Highlights of the AIMRI/ICG conference
Outstanding keynote speakers
Our two keynote speakers were thought provoking…(catch them again on the ICG Question Time panel on 14th November)
Becky Roe, MD from ESRO talked about some of the challenges in undertaking the ethnographic research they did in A&E departments to understand the triggers to violent behaviour. The research methodology was truly different, and has won a number of awards. A great conference starter.
Ken Parker, Chairman of AQR and founder of Discovery kicked off our second day and produced a very thought-provoking presentation on the challenges facing qualitative research in the face of new thinking from Behavioral Economics, the move to online methods and how qualitative researchers have to adopt new skills to survive. The message we took from this was ‘ producing excellent quality work is still at the heart of survival in this changing world’.
The International element
We had some great insights into doing research in Latin America. What struck us was the sheer diversity of countries and cultures, and why one needs an expert in each of the countries to succeed. This was a very lively presentation from Iris Griffiths who speaks so quickly, in true Brazilian style!
‘China inside and out’ was a wonderful perspective from Aussie Michael Herbert, who went to run a qualitative company in Shanghai for a year, presenting with Jessica Shepherd, a Chinese citizen now married to an Englishman who works on and offline from the UK. This team gave us a real understanding into China today, highlighting both the rate of change and the scale of the country, and how qual works there. It certainly whetted our appetite.
These were very much to the fore and we had interesting discussions with people who were practiced in using the software with consumers and b2b audiences, a supplier of the online software FlexMR and someone who could provide software for mobile qual studies (Andy Evans from Exposure Research).
We had fun – Robin Shuker had us in teams dreaming up a research programme for the now defunct HMV to present to the board to relaunch and save the company. We had 10 minutes; the winner got some left over cakes! (Thanks Robin – really pushing the boat out there).
Games to go
Arthur Fletcher had us playing games to help us understand why he had developed a gaming approach to group discussions. This involved taking the objectives of the research and devising questions to be asked in the context of a board game that had 8 players. This was a new approach to focus groups that was based on trying to capture System 1 thinking i.e. the subconscious. We threw lots of tennis balls around and asked Arthur some searching questions but he came through unscathed and with some converts.
Let them eat (leftover) cake!
We got interactive – about 25 people attended each day, which meant that you got to chat to all the delegates and the atmosphere was friendly. Good supper out for c.22 of us on the Thursday. The small numbers also meant that we had lively discussions at the end of each session.
Thanks again to all the ICG presenters who took part.
Janet Kiddle & Andrew Smith