March 2018
Vol. 17, Number 2

Management News

Conference News

Chapter News

Committee News

SIG News

Member News

Jay Zaltzman

Jay Zaltzman

From the President

Jay Zaltzman,

Providing Value to Our Clients

I am still feeling the high from our annual conference in Phoenix. It is so energizing to see old friends and to make new friends, and see their excitement at experiencing QRCA!

But no less important, I also loved learning new things: new ways to do things or ways to do things better than before. It’s how we stay valuable to our clients. When we bring them new ideas and new points of view, it reminds them why they hire us in the first place—and makes them want to keep on hiring us!

Basically, to keep on providing value, we need to stay curious and constantly learn new things. Did I just say “stay curious”? Well, that just happens to be the theme of our joint conference with the AQR, the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research, taking place in Valencia, Spain, May 16-19. I think it’s a great theme and there will be wonderful presentations, starting with our keynote speaker, Ian Leslie, who wrote the book Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on it.

But wait, there’s more! The conference will provide some true Valencian experiences: several small-group tours that are just for conference attendees, from which we can choose on Wednesday before the conference kicks off. And we will also have fabulous dine-arounds and a tapas bar crawl on Wednesday night, as well as a Thursday night party at a beach club with a live band and amazing Spanish food and drinks.

If you haven’t signed up yet, run, don’t walk to!

I can’t wait!

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Caroline Volpe

Caroline Volpe

Action! From the Board

Caroline Volpe,

The board is excited about the following items we discussed:

  • Approved the 2018 Strategic Plan to guide volunteers and staff throughout 2018
  • Removed the membership restrictions outlined in the Board Policy Manual that will allow QRCA to focus our membership on what people do rather than where they work.
  • Approved the 2019 Annual Conference theme
  • Updated the Annual Conference Policy Manual so that the board can weigh in on site selection for future conferences earlier in the selection process.
  • Approved the revamped President’s Award, which will focus on significant and ongoing contributions to QRCA and a new Impact Award for exemplary service that has impacted QRCA within the past year.
  • Approved re-naming the Continuing Education Committee to the QRCA Advance Committee
  • Approved re-naming the International Committee to the Global Outreach Committee
  • Approved the final 2018 budget

NEXT MEETING: The next QRCA Board meeting will be on March 19.

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Laurie Tema-Lyn

Laurie Tema-Lyn

Getting to Know Your Board

Laurie Tema-Lyn,

Hi there!

I am in my third year on the QRCA Board, and have been a member of this wonderful association since January 1, 1998. That makes me an “old timer.” I suspect many of you know a lot (maybe too much) about me. But for those new to QRCA, I’ll offer these ten perhaps little-known facts about me:

  1. I still love what I do—and when my retired friends ask when I plan to stop, I tell them that I have no plans to do so. I’m still an energetic, curious person who thrives on learning, listening, and talking to strangers…and bringing people’s stories and voices to light.
  2. I dig music; just about every style. I am a soprano, and sometimes fool around on percussion/drums. A true amateur, I have been singing with the Princeton-based VOICES Chorale for 17 years—but my most fun singing is cabaret, and my most life-changing music experiences are “music diplomacy.”
  3. If you’re wondering what that last phrase is: when I lived in the Boston area I sang with Sharing a New Song, and we got to travel to the then-Soviet Union, South Africa (just after the end of apartheid), and Cuba—all on music missions to experience the culture and humanity of people living under difficult political regimes.
  4. You know the old joke…“How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!” I did get to sing on that amazing stage three times with VOICES—a thrill of a lifetime predicated on a lot of practice.
  5. I really like to cook. It’s a multi-sensory and meditative experience for me. My idea of a perfect summer evening is picking some garden-ripe veggies and herbs, sitting outside with my family and friends, eating a yummy meal with a nice bottle of wine, and talking under the stars. I’ve posted some pictures here. Send me a note if you want a recipe.
  6. I like to teach and mentor others, whether that means coaching newbie quallies in co-creation or helping almost-brave cooks whip up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen.
    Maypole Celebration - Launching the Veggie Garden Tomato Comfort Soup Ratatouille
  7. The downside of #6 is that I can get into advice and idea-giving overdrive. I have to remind myself to ask my cohorts—and especially my dear hubby—“how would you like me to listen?”
  8. While I’ve been a country girl for 30 years, I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and I thrive in cities. I will take any opportunity to spend a day walking around Manhattan or Boston or Chicago or Barcelona or Paris—just soaking up the sights, sounds, tastes, and people. These days, Boston visits are most precious as I get to hang out with my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter!
    Laurie, husband Ron, and granddaughter Lu
  9. “Total relaxation time” is a day at the beach with my sister and a great book.
  10. Being on the QRCA Board is a hoot. We are folks with strong opinions; we feel deeply about our profession and making the association the best it can be. I have been honored to serve on other boards in my life; this one is a cut above.

So now you know a bit more about me. Do let me know if I can help you get your voice and ideas heard. Give me a buzz or send a note.

Happy Spring!
Laurie Tema-Lyn

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Broadening QRCA's Reach

Janet Standen,

It’s time to include all fellow qualitative practitioners in QRCA — to fulfill our mission!

At this year’s conference, the Board gathered, as always, for a couple of days before the conference began. We covered a lot of ground in our two days — including this core question: “How is qualitative research changing?”

We have all noted big changes, and they are accelerating.

  • Technology platforms have created a DIY mentality within many companies. Anyone can master the platform, therefore anyone can moderate — can’t they?
  • There is increasing demand for cost and time efficiency – while maintaining quality.
  • The “qualitative” world has expanded. Qualitative methodologies are used by Design Researchers, UX Researchers, HCI Researchers, CX Researchers, etc.
  • UX researchers and Design Researchers are increasingly in-house “consultants” to their internal teams, particularly in tech-driven companies (which now includes more businesses than ever as tech-based solutions are embedded everywhere!).
  • Qualitative and quantitative are becoming less separate in in-house roles.
  • The lines between “consultant researcher,” “contract researcher,” and “in-house researcher” are increasingly blurring. Even the status of existing QRCA members can shift between these roles within one calendar year.
  • And so on... truly, the only constant is change!

The big question then is “What does this mean for QRCA?”

How do we continue to fulfill our mission of advancing the discipline of qualitative research worldwide and leading the conversation in qualitative in this ever-changing world of qualitative research?

“What do the dynamics of change in the world of qualitative research mean for QRCA?” This was the question posed at the Leadership Meeting that kicked off this year’s conference in Phoenix. This is a meeting where all those in leadership roles for QRCA gather together — including Chapter Chairs, SIG Chairs, Committee Chairs, etc. (who are all volunteers incidentally, to whom we can all be grateful). Here is a summary of the output from the various brainstorming sessions on this topic.

  • Our mission is to elevate the whole playing field and the professionalism of qualitative research; therefore, we need to influence and educate all those who practice qualitative.
  • We must change with the times to stay relevant to both existing members, but also other qualitative research practitioners — whether they are in-house, independent, in an ad agency, a strategy consultancy or within a research company.
  • We should embrace all those who are involved in the practice of qualitative research — based on what they do rather than where they work. This should include report writers, recruiters, facilities, database panels, in-house qualitative practitioners, independent or research company quallies, US or worldwide, etc.
  • We have as much to learn from these other “users” of qualitative methods such as UX/Design/CX/HCI/Shopper Insights Researchers and many more titles, as they have to learn from more established “qualitative researchers.”
  • Those newer to leveraging “qualitative research methods” don’t have a current place to learn from for a broader, mind-expanding education around all things qualitative. UXPA is great, but its focus is tied to UX researchers. EPIC is great, but ethnographers could broaden their remit by knowing about the broader playing field, etc.
  • In-house “internal consultant/practitioners” are just like most current QRCA members in that they need education, advice, colleagues, a network of others like them to draw from, and access to the support services that help us all do great work and raise the bar for the professionalism of qualitative research as a practice.
  • The current community-based, collegial, sharing, and open culture of QRCA is sacred and must be continued and embraced into the future. New members on-boarding to the QRCA culture should enjoy the same experience and the same warm and sharing culture as do attendees at the annual conference.
  • Should QRCA consider a name change? How relevant is the term “qualitative” to the future; how relevant is the term “consultant” to all those who practice qualitative methods, etc.?
  • QRCA membership has already shifted with the inclusion of research support partners. It’s time to finish that process and include the broader range of those who practice qualitative methodologies as a core part of their role.
  • QRCA should lead the revolution in Qual rather than reacting to it.

To quote one team:
“To make QRCA the premier qualitative organization, broaden membership. It’s time. Let’s do it!”

The Board took all of this to heart, as well as similar sentiments that were expressed at the Town Hall meeting, where the discussion of QRCA membership arose. During the open mic session the Board heard a lot of support for membership being focused on what people are doing — not where they work.

As a result, they voted unanimously on the decision to update our membership rules in line with these sentiments at our Board meeting on Monday, 26 February 2018. It’s official. Spread the word!

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Is 2018 Your Year to Volunteer with QRCA?

Shannon Pfarr Thompson,

With the annual conference behind us and a list of new plans in place for 2018, now is a great time to try something new that will benefit you personally and professionally, and will also help the qualitative research industry to which you belong.

QRCA thrives because of all of the dedicated volunteers who make it a vibrant association. The variety of things you can do is wide, from volunteering for a committee to helping with an event to writing for the QualPower blog to helping your local chapter.

Volunteers have shared that when they get involved with QRCA their membership becomes even more valuable because of the connections they make. These connections lead to new friendships, mentors, sounding boards, ideas, and even new work as colleagues get to know one another.

Check out the updated mission statements for our committees to see if one speaks to you and feel free to reach out to our QRCA Matchmaker, Jeff Walkowski (, who can help you find just the right volunteer activity.

Engage with QRCA via Social Link

We are excited to have launched Social Link—a new way to engage with your QRCA colleagues via your phone and through a community feed on the website. Hopefully you’ve noticed the new look when you log in and have already joined in the conversation. This tool allows you to easily respond to a forum post, register for an event, connect with a colleague, or renew your membership on your phone via the Social Link application. Your QRCA community is available anytime and anywhere! If you haven’t downloaded the application yet, do so now!

Take a tour of the new member features by watching this short webinar.

Start Connecting!

Apple Store Google Play

2017 QRCA Annual Report

The 2017 QRCA Annual Report was created in an infographic format to make it both informative and easily digestible. This report was shared at the Annual Conference in Phoenix and we invite all members to review it and share it with colleagues.

Refer a Member!

Did you know that members are entered into a drawing for a free year of membership each time they refer a member to QRCA? Invite your qual colleagues to join QRCA so they can benefit by joining the qualitative conversation via SIG and chapter meetings, the members-only Forum, the Find a Researcher directory, and much more. Just make sure your colleagues include your name on the "referred by" line of the application. Congratulations to Vivianne Hiriart, who won a year of free membership for referring members in 2017!

Mark Your Calendar for the QRCA 2019 Annual Conference

QRCA 2019 Annual Conference Co-Chairs Sidney Clewe and Anya Zadrozny were thrilled to announce that the 2019 conference will be held in Savannah, Georgia from January 30 to February 1. The venue is the newly-remodeled Hyatt Regency in Savannah and the theme is Charting Your Best Course. Check out this video about the Savannah Conference and mark your calendar now!

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