Qual Power https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&rss=V4wL1U04 Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:12:16 GMT Tue, 19 Jun 2018 21:28:17 GMT Copyright © 2018 Qualitative Research Consultants Association The AQR/QRCA Worldwide Conference: Experiences & Learnings from a First-Timer https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=303987 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=303987

This post was written by Jessica Fennell, a 2018 QRCA Young Professionals Grant recipient. First launched in 2014, the Young Professionals Grant recognizes promising qualitative researchers aged 35 and younger with free passes to the QRCA’s Annual Conference. The application deadline to attend January’s 2019 QRCA Annual Conference: Charting Your Best Course in Savannah, GA is September 24. Visit qrca.org/YPG to learn more.

As a lucky recipient of the QRCA’s Young Professionals Grant, I was extremely pleased to hear that the theme for this year’s Worldwide Conference was ‘Stay Curious’. This topic felt like it had a wide scope and, for me personally, harked back to the reason I first entered qualitative research — pure curiosity about people.

What to Expect

This was also my first international conference and I flew to Spain with a very open mindset on what I would discover over two-and-a-half jam-packed days. So, what can you expect when you attend your first AQR/QRCA Worldwide Conference?

Collaboration and Open Dialogues
One thing that immediately struck me about the Worldwide Conference was the level of collaboration among attendees. This was the first conference I had been to that specifically focused on agency-side researchers attending rather than clients. Perhaps it was this, coupled with an excellent structure (which allowed for ample opportunities to meet other attendees), that fostered a general culture of openness. I found myself networking with a whole range of practitioners, sharing our experiences on how we design our projects and swapping inspiration.

Networking Made Easy
Ah, networking! I will freely admit that walking into a roomful of 100 complete strangers with the aim of making contacts is not something that has ever filled me with joy. However, as a first-timer, the reception I was given by AQR and QRCA made it easy to start conversations. For other conference first-timers, I would highly recommend stepping off the networking cliff and just giving it a go. Bring stacks of business cards and be prepared to start sharing your ideas and research practices with others. Do so and you’ll get so much back in return.

The Findings

But what about the presentations themselves? They provided a myriad of different interpretations of the conference theme ‘Stay Curious’. Standout presentations came from qual-at-scale platform Remesh and Acacia Avenue (both of which won the Sabena McLean Best Presentation Award). The speakers demonstrated a variety of approaches to the topic. These ranged from practical tips which I could see being implemented in my own research straight away, to more thought-provoking ideas and concepts.

Here are some of the standout ideas for me:

Borrowing from Surrounding Disciplines
Some of the most thought-provoking research ideas and approaches were borrowed from different disciplines. This is particularly true with regards to the communication and presentation of research ideas. Relish Research shared inspiring and practical tips about the principles of Method Acting. The technique, used by actors as diverse as Daniel Day-Lewis to James Dean, relies on the practitioner ‘becoming’ a character and completely immersing themselves in their emotions.  Relish showed how adapting this method for research purposes could be used to bring clients closer to their audiences. First by setting clients a brief with the characteristics and practical limitations of their audience (budget, childcare etc.), they could be briefed to do anything from role play scenarios in workshops or shopping as their customer. The real benefit of this approach is that your clients can discover their own insights by becoming their target customer.

Prioritise Culture
Alex Gordon from Sign Salad called for cultural understanding to hold a more central role in research. To borrow the words of the writer Toni Morrison, the job of a culture expert is: “to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar." Culturally driven brand thinking allows researchers to identify and interpret where it will sit in the changing cultural future. Gordon highlighted Grant McCracken’s book, Chief Culture Officer, which calls for big organisations to create a position for a "person who knows culture, both its fads and fashions, and its deep, enduring structures."

Roben Allong at Lightbeam Communications highlighted how cultural bias or blindness towards questions of identity and culture need to be addressed by researchers as a matter of urgency. Cases like H&M’s Monkey sweatshirt PR disaster show how cultural blindness can have serious implications for both brand trust and profits. As researchers, we should always be considering the context and background of our interactions and analysis. For example, in the increasingly important new language of emojis, the Princess icon has a completely different meaning to African American women vs. Caucasian women. This is important because it is a qualitative researcher’s task to gain an intimate understanding of the target audience’s culture and language trends. Becoming culturally literate is of vital importance if we are to truly help our clients.

Thinking Critically about Your Biases
The age-old problem of avoiding bias in our fieldwork through the ‘research effect’ is still prevalent. In South Africa, Lesley Croskery of In Focus Qualitative Research talked about the potential negative implications of observing or moderating as a white researcher in black households. She advised being constantly aware of the effect your presence has on fieldwork. This could be as simple as minimising the number of observing clients to properly managing expectations about the research with participants. There are also extra considerations in a bilingual country like South Africa. Appraise not just whether conducting fieldwork in English will make research easier but whether moderating in the language they use at home would make participants feel more comfortable and open to discussion.

Both in the structure of the conference and the range of topics covered, my experience in Valencia truly embodied the topic of Stay Curious. Come with an open mind and prepared to be inspired!

Visit qrca.org/YPG to learn more about the Young Professionals Grant.

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Tue, 19 Jun 2018 22:28:17 GMT
Can your business pass the “unplugged” challenge? https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=301892 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=301892 Survey Blog Post

Years ago, many of us enjoyed listening to “unplugged” music events or recordings. But could we do the same with the technology that is a part of our daily lives and businesses? How long could you live in an “unplugged” society, for instance, without wireless and wired communications/data services and electricity? Is your business prepared to be “unplugged”? To gain a global perspective, fill out the following short survey by Thursday, May 17th 21:00 (Spain Time) and you could win the grand prize of a premium Puerto Rican coffee.

I will be honest and say that I never thought of this question before two of nature’s ladies visited our island paradise and gave us the experience of “unplugged” living. On Friday, I will be sharing our experience from a qualitative perspective including insights from other QRCs, recruiters, facilities and marketing business firms in Puerto Rico.  

Here is the link to the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UnpluggedQual

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Tue, 15 May 2018 19:55:05 GMT
5 ½ Reasons Why I’m Addicted to the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=297414 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=297414 Valencia will be my 4th Worldwide Conference — I was strong-armed to apply to speak at the Prague conference, the start of my habit. After Budapest, I was a card-carrying member of the fan club. I began to actively recruit new addicts as co-chair of Vienna in 2016. It’s an escalating condition, as you can see. I’ll be feeding my addiction to great ideas, as well as great coffee, in Valencia. Here’s why.

1. Fantastic networking

I’ve met great people at every event, and heard people speak that I have never heard speak before, and from all over the world. Speakers have to have a strong idea to make it onto the program – there are always too many applications for a limited number of spots. It always feels like the best and brightest to me, and a treat to be among them.

2. Reconnecting

Once you start going to global conferences, you will grow your global network. Eventually, you will know these people well enough that you really want to break bread with them from time to time. This conference has lots of talk time, and is a great place for connecting and reconnecting. Hence the addictive factor I mentioned, but I am a happy addict.

3. No-pitch environment

The speakers really dish up their best stuff from a posture of sharing, contributing, and mutual learning. Do they simultaneously build their brand? No doubt about it. But I have found this event to be educational with no lingering sales aftertaste, and I love that.

4. From stretch ideas to utter bafflement

I am still thinking about a presentation about collective culture in India that I heard at least five years ago. At the same conference, there was a semiotics session about clouds that totally went over my head. I’m not kidding, I still know nothing about the semiotics of clouds. I’m hoping to fare better with the semiotics of toy soldiers from the same speaker this year. The speakers have always given me ample brain food, and I love that.

5. Collective experience

Conversations at this event never start with “what session did you attend” because this is all plenary. Instead, you can walk up to people at the next table and dive right in, knowing they heard the same thing you did. Or maybe they didn’t… And therein is the start of a great conversation.

5 ½ Cava

There will be cava. And I’ll be enjoying it along with smart people I don’t get to see very often. Maybe you’ll be one them. Cheers!

The photo was taken of the author and Ilka Kuhagen at a previous Worldwide Conference.

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Mon, 26 Mar 2018 18:25:56 GMT
QRCA’s Elevate & Cultivate: The Experience & The Learnings https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294572 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294572

Amye Parker is a 2018 QRCA Young Professionals Grant recipient. First launched in 2014, the Young Professionals Grant recognizes promising qualitative researchers aged 35 and younger with free passes to the QRCA’s Annual Conference.

Upon receiving the news that I was one of 15 people to receive a Young Professionals Grant from the QRCA to attend the annual conference ‘Elevate & Cultivate’ I was immediately excited — because I never win anything! However, the qualitative researcher inside me began to ask questions:

  • How should I prepare for Elevate & Cultivate?
  • What would the conference involve?
  • How would I avoid awkward networking situations?
  • What would I learn? 

Preparing for Elevate & Cultivate
Every first-timer gets paired with a seasoned conference goer who helps prepare for the conference. I quickly received an email introducing me to my ‘ambassador’, Kate Wagenlander Watson. She sent me lots of tips, answered all my questions, and even met me at 8 am on the first day of the conference. Kate was genuinely invested in making sure I had a good time.

The Conference
The conference contained the perfect balance of big-thinking seminars, participatory round-table discussions, and practical frameworks with highly applicable tips. The biggest surprise I had was how collaborative everyone was. Despite theoretically being competitors, everyone was forthcoming in offering advice and best practices.

Avoiding Awkward Networking
Everyone at the conference was welcoming and several social events also helped me meet others. A ‘speed dating’ session for all 55 First-Timers and their ambassadors was a great way to connect with people quickly. The dinner sponsored by the YP SIG attracted 30+ young researchers, resulting in fun times with great people. I left Phoenix with new friends, and renewed excitement about research.

The Learnings
The conference gave me a lot of inspiring thoughts and practical tips that I could apply right away. Here are six key things that stood out to me from Elevate & Cultivate:

  • Recruit Via Social Media

Recruiting high-quality research participants is becoming harder due to overly targeted criteria and professional participants. Tony Gentes of The Palmerston Group demonstrated the value of using social media outlets like Instagram, Meetup.com and Tinder. Using these outlets, recruitment is based on behavioural data and participants are less saturated with research.

  • Tri-angulate Insight Streams

Our research doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and our clients are inundated with information. Tamara Kenworthy of On Point Strategies showed the value of using secondary and quant data to complement qual in designing buyer personas. The Qually Award finalists also included expert insight in their proposals to complement consumer findings. By looking beyond our own primary research, we gain a holistic view, and can thus provide more strategic and nuanced insight.

  • Leverage Behavioural Economics Frameworks

A well-planned methodology is critical but insights can fall flat without the right questions. Lauren McCrae of Lux Insights shared a case study on using the COM-B framework to generate hypotheses and research questions. Behavioural Economic approaches can even be used in client workshops and ideation sessions. These frameworks offer great value in unpacking the sub-conscious drivers of behaviour and can help us understand the barriers

  • Lose Yourself in Moderation

We hear from people how ‘easy’ moderation seems, but anyone who’s in the job knows better. Naomi Henderson of RIVA Market Research engaged us in a highly relatable keynote speech on this topic, revisiting fundamentals and sharing encouraging (and hilarious) anecdotes. The power of System 1 thinking was another hot topic, and there were many sessions on projective methods offering case studies on activities like personification, deprivation and visual sorting exercises.

  • Create Experiences, Not Projects

In our overly-stimulated, attention-starved society, we are researchers and entertainers. Qually Award winners Lauren McCrae and Nicole Aleong of Lux Insights stood out by injecting videos and personality into their pitch. Daniel Berkal of The Palmerston Group inspired us to look beyond our industry for inspiration to elevate our research. For example, could we emulate the high-energy fun experienced at amusement parks? Crafting research that people want to be part of allows participants to open up, researchers to gain richer insight, and clients to be more engaged in the research.

  • Socialising Insight & Delivering Compelling Results

Clients are time-strapped and attention-poor. Therefore, our research needs to work hard to find longevity. Jennifer Spainhour and Martha Gordon led a heavily attended session on analysis and report writing hacks full of practical tips. In his masterclass, Berkal advised on the importance of keeping output top-of-mind throughout research design to ensure you deliver compelling insights. As a socialising tool, video cannot be under-estimated – it’s quick, visual and immersive, which drives results more deeply into our clients’ minds.

Visit qrca.org/YPG to learn more about the Young Professionals Grant.

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Fri, 9 Feb 2018 22:43:51 GMT
Change is the New Normal: Insights from the 2018 QRCA Conference https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294487 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294487 If you are a qualitative researcher and have not attended a QRCA Conference, you owe it to yourself to add it to your list. QRCA members are hands-down the most generous, forward-thinking and collegial people you will ever meet, and the conference itself is unlike any other.

As usual, this year’s conference was full of educational and inspirational sessions, great exhibitors, and some excellent and thought-provoking roundtable discussions.

Here is a recap of my key takeaways:

  1. Social media and AI technology are rapidly becoming the next generation tool for qualitative recruiting and data collection. Shapiro & Raj discussed their social adaptive recruiting, which accesses forums, online communities, and public social networks to “find the hard-to-find”; and Tory Gentes discussed some decidedly non-traditional techniques for using tools in our socially connected world (some sites this Boomer had never heard of before!) as a means to find quality recruits.
  2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are poised to explode as a qualitative tool. David Bauer, of Hemisphere Insights, led a great session on this topic. As home VR equipment becomes ubiquitous, and programming costs are reduced, the ability to create more engaging experiences will become a reality. Use VR/AR to test concepts in-home; to simulate an in-store shopping experience; to create truly engaging virtual ethnography; to facilitate co-creation; and to allow stakeholders to understand the customer experience in a way not possible before.
  3. The traditional qualitative report is slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaur. The momentum continues to grow for shorter, more visual, non-traditional reports that tell a story that can persuade and influence decision making. While PPT is still most common, reports may also take the form of podcasts, photo books, full video reports, magazine reports, talk shows, or any number of other creative deliverables.
  4. The line between qualitative and quantitative is continuing to blur. Any survey can now be combined with qualitative feedback via video open-ends or qualitative “pull outs” — where a select number of respondents (based on their survey responses) are asked to participate in follow up qualitative interviews, to expand upon the learning from the survey and address the “why’s” behind their responses. Where once qualitative and quantitative were distinctly different beasts, hybrid projects are becoming increasingly common.

It’s an exciting time to be in the market research industry. Hold on, and enjoy the ride!

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

― Taylor Swift

“The pace of change and the threat of disruption creates tremendous opportunities…”

― Steve Case

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Thu, 8 Feb 2018 23:16:24 GMT
A First-Timer's Perspective: QRCA Annual Conference https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294405 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=294405 Leigh Wright is a 2018 QRCA Young Professionals Grant recipient. First launched in 2014, the Young Professionals Grant recognizes promising qualitative researchers aged 35 and younger with free passes to the QRCA’s Annual Conference.

“Funny thing is, we have no social lives,” said a lady at my lunch table. Everyone laughed heartily, but I did only slightly. I am emerging into the qualitative field and as a research consultant. I’ve worked as a Director of Brand Strategy for six years, building internal marketing departments, looking through ad stacks, etc. The QRCA 2018 annual conference was one of the best — if not the best — places for an introduction.

All conferences are about teaching and education and professional accolades and training. QRCA is different because attendees come for the people and education is lagniappe (New Orleans’ slang for “an extra little gift”) or to support their peers’ work. As consultants, we do not get out and about to see one another during the year, so the QRCA holds a dedicated, sacred spot on the calendars of many.

Needless to say, I arrived in Phoenix with little knowledge of the QRCA, its benefits, the people, or the structure of the conference. To say I am blown away by the supportive structure of the community is an understatement.

From a beginner’s standpoint I found the talks from Naomi Henderson, Susan Abbott, Marta Villanueva, et al., all very enlightening and critical to understanding where I will find my niche in this industry. There were a lot of moderating tools discussed and quite frankly the point of creative flashcards was hammered home. Tory Gentes’ presentation on online recruiting was spot on. I’ve only done bespoke recruitment and have used online platforms to do so. (You would be surprised at how many preschool teachers are part-time babysitters through Care.com.)

The sessions I found the most insightful were about client presentation, online recruiting, business development, and behavioral economics. This is partly because I have done little moderating, but I believe presenting a variety of sessions is impactful. As Jim Bryson said one day during the conference, “It’s not ‘do we need another moderator.’ We need another good researcher.” So, let’s stick with the holistic approach. I believe it is working.

The roundtable discussions were fantastic and I enjoyed Peter Totman’s talk on Failure. There were so many going on at once and I did find it hard to choose which to attend.

In terms of the Young Professionals Grant, I am forever indebted to the sponsors of this program. Without them I would not have known about the QRCA, I would not have attended this year’s conference, and I would not have met the other YPs who I now consider friends. I will consider that week in Phoenix as a career milestone and springboard.

I’m sure others have tried to convey what makes QRCA special, and my words will fall short just like all the rest. The only thing left to say is thank you, and see you in Savannah.

Visit qrca.org/YPG to learn more about the Young Professionals Grant.

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Thu, 8 Feb 2018 05:14:52 GMT
Confessions of a GenX Researcher: Insights from the 2018 QRCA Annual Conference https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=293927 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=293927 Untitled Document

Cat’s out of the bag! I guess I can no longer pretend to be a Millennial. 

I’m just back from the 2018 QRCA annual conference (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) and I’m feeling inspired but also humbled with a touch of GenX insecurity.

This was my fifth conference — yet I’ve never felt this way before. Five years ago, the majority of attendees seemed like seasoned veterans and you could count the number of individuals under 35 years of age on two hands. This year, perhaps due to a great initiative from the QRCA to include young people via the Young Professionals Grant, there were many younger people (aka Millennials) in attendance. Their youthful presence was exciting and also a reassurance that our profession will continue to grow and thrive.

However, part way through the conference, it dawned on me that I was the middle child. I was sandwiched between two great generations each making a significant mark on the qualitative research practice. Two fantastic speakers best brought this to life: Naomi Henderson is a qualitative guru who has practiced research since 1964, and Tory Gentes is an experiential researcher sure to become legendary in her own time.

Naomi Henderson is an impressive bundle of energy and one of the greatest teachers of qualitative research. In fact, as a founder of RIVA, it’s possible she taught half of the people in attendance. The keynote speaker, Naomi presented on Moderating Effectively to Elicit, Identify and Report Meaningful Insights. She shared the skills of what it takes to be an effective moderator and, trust me, there are many. Pearls of wisdom like SQLA (Short Questions yield Long Answers), tips for avoiding leading stem questions, mirror your participants for the desired response, and don’t analyze while moderating. I was in awe of her wealth of knowledge and her ability to deconstruct her experiences in order to help elevate all of our skills as researchers.

The title of Tory Gentes' presentation, 10 Tinder Dates in a Week? In a World of Social, Who Needs Traditional Recruiting Methods?, really illustrated how our practice is evolving. Tory, an Immersive Ethnographer at The Palmerston Group, is smart, vibrant, and courageous! She inspired me to think about using social media tools to help with/supplement recruiting or just to learn about your target audience before you interview them. Tory took us through a series of case studies where she used tools like Tinder, Couchsurfing, Meetup, and Uber to find and research her participants and their environments. I was impressed by her ingenuity and the authenticity of this approach. I also learned there’s a whole world beyond Instagram and Facebook and felt like I needed to dive back into social media and see what else had popped up since last I checked.

Two generations: A pioneer and a trailblazer. One practicing longer than the other’s age. One representing the classic method our practice stems from and the other evolving it for the future. I’m squeezed by greatness on both sides, swinging between both worlds. On the bright side, I’m lucky to be learning from both. It’s an exciting time for qualitative research!

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Wed, 31 Jan 2018 21:11:21 GMT
"Numbers and Narratives" Build a Bridge, Fill in the Blanks https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=291774 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=291774

The following post was written by Alice Greene of Campos, Inc. Alice is one of our speakers at the 2018 QRCA Annual Conference in Phoenix, Jan. 24-26; her presentation is titled, Using Data Visualization to Overcome the Customer Experience (CX) Memory Barrier. Alice's presentation is just one of many reasons to attend the conference! Register now: http://bit.ly/QRCA2018

As consumers, employees, students, and Fitbit-wearing human beings, we are being provided with more and more information every day about ourselves and how we benchmark against others—seemingly to no avail. We all know why: Data alone is never enough. But I have been obsessing about how data, in combination with an individual’s own interpretation of, or story about, that data, has the potential to unlock significant personal growth and societal change.

Let’s take the state of education in the United States, which continues to decline despite measurement of every kind. These days, there is particular panic about kids needing to develop the hard skills that will be needed to prepare them for the jobs and technology of the future, as well as the soft skills, like problem solving and leadership, that often depend on self-awareness and confidence.

A friend of mine who is a local elementary school principal sees a solution to these challenges in not only sharing students’ data with them, but in asking them to explain it, also. Knowing that students often learn best when they can relate a topic to their own experiences (known as constructivist learning theory), what kind of self-actualization could come from learning about themselves by relating their own data to their experiences? Rather than sharing discrete data points with students—test scores, attendance and awards numbers, detention and extra-curricular engagement statistics—what if we present these data back to students in a visual, time-series format and asked them to describe their journeys? How would they tell their story, and what could we learn that the data simply can’t say? What was happening at home, for example, or with friends, with teachers, with their health? Imagine if we could aggregate that unstructured data into actionable, system-wide insights—with benchmarks!

Consider the case of one boy (we'll call him Danny) at my friend's school, whose data was showing fantastic performance in his words-per-minute reading score. It wasn't until reviewing Danny's results with him that she learned he was developing a speech impediment–which was bad for Danny and producing a misleading measurement. In a powerful testament to asking kids about their view of benchmarks, as well, Danny was shown different types of stuttering and immediately identified his own. He covers his stuttering by avoiding the "Sh" sound, which he can say correctly, but it makes him anxious. He was able to articulate all of this which, the principal noted, was "pretty amazing." She added: "He is now enrolled in speech and his reading is much better." 

So, we all know that data can’t tell us everything we need, but we don’t all appreciate how it can be used to trigger memories or sharing that can, in collaboration with the person whom the data represents, fill in a much more complete story.

This idea of “numbers and narratives” holds equivalent power in the healthcare arena. What happens when we show patients a visualization of all their touchpoints with doctors, pharmacists, and facilities over the past ten years? What will they remember? How will they fill in the blanks? And how can these insights start to solve some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare today?



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Tue, 19 Dec 2017 23:45:40 GMT
The Future Is Virtually Here: Virtual Reality and Research https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=291223 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=291223

Researchers spend much of their time exploring the future in collaboration with consumers and idea creators. From product concepts to environmental experiences to communication ideas, we work to understand how people react to these new creations and how to improve upon them.

With the advent of virtual reality, we now have the ability to send people into worlds where they can experience these new ideas in more realistic settings. In #VR, consumers can more authentically interact with these ideas, modify them, and explore how they would use them in their own lives.

Virtual reality, along with augmented reality and mixed reality, will soon have a powerful effect on many aspects of the research field. Researchers will be able to share experiences with consumers even though one may be at home in one country while the other is in her office in another country. Consumers will be able to manipulate and build concepts in collaboration with researchers and design teams. Clients will be more engaged as they observe and interact with their consumers in these virtual experiences.

Watch David's video

I will be speaking about research and VR at #QRCA2018, the Qualitative Research Consultants Association annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 26. You can learn more about the conference at the link below or reach out to me if you would like to discuss the possibilities of VR and research.

More details about the conference: http://www.qrca.org/event/annconf2018

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Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:28:05 GMT
#steampunk and Qualitative Research: The Future Is Now https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=290921 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=290921

steampunk imageI am loving the theme of the upcoming QRCA Conference: Elevate and Cultivate. The promise of a consortium of professionals – each representing different phases and ways in to their qualitative research careers – eager to share their varied experiences and knowledge. It immediately brought to mind imagery of sophistication and refinement, enlightenment and growth, artistry and execution, all grounded in hard work, solid skills development, and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty.

It immediately made me think: steampunk.

Steampunk is an aesthetic portrayal of retro-yet-futuristic stories, fashion, and ideas. A “subgenre of speculative fiction...It could be described by the definition: What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner” (urbandictionary.com).

Blade Runner image
Movie still from original Blade Runner

What would the past look like if it were happening now? What would the present look like if it were in the future? What does any of this have to do with qualitative research?

Pretty much everything.

Qualitative market research is also a sub-culture within a sub-culture. It boasts its own language, its own unique sets of tools and techniques, its own artisans and inventors. Qualitative researchers access the past and join it with the present as a means to craft a variety of possible futures. And we do it with our own flair and personal style.

Hugo movie still
Movie still from Hugo

And if we are to be the leaders of our industry and for our clients, then we definitely need to make sure that we are getting our education from all different directions and decades. Our more tenured researchers have seen and done it (almost) all – they planted the seeds of what we do so that we can benefit from their fruits. We must learn from them. Millennials look at society and seek to humanize our automated methods. We must learn from them. Our younger professionals are masters of life at our fingertips and simplifying what used to be convoluted and complex. We must learn from them.

This is why I am so excited to attend the QRCA Annual Conference. These three days in Phoenix, AZ, have been artfully designed so that anyone who still has something to learn about qualitative research (namely, all of us) will have the opportunity to benefit from what happens when qualitative vets engage with qualitative next. All to elevate and cultivate us into the gritty elegance of qualitative now.

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Wed, 6 Dec 2017 19:24:19 GMT
I Underestimated the QRCA Annual Conference https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=289346 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=289346

I was a first-time attendee at the 2017 QRCA Conference in Los Angeles. Although I have been an independent QRC for 20 years, it wasn’t until the QRCA bylaws changed last year that I was finally (finally!) able to join the organization. I joined QRCA the day the expanded membership guidelines were announced and signed up for the conference soon after. The fact that it was taking place practically next door to me (I live in Pasadena) was just gravy.

Although it was my first QRCA conference, I was pretty certain what to expect: There would be interesting speakers and presentations, I would meet other QRCs, I would learn new things, and, of course, there would be dine-arounds. (Even though I had spent the preceding years being QRCA-adjacent, I knew about dine-arounds!)

I certainly wasn't wrong, but I definitely underestimated the magnitude. I expected “good,” even “great,” but the conference was AMAZING.

I attended presentations that filled my brain with tons of fantastic information, given by QRCs whose names I recognized as rock stars in qualitative research.

I learned new techniques and approaches and ideas. We were encouraged to approach and think about qualitative research in novel and surprising ways, and it all made me more excited about a field that I am already pretty darned excited about.

Perhaps the best part for me was connecting faces with familiar names as I finally met the colleagues “IRL” with whom I have worked with for years via phone and email. I also met many more QRCs that I only knew by name and reputation. In many cases, all I had to say was, “Wait, you’re So-and So?” and a fun and energetic conversation would take off from there.

And yes, I “dined around” and that was fabulous too – another opportunity to connect with colleagues and talk about anything and everything. Not just qualitative research or business or client issues or “work stuff,” but everything else under the sun. Dogs, favorite travel destinations, restaurant recommendations, you name it.

I came home every night too excited to sleep and couldn’t wait to get back the next morning. At the end of the conference, I had collected a stack of business cards from all the people I met, and had heard so much to inspire me and make me a better QRC. But the best part by far was the feeling throughout the entire three days that I had found “my people.” Working independently can be isolating and leave QRCs feeling like we are on our own with no backup or support, even just to commiserate about difficult projects or clients or respondents. For me, the conference was three solid days surrounded by nothing but support, collaboration, commiseration, and conversation with smart, friendly, interesting people who “get” what I do. I went expecting to meet colleagues but left with a lot of new friends as well. Needless to say, I am already booked for Phoenix in January 2018 and I can’t wait!

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Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:13:16 GMT
QRCA Annual Conference: Not Your Typical Event https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=289087 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=289087

Every year, all members of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) are invited to convene at the annual conference. With so many research industry conferences to choose from, why is the annual QRCA event always top of my list?

Because it’s worth it.

The cost of my annual membership and the one-time conference fee is nominal compared to the value I derive from the experience, both personally and professionally.

Since becoming a member of QRCA in 2006, I’ve missed only one annual conference and have no plans to miss another. Each year, I joyfully eject myself from the office and immerse myself in a pool of peeps whose interest in how people think is equally piqued.

The QRCA conference is not your typical annual bash, with a slew of pushy sales presentations. Instead, topics and speakers are heavily vetted, ensuring each conference includes the most relevant, useful, and inspiring learning sessions. Dedicated vendors support the conference by displaying and demonstrating the newest tools and technology for qualitative research. And members open their arms to welcome friendly hugs and share life stories.

For all who are QRCA, see you in Phoenix this January!

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Wed, 8 Nov 2017 16:24:18 GMT
Millennials and Video Ethnography: So Happy Together! https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=288062 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=288062

Using video ethnography with Millennials is a big win for researchers and marketers. Lately Consumer Truth has done a few video ethnography projects among Millennials in three different categories. They've all yielded tremendous insight and in-depth discoveries. An interesting finding about the "marriage" of the target and the methodology is that Millennials are more than willing to share their lives via autonomous video capture and perceived self-direction. What researchers and marketers can potentially get in return is a wonderful glimpse into their homes, their personalities, relationships, interaction with friends, family members and pets—and ultimately, their truths—who they are, what matters to them and why, which is our ultimate end game.

In fact, I've found this group much more willing to share feelings, concerns, wishes and desires via self-made video stories than they are in more traditional qualitative settings. And why not? Screens are a second-nature connection to them. Screens have been their preferred conduit to communication most of their lives. Screens are familiar, controllable—their friends! And what we as marketers get back are well-crafted, casually communicated stories about how they interact with products and services—and importantly, how they feel about brands. What's real. Their truths.

In a recent project we did with Millennials, one person—after having completed the assignment—contacted us and asked what more we wanted her to do. Are we satisfied with her feedback? Did we get what we were looking for? Was there anything else we wanted her to capture on video? While I appreciated the over-achieving effort, like any qualitative researcher, I asked why she was so willing to continue contributing beyond our initial "ask." The answer shed a lot of light on the relationship this demographic has with screens, video and technology overall—and what we as marketers can learn relative to successful methodologies.

"It seemed too easy! Like I should be doing more for the money you paid me!" Understand, this was after having her complete a three-pronged exercise spanning 3 days and submitting 15 minutes of self-made video. In 17 years of researching consumer behavior, I've never once had someone contact me after an in-person ethnography (or any other methodology, for that matter) to ask if there was something else I needed to ask them or for them to do. No. That did not happen. Ever.

"It's ...easy!" And if it's "easy," isn't it also more authentic, more natural and real?

Read the full blog post, and join me at my presentation at the QRCA Annual Conference in January 2018!

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Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:27:00 GMT
QRCA Annual Conference Preview: Using a Behavioral Economics Lens to Research Behavior https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=287964 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=287964 Untitled Document

Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler have both won the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work on behavioural economics, and since Thinking, Fast & Slow was published in 2011, discussion of the systematic biases in how humans think has become mainstream in the market research field. But is being aware of these biases the only thing market researchers need to do in order to obtain better insights?

I argue that we need to understand all the influences on human behaviour, beyond just what goes on in people’s heads, in order to structure our research so that we can truly understand decision-making. This includes the physical and social context in which decisions are made, the skills and capabilities individuals have, as well as their internal motivations, whether those are conscious or subconscious. How can we understand all of this through our research?

Here are a few approaches to help get a more complete picture of what drives behaviour, without introducing bias by asking participants directly:

§ Spend more time on introductions understanding how participants see themselves in general, probing on areas you want to know more about. It’s amazing how much you can learn from asking in an open-ended way for someone to describe themselves.

§ Ask family or friends about participants’ personalities. Spouses, parents and friends can all provide a different context, and reveal important traits of participants about which participants themselves may be unaware.

§ Ask about experiences that are similar to, but not exactly the behaviour you are researching. For example, if you want to understand online purchasing behaviour, find out about what participants do online in general, and why.

I will be talking more about the factors that influence behaviour, and how to create a discussion guide that will help you uncover the major influencers, at the QRCA annual conference in Phoenix taking place January 24-26, 2018. Please join me in Phoenix to learn more: www.qrca.org/2018


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Wed, 25 Oct 2017 18:06:31 GMT
The Best Conference Value Available https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=287856 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=287856 Untitled Document

After 30 years on both the client side and the agency/consultancy side, I've been to more conferences than I care to remember, but the QRCA Annual Conference coming up in January 2018 in Phoenix is one that I will not miss. Each year, it is simply the most fun, the most welcoming, open and friendly, and the most informative of them all — that is, if you have anything to do with qualitative research and you want to remain or become one of the best qualitative practitioners out there!

It's a great chance to meet up with those I've met before, and connect with many I've worked with as a result of being a fellow QRCA member... and I always have a chance to meet a good few new QRCA members too. For the amount I get out of it in terms of business opportunities from working with other QRCA members, the amount I learn from the speakers, and the opportunity it provides to connect with all the different vendors (in a fantastically efficient way) who are part of the fabric of being able to deliver great results for my clients — it works out as the best value conference I can attend every year. I have never been disappointed.

Sometimes what I learn just helps me have the confidence that what we are offering at Scoot Insights is meeting a real need out there, but I also always walk away with things I can implement immediately (a new mobile provider, a new use for journals, a way to sharpen up share out presentations) and some things that get my brain fired up thinking about things in a new way, such as imagining myself as a "news reporter" when investigating my topic and writing up my findings! If anything, it is an over-stimulating experience — but one that's hard to beat!

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Tue, 24 Oct 2017 17:15:52 GMT
Under 35? Applying for a Young Professional Grant Is a Must https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=286247 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=286247 Untitled Document

Applications are now open for the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) Young Professionals Grant (YPG). Fifteen grants will be awarded to young professional qualitative researchers 35 years and younger to attend the QRCA’s 2018 Annual Conference: Elevate & Cultivate, to be held January 24-26 in Phoenix, AZ, a USD $1,300 value, funded by partners Schlesinger Associates, M/A/R/C Research and FocusVision.

Receiving the QRCA’s Young Professionals Grant was a distinct honor that came at the perfect time in my career. I had been working for four years at a large marketing research supplier and had been seriously considering joining my mother’s small qualitative consulting firm. At the 2015 conference in Orlando, I was able to speak with other independent consultants who offered encouragement and concrete advice. I also met a number of other parent-child MR pairings that really made me feel like part of a well-worn tradition. I made the career transition soon after the conference and haven’t looked back.

From the first activity – the “speed dating” between first-timers and mentors – I felt energized by the collective enthusiasm and vitality that filled the grand hall. Everyone was eager to learn about my background, interests and career goals – not surprising given that qualitative researchers are a naturally inquisitive breed. It was immediately apparent that QRCA members are genuinely vested in everyone’s professional success and personal happiness.

The sessions at the conference struck the perfect balance for me between practical and theoretical subject areas. As a former academic nerd in college, I appreciated the high-level presentations on more abstract topics like consumer behavior. In addition, the numerous sessions on everyday tips and tricks helped me leave with a significantly expanded market research toolkit.

I officially joined QRCA after the conference and have enjoyed deepening my involvement with the national group and my local Philadelphia chapter. The leadership team at the conference made it clear that there is opportunity for any member to actively contribute to QRCA, regardless of experience level. During my first year in QRCA, I contributed to VIEWS magazine and participated in the YPG committee. Over the past year, I became Treasurer of the Philly chapter, co-chair of the Membership Committee and participated in both the Conference and Young Professionals Committees.

I highly recommend that young professionals take advantage of this unique program. You will assuredly come away with a few new connections and a renewed excitement for qualitative research.

Visit qrca.org/YPG to apply or learn more.  Applications are due November 1, 2017.

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Wed, 4 Oct 2017 18:21:46 GMT
What Made American Audiences Cry over a Coffee Ad? https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=277340 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=277340 What Made American Audiences Cry over a Coffee Ad?

An Interview with Dr. Clotaire Rapaille on the Culture Code

Dr. G Clotaire RapailleDr. G Clotaire Rapaille is a cultural anthropologist and founder of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide. He is best known for writing the New York Times bestseller The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. QRCA member Kay Correy Aubrey interviewed Dr. Rapaille for our VIEWS magazine. The first part of the interview appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of VIEWS.

Dr. Rapaille explains that in humans, our reptilian brain always wins. “The reptilian (brain) is about basic survival, basic instinct. It’s short-term. It’s pain and pleasure. It’s so strong.”

That deeply embedded, instinctive feeling is what the Culture Code is all about. “There is no learning about anything without emotion,” Dr. Rapaille says. “The more intense the emotion, the stronger the imprint…. When you learn a word, you learn more than the word — the whole culture goes with it. It’s a package. You get so much with a word.”

Using this as a starting point, Dr. Rapaille and his associates take groups of people from a particular culture to do imprinting sessions. Going through that process with Americans in a project for Folgers coffee, the team discovered that Americans imprint on the aroma of coffee. “And what we said at the time is that Folgers should own the aroma, everything. And then we designed communication around aroma.”

In the resulting ad, a young soldier returns home from the military and makes coffee for his sleeping mother. She smells the coffee, realizes what it means, and rushes down the stairs to hug her son. “When we tested the commercial people were crying,” Dr. Rapaille says. “It’s not just coffee. It’s reactivating the first imprint of something that is so emotionally positive and associated with all the reference systems. So we discover these dimensions that are so powerful, but usually unconscious.”

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Wed, 31 May 2017 07:09:10 GMT
Ditch the script; have a conversation instead! https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=271114 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=271114

Nobody likes a telemarketer, so why use their techniques in recruiting? Why are researchers still  getting away with putting participants through long, boring, tedious screeners? A conversational approach to your recruit may seem difficult or impractical, but if done well can yield excellent results in the way of highly-qualified, happier participants.

What is a conversational recruit? It’s a way of getting all of the answers to your screener, and then some, through a friendly conversation. There are a few key requirements for success, however. First, you need to be completely aligned with your recruiter on your screening criteria. This typically requires a detailed conversation, backed up in writing, versus just emailing over a screener. Second, you need to trust your recruiter completely that they will not lead the participant, and that they have your best interests in mind. Finally, you need a recruiter who will have a small number of qualified, intelligent people who are well-trained with your project working for you, versus a firm that will put a large number of interchangeable dialers on your project.

Some researchers attempt a conversational recruit by writing a conversational screener, but these fall short. Potential participants can tell when someone is reading from a script and it’s a turnoff. A skilled, conversational recruiter, on the other hand, can knock off a number of screener questions in a brief exchange. Here’s an example of three questions from a typical screener:

First, a written introductory paragraph that, no matter how casual the recruiter tries to make it, will come across as a script and set the tone for the rest of the exchange. Then come the questions:

  1. What age range do you fall into?
    1. under 18 (terminate)
    2. 18-24
    3. 25-34
    4. 35-44
    5. 45-54
    6. 55 or older (terminate)

2. Do you have kids living at home? If so, what are their ages?

3. Do you or anyone in your household work in any of the following industries?

  1. Education
  2. Marketing
  3. Advertising
  4. Public relations
  5. Transportation
  6. Technology
  7. etc. etc. etc.

3. (Articulation question) If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go and why?

Now, imagine trying to achieve the same thing through a conversational approach.

After a brief introduction….

Recruiter: Tell me a little about yourself. For example, how old are you, what do you do for work, and who do you live with?

Potential participants: Well, let’s see…. I’m 42 years old, a stay-at-home mom. I live with my husband and two kids, plus a golden retriever who acts like my third kid!

Recruiter: “Oh, I love goldens! How old are your kids?

Participant: My daughter Izzy is four and my son Burke is eight.

Recruiter: Wow, you have your hands full. What does your husband do for work?

Participant: He’s a chef for Intuit.

Recruiter: Nice! Does he cook for you at home?

Participant: He does! He’s a great cook. During the week I usually feed the kids before he comes home but he will whip something up for the two of us and it’s always delicious. I’m very lucky!

You get the idea. The conversational approach got all of the key information from original screener, and then some. The participant is much more engaged, and an articulation question becomes irrelevant.

Taking it a step further, the recruiter now has established a rapport with the participant and can write up a blurb for the researcher, versus only typing stats into a grid. As a researcher, I appreciate getting an email with a blurb about a hold (e.g.“Rachel is a stay-at-home mom of two and very articulate. She meets all of the criteria but is a hold because her husband works in the technology industry (for Intuit), but as a chef.”) I can read it and quickly respond “Yes, let’s accept Rachel” (I was screening out people who work in tech, but a chef for a technology company will be fine for this project.) It’s far preferable over getting an email (“Attached is your latest grid, with a hold for your review”) which I then have to open and read through to find out the reason for the hold.

A conversational approach to recruiting brings about so many benefits but most of all, it’s consistent with our work and our industry values of being both qualitative and humane.

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Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:52:32 GMT
Trust, Yet Verify: a new twist on recruiting https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=271112 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=271112

Traditional recruiting methods typically follow a standard practice of keeping the study topic blind, or keeping a key screening criteria secret in order to weed out potential cheaters. Researchers have become skilled in drafting carefully-worded screener questions with the sole intent of beating these dreaded cheaters at their own game, and as we’ve done so the cheaters have become more skilled as well. It’s like a game of cat and mouse, and can be exhausting.

But what if we were to take a different approach? A “trust, yet verify” technique flies in the face of some traditional methods, yet can be more efficient and more effective, while simultaneously treating our participants with more respect.

How does “Trust, yet Verify” apply to recruiting? Imagine that you are looking for people who have purchased a specific widget online within the last six months. A traditional screener will likely cast a wide net, and then narrow it by asking potential participants a range of item types that they may have purchased, finally getting down to the specific widget. This may work, but is extremely time-consuming (in a day and age when screeners are getting longer, and participants have less patience than ever before.) In addition, it relies on the honesty and accurate recollection of potential participants, which carries inherent risks.

So how about just asking people up front: “Have you purchased an XYZ widget in the past six months? If so, we need you for our research study!” This will attract two types of people: (1) people who purchased the widget, and feel uniquely qualified to participate; and (2) a few people who have not purchased the widget, but want a way to make quick buck. It also avoids wasting valuable time of people who don’t qualify, but may have responded to a more general query and gone through the screening process only to be disqualified.

Next, you put them through a screening process that is quick and efficient (because they’ve already met your key criteria.) Finally, the key step: require proof of purchase. Have the potential participants email you a receipt of their purchase. Legitimate participants will have no trouble doing this, and those potential cheaters will quickly be weeded out.

We’ve used this method successfully in a range of ways, for example: to verify purchases as in the example above, to confirm subscriptions, to check job titles on LinkedIn, and to make sure the participant matches who they say they are by viewing public social media profiles. We’ve found that it dramatically increases the quality of participants and for a researcher, it’s great to go into a study with confidence that the participants have been carefully vetted. Of course, while most potential cheaters will simply make up an excuse to not provide proof (don’t believe it! disqualify them!) some will actually go to some length to continue their lie by adding said item to an online cart and then sending a screenshot of their cart, for example. By taking the time to vet people in this “proof” step, these tricks can be caught fairly easily.

Obviously if a project requires that participants not know that you are seeking people who have purchased this widget then this approach wouldn’t apply, but in most recruits there are at least some elements that can leverage this “Trust, yet Verify” approach.

It can also be a valuable step to avoid an honest participant or recruiter mistake. For example, if you want to make sure someone has just the right widget before you head into an in-home, have them send in a photo of it prior. Yes, it’s an extra step in the recruit, but is well worth it to avoid scheduling a two-hour in-home with someone who doesn’t own the relevant product.

With so much information available online, and with the increased tech-savviness of everyday participants, it only makes sense that we evolve our recruiting to keep up. So for your next project think about how you can trust, yet verify. You’ll be glad you did!

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Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:46:38 GMT
QRCA Announces Annual Award Recipients for 2017 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=268104 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=268104

The Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) recently announced the recipients of its association awards, which were given out at the organization’s annual conference in Los Angeles, held in mid-January.

Global Outreach ScholarshipOana Rengle, Bucharest, Romania

Introduced in 2008, the Global Outreach Scholarship is awarded annually to qualitative researchers from outside the US, UK or Canada. Because international qualitative researchers may not have high-quality professional development opportunities within their own countries, QRCA offers winners the opportunity to experience first-hand QRCA’s Annual Conference with its unique culture of learning and sharing. The 2017 winner, Oana Rengle runs her own qualitative consultancy, Anamnesis, in Bucharest. Oana is a force of nature with a larger-than-life personality. She is a driven investigator of all things qualitative. Oana explores, compares, and shares whatever she learns about methodologies and how to make them work for clients, transcending international borders.

Maryanne Pflug Spirit AwardSusan Sweet, Sweet Insight Group, Lafayette, Colo.

The Maryanne Pflug Spirit Award upholds and celebrates QRCA’s cultural heritage of collegiality among members and commitment to the organization, and is awarded to a member who demonstrates “spirit” in the association. The recipient is selected by a committee of former recipients, from candidates nominated by members. Susan Sweet is a former board member, committee leader and leader in planning the worldwide conference. Among the statements made by nominators, “When the association tries to settle into status quo, she pushes for fresh, young energy. When a committee starts to slog, she gives it life. She embodies Maryanne's qualities of friendliness, passion, and unconditional positive regard for all.  Her enthusiasm and passion are infectious.”

President's AwardLynn Greenberg, Lynn Greenberg Associates, Hastings on Hudson, N.Y.

This award is given for exemplary service and dedication to QRCA to a volunteer member who is not on the board of directors. It recognizes contributions within the past year and/or during a career/lifetime of work. The recipient is chosen by the board and the award is presented by the president at the annual conference. Lynn Greenberg is a past president, was the first annual conference chair, and remains an active committee leader. Some of the things said of Lynn by nominators included, “She's an Olympic-class collaborator. She is a dynamo… Lynn is an inspiration who constantly keeps growing, learning, re-inventing. She keeps it fresh and real. She’s a powerhouse of energy.”

Qually Award – Tory Gentes, The Palmerston Group, Lebanon, N.H.

The QRCA Qualitative Excellence Award is the premiere award in the industry and is awarded annually to a practitioner or practitioners who exhibit a mastery of knowledge of qualitative methodology and thinking. In the past this award was presented for a previously executed project; however, this year the award was based on the best response to an RFP for a hypothetical client. Submissions were made by QRCA members and voted on by QRCA members. Tory Gentes was recognized for her creative and innovative proposal addressing transportation challenges in California and received a prize of $1,000 USD and a trophy.

Rising Star AwardAnya Zadrozny, AnyaZMedia, New York, N.Y.

Introduced in 2009, this award recognizes QRCA’s newer, younger members for their leadership and significant contribution to QRCA. The recipient is chosen by the board, from candidates nominated by members. Anya Zadrozny is a past Young Professional Grant winner and active marketing committee member. In presenting the award to Anya, QRCA president Manny Schrager noted her achievements, including a significant contribution to several committees, “Anya is super talented and an ‘overachiever’ for QRCA, including producing a video that communicated the new QRCA brand position and coordinating videos that will be used to promote QRCA in the future.”

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Thu, 9 Feb 2017 21:05:02 GMT
Winners of Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) 2017 Young Professionals Grant Announced https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=264028 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=264028 The Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) has announced the winners of its 2017 Young Professionals Grant (YPG) program:

  • Caitlin Homstad, The Research Partnership, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Sarah Brown, Kelton, Los Angeles, California
  • Russell Edwards, Precision Dialogue and University of South Florida Applied Anthropology Ph.D. candidate, Tampa, Florida
  • Rebecca Fowler, FedEx Services, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Bernadette Lockamyeir, Consumer Insights, Rochester, New York
  • Jennifer Myers, Ipsos RDA, Macomb, Michigan
  • Brandon Richard, The Link Group, Durham, North Carolina
  • Keith J. Romer, The Garage Group, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Daniela Rubio, Independent Consultant, San Francisco, California
  • Kelsey Segaloff, Chadwick Martin Bailey, Boston, Massachusetts  
  • Nathalia Vega, Blackstone Group, Chicago, Illinois
  • Ashleigh Williams, C+R Research, Chicago, Illinois

The QRCA thanks its YPG partners, FocusVision, M/A/R/C Research and Schlesinger Associates, for their generosity in increasing the number of grants they funded from 10 to 12 due to the high volume of applications received.

These recipients, who demonstrated keen interest and dedication to the field, have been awarded passes to attend the QRCA’s Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California, January 18-20, 2017. This annual conference is the premier gathering for qualitative practitioners (QRCs), with unparalleled opportunities to connect and network with other QRCs, expand and strengthen skill sets via hands-on collaborative practice, learn from the best of the best in the industry, refresh your perspective, and reinvigorate your business with new methodologies, tools, and partners.

“The YPG program has been such a wonderful win/win/win for the QRCA as a whole, our members and the grant recipients,” says QRCA President Manny Schrager. “Former grant winners have become actively engaged QRCA members, seeing how membership and volunteering leads to continued growth through both learning and networking.  Current members enjoy meeting with recipients who often bring fresh thinking to their approach to qualitative research. We’re excited to once again have so many highly qualified applicants which made the job of the selection committee a very difficult one.”

For more information about the YPG program, please visit qrca.org/ypg and follow #YoungQRCA on Twitter.

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Wed, 7 Dec 2016 20:31:12 GMT
The QRCA Annual Conference Team Invites You to Take an On-site Tour https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262373 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262373 Untitled Document

We are already nearing 100 attendees for the QRCA Annual Conference – wow! If you haven’t already committed to join us, take a quick tour with conference co-chairs Jeff Walkowski and Kate Wagenlander-Watson! Learn more about our fabulous conference hotel and prepare to get powerful new perspectives on Qualitative Research. Three full days of cutting-edge information, now open to more research professionals than ever before.

Get all the details or register today!

register today

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Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:19:30 GMT
Exploring the Hidden Gems of Boyle Heights and East L.A. https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262371 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262371 Untitled Document

Need some relief from the election outcome? Anyone remember Cheech and Chong from the 1970s?  Born in East LA?  Check it out, and if by chance you’re staying over the weekend after the conference, might I suggest you go east instead of west for something different?  

Exploring L.A.’s “real” Eastside — not Silver Lake or Echo Park — if not Boyle Heights and East L.A., just might resonate with some QRCA out-of-towners.  To get there, you can either walk from the hotel or take Uber to the Metro Gold Line at the Little Tokyo/Arts District station on Alameda. Go 2 stops to Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

Although the majority population in Boyle Heights and ELA is now Latino, the area (since its modern inception in the late 1880s) has been referred to as the Ellis Island of the West, reflecting diverse communities from Eastern Europe, from across the Pacific and Mexico, all of which settled in the area.  

For example, the black and Italian labor force built many of the great Queen Ann and Victorian mansions in Boyle Heights.

Russian Molokans, Serbians and Armenians fleeing the horrors of repression in their homelands made it their home, as did smaller pockets of Japanese and Chinese families that migrated over the river from Little Tokyo and Chinatown.

The acceleration of repression against Jews throughout Eastern Europe saw the development of the largest Jewish community in Los Angeles. By the late 1930s, Brooklyn Avenue, renamed César Chávez Avenue in 1994, was the main thoroughfare of Jewish L.A.  

During those same years, the instability during the Revolution in Mexico brought a significant concentration of Mexican migration to the U.S. Cheap housing, employment and a tolerant community attracted Mexicanos into the area; their cultural life, churches, schools, and clubs grew alongside the Jewish community. Jews and Mexicans lived side by side, studied, played sports and conducted business together; even left wing thinkers met and organized, which is perhaps part of the legacy of political activism that’s still alive and well today.

Today at Mariachi Plaza the refurbished historic Boyle hotel, built in 1898, is an important historical icon that’s part of the predominantly blue-collar, immigrant Mexican neighborhood, yet the area is now in full swing gentrification. The historic hotel is where mariachis have lived and jammed for over half a century; the plaza in front is where they still hang out waiting to be hired.  The rise of spaces such as Libros Schmibros, a lending library and bookstore also on the plaza, attest to the creation of new cultural spaces that have the potential to bring both East and Westside communities together. Yet, new development implies relocation for many families in the area; an ongoing debate is taking place about the future of the mariachis and other long-time residents.

Walking Brooklyn Avenue back in the day, you’d experience a vibrant cultural life and a commerce community of bustling storefront businesses where more Yiddish was spoken than English. After WWII, the community migrated west to the Fairfax district and into the San Fernando Valley, but the Jewish legacy in Boyle Heights and East L.A. is still present today.

The Breed Street Shul, a beacon of Jewish heritage, is just a mile walk up César Chávez, then a right on Breed Street. While the front building is currently under renovation, its back building is now a cross-cultural community center that connects historical and modern day Boyle Heights. Creative mixed use of the space includes Day of the Dead festivities and Passover services, for either Quinceañeras or Bar Mitzvahs. In today’s political environment, these examples of cultural coexistence are sorely needed. 

To go deeper, one just needs to explore the handful of cemeteries that dot the Eastside landscape to get a sense for the demographic transitions that have taken place over the past century, and that attest to the natural flow of ethnically diverse residents from other parts of town that migrated in and out of the area.

There are the Serbian and Chinese cemeteries, the large Evergreen and Calvary cemeteries. One of the first mortuaries was founded and is still run by a French Basque family.

There are two Jewish cemeteries: At Home of Peace, noted rabbis, along with Curly and Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges, and Warner Bros. co-founder Jack Warner, are laid to rest. Then there’s Mount Zion, in need of dire repair. The great Yiddish writer Lamed Shapiro, who wrote stories about the horrendous pograms in Eastern Europe, died a pauper in L.A., and was buried there.

That’s a lot to take in, so here are some suggestions for lunch:

La Serenata Garibaldi, across the street from Mariachi plaza.

Or you can try some traditional Mexican birria (goat stew) at Birriería Dedonboni just up the street from Mariachi plaza.

Guisados is over on César Chávez Ave. not far from the Breed Street Shul.

Let me know if you’d like some company exploring these prized treasures. I’m also game to play tour guide!

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Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:13:00 GMT
Predicting Election 2016: What Worked, What Didn’t and the Implications for Marketing & Insights https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262368 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=262368 Untitled Document

Almost everyone failed to predict the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election, and the winner came as a shock to many pollsters, the media, and people in the U.S. and around the world. How did we get it so wrong, and what does this mean for marketing and insights?

On November 29th, we’ll be exploring that very topic at our upcoming event, Predicting Election 2016: What Worked, What didn’t and the Implications for Marketing & Insights, brought to you by GreenBook and the ARF.

The event will take place from 8:30am to 11am.  We’ll start with webinar with 4 short presentations related to new thinking about predicting election results and then transition to a live-streamed panel with key thought leaders and experts for a lively discussion on what we can learn from this election cycle related to tools to predict outcomes. The agenda is still coming together so look for an update on specific presenters soon, but trust us, it’s going to be very, very good.

For those in New York, we’d love to have you join us live at the ARF Headquarters in New York, but the event will be available to join virtually as well.

Register here: http://thearf.org/event/nov-29-2016-predicting-election-2016/

During this event, we won’t be rehash the polls or outcome of the election, but rather explore the implications of this polling failure for commercial research and analytics on the things that are important to our industry: trust in research (especially surveys!), new tools and techniques, predicting & modeling behavior or trends, implicit vs. explicit data sources, the application of cognitive & behavioral psychology, and more.

Now is the time to have meaningful conversations about the lessons learned from this election cycle and to apply those learnings to not only political polling, but public policy and commercial research in all of their many forms. Arguably approaches using experimental polling methods social media analyticsbehavioral economics-based analysis“big data”meta analysis and data synthesis, and text analytics were more predictive of the results than traditional polling, and the implications of that for other forms of research should not be ignored. Conversely, are some of the approached pioneered in commercial research for ad testing, forecasting, attribution modelling, etc.. applicable to increase the accuracy of polling?

We’ll be tackling all of these topics and more during this joint program with the ARF, so we hope you’ll join us virtually or in person for the discussion!

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Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:06:40 GMT
Qually Finalists Announced! https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=261823 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=261823 Untitled Document

After careful consideration of all entries, we are excited to share the six proposals that were selected as finalists for the 2017 award. These proposals showcase some of the fresh, smart, forward-thinking and talented professionals that make up QRCA. These proposals are in response to a hypothetical RFP that was posted here.

The winner of the 2017 QRCA Qualitative Excellence Award winner is selected from amongst the finalists by QRCA members in a blinded vote. You can only vote once.

The winner (or winning team) of the 2017 Qualitative Excellence Award will be announced at the Annual Conference in Los Angeles on January 19 and receive a $1,000 prize.

As we now know, your vote is extremely important. Click here to view the finalists!

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Wed, 9 Nov 2016 21:50:27 GMT
Stay the Weekend to Explore Some of Downtown L.A.’s (DTLA) Hidden Gems https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=259404 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=259404 Untitled Document

Have you ever wondered how Harold Lloyd filmed his famous clock scene in Safety Last! (1923)?  Are you a movie buff who knows the answers to obscure questions on quiz shows about old Hollywood films? Maybe you’re an architectural enthusiast interested in old historic buildings, or perhaps old movie theaters make you feel part of a bygone era.

If intrigued even slightly by Hollywood’s Golden Era, one good reason out of many to stay in DTLA over the weekend following the January 18 – 20, 2017 QRCA Annual Conference is to catch a Saturday, 10:00AM Los Angeles Conservancy walking tour of DTLA’s opulent theatre district.

https://www.laconservancy.org/events/broadway-historic-theatre-and-commercial-district-walking-tour

The 6-block, South Broadway corridor — just 7 blocks from the JW Marriott — is home to the first and largest historic theatre district in the world.

Fifteen movie palaces line the Broadway corridor. The larger theaters have gone through stages of renovation and stand as magnificent as when they opened during 1910 and the early 1930s. The smaller theaters have converted into flea markets, churches, or still remain part DTLA’s jewelry mart.

The walking tour focuses on the unique architectural history of the movie palaces. It is only $15 for 2.5-hours, and led by well-versed volunteer docents that have great stories of lore to share. At least a month out, you should go online to register for Saturday the 21st, reservations are required.

As an extra bonus, you’ll get a sense for Broadway’s ongoing revitalization. The many cultures of Los Angeles converge as quinceañera shops and botanicas still coexist with new restaurants, galleries and urban retail that cater to both L.A.’s Latino community and the newer condo/apartment-renting downtown residents.  DTLA’s renaissance has been in full swing for decades, gentrification positions the old and the new alongside each other, yet the jury is still out on its sustainability. Displacement of Latino-owned businesses is an ongoing controversy, but along Broadway you can still capture that cultural comingling.

And in case you’re a die-hard Hollywood film aficionado, here’s the specifics on exactly where (9th and Broadway) and how Harold Lloyd created his stunts for Safety Last!

After your walking tour, there are multiple options for lunch. You might want to explore the renovated Clifton’s Cafeteria on 7th and Broadway, or the Grand Central Market between 5th & 4th Streets — L.A.'s oldest and largest open-air market — where dozens of food vendors will whet your appetite; with either option you’ll relive some of L.A. historic moments. 

In the afternoon, why not walk on up to Grand Ave. where the Broad Museum, DTLA’s newest contemporary art museum, sits across the street from Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, both architectural wonders not to be missed.

You can even reserve free general admission tickets to the Broad Museum a month in advance. Tickets for January will become available on December 1 at 12:00PM PST.  Put it on your calendar because they run out quickly.

On the evening of Saturday, January 21, classical music fans might want to hear the world-famous L.A. Philharmonic perform Mussorgsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky with violinist Gil Shaham, conducted by Lionel Bringuier.

If you’re an architectural enthusiast, the Hall also has a self-guided audio tour that will introduce you to some of the most fascinating engineering in modern architecture.

So, instead of rushing out to Santa Monica or Venice, which gets so much airtime when out-of-towners come to Los Angeles, I encourage you to explore something new. You’ll come away in awe of all the creativity the DTLA corridor has to offer. And, there’s always airbnb in case you want a different experience outside the hotel over the weekend.  There are multiple options to stay in the heart of DTLA.

For more ideas on exciting off-the-beaten-track things to explore over the weekend following the conference, stay tuned for my next article on discovering Boyle Heights and East L.A.’s Latino community, and it’s rich multicultural history, just a Metro ride from DTLA.

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Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:53:47 GMT
Mobile Schmobile: Taking in-the-moment into in-context learning https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254861 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254861 Untitled Document

QRCA member Pam Goldfarb Liss works a lot with kids, teens, and their parents — and she sees that smartphones and tablets are a very important part of the way in which they communicate. According to Pam, you might say that smartphones are a third arm for many of them.

The research territory around the smartphone and tablets is called mobile research — and it allows us to experience our targets’ lives in 3-D. Mobile research is an effective way to get windows into our targets’ world as we complete research tasks. When qualitative researchers provide this perspective for clients, in-context learning leads to powerful product and service insights and ideation.

Yet, Pam says, when we get “in-the-moment” photos, videos or even recorded audio notes, researchers may not get an explanation of the context of that moment: Consumers are willing to share it all, but are not always so good about telling us the reasons for certain actions or behaviors after they’ve posted material for a mobile study.

That’s why choosing the right research tool for your client’s objectives is the most important consideration. Pam goes on to explain several platforms for mobile research, as well as providing rules of thumb for creating appropriate and fun mobile activities.

Read the full article here.

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Wed, 17 Aug 2016 17:42:33 GMT
Design Thinking Tools for Qualitative Researchers https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254860 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254860 Untitled Document

Qualitative research consultants (QRCs) are experts at delivering customer experience-based insight. A sister discipline, Design Thinking (DT) grapples with the conundrum of how to inspire design, stirring the pot enough to generate fresh new approaches. QRCA members Marta Villanueva and Ellen Koronet write that when QRCs integrate DT processes into qualitative research, we reach whole new levels of insight. In their article in the Spring 2016 issue of QRCA VIEWS magazine, Marta and Ellen talked to Ela Ben-Ur, a DT expert and former IDEO team leader, to explain more.

They note that insight and empathy are critical elements of qualitative research and design thinking. The intention of both is to integrate visceral or empathic connections into the process of observing, exploring, coming up with new views, and then taking the next step into designing solutions. This requires tapping into three main modes of expression: Visual, Verbal and Physical.

Read the full article here. ]]>
Wed, 17 Aug 2016 17:39:09 GMT
Why you should join our special interest groups https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254207 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254207 QRCA Special Interest Groups

QRCA members can join Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that focus on specific qualitative research disciplines. For example, The Social Media Research SIG (SMR SIG) helps QRCA members expand their skills in this new and rapidly changing field. Specific direction of the group will be determined by the members’ interests and skill sets. Potential subject areas include new social media listening platforms, listening case studies, expanding qualitative social media engagement practices, and more.

Learn about other QRCA member benefits here.

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Tue, 9 Aug 2016 21:19:10 GMT
Exploring whether we need humans to do qualitative research https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254205 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254205 Exploring whether we need humans to do qualitative research

In a thought-provoking article published in the QRCA VIEWS magazine, Cynthia W. Jacobs explores whether we still need humans to do qualitative research. There’s a growing focus on “listening” to social media, and – in part forced by the volume of data generated this way – we see automated methods replacing human-powered analysis. There are two questions to consider here. First, who are we hearing and not hearing when we “listen” to social media? Second, what are we missing or misinterpreting when we rely on automated analysis?

The high-volume, free insights generated by social media will go to waste if we don’t use caution in interpretation. Regardless of the tool, it is critical that we don’t rely on the overall summary. Read the article for more details on the role of human-powered analysis vs. automated social listening methods and why the role of the qualitative researcher has a great new importance.

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Tue, 9 Aug 2016 21:14:47 GMT
Our experts will show you how to create actionable insights in our upcoming QCast https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254204 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=254204 october 2016 qcast

Join us for the upcoming Qcast: Understanding Critical Tipping Points by Going Deeper Faster: Leveraging Mixed Methods, Digital/Online Technology and Innovative Projectives

This Qcast will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at noon EDT.

Four independent QRCA professional research colleagues with extensive health care experience joined together to conduct an exciting research case study. By extensively layering projectives into both telephone and online methodologies, they demonstrate how they expedited rich, compelling and actionable strategic insights. They illustrate how "tipping points" evolved while physician-patient conversations and patient journeys truly came alive!

» Get more information and register now

» Also, take a look at some past Qcasts here

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Tue, 9 Aug 2016 21:11:43 GMT
Calling Intl Friends – We’ve got a scholarship opportunity for you! https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=253811 https://www.qrca.org/members/blog_view.asp?id=1488356&post=253811 Untitled Document

global outreach scholarship award 2016QRCA recognizes it’s not always a level playing field out there. International qualitative researchers may not have the opportunities within their own countries for professional and personal development they’d ideally like to have.

Each year, through the QRCA Global Outreach Scholarship, one international qualitative researcher is offered the opportunity to experience first-hand QRCA’s unique culture of learning and sharing which facilitates continuing personal and professional development.

The winner will receive free conference registration, up to $1,000 for travel costs, and free membership through 2017.

Please share this information about this opportunity with international colleagues and encourage them to apply by the September 2 deadline!

Read more and apply here.

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Wed, 3 Aug 2016 21:47:53 GMT