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June 2020
Vol. 19, Number 5

Management News

Conference News

Chapter News

Committee News

SIG News

Member News

Member News

An Unlikely Source of Inspiration
By Allison Rak

Lost in Translation? Eight Tips for Conducting Online Research with Hispanics
By Marta Villanueva

Online Focus Groups: A Prep-for-Success Checklist
By Fiona Ray

Congratulations to These Members Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries in June and July!

Welcome to These New Members Who Joined QRCA in April!

Congratulations to These 79 Members Who Achieved Advance Status in April!


Coping Corner

An Unlikely Source of Inspiration

Allison Rak, Allison@vatoca.com

In early March the coronavirus was starting to get national attention in the U.S., but there was an extraordinarily wide variance in viewpoints, depth of understanding, and behavior. At the time I described it as a “journey of understanding” where people started off thinking, “It’s just like the flu, right? We can’t just stop living our lives!” and then evolved to a deeper understanding of what was happening, and a realization that changing behavior was in fact necessary. Of course, people started their journeys at different times and moved along at different rates, resulting in disagreement and misunderstanding.

This variance in understanding and perspectives was frustrating, especially given that some level of widespread understanding was absolutely crucial. But on March 10 something happened that changed things. Someone named Tomas Pueyo published a piece on Medium that immediately went viral. In it, he laid out the case for social distancing and other policy changes, talking about the need to “flatten the curve.” Within a week, it had more than 40 million views and had been translated into 40 languages. People started referring to “flattening the curve” in all sorts of contexts, memes, articles and discussions, and while viewpoints on how to do this varied (and still do), at last people were at least starting to come together with some mutual understanding of, and appreciation for, this unprecedented situation in which we found ourselves.

I was fascinated by this, and am convinced that one of the main reasons the article took hold is its clear and straightforward format. It goes like this:

  • A few short sentences introducing the situation.
  • A summary of the “research problem,” outlined in bullets and written in a simple, approachable way: “Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article, with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources…”
  • A summary of findings, also written in an approachable way: “When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away” followed by a list of short statements.
  • A call to action: “As a politician, community leader or business leader, you have the power and the responsibility to prevent this.”
  • Highly detailed findings, broken into clear topic areas.
  • A brief conclusion that summarizes the findings and repeats the call to action.

While I have yet to work on a project as serious and impactful as the COVID-19 situation, I can relate with the struggle of trying to share detailed information in a way that is digestible and compelling to a broad audience. I found inspiration in Pueyo’s approach.

So I replicated it for a recent research report. I did all my analysis as I normally would, and delivered my findings as a PowerPoint and not a white paper. But my presentation followed Pueyo’s format, starting with a few short sentences summarizing the key takeaways. This was followed by a short, bulleted summary of the key research objectives titled simply, “Here’s what this research covered.” Next came a one-page slide summarizing the findings, titled “When you’re done reading this, here’s what you’ll take away.” Next, of course, came all of the detailed findings with quotes and tables and graphics used to build the case, organized into clear topic areas. The report ended with a single infographic slide designed to summarize the key learnings and convey the call to action.

On the one hand, this maybe wasn’t a huge stretch from a traditional report, but on the other hand, it was very different. I think it ended up being more engaging and easier to digest than other formats, while still providing important detail. While it will never get 40 million plus views, I do think it will get more attention and engagement than prior reports, and I plan to use this format going forward.

We are surrounded by sources of inspiration, and it’s satisfying to be able to up our game by leveraging them. From what unlikely source might you find your next inspiration?

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Marta Villanueva

Marta Villanueva

Lost in Translation? Eight Tips for Conducting Online Research with Hispanics

Marta Villanueva, marta@nuthinking.net

Online research with Hispanics can provide you with breadth and depth in consumer understanding. This thriving community forms a veritable goldmine for online research for several reasons: frequent smartphone use, security issues in Latin America, and an affinity for social media. According to Pew Research, Hispanic adults report going online "frequently" so they are often plugged in. If you want to get the most out of working with this demographic, you need to first delve into the intersection of culture and technology. Both are critical elements to consider when catering to a Hispanic audience.

Use the principles below to achieve the greatest success when conducting online research with this demographic.

  1. Work with a moderator who understands cultural nuances AND online research. An experienced moderator can skillfully navigate the idiosyncrasies of Hispanic culture, including:
    • Time is more of a working suggestion than a hard rule. Fixed appointment times are often considered flexible by Hispanics. You can work with this tendency by conducting a raffle or asking participants to be prepared much earlier than the actual start time. Have a plan in place, like adding time between interviews for those who show up earlier or later than kickoff.
    • The collective is prioritized over the individual. If understanding the family dynamic is a key element of your study, you may benefit from having kids and other family members involved in the webcam session. Otherwise, you should consider asking respondents to make alternate plans for the children during webcam focus groups/interviews. Even with clear instructions, you may end up with some family “visitors.” Turn this into an opportunity to observe and learn. A “permanent” visitor can be a radio or TV going in the background. Supply specific instructions for the day of the discussion to minimize this and other distractions.
    • Deference to authority can get in the way of honesty. Hispanics often defer to someone with authority or higher status. For this reason, the moderator should avoid being perceived as an authority figure; otherwise, the responses may be highly biased. To ensure a level playing field, be mindful of your attire, body language, and tone during webcam interviews or introductory videos posted on bulletin boards.
    • Building rapport is imperative. The absence of eye contact and handshakes means you will need to compensate in other ways to establish rapport. Despite the physical limitations inherent in digital communication, you want participants to feel at home in the discussion. They should feel like welcome guests sitting on your sofa, chatting over a coffee. It’s tempting to rush through the intro or skip it entirely when you have a packed discussion guide. Slow down and dedicate some time to making your respondents feel like guests in your home. That means you need to allow for storytelling, tangents, and talking about their family. It will help them answer more easily and honestly. Alternatively, set up a test/run-through session to build rapport and break the ice before the actual session. This will help to establish rapport and work out any tech issues before going live.
    • Communicating in-language includes incorporating cultural nuances. Pay attention to body language (despite webcam limitations) and determine whether to communicate using formal (usted) or informal (tu) language when asking questions in webcam sessions, or when writing responses in a bulletin board or chat group. Moderating should go beyond in-language communication—it should also interpret and incorporate cultural particularities.
  2. Empower respondents to express both positive and negative feedback. Hispanics can tend to provide responses that are both overly optimistic and socially acceptable. For example, when asking participants to use a 5-point scale (5 being the most positive) to rate marketing materials, you’ll receive plenty of 5 and 4 ratings. An experienced moderator will effectively compensate for this tendency (i.e., forced choices, trade-off techniques, projective techniques). Probing is critical to understanding the true significance behind their responses. Through probing, you may learn that a 4 rating means that they are not overly impressed.
  3. Consider respondent language preferences for optimal interactions. Screening for identification to culture, language, acculturation, and other cultural filters is key to determining the best way to segment U.S. Hispanic sessions. You should ideally separate the sessions based on language (Spanish Dominant, Bilingual, English Dominant). You may also need to look at comfort levels in speaking, reading, and writing to ensure participants are fluent conversationally (webcam sessions) and/or in written forms (online bulletin boards/chat groups). This will give you the best shot at full respondent participation. If you simply cannot hold the sessions separately, you can include English Dominant and Bilingual or Bilingual and Spanish Dominant in one bulletin board/webcam group/chat group. However, for optimal interaction among U.S. Hispanics, one must consider:
    • English, Spanish, or Spanglish. While screening for the study language is important, you need to expect some switching between languages. Accommodating the switch from English to Spanish and vice versa can allow you to go deeper, especially with bilingual participants. So, bring on the Spanglish! Bilingualism is on the rise in the U.S. and will likely affect future generations. Your moderator must be able to integrate a fluid switch between languages.
    • The need to call out segment differences. Keep in mind that mixing bilinguals with another segment may not allow you to call out segment differences in webcam focus groups. By using a bulletin board, you can tag based on these characteristics, allowing you the opportunity to identify unique differences. Another way to uncover differences is with individual webcam interviews.
  4. Account for special considerations when recruiting Hispanics for online research. An experienced recruiter will adjust for cultural complexities. Don’t be shy—ask for specifics about the experience of culturally-tailored recruitment. Some recruiters may not have a large enough database and/or resources to recruit Spanish-Dominant Hispanics or those in Latin America. You may benefit from hiring multiple recruiters, working with an in-country recruiter, and/or an independent recruiter.
    • Work with bilingual recruitment staff. If your technology partner offers to manage the recruit, make sure that they have a fluent Spanish speaker on staff or plan to have a team member bridge the gap. Loose time considerations come into play for recruiters too, especially in Latin America. You just need to expect that things will take longer. For example, plan for an additional week when recruiting in Latin America. Daily profile updates may also prove to be a challenge. Clearly spell out your expectations right from the jump and be ready to compromise. QRCA members tend to be more familiar with U.S. best practices—take this into consideration when hiring a recruiter in Latin America as this can ease the process.
    • Literacy can vary widely among Hispanics. It is not unusual to have a range from elementary level to post-graduate education in a U.S. Hispanic study—when education is not accounted for, that is. In the U.S., pre-tax annual household income is a widely used standard. But in Latin America, there is a wide gap between household incomes, and it is a rarely-used statistic—most importantly, that information is considered totally confidential. For this reason, socioeconomic status features prominently in Latin American recruitment. It necessitates many questions to ensure accuracy, down to including the number of light bulbs in the house (really). Screening Latin Americans for socioeconomic status will result in a more uniform level of education. Use detailed exercises when screening to ensure the respondents are articulate, literate, and competent with the study technology.
  5. Offer in-language support services. Providing Spanish tech support is critical when working with participants in Latin America. Your tech support must be ready to address issues in technology, connection, participation, etc. Along the same lines, you also need to provide adequate simultaneous interpretation. For English-speaking observers, the moderating is only as good as the interpreter. An experienced moderator should provide recommendations for a simultaneous interpreter who is well-versed in interpreting qualitative sessions—being court certified does not guarantee experience with qualitative sessions. Doing a tech check with the simultaneous interpreter and team is important to ensure a smooth launch, especially for webcam interviews.
  6. Remember that Spanish is a longer language. Spanish is around 25 percent longer than English. This means your English guide will likely be longer when executed in Spanish. This is especially important for webcam focus groups. You need to take this into account when determining the group length. Your moderator should be able to accommodate when working with the same discussion guide across countries. For bulletin boards, it means you will be reading longer/more descriptive responses. This can really eat into your time when you have 30+ respondents. One way to compensate for this is to keep your groups smaller, with about 3-5 respondents per webcam group, 8-12 per chat group, and 12-16 per bulletin board.
  7. Respect social norms when considering the group makeup. Mixing males and females in the same group may come with some sensitivities. Configuring Latin American groups carries certain peculiarities…even when compared with U.S. Hispanics. You may want to separate males and females, socioeconomic levels, and/or education levels within webcam groups. This is especially important when there are clear social divides between male and female behavior. If separation is not possible, you may want to incorporate friendship groups. Bulletin boards provide greater anonymity. You can use a bulletin board to completely mask questions, so respondents feel more comfortable. You can also create aliases for respondents to mask for personal characteristics like gender.
  8. Elicit storytelling to benefit from the cultural impact on communication style. Hispanics love to elaborate with storytelling. Projective techniques can work well to elicit storytelling and emotion. Keep in mind, Latin Americans may not be as research-savvy or familiar with exercises like collages which are commonly used with U.S. Hispanics—and that means that you may need more time to explain the exercises. You can complement the Hispanic tendency toward tangents and storytelling by using non-linear techniques like free association and mind mapping. Use simple and culturally relevant techniques with less-educated respondents, like having them select an image from a lotería card to bring their words to life.

There’s never been a better time to conduct research with Hispanics. Not least of all, people will welcome a conversation about anything other than COVID-19 these days. Adopting culturally sensitive practices will help you get the most from your Hispanic online study.

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Fiona Ray

Fiona Ray

Online Focus Groups: A Prep-for-Success Checklist

Fiona Ray

Focus groups, by their very nature, are fertile ground for the unexpected—and at their best, represent a forum for new perspectives and surprising insights. However, as we rapidly transition to virtual qualitative, the online format itself can become the most unexpected aspect of our groups.

While online groups represent new opportunity, they can bring new challenges for moderators, observers, and participants. Fortunately, the downside risks can be easily minimized with planning and preparation. Here are some things to consider:

“Tech-ready” screening criteria

Ensure participants understand that they must have proper tools to participate:

  • Reliable high-speed internet, capable of streaming video.
  • A quiet, private location where they can participate, uninterrupted.
  • A laptop, desktop, or tablet with functioning webcam and microphone. Emphasize to participants that they cannot participate via mobile phone.

Be clear that insufficient equipment or slow Wi-Fi will hinder the study…and may result in removal from the group and forfeiture of any incentive payment.

Use a trusted and familiar conferencing platform

There are many high quality providers, like FocusVision InterVu, 20|20 Research, and Civicom, to name a few, who provide online focus group hosting with dedicated tech support, virtual backrooms, and helpful customized tools costing about $400 an hour. Or you may decide to use your own or a client’s virtual conferencing subscription to a platform like Zoom or Adobe Connect.

No matter which platform you choose, it is critical to be comfortable with the software interface and be able to easily manipulate any tools and features yourself. You don’t want to be distracted searching for a drop-down menu on an unfamiliar platform in the middle of a group.

Complete a practice run prior to starting fieldwork

Run through the full discussion flow on your chosen platform with your clients or willing colleagues ahead of time. This will allow you to identify and address any tech glitches or issues related to displaying stimulus, so that things run smoothly once you are live.

Plan for a slower pace

You will find that it takes longer to move through the discussion online than it would in an in-person group. Webcam discussions require a one-at-a-time flow to avoid having participants talk over each other.

And then there’s tech time. Invariably at least one participant will struggle to log on or will lose their connection in the middle of the discussion, further slowing the flow. Recognize that what takes an hour in person, will likely take 70 to 75 minutes online.

Consider smaller groups

Given the slower pace of online groups, less is more. A total of four to five participants will be far more manageable and productive than a larger group.

Make clear plans for client comments

It can be difficult and distracting to keep up with the virtual backroom messaging while you are leading the session. Have a colleague or assigned client monitor the chat. If there are any urgent needs during the group, have your contact text them to your phone. It can also be helpful to schedule phone debriefs for feedback and any adjustments before and after each group.

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Congratulations to These Members Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries in June and July!

June 2020 Milestones

5 Years:

Margaret Reid
M Reid Research Services
Montreal, Quebec

Lisa Lipkin
Story Strategies
New York, New York

July 2020 Milestones

35 Years:

Diane Trotta
Trotta/Hansen, Inc.
Pacific Palisades, California

15 Years:

Gretchen Mueller
Brand Explorations
Seattle, Washington

10 Years:

Jill Matthews
Bright Cactus, LLC
Allen, Texas

5 Years:

Michael McClellan
Plexus Marketing Group Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

Lois Conklin
ZS Associates
Madison, New Jersey

Margaret Rodgers
New Perspectives
Cheshire, Connecticut

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Ginette Sims

Ginette Sims, M.A.

Welcome to These New Members Who Joined QRCA in April!

Ginette Sims, M.A.

Ginette is a doctoral candidate within the department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology, she attended Williams College and received her BA in cultural anthropology. Her research focuses on examining the impact of the sociopolitical climate and cultural factors on trauma symptomology in marginalized populations. She is currently working on mixed-method and qualitative projects that assess the risk of the development of PTSD and other deleterious psychological outcomes on individuals exposed to videos depicting police violence toward African Americans and examining the impact of COVID-19 on Asian Americans' experience of discrimination and stereotyping in the United States.

Ginette is a Southern California native, having been born in San Bernardino, California before venturing out to the east coast for college, only to return to sunny California after a few too many blizzards. However, she does plan to head back toward the snow flurries of the East when she completes her doctoral degree and introduce her dog Reggie to the wonder that is seasons. She likes to write short stories and screenplays in her spare time, as well as cook, bake, and read. She also identifies as a cinephile and avid concert goer, though the latter has been put on pause due to the pandemic. Ginette joined QRCA in order to learn from experienced qualitative research consultants and gain knowledge about potential industry positions and strategies for competitive employment.

Marshall Abbott
SoTech Research
Portland, Oregon

Anna Cameron
University of Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

Andrea Chemaly
Stand Tall
Johannesburg, South Africa

Tryna Knox
Dallas, Texas

Rentia Kraucamp
Lucid Research and Insight Consultancy
Johannesburg, South Africa

Amanda Pizarek
Watch Me Think
Chicago, Illinois

Morgan Williams
Chadwick Martin Bailey
Boston, Massachusetts

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Congratulations to These 79 Members Who Achieved Advance Status in April!

Susan Abbott
ARC Strategy Ltd / Think Global Qualitative
Toronto, Ontario

Meena Aier
Crestview Strategy Inc
Toronto, Ontario

Roben Allong
Lightbeam Communications (M\WBE)
New York, New York

Cris Bain-Borrego
CBB Bilingual Qualitative Research, Inc.
Sherman Oaks, California

Marylu Barreda
On Target
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Betsy Bernstein
Bernstein Research Group, Inc. Old Greenwich, Connecticut

Kelly Blair
Inspire Group Inc.
Toronto, Ontario

Jenny Brandt
Right Arm
Los Angeles, California

Laurie Bredenfoerder
BValley Communications
Cincinnati, Ohio

Carolyn Burns
The Insight Connection
Naples, Florida

Alisha Carti
Clarity Research Consultants
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey

Natalia Caylor, PhD
Infante Consulting and Research
Fort Collins, Colorado

Cherri Christiansen
Breakthrough Research
San Diego, California

Shannon Danzy
danzy consults.
New York, New York

Susan DeSimone
Susan DeSimone Inc.
Edina, Minnesota

Sammy Dunne
DIG | Dunne Insights Group
San Francisco, California

Marc Engel
Engel Research Partners
South San Francisco, California

Susan Fader
Fader & Associates, Inc.
Teaneck, New Jersey

Michelle Finzel
Maryland Marketing Source, Inc.
Owings Mills, Maryland

Debbie Fox
Fox Field Research
Millburn, New Jersey

Kim Gibson
River Crossing Consulting, LLC
Stillwater, Minnesota

Shira Glickman
Encompass Market Research
Longwood, Florida

Eve Halterman
Spanish in Focus, LLC
Denver, Colorado

Kayte Hamilton
InsightsNow, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois

Nancy Hardwick
Hardwick Research
Mercer Island, Washington

Martha Hayward
Bird Dog Insights
Newton, Massachusetts

Kelly Heatly
Heatly Custom Research, LLC
Dallas, Texas

Naomi Henderson
RIVA Market Research & Training Inst
Rockville, Maryland

Vivianne Hiriart
VHR Qualitative Research LLC
Foster City, California

Lisa Horwich
Pallas Research Associates
Seattle, Washington

Maryse Hudon
Maryse Hudon Marketing Research Services Inc.
Montreal, Quebec

Chris Kann
CSK Marketing, Inc
Racine, Wisconsin

Tamara Kenworthy, PRC, PCM
On Point Strategies
West Des Moines, Iowa

Jessica Kurth
Now What, LLC
Plymouth, Minnesota

Kara Lazarus
Think Pink Idea Consulting, LLC
Edina, Minnesota

Marc-Andre Leduc
M Leduc & Co.
Montreal, Quebec

Anne Lee Groves
Lee Groves Consulting
Guelph, Ontario

Elizabeth McKinley
Catapult Marketing Group, LLC
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Peju Milne
Revelator Research Inc.
Mason, Ohio

Meredith Morino
Human Sapience
Toronto, Ontario

Rick Nadeau
Quorus Consulting Group Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario

Tom Neveril
Storybrand Consulting
Santa Monica, California

Katrina Noelle
Know Research & Scoot Insights
San Francisco, California

Kishka-Kaye O'Connor Anderson
Kishka-Kaye O'Connor
Kingston, Jamaica

Holly O'Neill
Talking Business, LLC
Newport Beach, California

Pascal Patenaude
Patenaude Research & Communications
Montreal, Quebec

Milly Pena
Blue Orchid Qualitative Solutions, LLC
Staten Island, New York

Bruce Peoples
Peoples Marketing Insights
Roswell, Georgia

Laura Pinsky
Solarus Consulting
Brookline, Massachusetts

Chelle Precht
Complete Research Connection
Maineville, Ohio

Mindy Predovic
Pipeline Research, Inc.
Lisle, Illinois

Fiona Ray
Ready About
Chicago, Illinois

Margaret Reid
M Reid Research Services
Montreal, Quebec

Kristine Remer
June UX
Maple Grove, Minnesota

Mindy Richards, PhD
Convergence Consulting
Spring Hill, Florida

Chad Rogers
Crestview Strategy Inc
Ottawa, Ontario

Paula Rosecky
Paula Rosecky & Company
Seattle, Washington

Tracy Rosen
Meeting Street Marketing
Westport, Connecticut

Amy Savin
Savin Management Group LLC
Chicago, Illinois

Jonathan Schneider
The Candor Company
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Theresa Schreiber
TSQ Research Services Inc.
Evanston, Illinois

Kristin Schwitzer
Beacon Research
Annapolis, Maryland

Lauren Simoes
Chadwick Martin Bailey
Queens, New York

Mary Beth Solomon
Solomon Solutions
Jersey City, New Jersey

Cheryl Stella Dalisay
STELLAR Strategic Services, Inc.
Batavia, Illinois

Dean Stephens
Happy Talk Research
Los Angeles, California

Karen Stephens
Baccus Research Group
Novato, California

Susan Sweet
Sweet Insight Group
Lafayette, Colorado

Natalia Tafur
Keyhole Research & Consulting, LLC
San Diego, California

Bob Taylor
Headline Research LLC
Springdale, Arizona

Marta Villanueva
NuThinking, Inc
San Antonio, Texas

Kate Wagenlander Watson
KCW Global Research, LLC
Auburn, Alabama

Jeff Walkowski
QualCore.com Inc
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dania Wasongarz
Los Angeles, California

Mark Wheeler
Wheeler Research LLC
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Judith Wright
The Wright Group
Mill Valley, California

Jay Zaltzman
Bureau West: Helping Companies Grow
Palm Springs, California

Monica Zinchiak
Z. Research Services
San Diego, California

Martha Garma Zipper
MGZ Research
Rolling Meadows, Illinois

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