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.