Finding and Evaluating the Right Qualitative Researcher

Finding and Evaluating the Right Qualitative Researcher

The new Principles Express online course Qualitative Market Research is perfect for novices looking for a solid background in how to conduct and evaluate qualitative research. Authored by Jeff Walkowski, a specialist in online qual and the principal of QualCore.com Inc., the course is offered by the University of Georgia and Market Research Institute International (MRII). The course includes many tips and tricks to assist in the execution of qualitative research projects. The following excerpt outlines an approach for a research buyer to select a qualitative researcher.

Being well versed in qualitative techniques is increasingly a must for every market researcher. Effective qualitative research can yield robust insights into the “why” behind various respondent behaviors, perceptions, and motivations.

Some research users have professional qualitative researchers on staff. Others must look outside of their organization. When the need arises to find a qualitative researcher to work on a project, research buyers rely on the following—

  • Past Experience: Have they worked with an outside qualitative researcher in the past and had a good experience? The chances are good that the same qualitative researcher will be asked to consider participating in the project.
  • Word of Mouth: Do they have peers who have first-hand experience with qualitative researchers and may recommend them?
  • Industry Directories: Organizations which publish directories of qualitative researchers, including the Qualitative Research Consultants Association and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.
  • Focus Group Facilities: Is it possible to approach a focus group facility and ask for recommendations? Those facilities typically have a short list of qualitative researchers in the area that have worked well with other clients in the past.
  • Web Searches: What qualitative researchers can be found by simply using a search engine?

Once a pool of possible qualitative researchers is identified, the buyer must evaluate their experience—

  • Training: Have they participated in training through the RIVA or Burke Institute courses? These courses are generally regarded as the best training programs in the world for qualitative work.
  • Moderating Experience: How long has the qualitative researcher been practicing their craft?
  • Industry Experience: Does the qualitative researcher have a solid understanding of the business the client’s company is in?
  • Perceived “Fit”: Does the client prefer a researcher that mirrors a particular group of participants? As more professional qualitative researchers enter the field, it is not surprising that specialization occurs.
  • References: Does the qualitative researcher have excellent references? Clients sometimes rely on references (testimonials) that they get about the researcher.

For more information, please check out the Principles Express course Qualitative Market Research.

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