connections chapter news

February 2015
Vol. 14, Number 1

Remember to check out the QRCA calendar of events
for upcoming Chapter events

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


D.C. Chapter Meeting Hosts Jim Bryson

Steve Appel,

Jim Bryson’s presentation about all the new ways to gather qualitative research was, as always, comprehensive and interesting. We are fortunate as an industry to have his continuing presence, and fortunate as an organization have had him as president.   

Of special interest to me was his emphasis on the strategic, in addition to tactical talents that we as QRCs offer. He’s helped me to recognize that as a one-person firm, I need to play to my strengths — notably judgment and experience. Rather than be a data-gatherer alone, I’ve found that in the last few years, more of my work involves strategic analysis, and I appreciated Jim’s words of encouragement. For most of us “small fry,” a big picture view, along with a reasonably varied toolbox of new and old, seems to be in demand. 

Jim candidly explained that no one can keep up with all the new technological techniques that roll out every few months (most of which his firm offers). Therefore, we should try to keep up-to-date in a broad sense. And, in the end, we need to have enough knowledge and skill to choose those that actually add value to our clients.  

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 julia spink
Julia Spink

ilka kuhagen
Ilka Kuhagen

The Virtual Chapter Is Reborn. Welcome to the International Chapter!

Julia Spink,

We are delighted to announce that a new Chapter is being introduced to QRCA members — the International Chapter.

This is a re-focus of what has until now been known as the Virtual Chapter. Given that most QRCA Chapters and SIGs are offering regular virtual content, to be positioned as a Virtual Chapter is no longer a relevant concept.

So we are now re-launching as the International Chapter, with the mission of providing support to everyone based outside North America, or interested in building connections with international researchers.

The Co-Chairs of this new chapter are Julia Spink and Ilka Kuhagen, supported by the globally dispersed members of the committee.

The story of the International Chapter: Julia Spink

I have been working in international research for over 30 years, and joined QRCA back in 2000 at a time when the organisation was almost solely North Americans.

Since then I have been active in encouraging international membership, as QRCA has served me very well over the years both professionally and personally — I now have close QRCA colleagues and friends all over the world.

As online communication first became feasible, I and several of the other members who lived outside North America seized the opportunity and set up the Virtual Chapter to hold meetings over this new-fangled thing called the Internet. This allowed those of us not near enough to attend in-person chapter meetings (at that time, the only format for meetings outside the annual conference) the chance to get together and interact — both Americans as well as international members.

Over time, the concept of virtual meetings has evolved and now we have virtual offerings from all our Chapters, SIGs, QCasts, etc. This now means that the purpose of the Virtual Chapter has been lost.

So what is happening to the Virtual Chapter?

We think that there is no longer any meaning in having a chapter just with the objective of offering virtual meetings — hardly a USP! But we do strongly believe that the growing number of international QRCA members deserve a chapter in the same way as their North American counterparts. Plus we know that many American members are also involved in international research from time to time, and also some members are just interested to gain an international perspective on our business.

So we put the case to the QRCA Board that the Virtual Chapter should be renamed and repurposed. It is now known as the International Chapter.

Our mission is to provide support for QRCA members based outside North America, plus anyone interested in developing connections with international researchers.
And our role will be threefold: Firstly, to help our members make connections and build relationships with QRCA members from any part of the world who have an interest in international researchers.

Secondly, to help our members keep up to date with our industry by connecting them with educational offerings both from the many QRCA groups and also from outside organisations in North America and around the world.

And finally to provide a platform for exchange of learning experiences regarding international research, whether for working in a single country outside North America, or for conducting international/multi-country studies.

So the International Chapter will not be solely for those conducting international research studies?

Absolutely not! Anyone at all can nominate us as their home chapter.

Our target membership for the International Chapter is everyone geographically based outside North America, plus any members with an interest in developing international connections.

The outgoing Virtual Chapter membership is roughly 1/3 North American, 2/3 international. We intend to continue to attract QRCA members based in North America as well as those based elsewhere in the world.

What do current Virtual Chapter members have to do to join the International Chapter?


We will move current Virtual Chapter members and friends across to the new International Chapter, and also we will encourage those who have another Home Chapter but who are potentially interested in the activities of the International Chapter to register themselves onto our mailing list. Everyone is very welcome to attend our meetings.

If you are not in the Virtual Chapter but want to join the new International Chapter, it is very easy. You can register for us as your Home Chapter or just to be on our mailing list by clicking through the link:
From this link, click on ‘International Chapter’ and select ‘Join Group’ — that’s it!

Who else is involved in running the new International Chapter?

We are lucky to have a great team from around the globe!

Co-Chairs are myself and the well-known and highly experienced Ilka Kuhagen from Germany, with a team of 5 helping us — Sam Loggenberg based in South Africa, Layla Shea in Canada, Hana Kloučkova in Czech Republic, Karin Curran in New Zealand, and Astrid Velázquez Potenes in Mexico.

We are already working on our programme of meetings, with the first one in late February — look out for details.

We hope to see lots of people getting involved in our meetings and building new connections with QRCA colleagues.

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Philadelphia Chapter Ends 2014 with a Focus on Mobile and Wearable Tech

Laurie Tema-Lyn,

On December 5, 2014, Philadelphia Chapter member Mark Wheeler, newly launched in his own research business, (Wheeler Research, gave us a thought-provoking talk about wearable technology and its possibilities as a research tool.

According to Mark, wearables are inevitable; Millenials are driving it; there is an increasing demand for information in a glanceable form. While a host of wearable products are being used for healthcare monitoring, fitness, sleep and diet tracking, they are not yet being incorporated in many qualitative researchers’ toolboxes.  

Mark has been an enthusiastic early adopter of wearables as a beta tester for Motorola’s Moto 360 watch and for Google Glass. Mark has found Glass more useful as a personal device than a professional one because of challenges and limitations of the Glass. Thus far, Google has focused attention on developing apps for military operations, for surgeons and other specialists, but not for the consumer research industry. Glass has inherent limitations and challenges for research professionals and wearers: it’s not intuitive so the user has to learn how to engage the commands, it’s hard for a wearer to both look up and look out, battery life is under 40 minutes for video recording, and at $1,500, it is expensive. Negatives aside, Mark did some successful experimentation with Glass in shopalongs and IDIs and is hoping to do more. (Shortly after Mark’s talk, Google decided to temporarily pull the consumer version.)

In spite of Glass’ shortfalls, there is every reason to envision a valuable future for wearables of different kinds. Mark believes the real action will be coming from the new smart watches, including Apple’s, due later this year. They will better meet the need of being glanceable computers.

On January 9 we turned our attention to the world of mobile research with two outstanding presentations, Mobile, Schmobile,” presented by Pam Goldfarb Liss, of LitBrains and “Mobile Qualitative Research: A First-timer’s Road Map” presented by Caroline Volpe, president of Compass Market Research.

philadelphia chapter

Mobile is a tool that is growing, with new applications coming to the marketplace every week, but it is still not fully formed for qualitative research. Pam debuted her presentation at the annual conference in New Orleans, but added new cases and an excellent guide to resources for her talk in January. She has had great success in using mobile, particularly for studies with kids where she could get a glimpse into the artifacts and the worlds that the kids inhabited without having to be in their homes. She also had us laughing about the surprising effectiveness of using mobile with an older female population on a study about feminine hygiene products. Mobile excels at getting in-the-moment reactions, and for a glimpse into a consumer’s world without the researcher being present — but it does have its limitations. It’s not the right tool when you are seeking in-depth emotions, although it can be an excellent part of a multi-method study.

While Pam has been using mobile for a while, Caroline decided to initiate an experiment with a willing client to see how mobile could be applied in the pharmaceutical world. Caroline’s aim was to gain experience to be able to better communicate with confidence the benefits of this methodology, where it could be used and the tactical aspects of executing it. Her mobile experiment included two different platforms — one in which research subjects (podiatrists treating foot ulcers) responded to questions via voice messages, the other via text to queries posted on a mobile app. The net out: voice mail elicited more emotional responses and more color about how the physicians perceived their patients. Along the way, Caroline learned much about the plusses and pitfalls of each phase of setting up and running a mobile study.

We are so lucky to have such a generous community of colleagues willing to share their knowledge! If you want to know more specifics about these presentations, feel free to reach out to Mark, Pam or Caroline.

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Southeast Chapter Hosts Board of Directors

Joel Reish,

The QRCA Southeast Chapter kicked off the New Year with a very special meeting on January 12. The QRCA Board of Directors held its annual strategic retreat in Atlanta (good hub for all the different Board members' travel routes), and some of the Board members stayed over to join our meeting. We gathered at the beautiful Focus Pointe Global facilities in Buckhead where we socialized, had a delicious lunch courtesy of FPG, talked about QRCA issues, and then were treated to a fascinating presentation by Jay Zaltzman"How to Conduct Research More Effectively Using Behavioral Economics." In addition, we gave away an autographed copy of Susan Abbott and Jenifer Dale's new book, Online Qual: The Essential Guide. At the end of the meeting, we squeezed together for this selfie:

southeast chapter qrca
Back row (left to right): Greg Rathjen, Jay Zaltzman (Board), Monica Zinchiak (Board), John Turner. Front row (left to right): Manny Schrager (Board), Linda Travis, Randi Stillman, Joel Reish

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