connections committee news

September 2014
Vol. 13, Number 7

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

Meet the 2014 QRCA Global Outreach Scholarship Recipients

Mike Courtney

Congratulations to the two recipients of this year’s QRCA Global Outreach Scholarships for international qualitative researchers! They are Misha Mathew from Vox Populi Research in India (Foundation Scholarship) and Andrea Greca Kruger, who runs her own consultancy, Berlin, in Brazil (Advanced Scholarship). 

Misha and Andrea were recently interviewed for Connections. Both will attend the QRCA Annual Conference in New Orleans in October. Here’s a chance to know Misha and Andrea prior to meeting them at the conference.  

misha mathew

Misha Mathew

What is your background? How did you enter the qualitative field of work? Was it intentional or did you fall into it in some way?

I am a post-graduate in Psychology from Delhi University with a specialization in Organizational Behaviour. I had two early loves: reading (focusing on literature from the Victorian era and the early 20th century — the Bloomsbury group especially) and analyzing the vagaries of the human mind. A post-graduate in Psychology further helped to stoke these interests — you appreciate stories and character development better when you understand Psychology. Although human resources as a career was an obvious choice, I shied away from it given the “boredom” of it. I fell into qualitative research “accidentally” during a campus recruitment. When the folks from Vox Populi Research visited the campus, they drew some great connections between the theoretical models in psychology and their use in helping companies make better brand decisions. I was intrigued to learn about the early contribution of psychologists like Dichter to the growth of marketing. While reading up on the field, I could see how intrinsic Psychology was to the field. I have spent two happy years at Vox Populi Research, Delhi, India. Over these years, I have come to appreciate the contribution of psychology to MR even more, especially considering how complex and often contradictory a market India is due to the presence of different cultures and people from varied economic strata.

What or who helped you learn the ropes along the way?

I got a chance to present a paper with Raji Bonala this year at the AQR/QRCA Conference at Budapest. Our paper was titled “Playing Snakes and Ladders on Upgradations in a Developing Country”. It was about how upgradations in a developing country like India are affected by the social and cultural context, rather than based on individual rational thought about benefits of the product. This being my first conference or presentation, I think it was Raji’s experience which helped me along the way.

What is your typical work week like? What types of projects do you work on, and what do you find interesting about them?

Being a Research Manager, I am responsible for executing projects, proposal writing, discussion guides, moderation, data analysis and presentation writing. I specialize in ethnographic, exploratory and positioning research. I think the most exciting and challenging aspect about these research studies is navigating through the socio-cultural differences to make it simpler for the clients, while maintaining the “sacredness” of the consumer/cultural intricacies. It’s quite exciting to analyse data from consumer insights, all the way through to their application in communication and positioning. Moreover, this type of research study helps me empathize better by getting even closer to the consumers.

Why were you interested in QRCA and the QRCA annual conference?

QRCA as a community has been an extremely valuable resource for me right from the time I was a trainee. I have “attended” the webinars and read the QRCA Views magazine for quite some time now. The developed markets are a source of many new trends in research, which are sources of much inspiration and motivation. QRCA has been a big contributor in increasing my knowledge about the new methods and techniques. For instance, there have been quite a few webinars and articles in QRCA Views on social media and analyzing online qualitative data. India is a country where Internet penetration is still low, so using social media in research is quite new to us. We are still exploring the possibility of using it with the more net-savvy youth or with the higher social classes. Doing so will help us to prepare for the inevitable future when more people in India will have easier access to the Internet. 

I have been through the schedule for the conference and I am very excited about topics like cognitive science and neuro-marketing; understanding EQ to evoke the consumer unconscious; and online/mobile ideation. It’s exciting to see that there are so many creative ways to evoke the social and emotional context of the consumer.

What are you expecting to experience at the conference in New Orleans?

I am expecting to learn and share. The AQR/QRCA conference was such an inspirational platform for me! I was overwhelmed by how warm and open to sharing the community was; moreover, they were so accepting of a young, relatively inexperienced researcher like me. I got a chance to meet research giants like Roy Langmaid. Listening to him speak was quite the experience; I started market research by reading his book on qualitative research. I am sure it will be the same at the QRCA Conference.

I am also looking forward to discussing the application of these new techniques with experts in the field. At Vox, being a relatively younger organization, we are very innovation focused. With every project we try to develop new approaches and techniques that we can share with other researchers as well.

If one of the QRCA members who reads this interview meets you in person at the conference, what are the main things you would like them to remember from this article about you?

I would like them to remember that I love new ideas and concepts, so I would love to discuss those with you. I would love to help out anybody who wants to understand the emerging world. Also, this being my first QRCA conference, I might be a little intimidated, but I would love to get to know everyone!

andrea greca kruger

Andrea Greca Kruger

What is your background and how did you come to be in the qualitative field of work?

I have always been very curious and “investigative”; no wonder I chose studying journalism at university. So I have a degree in communications — journalism — and I also studied English philology. I found out about — and fell in love with — qualitative research in Barcelona, Spain, during my post-graduate studies in Qualitative Trends Research, seven years ago.

Was it intentional or did you fall into it in some way?

I fell into it kind of intentionally, because I knew I was going through the subject when I applied to the PG. But I did not get really carried away until I started working, in the same year.

What or who helped you learn the ropes along the way?

A couple of more experienced colleagues have certainly helped me out along the way. Also, I must put the blame on my curiosity too, for constantly pushing me to learn, study and discover new and old ways to develop good-quality qualitative research projects. 

What is your typical work week like? What types of projects do you work on and what do you find interesting about them?

Well, it varies a lot, actually. In some weeks I am working on one or two projects at the same time. (I can’t handle more than two at once!) Other weeks, I am fully dedicated to researching for the classes and lectures I give at universities all over Brazil. I work on various projects, and this is one of my favourite things about being a researcher: having the possibility of constantly learn new things. For example, right now I am working on a fashion project and also on politics. I have a client who is running for the Senate in the next major elections, which take place next month. Also, I am teaching tomorrow evening at a marketing university for an MBA group. There is no typical work week, and I love it! :) 

Why were you interested in QRCA and the QRCA annual conference?

I first heard about QRCA at a New Qual course I took early this year in São Paulo. The teachers, Diva and Raquel, are members. They talked not only about QRCA, but also about the conference. I got interested immediately. It looked like a great place for networking and learning, and also offered an opportunity to meet other individuals who love and dedicate their lives to qualitative research, as I do. The qual research market is still developing in Brazil so it is difficult to locate other researchers with whom I can exchange ideas. 

What are you expecting to experience at the conference in New Orleans?

I am very excited about the conference! I expect to meet other passionate researchers and experienced professionals to learn from. Also, I hope I will have a good time and make new work partners and friends.

Is there something in particular you are looking forward to hearing or learning about?

I am looking forward to being among people who are as dedicated and passionate about qualitative research as I am. I am open and willing to learn everything I can, especially concerning digital and online research.

If one of the QRCA members who reads this interview meets you in person at the conference, what are the main things you would like them to remember from this article about you?

That I feel very honoured and thankful with the Scholarship and the opportunity to meet them in person. 

Back to Top

FieldCom: QRCs Communicating On-Site Personal Preferences with the Facility Ahead of Research

Farnaz Badie,
Judy Langer,

It’s the high-pressure hour for you, the qualitative research consultant (QRC). You’ve arrived at a field service facility to do on-site interviews an hour before start time.  There’s a lot to do to get ready. You need to check on the conference room set-up, check on the equipment (video recorder to show commercials), rescreen respondents as they arrive, and order food for clients … among other things. Clients are adding pressure with some last-minute requests: changes to the discussion guide or the stimuli, additional photocopies, etc. What can you do to minimize and the pressure and stress of the situation?

Facilities, of course, have their own ways of doing things. These vary from company to company, and may not be what the individual QRC prefers. Even if the field service sent out a form beforehand, as many do today, it may not cover everything that the QRC would like. Spelling out the QRC’s preferences and needs in detail a few days before the interviews gives the facility the opportunity to plan arrangements. Updates closer to the interviews can be added if necessary (if, for instance, the client decides to show a video). A follow-up phone conversation can also clarify questions and issues.

FieldCom asked two of our members, Judy Langer and Farnaz Badie, to talk about how they communicate their on-site preferences to field services. Your preferences may well be different, and that’s the point: that the set-up should be customized to suit each researcher.

As QRCs, we need to keep in mind that certain requests will entail additional charges. If, for example, we ask the field service to purchase products to show in the focus groups, someone has to go to a store, maybe to several stores. The facility’s charges aren’t just product costs but also personnel time.

What are some of your general instructions to the facility?

Judy Langer:
Here’s a sample of a form I've used, along with my rationale. Some of my requests may seem minor (grapes cut in bunches?!) but I find they make the interviews go more smoothly. 

  • Schedule: 2 focus groups of 2 hours, 5:45-7:45pm, 8-10pm. 
  • Quick clean-up of the conference and viewing rooms will be needed between the groups. Please have a QA available in addition to the person at the front desk to check out respondents for the first group and check in respondents for the second group. [Rationale: Many facilities provide one person to juggle all of this, which isn’t adequate.]
  • Clients have been instructed to ask for me by name, rather than mentioning their company. Confirm that they are observers (out of respondents’ hearing) and show them to the viewing room. [The name of the client may not be revealed until the end of the interview, so it’s important that respondents don't accidentally hear it in the waiting room.]
  • Have copies of the re-screener ready to distribute. This is the re-screener we have provided for respondents to fill out individually. The answer key should be given to the QA so he/she can see if the respondent qualifies. If respondents have any questions, the QA should be directed to check with the moderator. [This avoids any inadvertent coaching by the QA.]
  • Alert the QRC if there appear to be problems/concerns with any respondent (language difficulty, hostility, drinking, etc.).

Farnaz Badie:

  • I, too, provide some of what Judy has already covered in my “facility memo,” such as a confirmation of group date, times, and target for each group, and am keen to hear from the front desk staff of any problem respondents. 
  • I prefer to re-screen respondents myself, and will point that out in my instructions to the facility. I typically greet each respondent in the waiting area and introduce myself. I also ask each respondent a couple of pertinent questions to help me better understand if they qualify for the study, and to get a sense for whether they should be brought into the focus group room. Of course, the downside is that you can’t review the entire screener in such a short conversation! Nevertheless, I find that the rapport I build with the respondents in the waiting area does help make the interview more of a conversation.

What are your Conference Room set-up preferences?

Judy Langer: 

  • Focus group table set for eight respondents. [Super-large tables, which some facilities favor, create problems: respondents tend to get involved in side conversations and it’s difficult for the QRC to hear those at the opposite end of the table. Asking respondents to “speak up” simply doesn't work.]
  • The moderator’s chair should be the same as respondents’. [To create rapport, the moderator should not be on a “throne” higher/larger than the respondents.]
  • Pads and pencils should be placed on a side table, not on the conference table.  [First impressions when respondents walk in are important and the room should not look like a formal meeting or, worse, school.]
  • Easel with full easel pad and magic markers (black, blue, red). [Too often facilities leave whatever pad was there, sometimes with just a few pages, not enough for the interviews.]   
  • Name tents: “Judy” for the moderator. [First name is friendly. The name a QRC prefers being called may be different from the one used for business. Also, I'm not “Judye” or “Judie,” as some facilities have spelled it.]
  • For each respondent, put respondents’ first name on both sides of the name tent. [I ask respondents to angle their cards so I can see them; this way, their name is visible both to me and other respondents. Name tags worn on the chest may not be visible.] Ask respondents how they want their names to be shown.

Farnaz Badie:

  • I have not used the large table for years; my preference is for the respondents to feel comfortable and uninhibited, and to not “hide” behind anything. In my instructions, I ask facilities to please remove the table (if it’s too much to move it out of the focus group room, they can just push it to the side), and set the chairs in a semi-circle, with a coffee table or side table in the middle. I don’t ask for any special chairs or sofas (unless the facility already has a “living room” set up); the chairs that facilities typically have in the focus group room work just fine; I also ensure my chair looks the same as the respondents’.
  • Because my typical set-up is called the “living room” set-up, it may create extra charges and I always check that with the facility beforehand so as not be surprised when the invoice arrives.
  • This set-up requires chest name tags for respondents and for me, as well as clipboards for respondents to write on their laps, which I request in my facility memo.

Any notes to facility on audio- and videotaping?

Judy Langer:

It’s important to specify any technical needs, such as:

  • Digital recording for audio and video. 
  • Videotaping by stationary camera. 
  • The groups should be identified by the QRC’s company name, study name (which QRC provides) focus group, start time and date. [Some facilities only attach their company name, leaving out the QRC’s.]

Farnaz Badie:

Additional instructions may include: 

  • Video streaming services (e.g., FocusVision or other supplier). If the research study requires this, it’s important to let facilities know in advance. That’s especially true if an operator is expected at the facility and needs to be accounted for backroom food requirements.
  • Need for TV monitor/DVD player/CD player/computer, etc. — especially when showing advertisements or websites to respondents. I have found that unless I specify these early on in my memo, they may be rented out to another QRC by the time I arrive at the facility.
  • As a Mac user, I need to ensure whatever equipment I am renting is compatible with my computer or that I have the correct cord for it. You can’t take for granted that the equipment will be right if you don't specify.

What are your requests for refreshments?
Judy Langer:
My instructions request that the supervisor review the list and give it to the QA. [As a QRC, I communicate with the supervisor and project director — but in some cases they do not inform the QA about my preferences on the day of the interviews.]

Respondent lunch/dinner

  • Sandwiches and wraps with dressings on the side in the waiting room for group.  [Lots of people watching their diets today so it’s best to give them a choice.]

Respondent refreshments in the conference room

  • Beverages: both regular and decaffeinated coffee and bottled water. [Especially for evening groups, a number of respondents want decaf.] 
  • Two plates of grapes, one on each side of the table, cut into small stems so they are easy for respondents to handle. Two plates of cookies, one on each side of the table. [The food should be accessible; this avoids the distraction of respondents asking, “Please pass the cookies.” Respondents are not going to cut apples and oranges, or wrestle with grape stems during an interview — and we really don't want that distraction anyway.]
  • Napkin and plate in front of each respondent. [Again, easy accessibility.]

In the viewing room for clients/moderator – [x number] clients expected

  • A dinner order to be sent later. [Some facilities provide menus for orders, which is fine. However, food can take a long time to arrive; sometimes it comes after the interviews have started. While they are eating, clients may be tempted to divert their attention away from the research.]
  • Beverages: regular and decaffeinated coffee, assorted soft drinks, bottled water.
  • For a 5:45 group, I ask for a fruit, vegetable and cheese platter.
  • Cookies and the usual focus group snacks/candy for both groups.

Farnaz Badie: Additional points I might include:

  • I also specify any client dietary needs, such as vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerance, etc., so that facility doesn’t have to scramble at the last minute.
  • When working with certain food/beverage clients, I’d have to specify that only their beverages/snacks are featured in the backroom and the interview room (and perhaps even in the respondent waiting area).
  • I love that Judy specifies healthy snacks, such as grapes, for respondents — such a great alternative to the typical M&Ms and cookies!
Each QRC has his or her own way of wanting the interview room and viewing room to be set-up and organized — customization is king! What’s helpful is to communicate those personal preferences ahead of time, to save both you and the facility a lot of heartache. Giving the facility this kind of advance notice will help you focus on what’s really important: the interviews and the respondents! 

Back to Top

IRCom Connects QRCA with ARF: Not Being Left Behind in the Constantly Changing Market Research Industry

Lynn Greenberg

The marketing research industry is evolving at an ever-increasing pace, driven by technological advances with less rigidity between quantitative, analytics and qualitative research. While most evolving technologies are not specifically qualitative, many provide opportunities for QRCA members to expand their tool boxes with adaptations. To name a few: wearables, virtual reality, facial recognition, social media analytics, neuro and, of course, mobile. 


The Industry Relations Committee (IRCom) has developed collaborative relationships with many industry associations. One of them is the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF:, with over 500 corporate members including leading marketers/advertisers, advertising agencies, media companies and marketing research suppliers. Membership allows employees (hundreds in larger organizations) access to free webinars and forums, conference discounts, a databank of over 60,000 papers, updates on trends and networking opportunities. While headquartered in NYC, most activities can be accessed virtually, with recent conferences in Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta.

Now, under the leadership of Gayle Fuguitt, President/CEO, the ARF has taken a more aggressive approach to keeping members up-to-date on constantly changing directions and trends with key initiatives on mobile, cross platform, multi-cultural and career building/development. The QRCA-ARF liaison, Lynn Greenberg, has been striving to better integrate qualitative research into ARF programs. Gayle is a distinguished leader in the marketing research industry, having spent 32 years at General Mills, where she was lauded for bringing the voice of the consumer to the decision table.

QRCA has an ARF “Association” membership, which is usually limited to staff rather than its members. IRCom has arranged special privileges for QRCA members that allow us access to free webinars, conference discounts, etc. However, this is limited to 15 of our members who meet ARF’s selection criteria and are also willing to pay a small annual fee.  

There are three opportunities for all QRCA members to participate in ARF activities going forward: 
First, an opportunity to speak at the Annual RE:Think conference that will be attended by more than 2,000 industry professionals, March 15-18, 2015. Please note the October 20, 2014 deadline for proposal submissions. (Find details at 

Second, attend the ARF’s “Game Changing” conference to network and learn about the latest developments in the market research industry with implications for qualitative.  

Third, be part of the 2015 QRCA-ARF membership team starting Dec. 1, 2014. 

For more information on the 2015 conference and QRCA-ARF team, contact Lynn Greenberg at

Back to Top

MemCom Happenings

Philip Smith,

MemCom team members are working through how to engage and maintain existing members. If you have thoughts to share, please contact me at the email address above.

In July of each year, QRCA discounts membership for new members. This is a great opportunity for current members to encourage peers who are not members to join QRCA, as the membership fee drops from $US320 to $US200! New members also get a generous discount on the Conference registration!

Current members can also benefit from encouraging someone to join QRCA! Every member that nominates a successful new member goes in the draw for the opportunity to win free membership in 2015. The more people you inspire to join QRCA, the more opportunities you have to win. This is an important way we build membership. If you think you know someone who might be interested in joining QRCA, please reach out to them — it could be to your advantage, as well as helping QRCA grow.

We know that professional development is one of the key reasons why members join QRCA, so I’d like to remind you of our training discounts and conference discounts. 

Training: QRCA members have access to significant discounts on training and professional development. Check out the QRCA website by clicking the “discounts” box on the homepage.

Conferences: Through our partner associations, QRCA is able to offer members discounts to conferences held in the US and internationally. This is a great benefit. These discounts and announcements are promoted on the website and in NewsBites which is emailed to all members every 2 weeks — it’s worth opening, as it could save you money!

Back to Top

TechCom: How to Receive an Email Notification on the Forum

Dorrie Paynter,

Want to receive an email notification when someone responds to your Forum post? 
Select “Subscribe to Instant Updates” from the “Thread Actions” drop-down menu in the green bar at the top of every thread.  

You can also do this at the Forum level. Just look for the green menu bar and the “actions” drop-down menu.

forum how to

For further help, please see this document.

Back to Top

VIEWS Welcomes New Publisher

The VIEWS Committee would like to welcome our new publisher, New England Business Media (NEBM). They are hard at work producing the Fall 2014 edition of VIEWS, which should arrive in members’ mailboxes by mid-September. NEBM will also move the digital version of VIEWS to a powerful digital platform that will debut with the Fall edition.

Judy Langer has graciously agreed to take on editorship of VIEWS “Luminaries” section, where she will be interviewing prominent people in the qualitative research industry. Her first interview is with Scott McDonald, research director for Condé Nast. Laurie Tema-Lyn, who founded the Luminaries section while she was Editor-in-Chief of VIEWS, is now the editor of the Business Matters section.

Back to Top

QRCA Committee/Task Force Reports — September 2014

Darrin Hubbard,

Annual Conference

  • Staff is working with speakers/liaisons on deadlines.
  • Staff is working on logistics for Video Streaming.
  • Sponsorship Committee continues to meet to update each other on progress.
  • Marketing Committee is working with Visionslive to get speaker promo videos done.
  • Full Conference Committee is meeting Sept 2.
Other: 2016 RFP was sent out, staff gathering bids to share with the Board.


Staff: August Connections went out August 7.
Committee: Material for the September issue is due by August 29 and is scheduled to go out on September 9.


  • The committee last met on August 8.
  • A shortened version of the full cheater repeater report was developed at the Board’s request.
  • A tips article on communicating QRC needs with the facility has been developed and was reviewed at the meeting. An article on algorithms will be circulated for review shortly.
Other: Next meeting will be on September 5.

Industry Relations

Staff: Staff set up a 10% discount code for partners to use when registering.
  • The committee shared Annual Conference registration information with their organizations.
  • Committee members shared partnership update reports in August.
Other: Next meeting is on September 9.


Committee: No update.

Investment Advisory Group

Committee: Jim Berling made recommendations to Manny Schrager on how to invest CDs that have recently matured.

Marketing Committee

Staff: Laurie Pumper and Shannon Pfarr Thompson are pulling together material for the committee.
  • The Executive Committee met with Marketing Committee Chair Frankie Johnson on August 11.
  • The committee has begun to review responses to the RFPs.
Other: The Marketing Committee will meet on August 14; Vice President Mark Sumpter will also attend.

Membership Expansion Task Force

Committee: Rick Weitzer joined the July Board Meeting to brief the group on the METF final recommendations.


  • New member lists were sent by Darrin Hubbard to Board and chapter leaders.
  • Shannon Pfarr Thompson sent email welcomes to June and July new and returning members.
  • The committee will meet on August 13 to discuss recruitment strategies.
  • A revised version of the onboarding process was sent to the Board for consideration.
Other: The next meeting is in September.

Nominating Committee

Staff: Staff sent out voting reminders in NewsBites, Connections and stand-alone emails on August 4 and 14. 125 people had voted as of August 11.
Committee: The committee will meet after the election to make a recommendation for officers.
Other: NomCom will meet on August 20.

Public Relations

  • Laurie Pumper continues working with Co-Chairs and volunteers editors to confirm publication of articles with our content partners.
  • Laurie continues updating the News & Press page.
  • Laurie sent information about the Young Professional Grants through social media platforms one week prior to the deadline.
Committee: The Co-Chairs and the volunteer editors continue working with authors to submit material to our content partners.


  • Have begun promotion for the September Qcast.
  • Jessica tested video streaming with the committee for the live Qcast at Annual Conference.
Committee: All Qcasts topics except for October (live from the QRCA Annual Conference) are finalized for 2014.
Other: August Qcast had record registration at 290 (a new record). Live attendees were 141 and on-demand views already at 61.


Staff: The inaugural edition of the weekly Forum Digest went out Wednesday, August 6.
  • The committee is discussing research into site usability.
  • The committee continues to promote Forum usage.
Other: Next meeting is August 14.


Staff: Laurie Pumper continues work on a Social Media plan, including links to VIEWS articles.
  • Leading Edge Communications has pulled down all of the VIEWS archives.
  • The EIC and other committee members participated in a demo with the new digital edition provider to learn about the capabilities of the new system.
  • The Twitter Team will re-post links to Summer VIEWS soon (the links need to be recreated due to LEC’s action).
  • The next committee meeting is scheduled for October 10.
  • Committee leadership continues working with NEBM to get the Fall issue launched.

Back to Top