I am a researcher. I have been called 'the best qualitative researcher in Australia' and 'an original thinker'. I call myself a 'sensemaker' because I help clients make sense of the problems, issues, segments etc that they have asked me to research. I am also a sense-maker because I believe in the value of the sense-making perspective, described elsewhere on this site. I am a Fellow of The Research Society and a Board Director, with a long history of promoting innovation and high intellectual and ethical standards in research.
What I love to do
- I love qualitative research. I can't tell you what the best qualitative research method is because all of them have value and anyway it depends on your objectives.The truth is: I was trained as a quantitative researcher and survey research continues to be a method we use often at Susan Bell Research, especially hybrid methods.
- To my work, I bring expertise in cultural insight (semiotics), in-depth understanding of language and a commitment to new thinking about the mind. I am currently studying social anthropology through Oxford University, after studying psychological anthropology through Macquarie University last year.
- My interests are diverse. They include language, poetry, cognitive and social psychology, semiotics, and rituals.
- I love my work! I started Susan Bell Research in 1994, knowing that working in a boutique agency would give me the opportunity to work on projects which suited my skill-set, and with clients and colleagues of my choosing. I work with each client personally.
- A recognised authority and highly experienced practitioner in qualitative research.
- Trained in Linguistics, so I know how language works.
- A semiotician and was the first person to use semiotics in market research in Australia.
- A quantitative researcher trained in all methods.
- A researcher with broad industry expertise: financial services, food & drink, government and the arts.
- A blogger on best practice in qualitative research
- A frequent speaker at conferences, seminars and webinars.
- BA (Hons) Linguistics and English
- Graduate Diploma in Psychology
- Marketing Diploma
- QPR accreditation from AMSRS
- Trained in plain language
- Trained in semiotics and anthropology
Papers, Conferences and workshops
2020: Sensemaking webinar for The Research Society. June 2020
2020: Fairness: is compliance enough? Lessons from sensemaking. A webinar with Paul Muir and Tony Bonney. May 2020
2020: Sensemaking- The Future of Qual. The QRCA Global virtual Conference. May 2020
2018 Sense-making for exploratory qualitative research. AMSRS Conference 2018
2016 Qualitative research and text analytics. NewMR webinar on AI and Automation.
2016 Qualitative Analysis. AMSRS Winter School
2015 One on one interviewing. AMSRS Winter School
2014 Qualitative Analysis. AMSRS Winter School
2013 Women’s magazines as facilitators of Christmas rituals Qualitative Market Research: an International Journal. The female consumer in the 21st Century. Vol 16. Number 3
2013 10 Answers to contemporary market research questions. Book published by Esomar (Contributor: qualitative analysis)
2012. Discourse analysis and social media. Singapore MRS Conference workshop presenter
2012. Discourse analysis in qualitative research (Part 2). Festival of NewMR webinar
2012 Qualitative research analysis AMSRS Winter School workshop
2012 Babies, bathwater and behavioural economics– with Suzanne Burdon. Festival of NewMR webinar
2011 How to use semiotics in qualitative research. AMSRS Winter School workshop
2011 How to use discourse analysis in qualitative research (part 1). Festival of NewMR webinar
2010. How to conduct readability research according to the standards of professional market and social research. Published in Clarity magazine, the Journal of the international association promoting plain legal language, Issue 63
2010 Sensory semiotics, with Jodie Hill. AMSRS Conference
2007 Improving our writing by understanding how people read personally addressed household mail. Published in Clarity magazine, the Journal of the international association promoting plain legal language, Issue 57.
2007 The Truth is in there. With Suzanne Burdon. AMSRS Conference.
2007 Valuing the Visceral: the increasing importance of the rapid-affective response in assessing consumer behaviour, with Suzanne Burdon, Jane Gregory and Jo Watts. International Journal of Market Research. Vol. 49 No. 3,
2004 Valuing the Visceral: the increasing importance of the rapid-affective response in assessing consumer behaviour, with Suzanne Burdon, Jane Gregory and Jo Watts. AMSRS Conference
1994 Panel member on qualitative research. AMSRS Conference:
1993 Paper on research trends. The Australian Pharmaceutical Market Research Association.
1989 Paper on semiotics and advertising. Marketing and Semiotics Conference held at the University of Indiana
1989 Semiotics in Advertising. Winner of Best Paper: AMSRS Conference
1987 Paper on Language and qualitative research AMSRS Seminar
1987 Semiotics and advertising research - with Warwick Hoare. AMSRS Conference