Unleashing the Potential of Qualitative Research: Reflections from the QRCA Annual Conference

5/9/2023   By: Hanson Lok

Grace Williams, one of Lux Insights’ qualitative experts, attended the QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultants Association) conference in Charlotte, North Carolina this March. She returned energized, inspired, and excited about the future of qualitative research.

Below, Grace shares some reflections on her experience.

Attending my first QRCA conference, I embraced the opportunity to learn from, and with, other qualitative experts about best practices, industry changes and challenges, and future trends. Feeling warmly welcomed, I had some enriching discussions with other curious qualitative researchers – not surprising given all those attending ask questions for a living!

There were many highlights from the conference, but I have distilled them down to three main takeaways:

  1. AI Takes the Stage – Applications in Market Research

    AI was THE hot topic of the conference. Trepidation is giving way to curiosity about how the research industry can embrace advancements in AI and machine learning, and researchers are adapting quickly. AI promises greater accuracy and efficiency in uncovering human insights, although there is recognition for its limitations and risks. At Lux, we see the potential of AI to create initial data summaries, interrogate human conclusions, and generate discussion guide question ideas. By harnessing the power of AI, we can take our research outputs to the next level, freeing up time for us humans to bring creativity to problem-solving and strategic thinking for our clients.

  2. The Importance of Reflexivity in Qualitative Research – A Helpful Reminder

    Good researchers acknowledge what experiences, assumptions, and beliefs we bring into research. Acknowledging these potential influences is called reflexivity, and doing so brings rigour to our research. This is a foundational principle of qualitative research and a useful reminder for me and the Lux team to ensure reflexivity is always embedded in our processes. One way we do this currently is to outline our assumptions, biases, and hypotheses before research design, and before beginning fieldwork, so we can be aware of these in our analysis. At Lux Insights, we work hard to ensure our methods and findings are credible, trustworthy, and meaningful.

  3. Ensuring Authentic and Articulate Participants

    At Lux we are well aware of the rise in participants trying to ‘game’ the system in recent years, as members of the public seek involvement in studies for which they’re ineligible – just to get their hands on incentives. We see this in both qual and quant research, enabled in part by the rise of online methods, but given the smaller sample sizes in qualitative, the stakes are often higher. Lux has steps in place to find the right people, working closely with our recruitment partners – and I returned from the conference with a renewed resolve to ensure participant quality remains a central concern for the team. Measures Lux employs include designing thorough screeners including video questions that allow us to spot fraudsters, and conducting final verification calls with participants before fieldwork begins.

    As I left Charlotte, I was filled with confidence that qualitative research, as a dynamic field, will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of clients. Guided by curiosity, practitioners will embrace emerging technologies while maintaining a steadfast focus on delivering high-quality insights that propel our clients forward.

  4. Interested in learning more about Lux’s qualitative capabilities? Please reach out to Jeff Jefkins at jeff@luxinsights.com or anyone else on the Lux team.