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Why Use A Professional For

Qualitative Research?


On the surface, qualitative research can appear deceptively easy: gather a handful of people into a room, talk to them for an hour or two, then write a summary of the discussions.

However, moderating focus groups skillfully and effectively requires years of training and experience. Conducting qualitative research has many dynamics to manage and many pitfalls to avoid, such as:



Building rapport with respondents to create a safe and trusting environment conducive to the best client insights



Maintaining objectivity throughout, determining the best question wording and question ordering, minimizing biases or "leading" questions, exploring topics without revealing what is important or what the client is looking for



Guiding the group smoothly, including controlling group dominators and drawing out timid respondents, while remaining courteous and respectful to all respondents throughout



Covering as much as possible, with as much completeness as possible, while not seeming to be in a hurry



Probing beyond the rational, logical explanations (that all people self-perceive most prominently) to get to true, underlying motivations and associations



Listening not only to what respondents say but also to what they don’t say, reading body language, observing what perceptions and relationships not only exist but also are missing



Knowing how to draw on an arsenal of techniques — when to play dumb and when to challenge, when to pursue a topic and when to drop it, when to have respondents discuss their answers and when to have them write down their thoughts, when to use response exercises and projective techniques



Possessing the skill and confidence to adjust comfortably “on the fly” as the group evolves, to take the group in any direction needed to meet the client's goals rather than focusing rigidly on the pre-written discussion guide



Managing local research operations, working with facilities for the most productive research possible, knowing when something is a facility’s fault or is out of their control, selecting respondents in or out



Juggling it all — keeping control of all these dynamics while continuing to listen deeply to respondents, reacting, taking dozens of mental notes, making split decisions, watching the clock and timing out the entire group and doing so with poise and aplomb


Essentially a moderator is putting on a live, unpredictable production on an exact schedule in front of big clients, and the expectations on each and every session are nothing short of perfection. There are thousands of dollars of research on the line and millions or even billions of dollars of decisions on the line.


The resources below provide a much richer background on the importance of using a professional qualitative researcher and the competencies a professional qualitative researcher should possess:

Why Should I Use A Professional Moderator?

From the QRCA website. Click here.

Professional Competencies Of Qualitative Research Consultants.

From the QRCA website. Click here.





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