How Qual Researchers Really Feel About Generative AI

04 Sep 2023 | Research & Business Knowledge

Article written by ICG member Tom Woodnutt for Research Live. 


To help qualitative research skills survive the onset of generative AI, the industry must do a better PR job for its uniquely human skills, argues Tom Woodnutt.

The advent of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has triggered an existential crisis for qualitative researchers. Its mechanisation of knowledge threatens to undervalue our craft as it churns out increasingly credible discussion guides, hypotheses, summaries and even probes. Unsurprisingly, a 2023 paper from Princeton University said market research analysts are in the top 10% at risk from generative AI.

In these changing times, we qual researchers must ensure that clients appreciate the value they get from our uniquely human talents of curiosity and empathy (both when using and not using AI tools). This means being less humble about how specialised our craft is.

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