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The Future Is Virtually Here: Virtual Reality and Research

Posted By David Bauer, Hemispheres, Monday, December 11, 2017

Researchers spend much of their time exploring the future in collaboration with consumers and idea creators. From product concepts to environmental experiences to communication ideas, we work to understand how people react to these new creations and how to improve upon them.

With the advent of virtual reality, we now have the ability to send people into worlds where they can experience these new ideas in more realistic settings. In #VR, consumers can more authentically interact with these ideas, modify them, and explore how they would use them in their own lives.

Virtual reality, along with augmented reality and mixed reality, will soon have a powerful effect on many aspects of the research field. Researchers will be able to share experiences with consumers even though one may be at home in one country while the other is in her office in another country. Consumers will be able to manipulate and build concepts in collaboration with researchers and design teams. Clients will be more engaged as they observe and interact with their consumers in these virtual experiences.

Watch David's video

I will be speaking about research and VR at #QRCA2018, the Qualitative Research Consultants Association annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 26. You can learn more about the conference at the link below or reach out to me if you would like to discuss the possibilities of VR and research.

More details about the conference: http://www.qrca.org/event/annconf2018

Tags:  augmented reality  mixed reality  QRCA Annual Conference  qualitative research  virtual reality 

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#steampunk and Qualitative Research: The Future Is Now

Posted By Michelle Finzel, Maryland Marketing Source, Inc., Wednesday, December 6, 2017

steampunk imageI am loving the theme of the upcoming QRCA Conference: Elevate and Cultivate. The promise of a consortium of professionals – each representing different phases and ways in to their qualitative research careers – eager to share their varied experiences and knowledge. It immediately brought to mind imagery of sophistication and refinement, enlightenment and growth, artistry and execution, all grounded in hard work, solid skills development, and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty.

It immediately made me think: steampunk.

Steampunk is an aesthetic portrayal of retro-yet-futuristic stories, fashion, and ideas. A “subgenre of speculative fiction...It could be described by the definition: What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner” (urbandictionary.com).

Blade Runner image
Movie still from original Blade Runner

What would the past look like if it were happening now? What would the present look like if it were in the future? What does any of this have to do with qualitative research?

Pretty much everything.

Qualitative market research is also a sub-culture within a sub-culture. It boasts its own language, its own unique sets of tools and techniques, its own artisans and inventors. Qualitative researchers access the past and join it with the present as a means to craft a variety of possible futures. And we do it with our own flair and personal style.

Hugo movie still
Movie still from Hugo

And if we are to be the leaders of our industry and for our clients, then we definitely need to make sure that we are getting our education from all different directions and decades. Our more tenured researchers have seen and done it (almost) all – they planted the seeds of what we do so that we can benefit from their fruits. We must learn from them. Millennials look at society and seek to humanize our automated methods. We must learn from them. Our younger professionals are masters of life at our fingertips and simplifying what used to be convoluted and complex. We must learn from them.

This is why I am so excited to attend the QRCA Annual Conference. These three days in Phoenix, AZ, have been artfully designed so that anyone who still has something to learn about qualitative research (namely, all of us) will have the opportunity to benefit from what happens when qualitative vets engage with qualitative next. All to elevate and cultivate us into the gritty elegance of qualitative now.

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Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  qualitative research  steampunk 

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I Underestimated the QRCA Annual Conference

Posted By Maria Virobik, ResearchScribe, Monday, November 13, 2017

I was a first-time attendee at the 2017 QRCA Conference in Los Angeles. Although I have been an independent QRC for 20 years, it wasn’t until the QRCA bylaws changed last year that I was finally (finally!) able to join the organization. I joined QRCA the day the expanded membership guidelines were announced and signed up for the conference soon after. The fact that it was taking place practically next door to me (I live in Pasadena) was just gravy.

Although it was my first QRCA conference, I was pretty certain what to expect: There would be interesting speakers and presentations, I would meet other QRCs, I would learn new things, and, of course, there would be dine-arounds. (Even though I had spent the preceding years being QRCA-adjacent, I knew about dine-arounds!)

I certainly wasn't wrong, but I definitely underestimated the magnitude. I expected “good,” even “great,” but the conference was AMAZING.

I attended presentations that filled my brain with tons of fantastic information, given by QRCs whose names I recognized as rock stars in qualitative research.

I learned new techniques and approaches and ideas. We were encouraged to approach and think about qualitative research in novel and surprising ways, and it all made me more excited about a field that I am already pretty darned excited about.

Perhaps the best part for me was connecting faces with familiar names as I finally met the colleagues “IRL” with whom I have worked with for years via phone and email. I also met many more QRCs that I only knew by name and reputation. In many cases, all I had to say was, “Wait, you’re So-and So?” and a fun and energetic conversation would take off from there.

And yes, I “dined around” and that was fabulous too – another opportunity to connect with colleagues and talk about anything and everything. Not just qualitative research or business or client issues or “work stuff,” but everything else under the sun. Dogs, favorite travel destinations, restaurant recommendations, you name it.

I came home every night too excited to sleep and couldn’t wait to get back the next morning. At the end of the conference, I had collected a stack of business cards from all the people I met, and had heard so much to inspire me and make me a better QRC. But the best part by far was the feeling throughout the entire three days that I had found “my people.” Working independently can be isolating and leave QRCs feeling like we are on our own with no backup or support, even just to commiserate about difficult projects or clients or respondents. For me, the conference was three solid days surrounded by nothing but support, collaboration, commiseration, and conversation with smart, friendly, interesting people who “get” what I do. I went expecting to meet colleagues but left with a lot of new friends as well. Needless to say, I am already booked for Phoenix in January 2018 and I can’t wait!

Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  qualitative research 

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QRCA Annual Conference: Not Your Typical Event

Posted By Jennifer Dale, InsideHeads, LLC, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Every year, all members of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) are invited to convene at the annual conference. With so many research industry conferences to choose from, why is the annual QRCA event always top of my list?

Because it’s worth it.

The cost of my annual membership and the one-time conference fee is nominal compared to the value I derive from the experience, both personally and professionally.

Since becoming a member of QRCA in 2006, I’ve missed only one annual conference and have no plans to miss another. Each year, I joyfully eject myself from the office and immerse myself in a pool of peeps whose interest in how people think is equally piqued.

The QRCA conference is not your typical annual bash, with a slew of pushy sales presentations. Instead, topics and speakers are heavily vetted, ensuring each conference includes the most relevant, useful, and inspiring learning sessions. Dedicated vendors support the conference by displaying and demonstrating the newest tools and technology for qualitative research. And members open their arms to welcome friendly hugs and share life stories.

For all who are QRCA, see you in Phoenix this January!

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Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  qualitative research 

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Millennials and Video Ethnography: So Happy Together!

Posted By Isabelle Albanese, Consumer Truth Ltd., Thursday, October 26, 2017

Using video ethnography with Millennials is a big win for researchers and marketers. Lately Consumer Truth has done a few video ethnography projects among Millennials in three different categories. They've all yielded tremendous insight and in-depth discoveries. An interesting finding about the "marriage" of the target and the methodology is that Millennials are more than willing to share their lives via autonomous video capture and perceived self-direction. What researchers and marketers can potentially get in return is a wonderful glimpse into their homes, their personalities, relationships, interaction with friends, family members and pets—and ultimately, their truths—who they are, what matters to them and why, which is our ultimate end game.

In fact, I've found this group much more willing to share feelings, concerns, wishes and desires via self-made video stories than they are in more traditional qualitative settings. And why not? Screens are a second-nature connection to them. Screens have been their preferred conduit to communication most of their lives. Screens are familiar, controllable—their friends! And what we as marketers get back are well-crafted, casually communicated stories about how they interact with products and services—and importantly, how they feel about brands. What's real. Their truths.

In a recent project we did with Millennials, one person—after having completed the assignment—contacted us and asked what more we wanted her to do. Are we satisfied with her feedback? Did we get what we were looking for? Was there anything else we wanted her to capture on video? While I appreciated the over-achieving effort, like any qualitative researcher, I asked why she was so willing to continue contributing beyond our initial "ask." The answer shed a lot of light on the relationship this demographic has with screens, video and technology overall—and what we as marketers can learn relative to successful methodologies.

"It seemed too easy! Like I should be doing more for the money you paid me!" Understand, this was after having her complete a three-pronged exercise spanning 3 days and submitting 15 minutes of self-made video. In 17 years of researching consumer behavior, I've never once had someone contact me after an in-person ethnography (or any other methodology, for that matter) to ask if there was something else I needed to ask them or for them to do. No. That did not happen. Ever.

"It's ...easy!" And if it's "easy," isn't it also more authentic, more natural and real?

Read the full blog post, and join me at my presentation at the QRCA Annual Conference in January 2018!

Tags:  market research  Millennials  QRCA Annual Conference  video ethnography 

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QRCA Annual Conference Preview: Using a Behavioral Economics Lens to Research Behavior

Posted By Lauren McCrae, Lux Insights, Inc., Wednesday, October 25, 2017
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Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler have both won the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work on behavioural economics, and since Thinking, Fast & Slow was published in 2011, discussion of the systematic biases in how humans think has become mainstream in the market research field. But is being aware of these biases the only thing market researchers need to do in order to obtain better insights?

I argue that we need to understand all the influences on human behaviour, beyond just what goes on in people’s heads, in order to structure our research so that we can truly understand decision-making. This includes the physical and social context in which decisions are made, the skills and capabilities individuals have, as well as their internal motivations, whether those are conscious or subconscious. How can we understand all of this through our research?

Here are a few approaches to help get a more complete picture of what drives behaviour, without introducing bias by asking participants directly:

§ Spend more time on introductions understanding how participants see themselves in general, probing on areas you want to know more about. It’s amazing how much you can learn from asking in an open-ended way for someone to describe themselves.

§ Ask family or friends about participants’ personalities. Spouses, parents and friends can all provide a different context, and reveal important traits of participants about which participants themselves may be unaware.

§ Ask about experiences that are similar to, but not exactly the behaviour you are researching. For example, if you want to understand online purchasing behaviour, find out about what participants do online in general, and why.

I will be talking more about the factors that influence behaviour, and how to create a discussion guide that will help you uncover the major influencers, at the QRCA annual conference in Phoenix taking place January 24-26, 2018. Please join me in Phoenix to learn more: www.qrca.org/2018


Tags:  behavioral economics  Daniel Kahneman  human behavior  qualitative research  Richard Thaler 

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The Best Conference Value Available

Posted By Janet Standen, Scoot Insights, Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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After 30 years on both the client side and the agency/consultancy side, I've been to more conferences than I care to remember, but the QRCA Annual Conference coming up in January 2018 in Phoenix is one that I will not miss. Each year, it is simply the most fun, the most welcoming, open and friendly, and the most informative of them all — that is, if you have anything to do with qualitative research and you want to remain or become one of the best qualitative practitioners out there!

It's a great chance to meet up with those I've met before, and connect with many I've worked with as a result of being a fellow QRCA member... and I always have a chance to meet a good few new QRCA members too. For the amount I get out of it in terms of business opportunities from working with other QRCA members, the amount I learn from the speakers, and the opportunity it provides to connect with all the different vendors (in a fantastically efficient way) who are part of the fabric of being able to deliver great results for my clients — it works out as the best value conference I can attend every year. I have never been disappointed.

Sometimes what I learn just helps me have the confidence that what we are offering at Scoot Insights is meeting a real need out there, but I also always walk away with things I can implement immediately (a new mobile provider, a new use for journals, a way to sharpen up share out presentations) and some things that get my brain fired up thinking about things in a new way, such as imagining myself as a "news reporter" when investigating my topic and writing up my findings! If anything, it is an over-stimulating experience — but one that's hard to beat!

Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  qualitative research 

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Under 35? Applying for a Young Professional Grant Is a Must

Posted By Elizabeth Marconi, Catapult Marketing Group, LLC, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
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Applications are now open for the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) Young Professionals Grant (YPG). Fifteen grants will be awarded to young professional qualitative researchers 35 years and younger to attend the QRCA’s 2018 Annual Conference: Elevate & Cultivate, to be held January 24-26 in Phoenix, AZ, a USD $1,300 value, funded by partners Schlesinger Associates, M/A/R/C Research and FocusVision.

Receiving the QRCA’s Young Professionals Grant was a distinct honor that came at the perfect time in my career. I had been working for four years at a large marketing research supplier and had been seriously considering joining my mother’s small qualitative consulting firm. At the 2015 conference in Orlando, I was able to speak with other independent consultants who offered encouragement and concrete advice. I also met a number of other parent-child MR pairings that really made me feel like part of a well-worn tradition. I made the career transition soon after the conference and haven’t looked back.

From the first activity – the “speed dating” between first-timers and mentors – I felt energized by the collective enthusiasm and vitality that filled the grand hall. Everyone was eager to learn about my background, interests and career goals – not surprising given that qualitative researchers are a naturally inquisitive breed. It was immediately apparent that QRCA members are genuinely vested in everyone’s professional success and personal happiness.

The sessions at the conference struck the perfect balance for me between practical and theoretical subject areas. As a former academic nerd in college, I appreciated the high-level presentations on more abstract topics like consumer behavior. In addition, the numerous sessions on everyday tips and tricks helped me leave with a significantly expanded market research toolkit.

I officially joined QRCA after the conference and have enjoyed deepening my involvement with the national group and my local Philadelphia chapter. The leadership team at the conference made it clear that there is opportunity for any member to actively contribute to QRCA, regardless of experience level. During my first year in QRCA, I contributed to VIEWS magazine and participated in the YPG committee. Over the past year, I became Treasurer of the Philly chapter, co-chair of the Membership Committee and participated in both the Conference and Young Professionals Committees.

I highly recommend that young professionals take advantage of this unique program. You will assuredly come away with a few new connections and a renewed excitement for qualitative research.

Visit qrca.org/YPG to apply or learn more.  Applications are due November 1, 2017.

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Tags:  QRCA  qualitative research  young professionals grant 

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What Made American Audiences Cry over a Coffee Ad?

Posted By Kay Correy Aubrey, Wednesday, May 31, 2017
What Made American Audiences Cry over a Coffee Ad?

An Interview with Dr. Clotaire Rapaille on the Culture Code

Dr. G Clotaire RapailleDr. G Clotaire Rapaille is a cultural anthropologist and founder of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide. He is best known for writing the New York Times bestseller The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. QRCA member Kay Correy Aubrey interviewed Dr. Rapaille for our VIEWS magazine. The first part of the interview appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of VIEWS.

Dr. Rapaille explains that in humans, our reptilian brain always wins. “The reptilian (brain) is about basic survival, basic instinct. It’s short-term. It’s pain and pleasure. It’s so strong.”

That deeply embedded, instinctive feeling is what the Culture Code is all about. “There is no learning about anything without emotion,” Dr. Rapaille says. “The more intense the emotion, the stronger the imprint…. When you learn a word, you learn more than the word — the whole culture goes with it. It’s a package. You get so much with a word.”

Using this as a starting point, Dr. Rapaille and his associates take groups of people from a particular culture to do imprinting sessions. Going through that process with Americans in a project for Folgers coffee, the team discovered that Americans imprint on the aroma of coffee. “And what we said at the time is that Folgers should own the aroma, everything. And then we designed communication around aroma.”

In the resulting ad, a young soldier returns home from the military and makes coffee for his sleeping mother. She smells the coffee, realizes what it means, and rushes down the stairs to hug her son. “When we tested the commercial people were crying,” Dr. Rapaille says. “It’s not just coffee. It’s reactivating the first imprint of something that is so emotionally positive and associated with all the reference systems. So we discover these dimensions that are so powerful, but usually unconscious.”

Tags:  american audiences  clotaire rapaille  cry over coffee ad  culture code  kay correy aubrey  qrca  spring 2017  views magazine 

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Ditch the script; have a conversation instead!

Posted By Alison Rak, Monday, March 20, 2017

Nobody likes a telemarketer, so why use their techniques in recruiting? Why are researchers still  getting away with putting participants through long, boring, tedious screeners? A conversational approach to your recruit may seem difficult or impractical, but if done well can yield excellent results in the way of highly-qualified, happier participants.

What is a conversational recruit? It’s a way of getting all of the answers to your screener, and then some, through a friendly conversation. There are a few key requirements for success, however. First, you need to be completely aligned with your recruiter on your screening criteria. This typically requires a detailed conversation, backed up in writing, versus just emailing over a screener. Second, you need to trust your recruiter completely that they will not lead the participant, and that they have your best interests in mind. Finally, you need a recruiter who will have a small number of qualified, intelligent people who are well-trained with your project working for you, versus a firm that will put a large number of interchangeable dialers on your project.

Some researchers attempt a conversational recruit by writing a conversational screener, but these fall short. Potential participants can tell when someone is reading from a script and it’s a turnoff. A skilled, conversational recruiter, on the other hand, can knock off a number of screener questions in a brief exchange. Here’s an example of three questions from a typical screener:

First, a written introductory paragraph that, no matter how casual the recruiter tries to make it, will come across as a script and set the tone for the rest of the exchange. Then come the questions:

  1. What age range do you fall into?
    1. under 18 (terminate)
    2. 18-24
    3. 25-34
    4. 35-44
    5. 45-54
    6. 55 or older (terminate)

2. Do you have kids living at home? If so, what are their ages?

3. Do you or anyone in your household work in any of the following industries?

  1. Education
  2. Marketing
  3. Advertising
  4. Public relations
  5. Transportation
  6. Technology
  7. etc. etc. etc.

3. (Articulation question) If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go and why?

Now, imagine trying to achieve the same thing through a conversational approach.

After a brief introduction….

Recruiter: Tell me a little about yourself. For example, how old are you, what do you do for work, and who do you live with?

Potential participants: Well, let’s see…. I’m 42 years old, a stay-at-home mom. I live with my husband and two kids, plus a golden retriever who acts like my third kid!

Recruiter: “Oh, I love goldens! How old are your kids?

Participant: My daughter Izzy is four and my son Burke is eight.

Recruiter: Wow, you have your hands full. What does your husband do for work?

Participant: He’s a chef for Intuit.

Recruiter: Nice! Does he cook for you at home?

Participant: He does! He’s a great cook. During the week I usually feed the kids before he comes home but he will whip something up for the two of us and it’s always delicious. I’m very lucky!

You get the idea. The conversational approach got all of the key information from original screener, and then some. The participant is much more engaged, and an articulation question becomes irrelevant.

Taking it a step further, the recruiter now has established a rapport with the participant and can write up a blurb for the researcher, versus only typing stats into a grid. As a researcher, I appreciate getting an email with a blurb about a hold (e.g.“Rachel is a stay-at-home mom of two and very articulate. She meets all of the criteria but is a hold because her husband works in the technology industry (for Intuit), but as a chef.”) I can read it and quickly respond “Yes, let’s accept Rachel” (I was screening out people who work in tech, but a chef for a technology company will be fine for this project.) It’s far preferable over getting an email (“Attached is your latest grid, with a hold for your review”) which I then have to open and read through to find out the reason for the hold.

A conversational approach to recruiting brings about so many benefits but most of all, it’s consistent with our work and our industry values of being both qualitative and humane.

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