QRCA Conference: Future of Qualitative Research Is Bright

Maybe it’s the end of the recession or maybe it’s just eternal optimism of qualitative researchers, but the mood at the QRCA Conference is generally upbeat. Most researchers are reporting that business is significantly above last year’s recessionary numbers and approaching the levels of 2-3 years ago.

Also, Greenbook recently released their Research Industry Trends Study showing that research practitioners were upbeat about the future. Overall, expectations for increased spending on research increased from 47% in 2009 to 73% in 2010. However, we should moderate our enthusiasm by the additional finding that research buyers were less enthusiastic, with only 45% expecting increased research spending. Still, that number is up from 31% in 2008.

Ben Smithee, Spych Market Analytics, argued in his presentation that the future of qualitative research is “bright” but that researchers will need to adapt to a new normal. His presentation focused on the need for qualitative researchers to embrace various methods of research such as social media, online qualitative research and collaboration in addition to traditional focus group methodologies.

The world is changing — faster than ever. If we want to survive and thrive, we will have to adapt faster than ever, too.

  1. Thanks for the mention!

    I really do believe the future for Qual is extremely bright and truly in our hands!
    The info we need to know is readily available, and we just need to take charge and pave the way!

    Great seeing you at the conference, Jim!!!!


  2. Most MR studies show that the share of online research – in both qual and quant – has remained rather constant since 2007/8. In Quant, it has settled around 40%, and in Qual around 17%. Seems like, for now, online has found it’s “niche.” And yet, at the QRCA conference this past week, all you hear is online is growing! Online is growing! It simply does not match up with reality.

  3. @John – I suspect what you heard at the QRCA conference is a reflection of the fact that more and more qualitative research practitioners are embracing online methods and are now receiving specific requests from clients for online approaches, and that’s a perceivable change.

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