Three guests celebrate qualitative research with me*

I invited three guests to celebrate qualitative research with me:

  • Ben Nitshcke is the Strategy Director of NationCreative. He loves the messiness of qual, and so do I!
  • Oana Rengle celebrates how qualitative research helps us understand complexity
  • Hamsini Shivakumar values the holistic benefits of qualitative research.

 I hope you enjoy this compilation and find it useful.

Ben Nitschke is the Strategy Director at NATION Creative.

I asked him why he loved qual. Here is his answer:

"There are so many reasons to love qual, but here are my top 3:

1. Its messiness and unpredictability is far more likely to generate a lateral thought and spark creative thinking.

2. It is experiential for the moderator (and hopefully also the client), which helps to build empathy and understanding of the target audience. 

3. It makes you a better quant researcher because it teaches you to see the forest for the trees, and know what seeds to plant in a quant study forest to begin with."

I don't know what I like most about this - I really relate to how valuable messiness can be!  I also really like the insight that qual can make you a better quant researcher.  Thank you Ben!

Ben can be contacted: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oana Rengle is a qualitative research consultant. She has has a blog called Anamnesis by Oana Pop Rengle

I first met Oana when she asked me to speak at the QRCA's Future of Qual"> event last May.  When I asked her  how she would celebrate qual, these were her thoughts:

In a world of research where innovation is driven by technology and big data, we have not an option, but a responsibility to celebrate qual. Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens) was noticing that the world we live in is, at large, more preoccupied with the speed of its data algorithms than with the exploration of the human mind. This means that, even if the technology will at some point allow human hacking to maximize human potential - we will not be sure what human potential is.

In the world of research, qual is closest to the human mind. Us quallies are (best) equipped to explore the confluence of its complexity and its ineffable nature. We lovingly work with metaphors (that computers cannot really decode, yet), and projections, and with the hints provided by the energy of a particular moment in a conversation. And we have to make sure these remain valid, appreciated and sought after ways in which we understand humans.This is why we have to celebrate qual. With a bang :)

I love Oana's point that qual research helps us explore complexity and that metaphors are an insightful way to do that.
Oana's contact details are:

Oana Popa Rengle, Anamnesis
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I know Hamsini Shivakumar from Semiofest - she is a brand consultant and semiotician
Hamsini makes the great point below that qualitative research can play a significant role in policy research post COVID, as well as its use in marketing campaigns more generally:

"Larger goals such as problem solving, creative thinking, business risk taking and tracking performance require a holistic approach, a well balanced blend of methodologies that would certainly include qualitative.  We need to observe people - as people and as consumers (participant observation), dialogue with them as well, because that reveals much more of the nuances, explanations and reasoning (qual research) and start with the basic facts (quant data).  As a Semiotician, I would say an added layer of studying the collective imaginary as well, because that reveals much of the hidden, taken for granted, unspoken aspects of collective thought processes. I believe that uncovering the truths about human nature is best done through holistic approaches that are well balanced.

Marketing is almost entirely focused on consumer behaviour viz how people behave as consumers, in order to shift preferences towards Brand A over Brand B.  Though brands are interested in human truths that lie beyond consumer behaviour or consumption per se, when they create their big, thematic campaigns or define their Brand Purpose. 
What I have in mind is research for the big picture, for example response to the Pandemic as policy research; how do we encourage or enforce mask wearing for example. Or when vaccines become available, what sorts of campaigns would be effective in getting people to voluntarily get themselves vaccinated.  There can be such similar big questions to be understood...e.g. what makes some people/business people repay their debts while others don't.  Such questions are less about consumption per se and more about getting to the truths about human nature.  If there is budget for it,  an inter-disciplinary and multi-method research study will help us get to the deeper insight that is required to solve such big challenges."

Hamsini can be contacted:

Hamsini Shivakumar
Brand Consultant, Semiotician, Founder-Leapfrog Strategy Consulting, Co-founder Semiofest
Gurugram, Haryana, India 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

* This post originally appeared in our Bellbird newsletter

Tags: Qualitative Research