2015 Conference - Thursday Full Schedule
2015 Thursday agenda

Return to Schedule-at-a-Glance

This page provides details on each scheduled session and other program highlights for Thursday, October 8. To see detailed information for the other days of the conference, please use the navigation links to the right.

Thursday, October 8

7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Registration Open
7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Healthy Connections: Fun Walk and Pilates Cool-down

Come make progress on your 10,000 steps by walking the Hilton’s 1-mile walking loop of the property. Mouse ears or other creative hats are welcome! A post-walk cool-down will consist of a Pilates routine QRCA’ers can easily learn and apply anywhere, anytime during their future travels. Gear: walking shoes and sunglasses. Water and sunscreen will be provided.

Meet at the trail near the Hilton pool and conference center
Cost: FREE

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast in the Marketplace and Optional SIG Meetings
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

What are You Worth?
Presenters: Abby Leafe and Laurie Tema-Lyn

How do you know what your services are worth?  Laurie Tema-Lyn and Abby Leafe wondered the same thing, so they set out to find out how others think about it.  Last winter, they interviewed 17 QRCs, from industry veterans to those with less than a year of experience, to understand how they arrive at a determination of their own value when preparing a qualitative research proposal.  The results were illuminating, to say the least.  In this session, we will describe a variety of their strategies for putting a number (or numbers) on a proposal.    We will look at a host of different methods for valuing qualitative research services, from the very definitive (rate cards) to the more ‘qualitative’ methods (what just feels right).    

Questions the session will consider include:

  • How do QRCs value their time?  (Hours?  Days?  Service-based? Expertise based?)
  • What factors can impact the value equation?
  • What are the different ways to handle out-of-pocket costs?
  • How has this calculation changed over time?
  • How might you rethink assumptions in your own practice?

Target Audience:This session is intended to be thought-provoking for QRCs at all stages of their career.  (The presenters, both industry veterans, have learned a lot while conducting the research that will drive the session content.)  That said, it will be particularly useful for independent QRCs, and QRCs who are newer to the industry. 

abby leafeBio: Abby Leafe has been a qualitative researcher for 15 years, having started her career in advertising.  In fact, a stint in graduate school was enough to make her run screaming from academia and she is forever grateful to the headhunter who told her that people would pay her to do research.  She interviewed for a job in qualitative and the rest, as they say, is history.  She is a past president of QRCA, and is currently the co-chair of the Philadelphia Chapter.  She is the principal of New Leafe Research, based in Newtown, PA, and a frequent speaker at industry events. 

laurie tema lynLaurie Tema-Lyn began conducting qualitative research in the late 80s when a client asked if she could apply the creative activities she used in client innovation programs to consumer research. Hence a marriage of research & innovation began.

Some facts:

  • Her first career was in advertising, then she launched a consulting firm in creative problem solving 
  • Laurie founded Practical Imagination Enterprises  in 1995
  • She is Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of QRCA
  • She has been on VIEWS for 8 years
  • Laurie is author of Stir It Up! Recipes for Robust Insights & Red Hot Ideas
  • She relishes gardening, cooking, music and theater
  • Laurie is a frequent presenter at industry events

Whole New World of Qualitative Analysis
Presenter: Jim White

One of the biggest challenges of conducting online qualitative research is analysis. Digital qualitative can produce an overwhelming amount of unstructured data including lengthy narrative text, imagery and video. Many researchers – myself included – struggle with this avalanche of information.

Qualitative researchers need to work toward a new paradigm for analysis that maintains the experiential and interpersonal nature of what we do but allows us to deal with this new world of data more efficiently and comprehensively.

In this presentation, we’ll explore the unique analytical challenges posed by online qualitative. We’ll discuss key differences between the face-to-face qualitative experience and the digital experience, and the implications of these differences for developing rich insights. And we’ll explore specific strategies for qualitative analysis in the digital age.

Target Audience: Anyone interested in online qualitative research or who has to analyze large amounts of qualitative data, including text, imagery or video.

jim whiteBio: Jim White has 20 years of experience in moderating and interviewing, consumer insights, marketing and brand strategy. He’s been instrumental in the design and development of online research platforms and analytical approaches for RealityCheck. He holds a doctorate in Communications Studies from Northwestern University and has taught courses in Communications Research Methods, the Psychology of Attitudes and Persuasion, Popular Culture and Brand Strategy.


DIY Digital Ethnography
Presenter: Mike Courtney

Cameras, sensors and the cloud add depth to traditional qualitative methods and are allowing researchers to capture details never before possible. 
This session will be a primer on off-the-shelf solutions that Qualitative shops can use to enable “digital ethnography”. These tools provide a window into consumer behavior, enable better shopper journey diaries, and offer more robust observation analysis.

Join us for a hands-on session to experience technology that lets you remotely observe behavior. Examples of devices will be available to see and test. 

This session will cover:

  • What is digital ethnography?
  • When and where to use it?
  • Technology primer on capable cameras & sensible sensors
  • Analyzing the outputs
  • Final tips and tricks to ensure success

Learn how to navigate the pros and cons of different technology choices. Understand when, where, and how to use digital tools as part of an ethnography project.

Target Audience: Novice and experienced qualitative researchers who have an interest in leveraging technology to enhance ethnography.

mike courtneyBio: Michael Courtney is the founder of Aperio Insights, an agency focused on marketing research, ethnography and long range strategic foresight for industries including wireless, automotive, education, medical devices, digital payments and financial services. Mr. Courtney holds an MMR degree (Masters in Marketing Research) from the University of Georgia and has more than 20 years of research and strategic consulting experience. His areas of expertise include new product development, long-range scenario planning and digital ethnography. As a researcher, he is naturally curious about how consumers think and what motivates them as they interact with their environment. Mike is passionate about exploring what causes behavior and what it takes to change it now and in the future.

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.
Break in Marketplace
10:45 – 11:40 a.m.
Annual Meeting and Town Hall
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

The Simple Things in Life: Finding Insights By Understanding How Consumers Simplify
Presenter: Tom Rich

When designing studies, conducting research and analyzing findings, it pays to devote attention to how—and if—people simplify categories and tasks.  Many categories are extremely complicated.  Understanding how consumers simplify them in order to make decision-making more manageable can be a fruitful path to identifying powerful insights.

This presentation will delve into the role simplification plays in the life of the consumer, will explore a variety of the simplification strategies consumers employ, and will review a number of techniques and tools for exploring simplification in qualitative research. 

Target Audience: This session should be appropriate for all QRCs

tom richBio: Tom Rich is a frequent QRCA presenter and member of the QRCA Board of Directors. In business as a QRC since 1996, Tom draws on his background in brand management to provide his clients with research that is creative, strategic and pragmatic. He specializes in new product development, innovation, shopper and retail strategy and brand positioning. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English, Tom began his career in advertising. After earning an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College, he worked in brand management for such companies as Unilever and Nabisco.

Building Ideas Not Policing Them: How Appreciative Inquiry Theory Can Make Research a Creative Practice 
Presenter: Peter Totman

Qualitative research has  a poor reputation in many creative circles – it is often used as a process that  'polices' ideas, with the end result being ‘safer’ rather than better, one that waters down the idea until it is a pale imitation of the original vision. This session will reveal how we can become part of the creative process and a force for good.

The session will offer a step by step guide to show how qualitative researchers can apply Appreciative Inquiry techniques to ensure their focus groups develop and grow ideas, not just evaluate them. It will explain the basics of the theory and how we turned it into a workable qualitative methodology. We will share the ‘journey’ from academic  theory to constructive practice, including the ‘hard’ learnings and painful realizations! Although  our use of AI is the subject of continuing development, we will offer a ‘happy ending’ that demonstrates real progression in the qualitative contribution to creativity.

Target Audience: Researchers currently (or aiming to become) involved  in the qualitative evaluation of new advertising  ideas or brand positioning. It will also have (albeit less direct) relevance for those involved in new product development research.

peter totmanBio:Peter has 25 years of experience in qualitative research and advertising planning.  In that time he has worked with many creative teams, always seeking to rise above their low expectations of the qualitative research process (and qualitative researchers themselves) – with mixed success. He has been an AQR board member for 7 years.

From Moderating to Facilitating
Presenter: Missy Carvin and Karen Lynch

Have you ever wondered why moderators attend creativity conferences like CPSI, Mindcamp, and Florida Creativity Weekend, year after year? Or questioned what skills a moderator uses that would help them facilitate a brainstorming session for a client? Or maybe you’ve never really thought that brainstorming could be anything more than coming up with a large list of new or improved product ideas?

In this session, you will learn the difference between basic brainstorming and a creative process for problem-solving called CPS (the acronym for Creative Problem Solving). You’ll discover how facilitators use CPS to help clients in various aspects of the research process, from understanding research objectives to debriefing the project’s findings. And you’ll learn how facilitating this problem-solving process could help you move from a discussion leader to a solution driver.

Target Audience: QRCs who are interested in learning more about the overlap between moderating and facilitating and how to lead Creative Problem Solving sessions.

missy carvinBio: Missy Goldwasser Carvin joined New Directions Consulting, Inc. in 2007. Although she had worked for the firm on a part-time basis for almost 15 years, she had put her BA in theater and history from Hartwick College into service working for Girl Scouts. Now she heads up the creative and online services for New Directions, as well as designing and implementing “traditional” research projects. She has been a leader at CPSI since 2011 and has also presented workshops at Florida Creativity Weekend and Mindcamp. Missy was the QRCA Annual Conference Chair in 2013, is a former C+I SIG leader and was the 2014 recipient of the Maryanne Pflug Spirit Award.

karen lynchKaren Lynch started her career in 1991, putting her BS in Marketing from Fairfield University into action as she worked for some of the industry’s strongest qualitative consulting firms. Her “upbringing” included RIVA moderator training and participation in CPSI’s Leadership Development Program. Karen launched her own qualitative practice in 2000, now known as Karen Lynch & Associates, and spends her professional time facilitating workshops and moderating group discussions, face-to-face and online. Karen is a CPSI leader and currently serves on the Creative Education Foundation’s Training & Credentialing committee. She’s also a feature editor for QRCA VIEWS magazine.

12:45 – 2:10 p.m.
Lunch & Awards
2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Getting Beyond "Once Upon a Time" 
Presenter: Rebecca Waters and Kendall Nash

As Qualitative Researchers, we’ve always been storytellers. In recent years, storytelling has become a popular topic in market research reporting. Yet for many, it remains elusive. The call for storytelling is a call to move from a mere accounting of data to a presentation of meaningful information which will propel the client to action. This session will equip participants with techniques to weave a meaningful story for clients and their stakeholders. We’ll dig in to the three structural phases of the story: the set-up, development, and resolution and we'll give you the tools to help you engage and communicate with your clients in each phase.

Target Audience: QRCs seeking to enhance their reporting skills.

rebecca watersBio: Rebecca Waters is an educator, ethnographer, and published fiction author. As an educator, she sought answers to unquantifiable questions. This led to post graduate studies in the field of educational anthropology. As an ethnographer Rebecca developed a “sense of story” which has led to a third career, writing. Rebecca serves as a consultant in the field of qualitative market research, reviewing reports and guiding the writer on report structure and refining wording to effectively impact brands.


kendall nashKendall Nash is a lover of qualitative research and seeks to delight her clients by providing research and reports that do more than simply inform. As the leader of Burke’s qualitative practice and an instructor for the Burke Institute, she teaches others how to find unique ways to connect with people, and then demonstrates practical tips for how to truly bring learning to life in meaningful ways for clients. She embraces the opportunity she has to work with many different QRCs, putting her in a unique position to experience a wide range of approaches to reporting.

Oops, I Left my Laptop at the Security Checkpoint!  Data Security and Participant Privacy: How to Protect Yourself in an Increasingly Litigious World
Presenter: Julie Francis, Kari Kelly and Paul Riole

Are you faced with increasingly complex contracts with confusing requirements around data security and privacy?  Does the idea of a lost laptop send shivers down your spine?   Are you taking steps to minimize your risk of a data breach? 

You’ll hear what one researcher is doing to comply with data security and privacy requirements that make her head spin.  An Information Security Consultant will give you practical tips on tools and best practices to minimize your risk. A Data Law Attorney will help you understand why clients are suddenly requiring things like WISPs, IS policies and Incident Response Plans, and how independent researchers (and their subcontractors) can comply.  You’ll walk away with practical suggestions and a robust “to do” list:

  • Best practices for tools and workflow to minimize your risk of a breach:  password strategies and managers, encryption, cloud storage, alternatives to email
  • Elements of a good WISP (a Written Information Security Plan) and ISP (Information Security Policy) and Incident Response Plan
  • Special considerations for researchers who deal with HIPAA  and researchers who work in the EU

Our goal is to help you sleep more soundly and feel more confident as you sign those gnarly MSAs.

Target Audience: Independent researchers, at any stage in their careers

julie francisBio: Julie Francis is Founder of BellaVia Research, a user research consultancy.  She focuses on user experience research, with emphasis on multi-channel UX and design thinking.  Prior to launching BellaVia Research in 2001, Julie worked with Creative Good in NYC and SF as an UX strategy consultant, utilizing research to shape strategy and inspire design to transform the user experience.  She is the past co-chair of the SF chapter of the QRCA, and lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her husband and two daughters.

kari kellyKari Kelly has served as counsel to tech companies for over 15 years in Silicon Valley. She founded Optim Legal Services to help clients make sense of the dynamic regulatory environment surrounding their data. She advises clients on implementing sustainable processes to meet the growing privacy and security demands of their clients.  Prior to Optim Legal Services, she was co-founder of the Data Law Group in Denver, CO.  As in-house counsel for tech companies, Kari enjoyed working on cutting edge issues at the intersection of the law and technology.  She practices law in California and Colorado.

paul riolePaul Riole has more than ten years of experience in IT consulting and service; at Lark IT he specializes in helping small- and medium-sized businesses with privacy and compliance.  He helps clients create Information Security Policies and make sure they are taking practical steps to adhere to their IS Policies and minimize their risks.  He works with businesses across a wide range of industries, including independent researchers.  He enjoys working in the junction of business and technology strategy and observing the positive effect it has on companies when these elements are in harmony.

Mandala to Metamorphosis: What Tibetan Buddhism and LEGO Can Teach You About Building Your Brand and Narrative
Presenter: Brooke Rothman and Kylin O'Brien

Gain fresh perspective on brand and story building that combines learning from the ancient Buddhist ritual of creating and destroying meaningful, ornate sand mandalas with the playful building and re-building of the contemporary toy, LEGO. We’ll show you how re-creation can occur as recreation through a series of intersecting themes, actionable takeaways and creative coaching exercises. Come prepared with an open mind, playful spirit and the stamina to immediately convert what you learn into practice. 

This session is designed to help you uncover:

  • Tips on how to start creating or re-creating a brand, POV and narrative NOW!
  •  An empowered ability to invent new personal and professional stories, identities, projects and collaborations 
  • Clarification on how unique qualities and strengths lead to ever-evolving, powerful specialties and niches

You will walk away from this session with new inspiration, possibilities and action plans to help you recreate your business, brand and life. And yes, you will play with LEGOS. 

Target Audience: Researchers, entrepreneurs and small businesses open to innovation, perspective shifts and branding revitalization; anyone looking to be inspired, have fun and create.

brooke rothmanBio: Brooke Rothman is a former ad planner who currently works as an independent full service qualitative researcher and professional coach specializing in personal branding and life & career transition. Brooke’s ability to gather consumer and cultural insights that create a strong brand identity has helped rebuild and position iconic brands for national and global companies. She has acted as a committee member for the 4A’s strategy board, a teacher at Miami Ad School, and a judge for the Jay Chiat Awards. Brooke has spoken at the 4A’s Strategy Festival, The AWNY Career Conference, The She Helps Empower Summit, the New York Film Academy and IIeX North America.

kylin o brienKylin O'Brien is Brooklyn-based artist and holistic wellness consultant specializing in Feng Shui and Reiki. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Vassar College and a BA (Honours) in Contemporary Creative Practice from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, where she was awarded a part-time lectureship while pursing advanced Multimedia studies. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Feature INC Gallery in New York and Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn. She has been a Brooklyn Arts Council, Awesome Foundation and Pro Arts award winner. 

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Break in Marketplace
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Understanding Critical Tipping Points by Going Deeper Faster - Leveraging Mixed Methods, Digital/Online Technology & Innovative Projectives
Presenter: Pat Sabena, Susan Thornhill, Camille Carlin and Glenn Naphy

Four independent QRCA professional research colleagues with extensive healthcare experience joined together to conduct an exciting research case study showcasing how multiple innovative projective techniques and mixed methodologies can bring much deeper insights into the pharma world.  

By extensively layering projectives into both telephone and online methodologies, we demonstrate how to expedite rich, compelling and actionable strategic insights.  We will illustrate how “tipping points” evolved while physician-patient conversations and patient journeys truly came alive! 

To showcase these qualitative techniques and methods, we conducted a timely and compelling case study with Rheumatologists and patients with moderate-to-severe Rheumatoid Arthritis to understand:   

  • What holds physicians and patients back from increased use of biologics?
  • What are Tipping Points for physicians to prescribe biologics for appropriate patients?
  • What are Tipping Points to trigger patients to accept biologics?

Come experience a deep dive into projective techniques that resulted in identifying potential opportunities for existing and new-to-market pharmaceuticals.  Learn how this approach to identify “tipping points” can easily serve as a model for non-pharma product categories.

This 60-minute session allows time not only for Q&A but also for hands-on practicum with the projective techniques reworked to be relevant to any QRCs who attend this session.

Target Audience: Beginning to Advanced QRC’s who would enjoy a review of multiple projectives and learning how key insights or “tipping points” emerged during analysis and reporting

pat sabenaBio: Specializing in healthcare research for 40+ years, Pat is a recognized leader in qualitative research. A pioneer of innovative projective tools, Pat has taught peer workshops worldwide. A 25-year member of QRCA, Pat has held ongoing leadership roles, serving three years as its President (1995-1998).


susan thornhillSusan has worked for a broad range of qualitative research clients specializing in creative approaches to customer immersion, strategic brainstorming, and patient journeys. Susan is a Past President of QRCA (2011-12) and served as the QRCA Southern California Chapter Co-Chair for six years.


camille carlinCamille has over 25 years of extensive experience conducting qualitative research with physicians, nurses, dieticians, pharmacists and consumers in the healthcare industry. Camille has served on several QRCA committees and been a presenter at QRCA conferences.


glenn naphyGlenn brings a unique perspective with 22 years of extensive experience on both the client and supplier-side of medical research. He has taught workshops on Commercialization in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Glenn is a member of PMRG. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the QRCA Southern California Chapter.

How to Expand Your Business into User Experience (UX)
Presenter: Brianna Sylver

If you’re seeking new growth in your business, it may be a good time industry-wise to consider positioning your skillset to the User Experience (UX) community — a tangential, yet aligned industry to Market Research.

Forewarning … this move into UX is not for the faint of heart. Easy it will not be. Battles between the researchers — the UX Researcher and the Market Researcher — are bound to occur. But more than ever, the rigor of Market Research is needed to support the maturing of the UX field.

In this presentation, I’ll introduce you to the world of UX and share which market research skills — that you already have — can easily transition and provide immense value to UX teams. I’ll also give you pointers on which skills, methods and mindsets you’ll likely need to adopt if you are hoping to be perceived as a valued contributor in the UX industry. In essence, I’m going to give you a blueprint for how to open up a whole new line of revenue potential for your business, with a simple reframe on who you are and what you do.

Target Audience: For QRCAs who are looking to grow their business and are excited by the idea of challenging how they work.

briana sylverBio: Brianna Sylver is the founder and President of Sylver Consulting, an international innovation research and strategy firm operating at the intersection of market research, user experience and design strategy. Brianna and the team at Sylver support Fortune 500 organizations in defining clarity and purpose around their innovation and growth agendas. Brianna has gained recognition for her contributions to the fields of innovation, user experience and consumer insights by the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA), HSM Management (Brazil) and the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA). She writes on topics of innovation, communication, user experience and entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter @BriannaSylver.

The Next Wave of Innovation in Qualitative Research: Your Recruit
Presenter: Allison Rak

As an industry we’ve been focused on innovating in every aspect – from the technologies we use to the methodologies themselves. Yet somehow a basic, fundamental step is often being done in much the same way that it’s been done for the past 50 years. And that, of course, is recruiting.

In this session you will learn how to think about your recruit differently. You will learn some specific techniques that you can use to find better participants for your studies. You will learn what to do when you need those “needle-in-a-haystack” participants, and you will learn ways to engage with recruiters to ensure that you get the best results for your studies. 

Target Audience: Anyone involved in qualitative research at any experience level, especially those who are interested in better methods for finding high-quality research participants.

allison rakBio: Allison Rak is a researcher & entrepreneur. With 15+ years experience in consumer insight, she has a diverse background that includes government, technology, media and CPG. She’s the principal of Vatoca Partners, which provides qualitative research & innovation services to a variety of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and non-profits. She’s also the founder of Doing Good Research, dedicated to improving the quality of research by finding better, more engaged participants in a socially-conscious way. She earned a BA from Santa Clara University & an MA from American University. 

7:00 p.m.

Thursday Evening Event: A Glow New World

Amidst the incredible sessions, marketplace, and networking at the conference is the always-fun, ever-exciting Thursday night soiree. This year’s “A Glow New World” party will be celebrated in the beautiful party pavilion overlooking the golf course and waterways. There will be something for everyone: dancing, karaoke, games, quiet conversation on the patio, and, of course, good food and cocktails! Dress code is fun-casual. All attendees are encouraged to wear your best “glow” – you can use your imagination there; we’re in the land of Disney, after all. Neon, brights, glow-ware, bring it!

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