connections member news

April 2014
Vol. 13, Number 3

QRCA Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG News
Member News

QuickTips: I ♥ Coffee Break

Patrice Wooldridge,

QuickTips is a monthly column for Connections, providing members with quick and easy (and cheap or free) ways of doing our work and living our lives. Give us your favorite shortcuts, high- to no-tech! Email

In the last quarter of 2013, I conducted several week-long online bulletin board studies. Great for business but not so great for my body, since I was staring at a computer screen 10-12 hours a day for weeks in a row. I became concerned about inactivity, as studies have shown that even working out daily will not counteract long periods of sitting. Even though I continued to exercise an hour each day and ate a very normal diet (since I was home and could prepare fresh meals), I gained three pounds, my cholesterol hit 203 (the highest it's ever been) and my blood pressure went from 120/80 (my consistent norm since my 20s) to an unhealthy 140/88. This correlated with the current research about sitting, where scientists have found that as soon as we sit:

  • Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off
  • Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
  • Enzymes that help break down fat drop
  • After 2 hours, good cholesterol drops 20%

And a recent statistic showed that people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.

I was also concerned about my eyes. My optometrist had warned me as long as 30 years ago that looking at a fixed distance for more than 20 minutes at a time was likely the main reason I have become more and more near-sighted. He recommended the “20-20-20” rule (every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds). Eye doctors are increasingly telling their patients about this “rule” that helps to diminish eyestrain.

To top it all off, research has also has shown that taking breaks provides a variety of benefits such as:

After receiving my poor health report, I decided to learn more about how to reverse this negative trend. Of course I went online to get the information, and I found several apps that could help remind me to take breaks:

Coffee Break (for Mac): You decide how often you want to take a break and for how long, and the app will block your screen for that period. You can either set the app to go off at specific times during the day or at regular intervals, and you can decide how dark you want the screen to get. I use this, and I’ve set it to darken my screen every 20 minutes for a full minute. Then I get up and do a minute of Tai Chi or Qi Gong movement while looking out the window so that my gaze is more than 20 feet away. ($2.99 for your Mac, or $.99 for your iPhone or iPad in the iTunes store.)

EyeLeo: This is similar to Coffee Break, but works on Windows machines. The description states that it includes customized notifications, eye exercises led by “an adorable leopard” (helping to prevent eye problems), and an option called “Strict Mode” where users cannot skip the breaks. (free download at

Awareness: A bit more than I was looking for, this was built to “intercept your daily routine, and prompt you to get in touch with what you are feeling; taking you out of your worries and bringing you to the present moment. Throughout the day, on a schedule you configure, a gentle 'gong' will go off prompting you to record what you are feeling in the current moment.” ($3.99 in the iTunes store)

Force: This system was built by blogger Simon Jackson to lock himself out of his computer and change the keyboard layout so that he couldn’t easily disable the app (apparently you have to implement the code for this for yourself).

And there’s the rub – most of these apps are quite easy to disable (Coffee Break was actually counting down as I was finishing the last sentence and I turned it off because I didn’t want to be interrupted). When I bought Coffee Break I liked that I could immediately put it in the off position, but after using it for the last month, I wonder if I need a more persistent application! There have been several late nights writing reports when I swear the app was going off every 10 minutes instead of every 20. It was hard to let it keep running, rather than turn it off so I could finish what I was working on. Maybe I do need Force!

With a lot of qualitative research moving online, we all need to remember to take care of our bodies and take time to “smell the coffee” (figuratively, if not literally).

QuickTips is a monthly column providing members with quick and easy (and cheap or free) ways of doing our work and living our lives. Email your favorite shortcuts, high- to no-tech, to

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Personal Connections

Michelle Finzel,

Dharma (Duty), Dravida (Culture) and Pat Sabena in South India

Pat Sabena,

Enchanted by three weeks in Northern India in 2009, Dan and I promised each other we’d go to Southern India in our future. Accordingly, we left for Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on February 11, 2014, on a small escorted tour for ten days, and then for independent travel for ten more days.

Pat and husband Dan

In all, we visited Mumbai; Hyderabad; Kochi (formerly Cochin) in Kerala; Chennai (formerly Madras); and numerous other cities and towns in southeastern Tamil Nadu. In Mumbai we went first to two of the 300 Bollywood studios to watch movie and TV filming. Our next stop was Elephanta Island where there are ancient stone cave carvings, mostly of Shiva, one of the major Hindu gods. We also saw the distinctive sights of this second largest Indian city, including the six locations of the terrorist attack of November 26, 2008, where 161 were killed.

Ancient stone carvings of Shiva on Elephanta Island.

What was almost immediately apparent is that Northern India and Southern India are almost two different countries. Climate and terrain are part of the difference. The North tends to be dry with considerable desert areas. The South is lush with tropical palm trees and greenery and waterside views of the vast Arabian Sea to the west and the Bay of Bengal to the east.

More important, the North has expended its wealth on glorious self-aggrandizing projects (think Taj Mahal) but done little for its poverty-stricken people. The South has spread the wealth through education and community development. In the South, the literacy rate is very high (97% in the state of Kerala, 87% in the state of Tamil Nadu, versus 74% or less in the North), and unemployment is around 8% (compared to 60% in the North). Southern streets are much cleaner, with apartments and houses instead of shanty towns. There are fewer wandering cows, and noticeably less poverty and begging. Bureaucracy and corruption still exist – especially in politics – but women’s lives have improved a good deal during the past decade, although more advances are needed.

Southern India is home to many more Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, than the North, but they appear to live more or less harmoniously with the Hindus and the minority Christians. St. Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”), the Apostle, actively preached in India from 52 AD until 72 AD, when he was killed by a spear and buried in what became the revered St. Thomas Basilica in Chennai.

Southern India offers a more diverse and harmonious culture.

The history of India pre-dating the British occupation of 300 years reflects hoards of Aryans descending upon the North and driving the native population farther and farther south. Aryan descendants tend to be taller and lighter skinned, whereas the Dravidians in the South tend to be shorter and darker. The caste system and religious differences are still evident in the South, but they seem slightly more flexible, primarily because of educational opportunities and higher standard of living. Intermarriage of caste or religion is rare in the North but not quite as big a deal in the South. Arranged marriages are still prevalent; we met several apparently happy couples whose marriages were determined by their parents.

In addition to a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, we stayed mostly in glamorous historical Taj properties (formerly palaces) with magnificent Raj-period décor and exquisite cuisine. For both of us, the major highlight was our stay in Hyderabad at the Falaknuma Palace with a private dinner on the terrace overlooking the bright lights of the city where many Muslim weddings were being celebrated. Seven squatting Muslim men sang for an hour in-call-for-prayer style in front of us with such passion, emotion and intensity that I found myself weeping with joy as they sang. We will never forget it.

Houseboats in the backwaters of Kerala.

But I must confess that the real reason we went to Southern India was to immerse ourselves in the colorful and exotic Hindu temples of Madurai (Meenakshi Temple), Tanjore (Brihadeesvara Temple), Puducherry (Sri Aurobindo Ashram), Mylapore (Kapaleeswarar Temple) and Chennai (Kanchipuram Temples). Although devout Roman Catholics ourselves, we experienced joy and hope in the many cultural manifestations of the one true Divinity.

Off to the Races with Deanna Manfredi!

Deanna Manfredi,

In addition to being a QRC, I am also the managing partner of a thoroughbred breeding and racing business called Ascoli Piceno Stables, LLC. (Ascoli is the hometown in Italy of both my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother.) On March 6, 2014, our homebred three-year-old filly, Je Suis Enchantee, broke her maiden (meaning she won her first race) at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, PA (see the official win photo that accompanies this article). She is the stable's first winner of 2014. Her French name is a tribute to her father, Leroidesanimaux, who also sired 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

2014 Penn National race winner, Je Suis Enchantee.

On the breeding end of the business, we experienced a rare "two-for" on the evening of March 23, 2014. Two mares who were both weeks past their scheduled due dates (mares are supposed to gestate for approximately 340 days) both decided to give birth on the same night. She's Rosalie Jane delivered a colt at 8:00pm and Sharp as a Fox delivered a filly at 4:00am (photos below). I was so happy to be home to experience and assist with both births as over the years business travel has caused me to miss many deliveries. Both foals are by the late stallion Rockport Harbor who was affectionately known as "Rocky," so for now I am calling the colt “Little Rocky” and the filly “Little Roxy” until I can come up with their permanent registered Jockey Club names. Everyone agrees Little Rocky looks like the Black Stallion, but he and the filly both have color characteristics suggesting they will turn gray as they mature, taking after their father.

Deanna with She’s Rosalie Jane and her colt, Little Rocky.

Deanna with Little Roxy, filly of Sharp as a Fox.

With a little luck these two will be ready for the races in 2016.

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Cathy Boyd

New Member Interview: Cathy Boyd, Kendall Park, NJ

Mike Courtney,


I'm guessing you were born young. What is your earliest memory of? Any childhood nicknames we should be aware of?

I was raised in Milford, Connecticut, and my first memory is the smell of sawdust and running around in my father’s lumberyard. I don’t have a nickname, because my real name is a nickname (Cathy). My father loved the book/movie Wuthering Heights, and insisted I be christened Cathy, like the heroine in the story. (I’m quite sure my brother is thrilled he wasn’t named Heathcliff!)

What drew you to qualitative research? Did you stumble into the field or was it your childhood dream to moderate?

I found market research, or more to the point, it found me, in mid-life. I was a theatre major in college (with a concentration in drama criticism), and always thought I was a strictly the right-brain type. In high school, I drew, acted, wrote, made my own clothes, and sold crafts.

In my adult life, I worked as a production assistant at NBC before having my four kids, and as a young mother I had a crazy quilt of jobs such as writing newsletters for Johnson & Johnson; assembling soft sculpture for an artist-friend; providing family day care in my home; serving as communications coordinator for my school district; and being a stage mother for two children who wound up acting professionally in movies and plays.

During those years, for a while I temped as a word processor – to ensure I’d have the flexibility to take my kids into New York for auditions. One of those temp jobs was for a healthcare market research company, Migliara/Kaplan Associates. I remember asking my husband the night before my first day, “Market research: that’s like surveys and stuff, right?” That temp job led to a full time position; I spent a year or so creating documents from hand-written discussion guides, reports, and presentations. Those were the transition years in the '90s, when most managers were not computer-savvy and needed document specialists in order to get their work done.

I found myself immersed in what I was inputting – the questions, the analysis, the implications, the impact on the strategic business decisions. It was so cool to me that you could take the answers to these questions and create stories and make recommendations that would positively impact what came to the market. And I started thinking, “I could do this!”

Not having any experience except the osmosis of working so closely with the researchers and the work they did, it took a while for me to find the nerve to ask the president of the company if I could, maybe, be an analyst. This was in 1998, when FDA had just approved direct-to-consumer advertising and all the pharma companies were gearing up and needing market research to lead the way.

So the president gave me a job in her newly created Consumer Division. And unbelievably, I was a market research analyst!

Being a rookie market researcher in my 40s had its advantages and disadvantages. Having clients assume I had years of experience threw me into “fake it ‘til you make it” mode big-time. Often, they would dismiss the recommendations of my 30-something colleagues who had MBAs and a lot more experience than I, and instead, they’d turn to me and say, “What do you think, Cathy?” And I’d say something like, “Well, I actually think my colleague raises a great point.”

Cathy’s family in Scotland: “One of my first goals when I became a market researcher was to save enough points (and money) to send my whole family to Scotland, where my mother-in-law and husband are from. Mission accomplished in 2007.”

Company and Work

Please tell us about your company. What brought you to this company and to your role within the organization?

I essentially stayed with the company for the next 10 years – while the company, itself, changed. It was taken over and merged with other companies: NFO, IPG, TNS. Over those 10 years, I went from “analyst” to “vice president of research.”

After ten years of being a generalist in primary research, I realized that qualitative research was where my heart was. My skills from my past life in theatre actually served me well: the ability to connect with the other “actor” in the interview room; to improvise when necessary; to stick with the “script” when necessary; to indulge my love of the dialogue and the hidden meaning between the lines … all of these have relevance to market research.

In 2008 I decided to leave TNS and become a full-time qualitative market researcher and the owner of BLiNK.

Is there a story behind your company name?

I named my company BLiNK in homage to the Malcolm Gladwell book of the same name. It was also inspired by Daniel Pink, author of the book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. In that book, Pink talks about the difference between right- and left-brain thinking. One of his points is that the left brain is about text; the right brain, about context:

“The left hemisphere handles what is said; the right hemisphere focuses on how it’s said — the nonverbal, often emotional cues delivered through gaze, facial expression and intonation.”

So important for a qualitative researcher!

He goes on to say about written language:

“Certain written languages depend heavily on context. Languages such as Arabic and Hebrew are often written only in consonants, which means the reader must figure out the vowel based on the surrounding concepts and ideas. In those languages, if you read the equivalent of “stmp n th bg” you’d fill in different vowels depending upon whether the phrase appeared in a pest control manual (“stomp on the bug”) or short story about a trip to the post office (“stamp in the bag”).

So it’s the left brain that interprets the letters, but it’s the right brain that supplies the context. I thought that dichotomy was so fascinating that I designed my logo with left brain/right brain and text/context in mind – because I believe both are equally important in market research. I had my logo designed to reflect just what Pink said, so if you look at my logo, see if you can find the vowel!

Do you remember your first few moderating sessions?

My first shot at moderating was like a scene out of All About Eve. I had been the back-room manager for a few market research studies with a client who loved the moderator we had been using for several projects.

One day, on the first day of research in Philadelphia, heavy snow prevented the moderator from flying, but the clients and I were local and had already arrived at the facility.

The clients looked alarmed and talked about cancelling the day. I meekly offered, “I could try.” They gave me a shot, and I haven’t stopped moderating since!

If we were able to watch a video of that first session, what would we see?

Hmm, I have no idea. I was too focused on that interview and getting it right to even be able to play back that interview in my mind! I guess you’d have to ask the clients!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered thus far as a qualitative researcher? How have you managed (or overcome) this challenge?

The biggest challenge is to know when there’s more down there in the well that I should try to draw up. In market research, you ask the questions and the respondent answers, but I want to know what’s unsaid. So I pay a lot of attention to body language and intonation, and I love all the projective techniques – particularly non-verbal ones like AdSAM Emotional Response Measure. In the analysis I try to catch the inconsistencies that cast a different light on the obvious story.


What motivated you to join the QRCA and what do you hope to gain from your membership?

Since I became a qualitative research business in 2008, I’d been meaning to join, but life always seemed to be in the way. In February I got an invitation for a Ken Miller webcast, Insight for Innovation: Better Tools for Concept Exploration and Testing which looked really interesting. When I was getting ready to register, I realized that I may as well register as a member!

What advice would you give others in the research industry who might be thinking about joining QRCA?

It’s more important now than it ever was to network and stay ahead of the wave in terms of learning cutting-edge ways of conducting research, as well as keeping on top of what’s happening in the sectors in which we work. The main thing I miss about corporate life is the collegiality and the expanded opportunities to learn from the experts who are among you all day long. So if you’re solo, or a small company, it’s important to seek out these experts and share information and ideas, because relevance is a moving target – now more than ever. QRCA is a great place to make sure you stay on top of the game and don’t get sidelined. This is why I realized I should not put off joining for one more moment.

Many industries, including qualitative research, have experienced significant changes over these last few years. What do you imagine qualitative research and/or QRCA will look like in the year 2020? Any predictions?

The standard TDIs, IDIs and focus groups will be just a few of many ways we will have to collect qualitative data; we certainly have already seen this coming. I think combining ethnography with technology will increase in popular use. I saw a great talk by cardiologist Eric Topol, who demonstrated how patients will control their health with their smart phone – for instance, being able to do their own EKG and then send it to their doctor. I see market research respondents being empowered in the same way.

Personality related:
We are both in your favorite city with a day in between groups. ;What do we do? Where do you stay? Eat? Etc.

We are in Portland, Oregon, and we go to the Japanese Garden there. It is magnificent. My first visit there was during downtime on a research project. It was a misty March so the garden was not even in bloom, but even in the dreary dregs of winter it was absolutely magical. I don’t get to Portland much for research, but next time I go, I’m definitely building in enough time for a return visit and, hopefully, that will be in the summer!

What do your family and friends think about your career? Do you find yourself moderating the family dinner discussion? What would your family be like in a focus group?

I am definitely the listener – rather than the talker – in the family.; My family of four adult children and husband would be the well-balanced and vocal kind of focus group. There are no shrinking violets here! My family is very proud of my career and jealous of the travel I get to do They know it’s not all glamour by a long shot – but it definitely is the perfect career for someone who likes to keep moving.

A new phone app coming out helps you double your brainpower for seven hours each week. What do you use your super-brain time for?

To learn Portuguese so I can better communicate with my new daughter-in-law’s Brazilian family.

What books are you reading right now? (Real printed paper book or e-books?)

I take my Kindle everywhere. Some books I have on there right now are Tom Butler Bowden’s 50 Success Classics; Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein; Deep Ecology by Bill McKibben; Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; and Mary Oliver’s latest poetry book, Dog Songs.

Your approach to technology would best be described as…
a grateful explorer

Which means you are a master at…adding apps

And still trying to completely figure out…how to use them!

Mac or PC? iPhone or Android?

Mac, of course. And iPhone.

Cathy visits daughter Britt in Paris while traveling on business in Europe.

Cathy hiking in Camelback with her son:
“Totally relieved that I made it without breaking a bone.”

The Final Question:

A client tells you they'll triple your project fee if you can beat them fair and square in a game. You get to choose the game. What game do you play and how likely are you to win?

Charades - because of my theatre improv background and my love of words. And, from a strategic standpoint, often people who are not shy at all generally are very shy about getting up and acting silly in front of people. Not a problem for me, so I am very likely to win!

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QRCA Members Get Published!

Editor’s Note: QRCA members often contribute articles to industry publications. QRCA has established many content partnerships that provide a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise of our talented members. Each month, Connections will recognize those who have recently been published and share their articles to all members. Information provided by Laurie Pumper, QRCA Communication Director,

Recently published member article:

American Marketing Association's Marketing Insights: Setting the Record Straight: Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Mobile Ethnography
QRCA member Michelle Ellis and her colleague write about how these two different methodologies mix with mobile. Find out how smart devices are changing the qualitative conversation and allowing ethnographers to gather insights without the interference of the very behavior they are studying.

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Kudos Corner

Editor’s Note: The Kudos Corner appears occasionally in Connections – whenever members want to publicly salute others who do good things for the organization. If there’s somebody in QRCA that YOU would like to commend for any contribution (large or small) to QRCA, please let us know at All submissions will go to the Editor-in-Chief of Connections and will be published anonymously.

This month’s Kudos...

Kudos to Judy Langer, the brainchild of Connections' new column “QuickTips.” Over the past six months, Judy has worked hard to discover quick, easy, and helpful tips from QRCA members. She selects one each month to feature in the Member News section of Connections. We appreciate Judy’s continued efforts to enrich the professional development of QRCA members.

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New QRCA Members

Please welcome QRCA’s newest members. Feel free to email new members directly and help them transition to our association.

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Susannah Albright

3547 Richmond St
Jacksonville, Florida 32205
United States

Jennifer Axen

Axen Research
2898 Rowena, Suite 105
Los Angeles, California 90039
United States

Linda Garavalia

Brand New Inc/RealityCheck
919 South Bemiston Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63105
United States

Tim Lynch

Lynch Insights
53 Eastfield Terrace
Fairfield, Connecticut 06825-1120
United States

Jill Miller

11321 Rising Ridge Ave
Las Vegas, Nevada 89135-7833
United States

Arvind Pandit

1Lotus Marketing Research Services
Anusaya Niwas, P. P. Road, Andheri (East)
Mumbai, Mumbai 400063

Claudine Wargel

CC Wargel Market Research
6690 Little Galilee Road
Clinton, Illinois 61727
United States