What Can Qual do that Machines Can’t?


“The rise of intelligent machines, AI, Big Data etc. will likely impact quant more than qual research” true or false?

It’s a hypothesis that certainly sounds plausible – leading to the perhaps overly cosy conclusion that qual is insulated against the forces of digital disruption. Big Data unearths patterns, correlations in behavioural data, the “what?” whereas qual provides answers to the question “why?”, delivering causality.

But what body of evidence do we have to support this? Further: is Big Data actually encroaching on qual’s territory of observing – and scaling to boot?

So what are the areas exactly where qual has made a significant contribution that intelligent machines, AI, Big Data, analytics etc haven’t – and can’t – achieve?

Put differently: what precisely are the sustainable USPs of qual research?

Sven Arn, H/T/P Partner and Managing Director, is hosting a Panel Discussion at the upcoming Insight Intelligence Sumnmit in London (Insight Intelligence Summit) on precisely this topic – focussing on the evolving role of qualititative Research in an era of Big Data.

The discussion will cover the following areas:

– examples of where Analytics/Big Data is already impacting on qual, and how.
– the evolution of the qual-quant relationship.
– the potential impact of GDPR legislation.
– imagined qual futures.

The panel comprises a distinguised mix of speakers – Gurpinder Sidhu (Head of Qualitative at Sky UK) represents the clientside perspective, Dr. Alex Gordon (CEO of Sign Salad) talks to the role of culture and semiotics in contemporary qual , Rebecca Wynberg is a well known industry figure with over 30 years qual experience, Chris Jones (Co-founder and director of McKenna Jones) offers a similar depth of experience, and is also ex-Head of Qualitative at Brainjuicer, now re-branded as System1.

It promises to be a great session!

If you can’t make it, drop us a line at or give us a call!

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