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2020 QRCA Annual Conference Call for Speaker Session Proposals


During the 2020 QRCA Annual Conference, we are focusing on the soul of qualitative research: humanity. Our theme of Keep Qual Human is a call to action to explore how we navigate the rapidly-changing world of qualitative research. How do we stay true to the mission of understanding humans while embracing advances in technology? How can the technology of today help us empathize with people?

QRCA attendees eagerly embrace practical methods, tools and lessons from fellow members within qualitative and market research in general. We also want to inspire new thinking about best practices from outside our community and offer our attendees challenging, fresh perspectives.

Join us in our quest to illuminate the tremendous need for, and pursuit of, qualitative research that brings clients closer to the humans they hope to inspire with their products and messaging. With our exciting Austin conference location, we believe competition for speaker sessions will be fierce. Please consider submitting a proposal that illuminates your best practices on keeping human understanding central in a world overrun with "data." We want you to be creative. Consider proposing a topic partnership with colleagues from other realms outside of qualitative research.

Important Dates

April 17: Call for Presentation Opens

May 22: Deadline for Submitting Presentation Proposals

July 10: Speakers Notified of Selection

July 24: Speaker Materials Due (brief bio, outline of session, marketing content piece, etc)

November 8: Draft of Presentation Due to Speaker Committee

December 20: Full Copy of Final Presentation Due

Highlighted below are speaker topic areas steeped in the Keep Qual Human theme. We hope these inspire your thinking and jump start your proposal-writing process. That said, they serve as thought-starters and springboards – bring your best, most innovative ideas.

Learn from Others:

Let’s be enlightened laterally. Where can we find inspiration from analogous professions and categories?  Tell us about methodologies, techniques, processes, and perspectives from others who interview, recruit, study, and seek to understand humans. We want to learn from psychology, journalism, art, social work, design, UX, or any other profession to move us forward.

Submit your Proposal

Humanizing Deliverables:

How do you bring people to life in a presentation?  How do you really get your clients to empathize with the humans they market to? How do you bring your clients closer to the human truth and illuminate consumer stories with their complex set of desires, motivations, and decisions? How do you employ technology (beyond PowerPoint of course) to help tell their story?

Submit your Proposal

Illuminating the Why to the What:

How do you bring to life what the numbers mean? How do you explain why the results look the way they do?  Share with us how you bring understanding and nuance to data.  Show us how you employ qualitative methods to help your client understand, “the results.”

Submit your Proposal

Using Tech Today to Understand Humanity:

Art, science, machine, and mankind. We embrace new techniques and technology that help us discover more about humans—what moves and motivates people. Bring us innovative or technologically-advanced twists on tried and true methodology, data collection, and interview techniques.

Submit your Proposal

Business Development:

We’re human too! Bring us fresh information how to grow and protect our businesses. Tell us how you’ve sold in qualitative when the client wanted something that measured. Show us how you successfully convince clients about the need for qual. In a world where it is challenging yet crucial to protect information, help us understand how you protect the privacy of participants. Let the entrepreneurial, authentic spirit of Austin inspire your thinking and help us support our colleagues as well as our industry.

Submit your Proposal


PLEASE NOTE: Registration for one presenter is included for each speaker session OR can be divided between two presenters for a 50% discount each.  

Call for Round Table Facilitators

In Austin, we are going to circle back to the roots of what a Round Table is, at its best. Round Table discussions are an exciting, incredibly important component of the conference—and they are distinctly different from Speaker Sessions.

The purpose of the Round Table is to connect qualitative researchers via a small group, multi-directional sharing event.  It’s for a spontaneous collaboration of colleagues sharing immediate interests.  Think of Round Tables as less of a presentation and more of an interactive, one-hour conversation. It’s an amazing way to exchange ideas, experiences, advice, and insights on a topic that sparks each Round Table member’s interest and engagement.

As a Round Table Host you will facilitate rather than present. These are intimate, informal, 60-minute sessions spent discussing as a group one specific interest to Qualitative Researchers in which you initiate and introduce the topic then encourage involvement and contributions from all attendees in an engaging, organized fashion.

During the 2020 QRCA Annual Conference, we are focusing on the soul of qualitative research: humanity. Our theme of Keep Qual Human is a call to action to explore how we navigate the rapidly-changing world of qualitative research.  How do we stay true to the mission of understanding humans while embracing advances in technology? How can the technology of today help us empathize with people?

We welcome Round Table topic submissions that connect closely with the Keep Qual Human theme and/or the authentic, entrepreneurial, and bravely weird spirit that is Austin.

PLEASE NOTE: Registration is NOT included for those facilitating a Round Table discussion.



According to the 2019 conference survey:

  • 68% report their title is CEO/President/Owner/Founder
  • 48% are solo practitioners, 33% work in firms with 2-10 employees and another 19% work in a firm with 11 or more employees
  • 94% view themselves as either the decision maker (72%) or decision influencer (22%) when it comes to the purchase of the market-research related services for their firm
  • 30% have attended 10 or more QRCA conferences, 29% have been to 4-9 conferences and 42% have been to 1-3 conferences
  • QRCA members are highly collaborative and generous in their sharing of ideas and knowledge. Attendees are eager for new tools, techniques, technology, and thinking about qualitative research and the role it plays in our clients’ business decisions.
  • Presentations about research approaches should include specific practical applications so that attendees can utilize the approach in their own research practices. Presentations that only provide theoretical background are not preferred.
  • Also, if an attendee asks “how do I implement this approach in my own practice,” and the answer is “you have to hire the presenter,” that presentation would NOT be appropriate for this conference.
  • Background information should be minimal and no more than ten minutes of the hour to ensure new, impactful information is delivered to attendees for the vast majority of the hour.
  • One or more individuals may present, so consider a partner if you feel it will enhance your content and delivery.
  • If your session is selected for the conference, you will be assigned a liaison to serve as a sounding board and guide you in the process leading up to the conference. Liaisons are flexible and can offer help in a variety of ways, including working with you on your bio and the description of your session, helping you target your presentation to our members, and giving you candid feedback on your presentation as it evolves.
  • You will be provided with a timeline, and all deadlines must be met. Please note: your complete presentation deck will be available to all conference attendees online in advance of the conference.
  • To preserve the educational integrity of the conference, presenters must refrain from using their sessions to promote their products or services. The QRCA conference is a unique environment where qualitative research professionals engage in open dialogue and creative exchange of ideas without commercial content.

QRCA members and qualified non-members receive one complimentary conference registration per presentation session (which can be shared if there are multiple presenters) and are responsible for their travel, hotel and any additional expenses. Complimentary registration is NOT offered for leading Round Table sessions.

In an effort to enhance its recognition internationally and to attract speakers from outside North America, QRCA may offer some limited compensation to speakers traveling from outside the US and Canada.

Help is available -- if you have any questions while you are developing your submission, email them to conferenceproposals@qrca.org.

If you do not wish to present at the conference yourself, we encourage you to facilitate a Round Table discussion, or you may suggest a topic or recommend speakers, regardless of whether they are QRCA members or not. Please send your suggestions to conferenceproposals@qrca.org.

QRCA, the Qualitative Research Consultants Association, is an international organization that promotes excellence in all aspects of qualitative research. Founded in 1983, QRCA is the largest professional organization of qualitative researchers, with nearly 1,000 members in 30 countries.

The mission of the QRCA Annual Conference is to provide superior educational opportunities for members and qualified non-members that will enhance their skills and improve the professionalism of the industry.

More information can be obtained from our website, including videos of conference speakers, archived Qcast webinars, and our quarterly magazine, Views. Our LinkedIn group also has lively discussions on topics of interest to this professional community.

Deadline for Submissions: May 22, 2019