Frameworks for Tourism Research

Philippe Bachimon

Douglas G. Pearce provides us with a theoretical and applied work of great quality dealing with the use of frameworks in tourism research. The basic idea is that frameworks are the foundation for good scholarship. They structure, organize and communicate research; underpin specific studies and shape the field as a whole. By means of analysis and critique, this book serves as a guide to the proper use of frameworks in tourism research. In particular for students, this book represents a valuable resource. Frameworks – be they theoretical, conceptual, analytical or conceptual – are addressed in detail; the characteristics, the use, and the strengths and weaknesses of the diverse forms the frameworks may take are discussed and illustrated drawing upon a wide range of examples and applications from the field of tourism studies.

In 210 pages and more than 90 diagrams, professor Douglas Pearce from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), the author of numerous publications in tourism research, offers us an excellent array of frameworks. These frameworks range from basic diagrams to graphical models, including such forms as matrices and systems. It is in fact a whole two dimensional language of intermediation, whether with respect to the linearity of text or oral presentations, which is examined in all its forms and with various implications. Douglas Pearce raises issues of analysis and synthesis and considers the dangers of reductionism. For him, this use of graphic representation appears to be an indispensable phase in knowledge creation; it is a key moment of formalization in the process of scientific exchange which also opens up the possibility of falsification.

If we had a reservation, it is that the specificities of this process in tourism studies have not been established. For it seems that in this field, which is not characterized by an outrageous formalization, the majority of the frameworks presented in the book have been adopted or adapted from other fields of study in various disciplines. So, there is still a lot of work to be done in tourism research. The book enables the reader to stand back and consider the use of frameworks as a means of communicating scientific results or techniques when employed as aids in Powerpoint presentations that use and abuse this language in academic or popular communication. There are many lessons to be learnt from the examples examined in this book as there are numerous problems to be avoided when using the frameworks.

Pearce presents and discusses a wide range of international examples. Although a handful of these are in Spanish or French – including references to papers by Cazes, Coëffé and Miossec – the vast majority are drawn from English language literature. This raises the question of whether this simply reflects the author’s limited access to research literature or whether scholars in an Anglo-American or Australasian tradition, compared to their European colleagues, indeed take a more structured approach to their research as characterized by the more frequent use of explicit frameworks. If so, what are the implications of this difference in approach for the development of research in tourism in general?

In the final chapter of his book, Pearce alludes to the impact of language barriers on the dissemination of tourism research, an issue of particular interest to the contributors and readers of Via@, and proposes the greater use of integrative frameworks as a means of addressing this problem. ‘Integrative frameworks drawn from a particular language’ he suggests (p. 173) ‘could synthesize key works and findings and serve as a bridge to other languages; then only the framework papers would need to be translated and disseminated, not the many individual pieces of research that they bring together’. 


Douglas G. Pearce, 2012, Frameworks for Tourism Research, CABI, 210p.


Electronic reference :
Philippe Bachimon, Frameworks for Tourism Research, Via@, News in brief, posted on 26th October, 2014.


Philippe Bachimon 
Université d’Avignon (UMR Pacte-CNRS & Espace-dev-IRD)