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  • 00:02


  • 00:20

    REBECCA IRONSIDE: One of the things I reallylike about market research is beinginvolved at the very beginning of a process.So particularly something around new product development,or new idea development, or solving a particular problem.I like to almost know before other people know.That sounds odd, but I'm a naturally curious person.

  • 00:40

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: I always ask why anyway, so it suits me very well.I really like the sleuthing element of it,or the finding-- any chance I can find outabout something new.But I do like the fact that I'm sort of backstage.You know, I'm with the band backstage.Getting an early sight or something really suits me well.

  • 01:02

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: There really isn't a typical day,and that's probably because we work on multiple projects.Typically, I would have three or four projects, sometimesfive projects going across a month, all at different stages.So in the morning--personally, I know how I work is my morning is muchbetter for admin related tasks.So I tend to do all of that sort of stuff in the morning.

  • 01:23

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: And then I become more creative as the day goes on.I tend to leave my deeper analysis, and thinking,and my writing towards the later half of the day.And then you might have field work in the evening.You might have to go out and do a group discussion.You might have to travel somewhere.So you have to be pretty mobile, I think, by the end of the day.I think most "qual-ies" will tell you they're night owls,

  • 01:44

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: because they work quite often in the evening when other peoplehave finished work.And then they're traveling back at other times.So yes, I know my day is quite admin-y functional tasksin the morning, creative stuff after I've had my lunch maybe,and then it goes from there.I think one of the main things that research is important

  • 02:06

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: for is to make you realize what other people think.So it's stepping away from your own echo chamber.The worst thing we hear is peoplesay, "well, my friends and I, we think this.So therefore, no one wants to buy this product."And we run a lot of online communities, for example.And a client might say, well, howis a 70-year-old going to cope with going online?

  • 02:28

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: My mother can barely turn a phone on.Well, your mother's not like any other mother necessarily.And all 70-year-olds are not not able to use their phones.So it stops you being quite isolationist I guess,in terms of how you view the worldand what the response to your product is.So saying that, some things probablywouldn't research well.And you can probably instinctively tell that.

  • 02:49

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: But something like bottled water, for example,I'm sure researched terribly.The idea that you might buy a bottle of water,pay one pound 50 for it when it came out the tap free, I'm surewas pretty hard for people to swallow.But it's a massive category now.But saying that, research should never justbe used in isolation.Research is part of something bigger.

  • 03:10

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: Research is one of the cogs in a huge wheel around developinga product or launching something or doing something different,or even thinking differently.It's one of many tasks.Well, at a very top line level, there'squalitative and quantitative.The key difference, I guess, being in the sorts of questionsyou ask.So quantitative is much larger sized

  • 03:32

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: samples, these days done more or less online, rather thanover the phone or in the street, a battery of closed endquestions.And you're going to end up with the ability to measure, size,assess.Those kind of words.When you see those in a brief, youknow that's much more quantitative in nature.The qualitative is really exploratory research.It's really understanding.

  • 03:53

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: It's a great place to start if you don't know anything.So if you don't know anything, you can do a very small scale,dip your toe in the water, speak to some peopleto get a sense of what they're thinkingbefore you develop a larger scaleand test it out quantitatively.And qualitative is very focused on questions like whyand understanding who.

  • 04:14

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: When we see words like explore, understand,why, those kinds of things in a brief,we know that it's leaning towards qualitative research.So those are the two branches-- the two umbrellas,of what's research.And within each of those, there'splenty of different techniques and practices.Within quantitative work, the data collection,

  • 04:35

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: which is generally the same, whichis fire a questionnaire, which is closeended, with some open ended questions.And the skill in the analysis that is in the modeling.It's often very, very sophisticatedand increasingly sophisticated, statistical modelingtechniques, or ways of asking certain questions,like a timed emotional response.So the quicker you respond to a brand association,

  • 04:57

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: the more strongly you feel about that particular brand.There's many more sophisticated techniques,which often come in the back end in terms of the analysis.There's also huge amounts of data mining.There's a huge amount of looking at social media conversations,looking at what people are searchingfor that all build up to that sort of swell of numbers

  • 05:18

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: if you like.Qualitatively, people tend to thinkit begins and ends with focus group sometimes,and that isn't the case.Increasingly, we also use online.We use online communities.They have huge amounts of benefits,but there's a lot of skepticism still around them.And then also, within qualitative research,there's a lot more that we see around behavioral science,

  • 05:43

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: ethnography, one to one sessions.The thing that I love about qual techniques is the fluidity.You can always evolve them, you can always adapt them slightly.Whereas with a quantitative work, once you'velaunched a 20 minute survey among 1,000 people,you can't pull it back and say, actually, we

  • 06:03

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: haven't asked that question quite right.I can do two or three depths.Recently, I had an example where I'm doing interviewswith HR professionals.And the first couple, I did on video, because I thought,A, it was a bit more modern.But also, I thought it might replicatethat face-to-face experience because these people werespread everywhere.And actually, offer a couple of having some trouble with video,

  • 06:23

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: we switched to phone.And it sort of feels a bit old fashioned to go backto a telephone depth.But it was much more revealing actually,when they weren't having a face-to-face.But I couldn't have done that if it was quant.I'm committed to that path with quant.Whereas with qual, we could say actually,we need to stop asking this questionbecause we're not getting the right answers.Or we need to give them a new task to do next time around.

  • 06:46

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: So it's this constant evolution.The agility and fluidity of qual appeals to me, I have to say.One of the challenges that I come up across frequentlyis this belief that people are liars,that people don't know themselves,that they're not going to give a correct answer,that they either lie on a questionnaire,or for a qualitative session, they really

  • 07:07

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: are coming for 50 pounds and some free sandwiches.And how can we trust people?It's particularly difficult to trust themif they're giving you not the feedback that you wanted,or not playing back your brand architecture,or any of those kind of things.But this idea that we want to ask the people,but we don't trust the people, can be very difficult.

  • 07:27

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: The other key misconception is probablythat all research is just fieldwork.The gathering of the data is but a small pieceof a larger project.And we can be very focused on what the fieldwork is goingto be or what the data collectionmethod's going to be, but not how we're going to get there,and what we're going to think about afterwards.

  • 07:47

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: So people can be very, very narrow in their focus.There are clues in the objectives wherethe questions are things like, why are people doing this,or even how do people do something,rather than how many.But I think you also have to lookat the background and the context.And of course, you would always havea conversation with your client when you get the brief.And you would soon realize that actually, thisis a new market for them, or this is new territory.

  • 08:10

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: So take something like, I don't know, pet insurance.People buy that typically on a comparison site,and they just go for price.But there might be a new entrant thatwants a much more emotive, emotionally led story.And they want to occupy this emotional territoryfor insurance that other pet insurers don't offer.Then you would definitely do something

  • 08:30

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: where you could explore emotion, where you can explore people'srelationship with their pets.That would lend itself to qualitative research.And you can still validate it quantitatively afterwards.But often I look at where that clientis in their knowledge journey.So if they really don't know anything,it really makes sense even just to run a couple of groups,because sometimes that's what you need,

  • 08:50

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: or to do a few depth interviews, or a small communityjust to get the lay of the land, just to understandwhat language people use to talk about it these days,some things that you might forget,and things that wouldn't have occurred to youat all because you're not a consumer of that product.All of these things, if they don't know anything,you know that qual is a good place to start,

  • 09:11

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: even if it's a really small little kickoff.And then you might do quantitative.If you work in research, particularly qualitativeresearch, you're very lucky.I think that it's a job that's continually evolving.It's continually fascinating.You don't know what you're going to know coming up.I never know between now and three months time,I might be an expert on face serums.

  • 09:33

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: I might know a lot about buying shoes.You just don't know what you're going to find out about.And I think that that's the thing, is that in all the yearsI've worked in research, even if I'vebeen unhappy where I'm working, I absolutely loved the job.I've loved being able to talk to people.I've loved being able to learn new things.

  • 09:54

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: I think my brain is constantly being challenged.I found it very emotionally satisfying.I like being able to be mobile.It's a desk job, but not a desk job in some ways.There is a bit where you're sitting at a desk.But there's an enormous part of your jobwhere you are out and about.I often think actually when I'm going on a train to Leeds

  • 10:15

    REBECCA IRONSIDE [continued]: in the middle of the morning, and it's a beautiful sunny day,and I'm going on the train and going across countryside,I think I'm so lucky get out of London.I'm lucky to get out of town.So yes, it's a job with a lot of variety, lots of interest,and not massively process driven,and huge amounts of room for creativityand sparking your imagination.

  • 10:36


Video Info

Series Name: Made You Think!

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Publication Year: 2020

Video Type:In Practice

Methods: Qualitative data collection, Qualitative interviewing, Marketing research

Keywords: fieldwork; flexibility; focus groups; marketing research; problem solving; product development; qualitative research; qualitative research methods; quantitative research methods; questionnaires and surveys; Social media; trust and credibility ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Rebecca Ironside, Director of Made You Think!, discusses basic qualitative research, including challenges, misconceptions, and benefits.

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Back to Basics with Qualitative Research: Made You Think!

Rebecca Ironside, Director of Made You Think!, discusses basic qualitative research, including challenges, misconceptions, and benefits.

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