Developing an original Café Delphi historical method to research women’s individual and collective experiences of sex, sexuality, and sexism in PR in the 1990s

Sarah Bowman*, Heather Yaxley

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to develop an original Café Delphi historical method to research women's individual and collective experiences of sex, sexuality and sexism in public relations (PR) in 1990s’ Britain. Design/methodology/approach: An original Café Delphi historical method is shaped by an interpretive paradigm providing a conceptual framework to model sex, sexuality and sexism. This approaches history as a social science drawing on hermeneutic phenomenology, reflexivity and ethics of care. A case study, employing oral history and participatory action research (PAR), is used to develop and test the practicality of the original Café Delphi historical method to research women's individual and collective experiences of PR in 1990s’ Britain. Findings: Three main findings are identified. (1) Developing a new method is complex, time-consuming and surfaces practical problems; however, the Café Delphi historical method is a viable way to explore individual and collective experiences. (2) Undertaking methodological innovation and innovating research methods involves action learning and requires agility, reflexivity and ability to navigate messiness and order. (3) Testing the multiphase mixed method study revealed its power and potential as an ethical and collaborative co-research approach. Originality/value: This study expands the repertoire of research methods in PR historiography and provides a new approach to capture collective as well as individual experiences. This study develops a feminine analytic tool employing metamodern oscillation to connect past, present and future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
Number of pages19
JournalCorporate Communications
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date16 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024

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