Advances in tourism research: theoretical paradigms and accountability
The history of tourism research is one which is based on western epistemologies grounded in positivistic or post-positivistic research paradigms and by association a predilection to a quantitative research methodology. Other paradigms, methodologies, or interdisciplinary approaches have been and are utilised, however, they are relatively limited in number in regard to the primacy of literature associated with the hegemony of positivistic and postpositivistic paradigms. Given current world circumstances, should such a history continue to inform tourism and travel today? As readers would be aware, the closing decades of the twentieth century were punctuated with rapid social, cultural, technological, economic and political change along with a multiplicity of natural and human-induced 'disasters'; all on a scale and level that significantly contributed to global instability, uncertainty and unpredictability. Similar changes and disasters continue into the twenty-first century. The complexity of the resultant interactions and their distributions across global contexts, especially for tourism economics and management, have demonstrated that a reliance on past (hegemonic/dominant/western) practices, especially linear causal-effect explanations and reliance on historical patterns are proving problematic for explaining current and future tourism patterns and phenomena. New, marginalised and different world views (ontologies), ways of knowing (epistemologies), methodologies and methods as well as axiologies (morals and values) need to be used to provide (rapid and flexible) responses to travel and tourism issues to better serve the industry, to develop and refine theory as well as to understand the phenomenon of tourism in ever changing globalscapes and global interconnectivity. Based on action research over a ten year period of involvement in research and training in tourism economics and management along with the use of heuristic research processes, the following advances in tourism research are proffered in order to meet the current and future needs of tourism economics and management, especially for researchers and end-point users. The advances include: knowledge and use of a broader suite of research paradigms; understanding, awareness, incorporation and use of a variety of epistemological viewpoints; knowledge and use of qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods and indigenous methodologies; development, refinement and use of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches; collaborations across stakeholder groups; multimember team membership in order to represent the diversity amongst researchers and stakeholders; team skilling including cross-cultural capacity building; monitoring and mediation of power dynamics within teams and overall research projects; research foci which address local, regional and international spaces in an integrated manner; and multi-genre outputs to accommodate diverse stakeholder audiences.
Conference Series: Advances in Tourism Economics. Conference Proceedings