A few thoughts on the future of qualitative research

I have recorded a few thoughts about the future of qualitative research, at the request of the Turkish Researchers Association, as a preview of a speech I will be delivering next week in Istanbul.

(don’t know how long this link will be active):


To expand a bit on the idea of future Quallies as <connecters>, that I propose in the video:

  1. In a world with an abundance of data, but increasingly behavioural/ observational/ passively collected data, we need to make sure we connect these to the working of the human mind (and not just its manifestations).
  2. In a community that is being swept off its feet by the seduction of technology, we need to make sure we understand what exactly do we need technology to do in order to grasp a better understanding of humans (and not just force fit the shiniest pieces of technology in our processes).

Therefore, I see the need for someone who is be able to orchestrate the ideas and expertise about the human mind, coming from scientists and thinkers and connect them to the data streams about how people manifest themselves.

It’s part curator – of the scientific ideas of how the human mind works; part facilitator – bring different ways of looking at people out of their isolation into our work, and part researcher – use all that to answer the “what does it mean?” question that our clients will ask us more than any other question.

Why Quallies?

Because WE CAN – we are already Pragmatic Polymaths (check out a paper written by Vivek Banerji for ESOMAR as far back as 2008), I suspect many of us are in this profession because of our geek-ish interest in human psychology (view the term psychology here as loosely and largely covering any approach that tries to understand people better) and what is that makes humans so interesting.

And because WE HAVE TO – we work closest to the people in the entire research industry, we have the most empathetic approach, it’s harder for us to lose sight of this humanity. We are best positioned to keep reminding and informing our community about the human mind in the centre of all our efforts.

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