The QRCA Story

QRCA was born from an idea Judy Langer had to gather New York City qualitative researchers together to share their stories. What followed was that a group of 26 NYC based qualitative consultants got together at Dresner’s restaurant, 88th St. & 2nd Ave., early in 1983. The culmination of that get-together was the belief that the interaction and feedback they were getting was worth formalizing into an organization with a structure and a purpose. During these early days they would have periodic general meetings for the membership, chaired by a rotation of moderators, which continued even after the official Board of Directors was formed.

The organization was officially announced on October 19, 1983 at an AMA Qualitative Research panel discussion at the NYC Grand Hyatt Hotel and via press release. The first Board of Directors were elected on October 15, 1983 and was lead by Judy Langer as President, Frank Kennedy as Vice President, Elizabeth Hardwick as Secretary and Elizabeth Donovan as Treasurer. Directors were Annette Bamundo, J.R. Harris, Hy Mariampolski, Leon Schiffman and Bill Weylock. The meeting was held at Judy’s Manhattan apartment on the Upper East Side and like all good qualitative researchers, food was served.

Some key dates and events for the organization’s history are:

  • The name of the organization, Qualitative Research Consultants Association was decided upon on June 24, 1983 at an organizational meeting.
  • The first QRCA newsletter was edited and compiled by Hy Mariampolski and issued on September 7, 1984.
  • The organization was officially granted non-profit status as reported in Board minutes of March 28, 1985.
  • As of November 1984 there were 153 overall members including 39 charter members. By then 40% of the membership was outside the tri-state NY area and as is now, membership was 2/3 female, 1/3 male. According to meeting minutes the organization was already looking to expand membership internationally.
  • As early as April 1984 meetings were being held in Chicago chaired by Cindy Clark and in Los Angeles.
  • The first recorded "QRCA Research Workshop” was held June 15, 1984 with presentations by Dr. Shoi Dickinson, Bonnie Goebert and Lou Cohen.
  • The First Annual QRCA Conference took place in 1986.
  • The first chapter outside of NYC was formed in Chicago in 1988.
  • The first Bylaws were adopted by the membership in April 1985. Marilyn Landis Hauser chaired the committee consisting of Kathryn Alexander, Elizabeth Donovan, Gerie Feldman, Elizabeth Hardwick, J. Robert Harris, Olivia Holmes, Frank Kennedy, Ann Scheib, and William Weylock

30th Anniversary Story

QRCA's 30th Anniversary in 2013 was commemorated by Judy Langer as she recalled the organization's origins and compared qualitative research in 1983 to 2013. Read the full story here.

Watch the 30th Anniversary Reunion Video:

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