What's in Store for Qualitative Researchers in 2011

Work generally slows this time of year, whether you’re a qualitative researcher or a writer. That’s good, though, because it clears time in the day for looking ahead. Ben Smithee of Spych Market Analytics has put the downtime to good use, posting a lengthy prediction for market research in 2011. It’s all worthy of a read, but we’ve summarized some of his points affecting our corner of the market — online qualitative research:

No more quant/qual divide: There used to be something called quantitative research and something else called qualitative research, but that terminology is on its way out, as it will become easier and easier to combine surveys with a bulletin board focus group and vice versa. “Many researchers talk about the ideal projects where clients approach them with a problem in need of a solution, rather than a request in need of a bid. Well, I fell like you will have your chance in 2011,” Smithee says.

Timing is everything: Notice your clients want answers faster and faster? Get used to it. According to Smithee, “People expect faster results from companies, companies want faster results from MR, and MR wants faster support from its suppliers. Nothing will change that. It’s do or die. Embrace the tools that serve as a life vest because the storm is coming.”

A move to mobile: Smithee predicts mobile qualitative research will become even bigger in 2011, as clients and researchers look for more value (which he defines as relevance and timeliness over accountability, minus price) from their research projects.

Anything you would add to this list of predictions? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

  1. The more clients require instant results via technology solutions, the greater will be the need for intense personal interactions with consumers and business to explain the “why’ behind results from data mining, online surveys and social network tracking.

Leave a reply