Manny Schrager |
Are You Keeping the “Quality” in Qualitative?
Manny Schrager, firstname.lastname@example.org
When doing primary research, our work is only as good as the source of our information, the respondents who choose to take part in our sessions. However, we see more and more postings looking for respondents on the Internet, often accompanied by very detailed specifications of what is needed to qualify for a particular study. Unfortunately, this can leave the door wide open for “cheaters and repeaters.” They know how to answer the questions needed to secure their spot in a study. Some of these participants may be very articulate and convincing; others may be agreeable to any comments made around the table, never offering a unique thought. However, no matter how articulate or agreeable, neither will give you the information that you truly need to get from your actual targeted consumers.
Clearly, research will continue to use the Internet more frequently to help maintain the flow of qualified respondents we need to do our work. However, it’s up to us to make sure that our respondents meet the specifications we lay out with our clients.
What steps do we need to take?
- Ask your recruiters for full details on how they plan to carry out your recruit.
- Ask them what their policy is on re-using respondents. Does it fit with your expectations?
- Are they maintaining a respondent database that includes past participation by date, client and topic? Can they tell you that they have never recruited a particular respondent for you or your client before?
- If they plan to initially screen online, ask to get a copy of the questions they will use, for your approval. Make sure that the questions do not divulge key specifications needed to qualify.
- Do they formally screen respondents, using your screener on the phone to verify that they qualify?
- Are your screeners written in such a way that the qualifying specifications are not obvious?
- i.e., if looking for coffee drinkers who drink 3 or more cups a day:
ARE YOU ASKING: “What beverages do you drink in a typical day? How many cups or glasses of each?” NOT: “Do you drink 3 or more cups of coffee a day?”
- Are you using a self-administered re-screener (if at a facility) to catch potential cheaters or folks who just made an honest mistake but would add no value to your group?
- Are you providing feedback to your recruiter after the sessions? Certainly let them know if they did a good job. Also, let them know if there are any respondents they should remove from their databases, because they were untruthful, disruptive, or had other serious shortcomings.
By following these steps, you’re doing your part to keep quality in qualitative research and help maintain qualitative as important tool for our clients.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me, email@example.com and tell me how I can help you through the process.
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Getting to Know Your Board
Janet Standen, Jsstrategicinsights@gmail.com
Hi Everyone! I’m a Brit who has officially lived here for 18 years this month. I finally realized it was time to apply to become an American citizen when I was more interested in all the U.S. athletes than I was the U.K. athletes in last summer’s Olympic Games! In the middle of April I have my interview on my application for naturalization, so by the time you actually read this, hopefully I will be a U.S. citizen!
How did I come to be here in the U.S. in the first place? I was traveling down the East Coast of India, in Orissa, when I met an American from San Francisco—it was December 28, 1998. Julian and I got married exactly six months to the day later in San Francisco.
In that six months a lot happened! We realized we were in love and had each found “the one” and we decided that I, as a brand strategist, was more “exportable” than he was as an attorney specializing in California tax law. I sold my house in London so that we could buy a place together in San Francisco and I sold my third of a business I co-founded in London—a thriving brand strategy and innovation consultancy called New Solutions—to my partners so that I could move to San Francisco full time. A year later our daughter Sophie came along and changed our lives even more, and all for the better!
The one constant throughout my career, whether in new product development, as an Innovation Manager in Europe for Nestlé, as a Marketing Director at a design consultancy, or while running my own consultancy, has been a belief in the power of qualitative research to inform smarter business decisions.
When my daughter was five, I started working again here in the U.S. After five years as a brand strategy and innovation consultant, I purposefully shifted the emphasis of my projects to focus full-time on the power of qualitative research in unearthing those nuggets of truth that provide the critical insight to define a relevant brand promise, a better user experience, a stronger business direction, more effective communication, or shape a better idea.
Five years further on, I stumbled upon QRCA and I have been grateful ever since. I’ve been a member for just over five years, and I have found that the more I have become involved, the greater the chances I’ve had to get to know other members, and the breadth and depth of the benefits of being a member. I’ve had the pleasure of being a local Chapter Chair in San Francisco for three years, I’ve been on MarCom for two years, and now I’m proud to serve on the QRCA Board.
I love exploring and expanding the applications for qualitative research, whether it’s cracking faster qualitative without compromising quality, or helping to integrate qualitative approaches in different yet relevant ways into Innovation, B2B, UX/UI, and design research challenges. My mission as a QRCA Board member? I want to make sure other people aren’t practicing qual research in the U.S. for 10 years before they discover the power of being a QRCA member! I also want to make sure that UX and design researchers understand that they, too, are “qualitative researchers” who could benefit from being part of the QRCA community. Exciting times of change, as always, for us quallies and for QRCA!
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