Economics) and Cohen (Sociology). The paper then examines main tourism research trends noting the growth of high level ‘systems’ type work in the 1980s such as Britton’s application of dependency theory to tourism or Leiper’s work on the international tourism system, before noting the continuing rise of managerial/business perspectives from the 1990s and the relative decline of research on geographical/spatial aspects such as resort morphology. This section ends by observing the twin trends in some major tourism journals of either ‘hard’ positivism or ‘fuzzy’ post-modernity (both arguably of little interest to policy-makers) and the relative difficulties of placing applied research with leading journals. The next section discusses applied tourism research and ethnographic type approaches using examples from my own projects in Indonesia and Malaysia and discusses some of the key findings on tourism and local economic development. The paper ends by noting the growing pressures on academics from funding rationing, the growing ‘bureaucratic burden’ including the rise of managerialism, and the challenge stemming from powerful ethics committees and seemingly risk-adverse universities that risk affecting the ability of academics to raise difficult questions.
TypeConference or workshop item
Hampton, Mark P. (2016) The Evolution of Research Methods in Tourism: Personal Reflections. In: International Seminar: The Evolution of Research Methods in Architecture and Planning, 2 May 2016, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (Unpublished) (Full text available)