Getting to the “Why?” Part 2


My last post was inspired by an article in Esomar Research World, December 2017 on: which one question reserachers across the world “forgot to ask”.

It was part two of a mini-series, and lacked in my opinion a take on the way qualitative researchers access authentic answers to the question “why?”. Sue Bell (Sue Bell Research) pointed out to me on Twitter that the first part of this series had indeed touched on that, so back I went to the RW October 2017 issue to find it.

She was right. The article included the POV of two more “progressive” research approaches – one from Sue Bell with a semiotics POV, the other from Bri Williams from a Behavioural Economics angle.

For those of you like me who didn’t read the first piece, here’s what they suggested as “missing questions”:

– Observation beats asking questions.
– Facial and body language is powerful and underutilised – still.
– Participants can be involved actively as fellow problem-solvers.

I agree fully with all these, falling as they do within the remit of the contemporary qualitative researchers’ toolkit: semiotics, BE-influenced methods, co-creation facilitation for example.

As we step up from being “researchers” to facilitators, workshop moderators, people understanding experts with extensive category knowledge coupled with social science expertise, the more we share our humanist abilities in the world of tech, robotics and automation, the better.

Qual research may not be easily scalable (if at all) – but our voices can indeed be amplified, our messages shared (positively as well as negatively), our audience reach expanded.

So here’s a shout-out thanks to Sue Bell for sensitising me to my knowledge gap, kudos to Bri Williams on her BE Input and apologies to Mr. McCaughan for the waspish tone of the previous blog on this topic. Here’s to a continuing conversation!

Curious, as ever, as to others’ views.

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